Doing Proper Christian Anthropology

In the midst of a report from the Christian Century (h-tip SF) is this gem of a quote from Bishop Bruno of Los Angeles:

Bishop Jon Bruno, who heads the Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese, said the court decision resonates with the church’s baptismal vows to strive for justice and respect for all. "To paraphrase St. Paul," Bruno said in a May 15 statement, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, gay nor straight in Jesus Christ our Lord."

Wow.

Did you see what Bishop Bruno did there? He changed Scripture. Hope he’s packed some asbestos underwear along with his pine pyjamas.

On a more serious note though, Bishop Bruno’s statement raises a huge hornet’s nest around the area of biblical anthropology. What does it mean to be human and what kind of categorisations can we use to describe humans?

Such questions, and their Scriptural answers, were key to me for moving away from viewing myself as homosexual. I’ve written before that issues of ontology are at the heart of the journey from "gay", but let me just lay out here briefly the key problem I have with Bruno’s statement.

"Gay" isn’t a biblical term to describe human beings

It’s such a simple observation, but it challenges the whole liberal agenda. Simply put, when the Bible categorises human beings, it never views the people of God as regards their sexual orientation. Although homosexual practice is mentioned, sexual orientation itself never gets a look in. Other categorisations do – male and female, jew and greek, slave and free – but gay and straight simply isn’t found in the Bible.

And this is important, because a true biblical justice and equality theology should seek to liberate those whom Scripture says are equal to others. So the passage that Bruno quotes makes it absolutely unequivocal that soteriologically there is no difference between men and women. Misogyny is therefore a sinful and unBiblical practice. It is good to be a man and it’s good to be a woman. I can build a "male theology" and a "female theology", because the Bible tells me different things about men and women that I can build upon.

Later on, Paul writing to Philemon about the slave Onesimus makes it totally clear that he wants Philemon to view Onesimus as a social and political equal. Slavery is therefore a corrupt and evil practice and true Christians down the centuries have always been opposed to it. However, slavery continues and Paul has instructions for how slaves should behave to their masters (Eph 5), so we can build a "slave theology" – how slaves should behave and live – from the Bible.

Paul writes that we are all equal in Christ, Jew or Gentile, and John has a vision of all the peoples and tribes and nations gathered round the throne worshipping God together. From this we learn that there are no inferior races and that all are equal, whether brown, white, black or yellow or any shade inbetween. However, since the adoption of the elect Gentiles into the people of God still leaves the Jewish people and their covenant relationship to be explored, it is correct to speak of a "Jewish Christian theology" and a "Gentile Theology", for the two groups will, biblically, approach God in different ways, for while there is no compulsion on any Gentile to follow the Mosaic Law, some Jewish converts may still wish to do so (Acts 15).

But when it comes to sexuality, the Scriptures are amazingly silent. We cannot in any sense build a "gay theology" because the Bible doesn’t have any guidelines for us. It might be proper to speak of "the experience of Christians who are attracted to people of the same sex", but that isn’t the same as a biblical theology. Furthermore, while we can speak of a "Jewish Christian" or a "slave christian" or a "female Christian" as biblical terms, to talk of a "gay Christian" is to posit an identity that the Bible doesn’t seem to recognise. In fact, the Bible bottom line doesn’t recognise "gay" at all, so to attempt an anthropological statement such as "gay Christian" is to use an entirely un-Biblical term. It’s simpy not an identity that the Bible understands humans to validly exist within – it’s not a Scriptural way of describing one’s self.

For myself, when I understood this it was like the chains falling of me. I suddenly realised that I wasn’t a "gay Christian", I was a "male Christian", a "Gentile Christian". I understood that it was wrong of me as someone who was united with Christ to identify myself in a manner that he didn’t view me as. And in doing so, I was liberated. The binds of "gay" fell away and I realised that the whole gay/straight continuum was simply an unChristian way of viewing humans. It hindered the healing work of the Spirit because it constrained people in a way that we were not meant to be restricted.

Ultimately, what Bishop Bruno is doing in making this statement is creating a false picture of humanity. Christ calls us to see ourselves as male or female, called to singleness or marriage, and to discover sexually the imago dei within us within that framework and within no other framework. Any other sexual anthropology takes us away from Jesus and who he intended us to truly be.

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97 Comments on “Doing Proper Christian Anthropology

  1. Wonderful post. The Word of God is sharper than a razor, and it cuts deep, which is what we hard-hearted humans need. Thank the Lord for His truth, which brings conviction, and restoration.
    Lord bless you, and keep up the good posting.
    I found your sight from Libbie.

  2. Hello,

    Peter, hope this doesn’t sound too hostile or condescending, but I can’t agree with donsands – it seems to me your argument in this post is not very strong.
    I fully accept that “‘Gay’ isn’t a Biblical term to describe human beings”, but you don’t set out why we should be restricted to the categories the biblical writers use. After all, we can’t simply or straightforwardly ‘get into’ or ‘back to’ the world they were writing from, and use their categories as they did. And this is a bit cheeky, but until you revised it recently this blog had the words, ‘Charismatic, Calvinistic, Anglican, PostGay’ over the top. I’m not doubting that those words describe you, but none of them is a biblical term for human beings either. Given that ‘gay’ is not a biblical term, and in light of your argument above, why do you use the word ‘post-gay’, since to understand it you need an understanding of ‘gay’? Also, how far would you apply this argument – it strikes me (this may be unfair) that, following it, we couldn’t identify anyone else (or if relevant, ourselves) as members of a particular denomination, or for that matter as Muslims or English people, for example, since these too are not biblical descriptors. 

    Moreover, you say that one could build a male or a female theology “because the Bible tells me different things about men and women that I can build upon”. But are you suggesting that’s a general principle – since if so, one couldn’t do theology about anything the Bible doesn’t tell us things about – or if not, why is it specially applicable here?

    You say, rightly as i said before, that ‘gay’ is “not a Scriptural way of describing one’s self” – but if one shouldn’t then use it, how do you suggest that those of us who are baptised and have consistent same-sex desires, refer to these? I realise that, for instance, ‘same-sex attraction’ has different connotations to those of ‘gay’, but this again isn’t a Scriptural way of describing a person.

    Enough hectoring for now…
    in friendship, Blair

  3. Blair,

    The point I’m making is this. We can use words like “gay” to describe our experiences, but we can’t talk of a “gay theology” because the Bible doesn’t. So to take the example of my tagline, is it right to talk of a “charismatic” theology? Well yes, because the Bible is full of descriptions of charismata. A “calvinistic theology”? Well yes, because the doctrine of predestination drips from the pages of Scripture. An “Anglican theology”? Hmmmm, only as far as we can trace things to the Bible that are “Anglican”. A “post-gay theology”? Not sure about that. It would have to be part of a wider “theology of healing and wholeness”.
    It comes down to this. Theology is done primarily from the Scriptures *not* from experience. While “gay” is for some a good way to explain how they feel, it’s not a biblical descriptor so we can’t speak of “gay theology” and we can’t base an christian anthropology around something which the Bible doesn’t specifically mention, and to which all the reasonable connections in Scripture are negative.
    And just to be slightly more controversial, I think that since “gay” is a false anthropology (it might be a good descriptor but it’s not in any sense a biblical prescriptor), it is a delusion to think that one’s identity should be established in such a descriptor. The chains of “gay” are exactly the kind of bondage that Jesus came to set us free from.

  4. Yes, Peter, I agree that it doesn’t really make sense to talk of a “gay theology”, nor would one expect to find such a concept even implied or allowed for in Scripture. Why? Because Christ came to save all; because the gospel is the same for all; and because in Christ, just as there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, and neither male nor female, so also there is neither straight nor gay. All, having been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ and are the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ (vide Gal. 3:26-28).

    One can, of course, meaningfully speak of a gay Christian or of a gay theologian, just as one can meaningfully speak of an English, Irish, Welsh, male, female, blue-eyed, left-handed etc. Christian or theologian – although it is difficult to think of any circumstances in which these adjectives, even though accurate and maybe even interesting, would be or should be of any material consequence. 

  5. Interesting thoughts, Peter.  For me, the term “gay Christian” isn’t how I think God sees me as a person.  Personally, I think God just views us as His children, with few if any categories to fall into under that.  Thus, for me, “gay Christian” (or “post-gay Christian”) is mainly about connecting to a certain group of believers (or halfway-believers, if they have not yet accepted Biblical views of proper sexuality).  It’s important to me, because it’s an issue that has defined a lot of my life.  Does that mean it defines me?  Perhaps by the world’s standards it does.

    Being a “gay Christian” who writes about issues of celibacy, friendship, and brotherhood certainly defines much of what I do, just as a job or a charitable cause would.  But does it define me before God?  Well, when examining my work and witness, I pray He will notice (because I do see this as my main group to witness to, seeing as it’s one of the only groups I can relate to).  But then again, I’d like it just as much if this issue was alcoholism, or even just proper handling of heterosexuality (which is very much lacking nowadays).

    I guess I’m just saying that issues of “identity” are tricky.  I mean, this is part of where I’ve been and the memories and lessons learned from these experiences will always be with me.  Does that make being “gay” part of my identity?  I guess it does.  What about “celibate Christian”?  My writings on loneliness and contentment surely fall under that category, but then again I wouldn’t be celibate if I wasn’t “gay.”

    Like I said, it’s confusing, isn’t it?  Hope you’re doing well… Oh, and I gave you a shout-out on “Musings of an English Muffin.”  I adore Libbie and reading both of you makes me wish I was English so much! 

  6. I left a really long and thoughtful comment here, but I think your blog dislikes me for some reason.

    Anyway, the short of it is I was wondering what your views would be on the label “celibate Christian.”  I suppose that’s the best way to describe me, but then again I wouldn’t be celibate if I wasn’t “gay” (or at least I don’t think God would be calling me to such a life).  Issues of identity are often tricky like that.  For example, my writings (which are my main witnessing outlet right now) are mostly concerned with homosexuality and celibacy, because I deal with both of those issues.  They are a part of who I am and, more importantly, part of what I think God’s using me to accomplish for His Glory on this earth.  So where do they fit into my identity?  I’m tempted to ask what an “identity” is anyway, but I don’t want to get too philosophical here.  Just providing some food for thought.

    I can’t deny the changes that God has worked in my life by allowing me to be “gay.”  I wouldn’t be half as humble as I am (and that’s not even very humble, trust me) if I had never had to face bigotry for something more or less beyond my control.  I wouldn’t depend half as much on God for my safety if I knew that I could easily get married and have a comfortable middle-class life.  As it stands, there’s a good chance I’ll be on my own, and on my good days I rejoice in that, because it means I get to rest solely on God that much more.  If homosexuality was the main struggle through which I have and am still growing as a Christian, then where should it fit into my identity as a Christian?

    Oh, and I gave you a shout-out on “Musings of an English Muffin.”  I adore Libbie, and reading the two of you makes me want to be English that much more!  Cheers!

  7. Um… So it looks like both comments worked, after all.  They’re both pretty much the same, I guess.  I think the second one is clearer anyway, so you’re welcome to delete the first (and this one, as well).  :-)

  8. Peter,

    I have only just read your piece of writing on this subject.

    Would it be the case that you believe that everything you have said about the word ‘gay’ in relation to the Bible and personal identity, you would also say with regard to labels such as ‘heterosexual’, ‘straight’ etc.  To the best of my knowledge, these words also do not occur in Scripture.  If so, does this mean that you would not use any label not found in the Bible to describe your sexual nature?

    One of the things that I also find interesting, when I read your article, is how different your concept of Scripture, and your doctrine of the Spirit is from mine.  To some extent, I wonder how Anglican your understanding is in that it does not seem to have any real place in it for tradition, reason or experience.  It certainly does not correlate with a Catholic understanding of the nature of the Spirit’s revelation to the Church down through the ages.  I am also intrigued about your section on prefixes to the word theology so ‘gay theology’ is out, and ‘charismatic theology’ in.  On this basis, does this mean ‘mystical theology, sacramental theology, liberation theology’ are all out as well?  They are not explicitly biblical words.

    Yours, Winston.

  9. Hi Winston,

    You’re absolutely right. You can’t have a “straight theology” because it’s not a Biblical concept. You can use “straight” or “gay” to describe feelings, but you can’t in any meaningful Christian way use it to create an identity or anthropology.

    The issue isn’t whether a particular word is found in Scripture, the issue is whether a concept is found there. For example, I have no problem with a theology of mysticism as the Bible is full of such things. For example, one can clearly read the Song of Songs as an analogy to the relationship of Christ and his Church. That then opens us up to the experience of many (i.e. Theresa of Avila) of Christ which is quite powerfully sexual.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is this – if you can’t begin a theology explicitly in Scripture then it ain’t a theology.

  10. Like your mysticism in relation to the Bible, as I have said before, I can find such a correlation between the biblical material and Queer Theology.

  11. Hello all,

    Jay, wanted to say thanks for your posts because I like the way you reflect and wrangle with things (wish I had written some of the things you have, and in the tone you’ve written in), and I think the question, “If homosexuality was the main struggle through which I have and am still growing as a Christian, then where should it fit into my identity as a Christian?” is on the mark. And at the risk of banging the same drum too long, I wonder how you would answer it given your argument in this thread, Peter.

    I accept that you’re arguing that “The issue isn’t whether a particular word is found in Scripture, the issue is whether a concept is found there” – but this still doesn’t answer why we should be restricted to categories the biblical writers use. We can’t disinvent or unthink concepts that we now have. Also, arguing it this way gives problems with logic, it seems to me – if there’s no concept of ‘gay orientation’ in Scripture, how can we now distinguish between ‘orientation’ and ‘practice’?

    You said you “think that since ‘gay’ is a false anthropology (it might be a good descriptor but it’s not in any sense a biblical prescriptor), it is a delusion to think that one’s identity should be established in such a descriptor”. (I was about to say that I’m not sure that ‘gay’ has to be seen as an anthropology but that’s quibbling). Well, it is possible that it’s a “delusion” – if same-sex sex is always and everywhere sinful, full stop, then arguably same-sex desire is too and should be seen as temptation to sin. If this is so, then identifying with it could be called a delusion. As you’re aware I disagree with that…

    Having just typed that lot I am wondering if I should be more careful in the threads I comment on on here – I suspect I’m often motivated by not a lot more than desire to prove myself right. There’s not a lot to be said for that… and you and I know roughly where we disagree by now Peter, after all! Equally, I do find it hard to resist an argument… :)

    OK, enough self-regard. Lastly a question stolen from Rowan Williams: “In what sense does the Church actually proclaim good news to the homosexually inclined person who does not see their condition as a mark of rebellion or confusion? …their own account of themselves is not to be recognised” (‘Knowing myself in Christ’, p17 of The Way Forward? ) Does the view you’ve set out here, say more to such a person than ‘you’re deluded’ ? How do you show someone that what they think is self-knowledge, is not?
    in friendship, Blair

  12. You pray for them Blair, that the scales will fall off their eyes.

    That is the crux of the matter – the “homosexually inclined person who does not see their condition as a mark of rebellion or confusion” is wrong and the church needs to help them see that and provide a safe space to deal with their issues once they do. Unfortunately, many, many of our churches do not provide that safe space, only condemnation.

  13. Thanks for the compliments, Blair.  I think this is the first time someone has ever complimented my “tone” (through writing, no less!)  :)

  14. You’re welcome, Jay :)
    Peter – we agree on at least one thing (!): “Unfortunately, many, many of our churches do not provide that safe space, only condemnation”… if from different angles. And given you mention prayer above, perhaps we should pray for each other…?
    in friendship, Blair

  15. I don’t want to press you, Peter, since I’m sure you have your hands quite full, but I was hoping that you would respond to my post(s) eventually.  I think they might have slipped your mind.  :-)

    Take care!

  16. Well, I think my initial question was about your opinion of the term “celibate Christian,” and if such a thing as a “celibate theology” was possible… but then I remembered that I wouldn’t be celibate if I wasn’t gay, so the whole question got somewhat muddled.  :-)

    Being gay certainly caused the majority of the struggles that I’ve faced as a young and growing Christian, so I guess you can say I’m generally curious about where exactly it should fit into my identity.  I can’t completely ignore it, lest I forget all the lessons I’ve learned (and they are important lessons) by having gone through it.

    Oh, and I also said I wish I was English after having read both you and Libbie… of course, I think I’ve been wishing I was English for a very long time.  :-)

    • I think a celibate theology is possible in that such a condition for a Christian is clearly implied in Scripture, not just in the context of “either married or single” but also in Paul’s very clear teaching that celibacy is a good thing. I think though it would be better to express it as a theology of singleness, given that celibacy is a direct consequence of such a condition.

  17. I think that your denial of the fact of homosexual ontology simply because it isn’t clear in the Bible is dangerous wishful thinking. Have you ever perused the website of the Straight Spouse Network? Gay people who pretend that they are not gay people to the extent of contracting heterosexual marriages are liable to make a mess not only of their own lives but of those of innocent spouses and family members.

    Please explain how marrying someone of the opposite sex who doesn’t know the score isn’t the most IMMORAL thing that a gay person as such can do. In the first place, what are the motives, when feeling the kind of love and attraction that one’s spouse would naturally expect in our society is excluded by definition?

    Do you intend someday to propose to a woman without making your history and your affinities perfectly clear? If you had a daughter whose boyfriend proposed to her, and your gaydar went off over him, wouldn’t you do some further investigation and, given any evidence, warn for her own future happiness?
    If not, I submit that you would be deficient as a loving father.

    • Paul,

      You raise a good point about men and women who enter marriage thinking that it will solve their issues with same-sex attraction. The bottom line is that it won’t. What you also need to take into account though is that there are plenty of people with same-sex attraction who get married for the right reasons – that they love their spouse and are want to spend the rest of their life with them.

      The issue isn’t really whether men and women who experience same-sex attraction shouldn’t marry someone of the opposite sex (read a post on the subject here) but rather whether such marriages involve deceit or not. What you’ll find on the straight spouses network are numerous stories of spouses whose spouses didn’t tell them about their same-sex attraction when they got married. As far as I’m concerned, such an approach is setting yourself up for a fall.

      I’ve been happily married now for three and a half years.

      • >The issue isn’t really whether men and women who experience same-sex attraction shouldn’t marry someone of the opposite sex (read a post on the subject here) but rather whether such marriages involve deceit or not.

        I completely agree with that, and was careful to imply it in my previous post. But if no such thing as homosexual identity or ontology is to be recognized, don’t the chances for deceit (including self-deceit) snowball? “Yeah, I fell in love with a guy last year, but it was just something that happened to happen, it’s not really me. If there is no such thing as gay, obviously I’m not gay. So why should I mention this incident to my girl friend, when she’d be liable to dump me rather than letting me put a ring on her finger?”

        Then we have the teenager in a heterosexist society who is rather deliberately kept in ignorance and encouraged to go with the flow, up to and including marriage. They have no way of realizing until too late that he or she is under a severe handicap and probably condemning them both to unfulfilling lives, that their feelings are not the same as those of most people when they marry. How are they to know?
        In this case I would hold the heterosexist society culpable. To define homosexuality out of existence is a great heterosexist tactic.

        You might see some important difference between saying “I’ve always been attracted to people of the same sex, rather than to those the opposite sex” and saying “I’m gay.” But I fail to understand the distinction.

        To be sure, people shouldn’t label themselves too soon, and sometimes later in life they do “change” their orientation (although I’m not sure how regularly this correlates with wanting to change), but meanwhile I’d say “To thine own self be true.” That a person discover and experience intimacy with another is a vastly more important issue than whether the other person is male or female.

        I spent my entire youth (in the 1960s) as though living in an ice cube– with nothing of the kind whatsoever, wondering what all the excitement was over going out with girls, while feeling one undeclared and unrequited love after another for other boys– and for about half of that time never suspecting that such experience was anything out of the ordinary. There is a place of anger in me to this day with everything and everyone who subjected me to that isolation, even though I know they meant well. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else. There is less excuse with every passing year for perpetuating such a demeaning and corrosive condition on young people.

        • Paul, I’d just like to add a few words to what I said above in reply to your posting. Initially I could express only my total agreement with what you’d said, because I was lost for further words: it was as though I’d just read an account of my own teenage years.

          Like you, I had a pretty bloody rotten time as a gay teenager, feeling very isolated (although I had mates, like everyone else, that wasn’t enough), and not having anyone that I could even dare to talk to about it. That said, I know that many gay teenagers had it even worse.

          Coming out at that time wasn’t an option. Firstly, you would probably be bullied at school. (This still goes on, of course, and somewhere else, months earlier on this website, Jill came very close to suggesting that the attempt to prevent it was itself a form of bullying.) But secondly, you were also quite likely to be abused by the adults in your life in all sorts of ways, either overt or subtle, and subjected to many improper forms of pressure. So if you knew what was good for you, you kept your head down. You were highly unlikely to find other gay guys in your own age-group to share things with, because they’d all be keeping their heads down too, and for the same reasons.

          Most of this oppression was perpetrated unwittingly: those who did it didn’t realise, for the most part, who they were doing it to. One of my brothers cried some years later when he found out from my sister that I was gay – not because I was gay, but because I hadn’t felt able to tell him myself long before, and because he realised how damaging homophobic oppression must have been both to me and to his gay peers during those years, and that he’d been complicit in it, albeit in a very minor way. He’s more than made up for it since.

          As you say, it was all done with good intentions – with which, as we know, the road to hell is paved – and looking back I can just about forgive it on the grounds that it was done through ignorance and stupidity. However, like you, I still feel angry and resentful when I think about the way that those years were stolen from me and from countless other gay teenagers. One should ideally forget about it and bury it, except that there are people who, even today, want to keep on doing it. Their attitude is no less pernicious for being perfumed and gilded with “Christian” sentiments and sweetened with biblical texts, and I can’t take a tolerant view of it, nor should I.

          • Thank you for that. My home town (age 11 through university) was a rich and fortunate environment in many ways, but it
            was Joe McCarthy’s back yard; and my father was a teacher in one of the schools I attended. So any scandal for me would also be a scandal for him. The only thing I “knew” about homosexuals was that they were shadowy guttersnipes who were addicted to weird behavior in public restrooms and always getting arrested and fired. They were never successful in any career.

            When Ann Landers explained in a newspaper
            article one Sunday that it wasn’t about *doing* anything, but
            about how one feels, it all hit me. I wandered around the
            streets the rest of the day in a daze and decided that the only way to survive, and to avoid turning into one of those suicidal addicts myself, would be never to do or say anything about it. I was 15 or 16. Everyone else my age was head over heels in love, and expressing it avidly was what they lived for.

            If God wants another celibate, He’s got one. I hope He’s happy. Admittedly, it’s not a bad life for a sixty-year-old. But I’m not going to pretend that I chose it, and neither will I forget what it’s like to be young.

            • Paul and William, your posts are tearing me up. I simply don’t know how people like Jill can not hang their heads in shame and weep.

              • Hang my head in shame, Sue? What for, exactly? I know it suits some people to paint anyone opposed to homosexual practice as ‘homophobic’, but there is no fear or hatred.

                What I fear and hate is the fact that people are killing themselves, physically, psychologically and spiritually, and that avenues to possible healing are under threat due to fear of homosexual bullying. I have spoken to enough same-sex attracted people who are desperate to escape the lifestyle but who are afraid of gay activists. This was apparent at the recent ‘Sex & The City’ conference in London, where some of the ssa people who had come along to learn about reparative therapy were afraid to go outside because of having to run the gauntlet of the demonstrators. Those are the people who should hang their heads in shame. People should be able to seek help, if they want it, without fear of intimidation.

                Gay activism is shutting down debate. Post-gay people are bullied into silence, and held up to ridicule and abuse. Mild-mannered and gentle Bishops are nominated as ‘Bigot of the Year’ because – shock horror – they stand up for Christian teaching. (Bishop Scott-Joynt – I think he said something along the lines that people should be free to question whether homosexuality is a fixed trait’.) Counsellors are stalked, intimidated and threatened. The net result is that people who want help are not getting it.

                What exactly is it you think motivates me? I have a same-sex attracted family member. I have lost someone dear to me through AIDS. Do you think I want this to happen to them?

                I know it annoys people when I labour the point about paedophiles, but I had a long conversation not long ago with a prison chaplain who ministers to sex offenders. I heard from him about one in particular, whom he actually liked very much – a sweet and gentle man, with a heart of gold – but he molested children. He couldn’t help himself. He didn’t think it was wrong, he felt he was misunderstood. He certainly felt he was ‘born that way’. But he did know that his predilections did not have public approval, (as well as being against the law) and that he was not safe either in prison or outside. I have read similar stories on the NAMBLA website a few years ago, which were heartrending to read (until I remembered what it was these men were doing) when the perpetrators felt that suicide was the only option for them if they were caught – and many of them did in fact commit suicide.

                • I don’t know what motivates you, Jill, although I did write in an earlier post about the “buzz” of self righteousness we can get when we compare others sexual behaviour unfavourably to ourselves. I would only honestly tell you that what you communicate to me is an obsession with the anatomical details of gay (male) sex, disgust and condemnation and an unwillingness to accept that gay people fall in love with each other and mutually support and care for each other. I do read intense disgust and condemnation with, what seems to me a thinly disgused veneer of “concern and compassion.”I also see an eagerness to believe any fact, statistic or source that supports your view of gay people as promiscuous or heall bent on taking over the world.

                  This may be unjust of me, if so I apologise, I am just telling you what communicates to me.

                • Hello again Jill, and all,

                  a few more words if you can bear them :)

                  Taking your second and third paragraphs Jill, I think there’s some truth in what you say – the tide has turned, and now it is ex-gay and what one could call conservative voices on this issue who are swimming against it. (As an aside it seems to me it’s worth noting just how fast social change has been on matters gay – 20 years ago it was very different…). And indeed there are ‘gay activists’ who bully and hector those whom they disagree with, and prefer to silence them or shout them down rather than attempt conversation – and agreed, this can’t be justified. But it seems to me that portraying either ‘side’ as victims, or competing over which side is the more victimised by the other, makes a lot of noise which drowns out the essential question of what is true. (Is it true that ‘gay’ is a pathology, or not? for instance). It also seems to me to ignore the fact that there are pro-gay voices who do engage without hectoring. At the risk of provoking, it does seem ironic that you say that “Gay activism is shutting down debate. Post-gay people are bullied into silence”, given that we’re having this conversation on a public blog… (tho’ I’m not doubting that you get hate mail, Peter).

                  As an aside – you mentioned the ‘Sex and the City’ conference. Out of interest, and I don’t mean to mock, but did you see the report in ‘Gay Times’ (June issue, pp108-110)? It did not seem hostile to me…

                  “What exactly is it you think motivates me?”. I don’t know Jill – though I am quite judgmental enough to speculate! My own motives for being here are (as far as i can see…) pretty mixed. I’m sure there’s a lot of self-justification in the mix, as well as being argumentative, desire to prove myself and my position right, to correct what I see as others’ wrong arguments and perceptions, externalising inner conflict… and also, I hope, desire to connect and have good respectful conversations…

                  The only other thing I’d like to ask is why it is that you (in your words!) “labour the point about paedophiles”. Cold you say why it is that you see gay people and paedophiles in the same bracket, so to speak? Is it that you fear approval of paedophilia will follow on from approval of adult same-sex sex? Or that you fear that, as gay people have started to be believed when we tell our stories, so paedophiles could use a similar language, and perhaps be believed in turn? I’m nosey as well, you see :)

                  in friendship, Blair

  18. Paul Emmons – ‘To thine own self be true’. Does this also apply to people who are sexually attracted to small children? Or to multiple partners? Animals?

    Come on!

    And let’s not go down the ‘consensual’ road, because paedophiles will tell you that children do consent.

    • Sex with children is immoral and potentially harmful to the children. Sex with another adult of the same sex is not.

      • P.S. Sex with another adult of the same sex MAY, of course, be immoral in some circumstances (just as sex with another adult of the other sex may be), but what makes it immoral won’t be the fact that it’s with someone of the same sex.

        • Yes? On whose authority?

          As for your link about HIV, it’s the HIV that’s harmful, not the same-gender sex per se. Just as, when HIV or any other STD is transmitted between a heterosexual couple, it’s the HIV or other infection that is harmful, not the mixed-gender sex per se.

          Sex with another adult of the same sex MAY, of course, be immoral in some circumstances (just as sex with another adult of the other sex may be), but what makes it immoral won’t be the fact that it’s with someone of the same sex.

    • Small children are not capable of informed consent because they do not understand what they are consenting to. Small children do not seek or initiate a sexual relationship with an adult of their own volition. Just because a child is compliant – and I was abused from the ages of five to thirteen and was an example of that compliant, “groomed” child – does not mean that they consent. Compliance and consent are not the same things and any adult who does not understand this, Jill, should seek professional help.

      • Sue, I am not defending it! (Also, I am very sorry to hear of your experiences.) I am just pointing out that because some people think something is not harmful, that does not make it true.

        Some people here think gay sex is not harmful. I think it IS harmful. It may not be harmful in every single instance, but male on male sex especially is certainly considerably more harmful statistically, both physically and psychologically, than heterosexual sex.

        Paedophiles do not think child sex is harmful. I think it IS harmful, as do most people.

        So who do we believe? The majority? The minority? Neither, because the majority might well think gay sex is not harmful, as it is not portrayed as such in the media.

        We are just flawed individuals, each of whom have our own perceptions, often based on personal experience. So we have to turn to scripture, which is quite clear about homosexual practice (but less clear, actually, about what we would regard as paedophilia, as Peter has pointed out in the past – there being no mention of the age of consent in the Bible.)

        William, I don’t think you can have read the link! HIV is 50 times more prevalent in gay men. So gay men are 50 times more vulnerable.

        Here is another link you should read (plus the comments) – Killing us Softly.

        http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-13675.html

        • Yes, Jill, I know that we’re more vulnerable. But we’re going to keep on being gay, just the same. Heterosexual women are much more vulnerable than lesbians, but are they going to turn into lesbians themselves for that reason? Are they hell. They’re going to keep on being straight, just the same.

          More responsible sexual behaviour is a realistic answer, even if it’s difficult to achieve, and is never in fact going to be fully achieved. The abolition of homosexuality is not.

          I can remember when the AIDS scare first hit the world, as perhaps you can too. We were bombarded with information about the danger – and rightly so. There can have been scarcely a child in the western world (and this is probably still the case) who didn’t as a result know what AIDS was, and who didn’t know that gay men were far more vulnerable to it than straight men. None of them wanted to catch AIDS, and none of them wanted to be nore vulnerable to it than they needed to be. Yet some in that generation, as in previous generations, still grew up gay, whether they wanted to or not – in most cases not. They are now our present generation of gay twenty-somethings. A woman called Victoria Gillick said that in ten years’ time – or was it twenty years’ time – there wouldn’t be enough of us left to sqeak. Silly, naive woman!

    • Jill writes: “To thine own self be true”. Does this also apply to people who are sexually attracted to small children? Or to multiple partners? Animals?”

      Changing the subject in order to posit an alarmist and illogical slippery slope is the mark of someone who can’t think of anything better to say.

      Haven’t you noticed that over the past generation, as the social atmosphere for homosexuality has improved, that for pedophilia has only become harsher? Is this an accident? I don’t think so. Homosexuality is a great taboo in patriarchal cultures, while for matriarchal cultures it’s incest. As an infringement upon a traditional territory of women, pedophilia is akin to incest (and sometimes it is actual incest as well). So we shouldn’t be surprised that a society with feminism as regnant as ours will be obsessed with pedophiles to the extent of likening them to murderers, while indulging its own secretive tendencies in that direction in venues such as the movie screen (see the works of James Kincaid on this strange hypocrisy).

      As to why a few women, despite the above, would want to have so much to say about something that is as little of their business as what a small minority of men do together in private, we must turn to the female neurotic dilemma. I’ve never heard of a guy go on such a vendetta against Lesbianis as the likes of Anita Bryant, Phyllis Schlafly, and Judith Gentle-Hardy have done against gay men.

      • Changing the subject in order to posit an alarmist and illogical slippery slope is the mark of someone who can’t think of anything better to say.

        I’m not sure Jill is changing the subject. What she is doing is raising a legitimate line of inquiry, namely, does you argument make any sense when applied to other sexual desires. What she’s trying to explore is whether the argument you are making is based around some intrinsic value to homosexual relationships that can be uniquely identified, or whether you’re simply making a case for sexual liberty, in which case one needs to reason why such a similar argument could be made to other consensual sexual relationships (and believe you me, consensual paedophilic sexual relationships do, sadly, occur).

        • Someone under the age of sixteen is not ( in this country) legally entitled to give “consent” – or more accurately,an adult wanting to engage in a sexual relationship with a minor is not permitted to construe anything that minor says or does as “consent.” Therefore legally there are no “consensual” paedophilic sexual relationships.

          Morally, of course, the lines are more blurred as always happens with “cut off” points put in place for the blanket good of all. I would not want to see a sixteen year old who has sex with a fifteen year old, for example, prosecuted. When people present who were involved in a sexual relationship before the age of consent, saying that they were happy with and not harmed by that relationship, it must be looked at carefully.I knew man who had a homosexual relationship at fourteen and said it was “a great relief” to him to find out there were other the same as him and that he held no resentment over it. I also know of someone who became sexually involved with an older man when he was sixteen and feels that he was manipulated and abused – although the man’s behaviour was entirely legal.

          In the same way abusive sexual behaviour can occur within the “legitimate” confines of marriage,even in Christian marriages!

          Some people who are abused as young children develop an attachhment to their abuser and may become addicted to sex with much older partners, playing out the early patterns of abuse throughout their lives. These people, who may have gained sexual pleasure from their abuse are often deeply damaged in my experience. The fact that they recollect their abuse being sexually pleasurable does not stop it being abuse.Others may themselves become abusers although the myth that the majority of those abused become abusers is exactly that.

          I once heard a man who had raped his daughter at a very young age say she had “consented” because he asked her, “you don’t mind me doing this, do you?” and she said she didn’t. Well, nice, well brought up children don’t say “no” to grown ups. I certainly didn’t. A child saying “yes” – or later admitting they said “yes”, does not make the actions of the adult acceptable. They are breaking the law of this land and, in the majority of these cases, the consequences for the minor are devastating.

          The subject of sexual abuse and paedophillia is a complex one. That is one of the reasons I don’t like to see it used as an equivalent or standard by which to judge gay relationships.

          Adult, homosexual relationships are on a par with adult heterosexual relationships in terms of the ability to make informed consent and likelihood of parity in the relationship.

          Let’s not drag the difficult and poorly understood issue of paedophillia in, I think it obfuscates the whole debate and,as I’ve said before, i think it is degrading to gay people.

          • Sue,

            I do understand where you’re coming from on this, but as we’ve discussed before on this blog, the issue of morality and statutory legality are two different things. We cannot argue that something is immoral because it is illegal, since we would then be opening ourselves up to considering the same action as moral were it to be made legal. We can argue that something should be illegal since it is immoral, but then that line of reasoning mitigates against a liberationist approach to sexual ethics.

            Whilst, I agree with you that most “consensual” paedophilic relationships are anything but, we need to deal with the fact that a small minority are. Those relationships are the problem with any argument about morality based around consent. In the same way, I challenge those who make arguments about the immorality of homosexuality based upon promiscuity and the dangers of anal penetrative sex, because such arguments are redundant when faced with the permanent, stable, faithful gay couple who don’t engage in anal sex. Even if only one such couple exists (or we only find one genuinely consensual paedophilic relationship) our prior critiques at that point are utterly redundant.

            • If you read my post, I do not confuse legality and morality. I point out that the legal case is clear cut but the moral case is blurred.Nor am I arguing that everything that is legal is moral, lots of things are widely accepted as immoral such as adultery and promiscuity which are legal.

              I would say that no truly “paedophilic” relationships ( those involving prepubescent children) are consensual. Certainly there are relationships which are legally a sexual offence that are consensual – the example would be the one I gave of the man who told me of his relief and delight when having a relationship with an older man when he was fourteen. My judegement was that that relationship was “consensual” in the sense that you mean. It was illegal and I suppose we would say it was “immoral” in that the older man should have considered whether his action might have had a detrimental effect – in another youngster they might well have had.Also it was not a long term, committed relationship, which I believe as Christians we are called to. Was it any more immoral than say a heterosexual relationship of a casual nature – quite possibly not.

              I don’t really have your “cut and dried” approach to the messy business of human love, desire and intimacy. I amquite glad the gospel tells me to look to my own behaviour and not judge my neighbours as I do find grey areas in life and, not being God, don’t feel qualified to judge in many cases.

              When it comes to the law, we do need to have cut off points – perhaps one fourteen year old IS capable of informed consent, another sixteen year old is not. The law has to make a cut off point, we say that MOST sixteen year olds are capable of informed consent, doesn’t mean all are!

              I simply don’t agree therefore that if we find only one consensual paedophilic relationship it negates the argument that paedophillia is wrong because of lack of consent – and again to me true paedophilia involves prepubescent children ( who really are not capable of informed consent) not adolescents – I would term that sex offending or sex with a mminor.

              In the same way if we find one “immoral” and harmful heterosexual marriage ( perhaps one in which there is abusea and violence) it doesn’t follow that all heterosexual marriage is immoral, does it?

        • Professionals have stated that there is a gay orientation.
          They have even stated that there is a pedophilic orientation.
          I recall this very clearly from the session on child abuse now required by the church for all workers, and even for some volunteers. The speaker said “it’s an orientation” within the first five minutes, and then spent the next hour and a half jeerleading over how evil it was. Is anyone who works for the church, of all places, too dumb to notice a certain incoherence here?

          As far as I know, however, those in a position to know about these things haven’t identified a bestial orientation or an orgiastic orientation (whatever the word might be for an inherent disinclination for sexual activity with fewer than two partners at one time. Maybe Jill knows the term, since she brought it up.) Absent such a determination, I won’t hypothesize that one is true to oneself by indulging such whims.

          Whether Jill realizes it or not, she is trading on the perhaps unprecedented popular fascinated disgust over pedophilia that exists today, to shock us with the thought of how horrible and absurd it would be if it were any less than it is. But is there any reason to predict that the trend will be reversed?

          For what it’s worth, I’ll shamelessly plead guilty to libertarianism. As in everything else, we don’t yet live in an environment so totalitarian that “whatever is not permitted is forbidden.” It (whatever it is) is permitted unless there are good reasons to prohibit it. There are good reasons for laws against adult-child sex, as others already hastened to point out.

          • Hi Paul,
            Yes, I think that there is a paedophilic orientation. Some people are attracted to small children. As far as I know, there is no evidence that some people are sexually attracted to animals, the sexual gratification is in the breaking of a taboo. However, it is also true that, for many sex offenders, it is the breaking of a taboo, a power kick, or the corrupting of innocence that causes the thrill. We know, for example that rape is often driven by power – for example some people will rape others without being “attracted” to them – it is the act of power and violence that excites. Men who abuse their daughters often describe strong feelings of “ownership”- so again a power thing.
            I used to think child abuse found its roots in power and violence ( as does rape) rather than sexual desire. I do now think the picture is more complex.

            You are right that there have to be laws against adult-child sex to protect children. I also want to say that i don’t agree with expression violence against those attracted to children. I did once consider joining an offenders’ trust and accountability group but decided I was not strong enough to cope. I think you are suggesting that we don’t really see paedophiles as human – and they are- it is a subject that leaves me deeply troubled, I must confess.

  19. Hi Jill,
    The reason I posted on this is that too often a comparison is made between paedophiles acting on their desires and gay people acting on their desires. I do think that this comparison is insulting and degrading to LGBT people, especially when the very reasonable matters of consent, lack of parity and abuse are dismissed out of hand. I would remind you that someone who has sex with a child engages in a very serious criminal offfence, someone having homosexual sex acts within the law( if it is consensual.)

    I am no advocate of promiscuity and support faithfulness and respect within all relationships.

  20. No Sue, this is not insulting or degrading to gay people. All of us act on our desires to some extent. It is people’s perceptions I am talking about. Some people steal things because they want them. Some people think abortion is fine. Some don’t see anything wrong with a bit of consensual adultery. Is this insulting and degrading to gay people? Most of us have a moral compass but they are not always pointing due north. The Prayer Book puts it very succinctly: ‘We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts; We have offended against thy holy laws’. What we might feel is right is not necessarily so; we must look to the Bible for direction.

    I don’t need reminding that sex with a child is a criminal offence. You may not be aware, but when the APA removed homosexuality from the DSM register, its list of disorders, it also removed paedophilia on the more or less the same basis. This was hastily reinstated after a public outcry.

    Now that homosexual acts are within the law the public perception has changed. William’s confident assertion that sex with another adult of the same sex is not potentially harmful troubled me, as this is patently untrue, as we see by the alarming rise in the number of young gay men contracting HIV, which condemns them to a lifetime on debilitating (and hugely expensive) medication. It is the gay lobby which is pressing for the age of consent to be lowered to 14, which I also find very troubling, as I would regard this is legalised paedophilia, should they ever succeed.

    I was very interested to read one of the comments on the Pink News article which I posted, which suggested that sodomy should once more be made illegal. (This was from a gay man.) While a lot of people won’t agree with that, it did have the advantage of being a warning sign that it was not good for you, whereas now it seems that no barrier is allowed to be put in the way of this highly dangerous act; hence the alarming rise in HIV. I see nothing loving in this.

    William, I well remember the AIDS scare. I lost a dear friend and colleague to this in the late 1980s. It was a slow and wretched death, and it devastated me. And William – statistically (note the word statistically – I am making no moral judgment here) lesbian woman are more promiscuous than straight women, having been found to have up to four times more male sexual partners than their straight sisters. I bet that surprised you!

    Well, as I know this will have angered a lot of people, I will pull out now. I only entered this conversation because I was alarmed by an apparent lack of awareness of the dangers of gay sex.

    • Jill, I wish you wouldn’t come out such reckless statements as:

      (1) “It is the gay lobby which is pressing for the age of consent to be lowered to 14.”

      There may be some people who are pressing for the age of consent to be lowered to 14 – people like Peter Tatchell, perhaps? – but there is no unified “gay lobby” which is doing so.

      (2) “… when the APA removed homosexuality from the DSM register, its list of disorders, it also removed paedophilia on the more or less the same basis. This was hastily reinstated after a public outcry.”

      The APA didn’t remove paedophilia from the DSM register. Here is the true story from Box Turtle Bulletin:

      “The Rind et al. article “Meta-analytic examination of assumed properties of child sexual abuse using college samples” appeared in a 1998 issue of Psychological Bulletin. It is just one of 61 journals published by the APA. Each of these journals have their own independent editors and editorial boards. Articles published in these journals represent the findings and the opinions of the authors only. None of them represent official statements or positions of the APA, unless a journal chooses to publish an official statement.

      “Again, no author is authorized to speak on behalf of the APA, nor does the appearance of an article in one of the APA’s 61 journals represent an official statement from the APA. Rind was not assigned the task by the APA to formulate a position on the APA’s behalf, nor was any resolution put forward based on Rind’s article. In no way does it or did it represent any kind of a position on the part of the APA.

      “The APA did not mount a defense of the article, but the journal editors did — as journal editors always do. The APA did not take an official position as a result of that article, and it continues to hold its position that sex between adults and underage children are harmful.”

      What you call “sodomy” is only one possible form of gay sex. It is undoubtedly the form which is most likely to transmit the HIV virus. But it’s not the CAUSE of HIV. Other forms of gay sex are far less likely to transmit it, and some are virtually risk-free. Are risk-free forms of gay sex harmful? My answer is no.

    • Jill, YOU may not think that it is offensive or degrading to make a comparison between gay people and paedophiles or those who have sex with animals. I think you have to acknowledge that I DO find it offensive and degrading, so we will have to agree to differ on that one.

      I am getting tired of the “comparison” mentality – “gay men are more promiscuous than straight men, lesbians are more promiscuous than straight women etc”. For a start, statistics do hide individuals and we need to look at the factors behind the statistics, but more importantly it is unchristian. The gospels warn us against “comparing” others behaviour, especially their sexual behaviour, unfavourably with our own and only seeing the speck of their sin but not the plank of our own. When we start to “compare” in this way , we often do so because it gives us a “buzz”, the thought of OUR own righteousness and THEIR sinfulness elevates us in our own eyes. BEWARE – this attitude does not elevate us in God’s eyes. It closes us to God’s love and he is unable to work with us.

      I know that the “buzz” we get when we condemn others and speak with disgust about their lives, is very addictive. But, if you are truly going to profess to be a Christian, then this is a challenge that the gospel sets you and one to which you should try to rise.

  21. Not quite, William. The APA is merely a trade organisation, but it wields an enormous amount of power with its DSM register, which is used in Courts in the UK as well as the US as a kind of ‘expert witness’. This is from NARTH:

    APA Reverses Diagnostic Change on Pedophilia

    Although pedophilia remains illegal, and our culture still considers it morally wrong, recent changes in the APA’s own diagnostic and statistical manual (DSM) have reopened the discussion of the psychological dimension of pedophilia.

    History of the Diagnosis. In the DSM-III, the American Psychiatric Association contended that merely acting upon one’s urges toward children was considered sufficient to generate a diagnosis of pedophilia. But then a few years later, in the DSM-IV, the APA changed its criteria so that a person who molested children was considered to have a psychiatric disorder only if his actions “caused clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.” In other words, a man who molested children without remorse, and without experiencing significant impairment in his social and work relationships, could be diagnosed by a clinician as a “psychologically normal” type of pedophile.

    Challenged by NARTH to defend the change, the APA stated categorically that it had, in fact, no intention of normalizing pedophilia. However, “man-boy love” advocates cheered that DSM shift as good news. (end)

    Frantic backpedalling if ever I saw it.

    Not quite sure what you mean by ‘what I call sodomy’ – it’s not something I have invented! It’s actually a predominantly legal term to describe anal intercourse, oral intercourse, or bestiality. The article I mentioned earlier in the Washington Blade, a gay publication, does not specifically mention sodomy, only MSM (men who have sex with men). It states that ‘gay, bisexual and other MSM are 50 times more likely to have AIDS than women and non-gay or bisexual men’ and ‘Gay and bisexual men are also the only risk group in which new infections are increasing’ – although it is true that anal sex is the most efficient transmitter of the HIV virus.
    While gay men continue to be in denial, or to be denied accurate information, this can only get worse.

    But if we are sticking to scripture, I don’t think there is any rationale for practising homosexual sex safely, only an outright prohibition. I don’t believe this is put there by God to spoil our fun, I believe it is put there for a very good reason.

    • In other words, Jill, NARTH’s “information” was wrong – not for the first time. The APA has never “normalized” paedophilia, even if some of its members – speaking only for themselves, not for the APA – opined that this should be done. I wouldn’t accept any statement emanating from NARTH without first finding independent verification, just as I wouldn’t accept any statement from advocates of “man-boy love” on their say-so.

      We seem to have different “issues” (as they say nowadays) here, and they seem to be running into each other and clouding each other. So let’s try and separate them out.

      (1) Do certain forms of gay sex carry potential health risks? My answer is yes, I have to acknowledge that they do; I can’t do otherwise. Certain forms of straight sex also carry potential health risks.

      (2) Is all gay sex morally wrong, irrespective of any health issues, simply because it’s sex between people of the same gender? My answer is no.

  22. Well, William, people will only read what they want to read, and hear what they want to hear, but if you are really interested you should read ‘The Trojan Couch’ by Jeffrey Satinover, which charts the disgraceful and almost unbelievable way in which political pressure, deceit and outright lies were used to facilitate the withdrawal of homosexuality, and other paraphilias, from the DSM Register. Here is the link, but I don’t suppose you will read it.

    http://www.narth.com/docs/TheTrojanCouchSatinover.pdf

    The truth will eventually out, however.

    As to your question, yes, I do think there is harm in any homosexual practice. Again this is not something I have made up myself, but the evidence is there for all to see. One cannot abuse the body without the mind being affected. The massively disproportionately high levels of alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicidal ideation in even the most gay-affirming parts of the world, such as the Castro district of San Francisco, are proof of this.

    I hope you will realise that your true friends are not the ones who try to convince you otherwise.

    • Well, thank you, Jill. I’ve read the NARTH link that you’ve provided. Having read it, I see no reason whatever to consider that homosexuality is a mental illness or disorder, and I’m quite sure that the APA made the right decision in declassifying it, whether their original reasons for doing so were sound or not.

      I am not an alcoholic; I have never abused drugs; I have never attempted or considered suicide; and I have never been hospitalized for a mental illness (or for any other reason – which is quite a record for a man of my age, but I’d better not crow too soon). I did for a short time in my youth develop the bad habit of periodically drinking too much, but from the time that I accepted my natural sexuality, came out, and stopped worrying about what would happen if people “found out” about me, that habit promptly vanished and I have never once been tempted to resume it. So obviously such problems are not inevitable, and I’m not a freak case because none of my many gay friends have them either. In my experience, the ones most likely to have such problems are those who cannot or will not accept their sexual orientation and are deeply in the closet. They’re also the most likely to express their sexuality in compulsive, dangerous and damaging ways.

      As for Satinover’s statement that societal attitudes are insufficient to account for such problems among homosexual people, how the hell does he know? On what a priori grounds can he make such a judgment? On what scientific principle can he set a ceiling on the effects that can be produced by social maltreatment? I, like many gay men of my age, suffered isolation during my teenage years and later a certain amount of homophobic abuse and harassment, and the effects were certainly damaging: in particular, it shattered my belief in goodness, truth and honour as common attributes and made it difficult for me to trust other people. However, I’ve come through it in one piece. But what I went through was comparatively mild; what some have suffered was absolutely horrific, and I’m amazed that they survived it. What is surprising, therefore, is not the greater incidence of mental health problems among homosexual people, but that the incidence is not considerably higher than it is. As the Dominican priest and psychiatrist Fr Richard Woods put it in 1977, the great majority of heterosexual people “confronted even occasionally by the challenges and conflicts a gay person ordinarily faces daily, would crumble psychologically.”

      I learnt years ago who my true friends were, thank you, and they’re certainly not the people who try to tell me that there’s something wrong with being gay. Such people are best avoided; they do themselves no good, and they can do others only harm.

    • Hello Jill and all,

      just a few things…

      Have just read through, albeit rather quickly, ‘The Trojan Couch’ from your link, Jill. And yes, fair point, the distortions that Dr Satinover reveals do the pro-gay activists who made them no credit. However, Dr Satinover himself is hardly unbiased. He speaks of Robert Spitzer’s 2003 study without mentioning that it has received criticism for methodological flaws, which aren’t unlike the ones Dr S highlights in some of the pro-gay studies. He takes great pains to quote studies to demolish the idea that being gay is a fixed or stable trait – and again, fair point, you might say, given the way this argument has been used in legal cases for equality in the US. But it seems to me to be something of a red herring (as I think I’ve said before in several comments on this site). The fact that a given trait is not fixed or stable for a person’s whole life does not make that trait a pathology, and nor does a trait have to be fixed or stable for it to be included under anti-discrimination laws. Religion, nationality and some disabilities (eg those caused by injury) are not necessarily fixed or stable traits but they are all covered by current UK equality law.

      Incidentally Jill, your most recent comment above gives the impression that other ‘paraphilias’ (eg paedophilia) were actually removed from the DSM, as well as homosexuality, but they haven’t been (granted it was discussed, but even so). Also, there’s always a lot of noise made about the 1973 APA decision, but does anybody have any info about the World Health Organisation’s decision in 1990 to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders? That’s not a rhetorical question – I know very little about that decision. But it’s notable here that the WHO did this without any suggestion (to my knowledge) that paedophilia, for instance, should also come off that list. So am wondering if it could be said that there’s no inevitable link – that ‘declassifying’ homosexuality does not automatically lead to any kind of approval of paedophilia? (Am just thinking that one could point to current trends in the UK to back that up – remarkably fast positive shift in attitude to matters gay, but no sign at all of movement towards approval of paedophilia. Look at the attitudes expressed after Sarah Payne was murdered for example).

      And Jill, 2 questions: if a gay couple never had anal sex, would you still feel that relationship was wrong? Do you think anal sex between a man and a woman is wrong?

      Thank you for your most recent comment by the way William.

      in friendship (and some exasperation too…),

      Blair

      • The fact that a given trait is not fixed or stable for a person’s whole life does not make that trait a pathology, and nor does a trait have to be fixed or stable for it to be included under anti-discrimination laws.

        I think you’ve summed up for us Blair the current position – is something a pathology just because it is not a fixed trait? Also, the point about religion being not a fixed trait is interesting. You seem to be making pretty well the same case that Andrew Sullivan does in his essay “Virtually Abnormal” (not to be confused with his book “Virtually Normal”).

        • Hi Peter,

          well, as I probably implied above, my answer to your “is something a pathology…?” question would generally be ‘no’. I’m taking it that criteria other than the mutability of a trait must be looked at, when discerning whether or not it’s a pathology.

          I wasn’t knowingly echoing Andrew Sullivan, by the way, but (may have mentioned this before) I have a copy of ‘Love Undetectable’ and know the essay you refer to.

          in friendship, blair

      • Blair, I can understand that you are exasperated, but I am exasperated too. I read a comment like William’s saying there is nothing wrong with gay sex, but of course there is.

        What really makes me angry is that we are adjured to eat five-a-day, told not to smoke or drink too much alcohol, not to eat too many eggs, and all this stuff ad nauseam, but nobody tells us about the huge risk of anal sex! All we see is approval and accolades being heaped upon ‘gay’ – I can tell you that this is a general perception, even if you may not see it as such – with funds being hurled at gay pride marches and the like, and every policeman in town seemingly eager to pounce on anyone who even whispers the most mild pro-family sentiment which he can read as anti-gay.

        So what does, say, an adolescent male see in today’s society, especially if he is mildly confused about his ‘sexuality’? I know you think that sexuality is fixed, and in some cases I think it is, but sometimes boys just need to mature a little before they embark on an addictive and dangerous lifestyle. But he will see approval of ‘gay’ from all quarters, from society, TV shows, the law, often even the church, sadly. So what hope is there for him? He sees that any attempt at reparative therapy is shouted down by so-called ‘experts’. So what will happen to him? He will very quickly find that there are men eager to befriend him, and he will get sucked into something which could ruin his life, as we have seen from the rising number of young men, who are not afraid of HIV as they have never lived alongside it, contracting it.

        Even the Terrence Higgins Trust, which was set up with the aim of AIDS prevention, seems to have lost its way. In spite of receiving huge swathes of public funding it seems more interested in producing instruction manuals on how to ‘do’ gay sex (with its revolting Hardcell thread, which is little short of gay porn) than it is on protecting the people it was set up to help. I make no comment on recent accusations that it has sold out to pharmaceutical companies which produce HIV medication – but last time I looked there was no mention of possible healing, or the dreaded ‘A’ word – abstinence – which, let’s face it, is the only sure way of preventing HIV.

        I never intend to diminish people; I think that gay people often diminish themselves by their ‘pride’ in being gay – as if their sexuality was all there was to them. I know that not every gay person is a rampant sex maniac; I have known many gay people in my time (we are an artistic family!) and I have a gay family member. People who read this blog will not be living the lifestyle of a lot of ssa people. But this does not alter the fact that societal approval of ‘gay’ gives a clear message that anal sex is okay. You might not think that, but that is what straight people think. And it isn’t okay! (And yes, I think anal sex is wrong, whoever performs it – for reasons which must be obvious by now.)

        • O Jill…

          not sure how to respond but want to have a go.

          Taking your second paragraph: I think it’s a fair point, to a degree. I demur because I don’t think it’s true that “nobody tells us about the huge risk of anal sex”. In the latest issue of ‘Attitude’ there are 3 adverts, one full page (p97), scattered throughout the magazine, all from the Terrence Higgins Trust, telling readers to go to a sexual health clinic, and/or get an HIV test to know their status. In the previous issue (pp73, 75) there’s 2 full page THT ads warning readers that they may have HIV even if they think they don’t, and that they’re at major risk if they’ve had sex (read penetrative sex) without a condom. I think it could be said that there’s a need for a much bigger public health campaign on this – but I’ve heard gay commentators saying so. I’m old enough (30) to remember the terrifying late-80s AIDS adverts, and admit there doesn’t seem to be a similar sense of urgency now. But I’m trying to make the point that there are voices within the ‘gay community’ who seem aware of the risk of complacency and are doing something about it.

          You go on to say, “I know you think that sexuality is fixed”. I’d just point out that I’ve never said that in comments on Peter’s site. (I said to another commenter, Philip Cole, a couple of months back that I’d concede there are ‘glimmers of evidence’ that some can change their orientation. And I’m aware of the stories of people like Jackie Clune, Tom Robinson and others). OK – enough self-justification. I think what I really want to challenge here is your implication that if a vulnerable young man, such as you describe, comes out as gay, it is inevitable that he’ll get sucked into (‘scuse the pun) an addiction to casual sex leading to terrible illness. I realise that this does happen – but not inevitably .

          Going back briefly to the orientation change thing: you imagine this young man seeing “that any attempt at reparative therapy is shouted down by so-called ‘experts’”. (How about removing those inverted commas by the way?). It’s hard to be surprised (from this angle anyway) that reparative therapy gets discredited – even those practising it (eg Dr Nicolosi) cannot give a success rate and do not engage in the kind of full clinical trial that’d be the only way to prove its efficacy. Moreover, the saner and more honest among ex-gay folks admit that they would not guarantee orientation change in any case. From another viewpoint though, it’s interesting that your imagined young man wants ‘healing’ – it seems to me this is increasingly unlikely as people come out younger than just a few years back, and seem to struggle much less with being gay than did some. But even if that’s wrong, and there’s no fewer people seeking reparative therapy, at the risk of tedium I’d like to reiterate that promiscuous addictive sex does not inevitably follow from being gay…

          I’m sure I’ve gone on long enough, but would like to pose again my question – if a gay couple never have anal sex, do you still think their relationship is wrong?

          in friendship, Blair

          • … it is inevitable that he’ll get sucked into (’scuse the pun) an addiction to casual sex

            Blair, Blair, Blair. If you hadn’t mentioned the possibility of a pun there we would all have passed over it without giving it a second thought. Some things are best left unsaid aren’t they?

              • I’d been following this fascinating thread (or rather renewed thread) with interest and wondering when to intervene. So thanks, Blair, for my cue by mentioning my name, followed by an awful pun. Who can resist? Let me enter stage left: I still regard myself as progressive!

                I was also moved by Paul and William’s testimonies. Cudos to you both for the courage to share painful experiences. As a somewhat sexually conflicted teenager in a working class comprehensive school, I also experienced same-sex attraction (SSA) and the pain of being called gay (actually it was more usually ‘poofter’). Peter is welcome to post a link to my testimony which I think is somewhere on the gargantuan ‘Sexualisation of Heresy’ thread.

                To briefly summarise, my experience was of periods of SSA in teen and early adulthood. I came to Christ at uni however and experienced healing of SSA as part of an overall, Holy Spirit guided healing of broken areas of my life. I agree with Peter that the key issue is one of identity in Christ: who God says we are in Him and how He heals our broken lives as we submit to him as Lord of our lives. I repeat, the key issue was of our identity in Christ: not healing of SSA, which was a byproduct! Peter has set out these issues far more fully in other essays on his site.

                Paul, William, Sue and others claim that being gay is an identity given by God from birth to be celebrated within ‘committed, loving and faithful’ relationships. Peter and I and others claim that homosexual behaviour is a sin. For the Christian gay is not an identity: it is an experience of SSA which reveals to us our need for deeper healing of our brokenness as we bring ourselves in submission to God and His will for our lives. I apologise if I have paraphrased anyone wrongly.

                So where does that leave us? Well, at one level to the banal conclusion that Christians disagree (Paul and William, I am assuming that you are Christians just because you are on this site: my apologies if that is not correct). So what?

                I would argue that if Peter and I and others are correct (that gay is is not a Christian identity) that only matters for Christians. It is unreasonable (indeed impossible) to expect people that are not Christian to be bound by God-given direction that homosexual behaviour is a sin. So I am in favour of civil partnerships on the basis that stable relationships are good for everyone: gay or straight. I am however against gay marriage on the basis that there is a conflict of rights: gay rights against the religious rights to the long established definition of marriage. I have posted elsewhere that reference to a human rights rather than a moral law framework inevitably leads us into these sort of negotiations between competing rights.

                However, Christians are called to behave in accordance with a higher law: the law of God. And liberal Christians, in their promotion of gay rights within the church, are left with a number of awkward answers by orthodox Christians to their pleas for rights, which I will summarise as follows:

                1. Gay identity is God given from birth. Orthodox answer: and Gay is not a biblical identity and attempts to show that it is are based on a liberal and revisionist reading of Scripture that is based on general principles of justice and love rather than careful exegisis of the Scriptures. Additionally, there is no proof that sexual identity is fixed from birth and plentiful evidence that sexual orientation changes during a persons lifetime.

                2. Gay relationships should be affirmed and celebrated within the church provided that they are monogomous and ‘committed, loving and faithful’. Orthodox answer: Monogomous is clear enough, but what is ‘committed, loving and faithful’? People generally (gay and straight) have different definitions of these words. We fear that ‘committed, loving and faithful’ is too vague a definition and will lead to wider acceptance of casual and broken relationships with consequent damage to people, their children and society at large.

                I set out these two summaries with some trepidation as the debates in threads on this site have already been long, and I am sure none of us want to repeat the same arguements ad nauseum :-o :-) :-| :-( :-{ :-\:-# :-% :-we’re all fed up!

                So liberal Christians are in the position that they have not persuaded the vast majority of the Church that gay rights in within the church is the will of God. I believe that it is a realisation of this fact that has led the Archbishop of Canterbury, despite his liberal inclinations, to recently make a major statement of biblical orthodoxy on sexual relations. I predict that this statement will become a major rallying point for biblical orthodoxy within the Anglical church, and possibly for other churches as well. Christians are not called to follow the world; they are called to follow God and His will for their lives. And, whatever the world believes, God says that homosexual behaviour is a sin.

                • Thanks for this Phil. I agree with you – the personal stories from Paul and William have been really useful to understand the reality of growing up with same-sex attraction. I really believe that those of us on the conservative side of this debate have to hear and respond adequately to such experiences – it’s not good enough for us to simply go on about the perils of gay sex.

                  Your summary of the issues is very good.

                • When asked by a condescending officer, “Don’t you read the Bible: male and female created He them?” Quentin Crisp
                  replied, “Male and female created He me.” It seems
                  to me to be a perfectly defensible reading of the verse.

                  What would you say to a hermaphrodite, in whose case
                  it is patently obvious that this has occurred? What
                  would you say to a transgendered person? It is not
                  as though gay people are alone in occupying
                  some middle ground between two poles.

                  The Eastern Orthodox say that dualistic mental habits
                  are part of the curse of specifically western theology, which
                  has caused men of good will to denounce God and become atheists. For almost a generation, evangelicals
                  have had the luxury of taunting more liberal
                  denominations with their declining membership
                  statistics. But now it’s happening to them as well,
                  e.g. the Southern Baptists in the U.S. If you turn
                  to research of the Barna Group in the past couple of
                  years, it’s not difficult to see why: the percentage
                  of non-Christians 16-25 who have a favorable impression
                  of Christians has fallen below 20%; and those favorable to evangelicals in particular have plunged
                  into the single digits.

                  One of the objections is a perceived preoccupation with homosexuality. I’ve seen this reaction myself. A local outfit called “Repent America” seems to believe that self-righteous, confrontational, noisy, insulting demonstrations
                  against abortion and homosexuality on college campuses = missionary work. They wore out their welcome here long
                  since and now provoke mainly derisive laughter from
                  those to whom they purport to be reaching out. As
                  a Christian, I’m embarrassed.

                  These denominations like to talk about how
                  many newcomers they bring in through the front door.
                  They don’t like to talk about how many wounded limp
                  out the back. I would no sooner want to place myself in their tender mercies than thrust my head into a meat grinder. Even leaving gay issues aside, there are too
                  many horror stories.

                  Church doctrine has sometimes changed and
                  can change again. Consider usury. In the Bible, this
                  word means lending money at any interest whatsoever.
                  It was frowned upon in the Old Testament, in the
                  New Testament, and in tradition (both east and west)
                  all the way up at least until the Renaissance, just as staunchly as some condemn homosexuality today. But
                  now even church treasurers deal with savings accounts,
                  stocks, and bonds without a second thought. It’s considered a cornerstone of our economy.

                  Blaise Pascal, as I recall, found the Roman Catholic
                  Church’s tortuous attempt to change its teaching on
                  this issue while trying to maintain that her teaching
                  never changes to be the quintessence of Jesuitical casuistry.
                  She developed the argument that the Bible was talking about
                  one kind of money and nowadays we have another kind
                  of money, so, see, it’s all consistent.

                  Even if such a face-saving approach should be considered necessary again in the area of homosexuality, I’m confident that there is ample scope to make such distinctions.

                  • Paul

                    Just to let you know where I am coming from: I am an evangelical and charismatic Christian of British nationality but living in South Africa. I work as a development economist mostly in southern and eastern Africa. I am 49 years old and married to the same woman for 20 years (come January!) and have 4 children, 1 of whom is adopted. I am also Protestant, Reformed and Calvinist in perspective. From what you’ve shared so far I deduce that you live in the USA and are a gay, liberal Christian. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong – we all make mistakes!

                    Well the first problem comes with your first statement: Quentin Crisp may have had many other attributes, but understanding Scripture clearly wasn’t one of them. The verse you cite, Genesis 1:27, is part of the grand creation narrative where God creates man (human beings to gender sensitive progs) as male and female, made in His image. In other words, the basic categories of human being: male and female tell us about the nature of God, about His desire for relationship with us, about His relationship with Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit.

                    This grand narrative of male, female and the image of God formed in us is them a major theme of Scripture throughout the rest of the Bible. In Galatians 3:28 (the verse that is misapplied by Bishop Bruno at the top of of this thread) we are told of our new identity in Christ, that abolishes discrimination on race, economic status or gender (not sexual orientation!) In Ephesians 5:31-32 we are given the ‘profound mystery’ of marriage between a man and a women which mirrors Christ and the church. I could go on almost ad infinitum, for the created order of marriage between husband and wife is one of the main themes of scripture of which we can never fully mine the depths. And so, quite rightly, it also a major theme of biblical orthodoxy and of objection to same-sex marriage. And this perhaps goes some way to explaining why orthodox Christians defend marriage as only between a man and a woman, while changing doctrine on lending money at interest for example.

                    But since the Fall, all of mankind is affected by original Sin which has also infected the whole of creation. Romans 8:18-22 talks about creation groaning in frustration at the effects of Sin. I am sketching over a lot here, but the effects of original sin explain why our existence is so often one of pain, sickness and confusion: why bad things happen to ‘good’ people, remembering that no-one is good except God.

                    So people have to face incurable illnesses, sudden accidents and all manner of distressing situations. And it is not easy, but we are called by God not to rage against the injustice of it all, but to struggle through in prayer and submission to Him. And he promises that He has walked every step of our pain and struggles (Hebrews 4:14-16) and that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).

                    The condition of hermaphroditism is distressing to the individual concerned. Indeed, there is a high profile case of a world record breaking female runner in South Africa at the moment which seems to be one such case (see http://www.mg.co.za) and she has been treated shamefully by the media. But such conditions are the fruit of original sin in the world NOT the sin of the individual concerned and a loving, committed Christian will help such individuals to struggle through to a place of acceptence before God.

                    I repeat, we have a choice: we can rail against the injustice of it all or we can struggle through to the arms of our loving, faithful and holy Lord who does not promise a life of ease but always provides the comfort of His Holy Spirit to sustain us. The Bible and the lives of the saints is full of rich testimony to the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit in adversity and under difficult conditions.

                    Your descriptions of some of the actions of American evangelicals are no doubt true and I can understand that many non-Christian young people in the US are ‘put off’ Christianity. I am no friend of the religious right and I agree with Jim Wallis that much of American evangelicalism has taken a ‘massive wrong turn’ over the last thirty years. I also believe that large swathes of American evangelicalism is in a very poor state: captured by a materialist culture to the heresy of the prosperity gospel and with a very poor knowledge of foundational biblical truths.

                    However, I can assure you that evangelicals and charismatics are very different in most of the two-thirds world where i live. Passionate about poverty eradication, the church is often the main force for improvement in many poor two-tirds world communities. But it is also overwhelmingly biblically orthodox, including on sexuality. And it is growing like a house on fire (a nice mixed metaphor just for you, Blair!) Evangelical Christianity is the fastest growing religion in the world at the estimated rate of 7% per annum (source: Operation World). There are more than 7 million new Christians in China every year (same source).

                    And as the Western Church has largely caved in to the prevailing individualistic, materialistic and hedonistic culture that is developing around it, the church, in world terms is increasingly influenced by two-thirds world churches. So don’t expect same-sex marriage in any biblically orthodoxy church any time soon!

                    • And I see that Peter has just posted on the case of Caster Semenya that I mentioned. A very challenging case and a lady that should be treated with far more compassion than she has been, especially by the media!

                    • > I deduce that you live in the USA and are a gay, liberal Christian. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong – we all make mistakes!

                      Hi, Philip: greetings to you in South Africa! Archbishop Tutu is one of my heroes. I have also heard much about S. Michael’s Church, Observatory, Cape, which apparently maintains the highest musical standards in the entire continent. It must be wonderful.

                      Yes, I live in the U.S. and am a gay, liberal Christian. Since Christ came to set us free, it seems to me that Christians are duty-bound to be liberal. We might be misguided in some respects. As you say, we all make mistakes. To be gay-affirming may possibly be one of those ways; but all considered it does not seem so to me, so I’ll take my chances. Where we are misguided, the answer is not to shun liberalism but to be truer liberals. Those who treat “liberal” as a dirty word are telling us that they have no interest in our freedom. So why should we trust them?

                      But I am also conservative– even arch-conservative in a few respects, e.g. as an Anglo-Catholic: one of those strange people, like Morris Berman and Garrison Keillor, who have explained in their books how nowadays the best way to be liberal is to be conservative and vice versa. Perhaps it’s not true in South Africa, but in America and Europe plenty of powerful individuals and groups, like wolves in sheep’s clothing, claim to be one or the other but are neither.

                      In fact, I’m such a conservative and traditionalist that I’d even like to see the church’s rites for the making of brothers restored. How about that! They were available for hundreds of years, especially in the most traditional branch of Christendom– in a few obscure corners, still are. Maybe they blessed “gay” relationships and maybe they didn’t (their structure and imagery being remarkably similar to those of matrimonial formulae). But in any case, now that their erstwhile existence is no longer a secret, the burden of proof is on the soi-disant conservatives/traditionalists to explain why they should *not* be available again. Is the need for them any less today than a thousand years ago? In the light thereof, how can the likes of Bishop Akinola say they stand for tradition when they insist that the church at large renounce “any and all” blessing of same-sex relationships?

                      > Actually I’d promised myself that I was going to be shorter in my postings, and look how that’s just worked out with my response to Paul! (NOT!)

                      To cite Pascal once again, “I wanted to write a shorter letter, but didn’t have the time.” I know the dilemma, too. :-)

                    • Philip,

                      As to the spread of Christianity in the “two-thirds” world and to you assurance evangelicalism there is unlike the American variety, hallelujah!

                      One of the arguments that African bishops opposed to developments in the West make is that any acceptance of homosexuality handicaps them on the frontiers of competition between Christianity and Islam. I have great sympathy with this point, and have written in at least one gay forum that
                      folks would be wise to care about the outcome of this contention for hearts and souls halfway around the world,
                      even if they are hardened atheists who consider it totally irrelevant to their lives. But I would have more sympathy if, instead of getting all defensive about it, I knew that our missionaries sometimes counterattacked.

                      If Bishop Akinola’s cathedral has a library open to the public, it should contain few studies such as:

                      _Before homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic world, 1500-1800_ by Khaled El-Rouayheb. University of Chicago Press, 2005.

                      This book explains that, while Arabs thought in somewhat different terms and categories, homosexual conduct could flourish, at least among the elite, with little condemnation.

                      Another book, whose author and title I have unfortunately forgotten, describes a tradition of homoerotic pairing and mentoring among middle-eastern warriors similar to one that flourished in Japan, or to the Theban Sacred Band in ancient Greece.

                      “Spengler,” the columnist in the online journal _Asian Times_, has found Sufism to be inescapably steeped in pederastic undertones.

                      A complete, unexpurgated edition of _The Arabian Nights_ contains numerous same-sex relationships described matter-of-factly, with no hint of reproof. Feeling that some explanation was necessary for his late-Victorian readers, the editor Sir Richard Burton appended an essay suggesting that homosexuality was more common in “The Sotadic Zone” (roughly speaking, all around the Mediterranean Sea) than in northern Europe.

                      All this occurred during the “Golden Age” of Islam which the mullahs are so keen on bringing back.

                      One can thus reply to their accusations that Christianity is soft on sodomy, by pointing out that Islam has skeletons in its own closet in that regard (if that is how one wishes to see them). If an aversion to same-sex relationships is among one’s personal criteria for a respectable religious faith, then, despite the picture they may paint, Islam in its good-old-days is hardly appealing.

                      Also of interest might be the article “Lahore; or, the Islamic Gale” by David Warren (Commentary, February 2003, pp.33ff.) The author describes his childhood as a white Westerner in an old working-class neighborhood of that Pakistani city. Muslims and Christians lived together in peace and mutual respect. He is almost nostalgic for the sound of mullahs summoning people to prayer from the minarets. Although his family was not Roman Catholic, he attended a Catholic school in the neighborhood, along with many Moslem children, who were thankful for the privilege because it was simply known to provide the best education available there. These common folk wore their religion as naturally as a comfortable old shoe.

                      Then came a dalliance with socialist government in Pakistan as in many other nations in the region, which of course proved to be a disaster. On the heels of that failure, political types, in desperate need of another hobby-horse to ride to power, soon seized upon the concoction of giddyup Islam. Hence, when the author revisited his home town shortly before writing this article, it was the sleek, modern neighborhoods among wide paved boulevards where, as a Western infidel, he felt threatened and despised. Reaching at last his old neighborhood of narrow, winding streets and humble people, he felt again perfectly safe, with the atmosphere still largely unchanged– although not, he predicts, for much longer, as the radicals are intent on reprogramming every last citizen.

                      I have no affection for Islam in general, especially for its congenital inability, going all the way back to its founder, to distinguish between voluntary adherence and military conquest, or between political and religious authority. Christendom admittedly went through a similar period; but we got over it, thanks partly to the heritage of our first three hundred formative years under much different circumstances. Whether Islam can similarly evolve to the point where its members sincerely embrace representative forms of government in a cosmopolitan environment remains to be seen. But my point is that according to this eyewitness, the form of Islam that continually makes the news nowadays [including its virulence towards gay people] is a relatively novel and inauthentic affectation of ambitious totalitarians.

                  • Paul

                    I’m actually replying to your posts on your own views and on Islam, but we seem to have run out of reply buttons so I’m ‘replying’ to one of your earlier posts (if you see what I mean).

                    I’m sure that you find loads of great spiritual resources in Anglo-Catholicism with its rich symbolism and history of fighting injustice throughout the world. The Anglican Church in South Africa is strongly Anglo-Catholic having been heavily influenced by the Oxford Movement in the C19. They took a strong lead in fight against apartheid and Archbishop Desmond Tutu continues in many ways to be the conscience of the nation.

                    I also agree with your views about the threat of Islam, or more accurately the militant and violent ‘jihadist’ tenedency which seems to becoming strong in the Middle East especially. It seems to me however that this has always been a prominant tendency in Islam that is getting stronger.

                    Your extract from David Warren’s commentary was very moving and, although without knowing the background and politics of the region well, I can believe the analysis of a failed socialist regime looking for handy cause (in this case fundamentalist Islam) to divert attention from its failures. The same thing has happened in many regimes in Africa, the scapegoats often being Asians or ‘colonialism’. Witness Robert Mugabe’s ludicrous attempts to blaim the collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy on the UK and USA.

                    I sympathise with your case for the blessing of brothers: within the confines of the biblically orthodox postion on sexuality of course! It seems to me that far too much has been made by society generally of marriage, to the point where it is almost meant to solve all problems. This view of marriage owes more to C19 romantic literature than to sound Christian doctrine, and conservative evangelicals have often been guilty of leaping on the same bandwagon. It seems to me that one of the great needs in society, after coming to salvation in Christ, is for authentic, loving relationships. The two of course are related!

                    My disagreement with you is on the labelling of the many and varied ancient and medieval same-sex relationships as gay. You see, most of these relationships also included marriage and the production of children, including the famous ‘gay kings’ of England, Edward II and James I. I am of the view that gay (at least its current view as an unchangeable same-sex orientation) is an essentially modern and post-modern construction that has become increasingly politicised by gender activists.

                    My concern is not really the sexuality of good people like you and Jill and William: I would expect Christians to be against promiscuity and in favour of loving, commited and faithful relationships. And I do not deny that there are such gay relationships, especially amongst gay Christains.

                    My concern is the wider agenda of extreme, non-Christian, LGBT lobbies like Stonewall and Outrage! (These are UK lobbies, I’m sure there are the equivalent in the USA and they’ve probably been made more extreme by the ‘culture wars’). Such lobbies pursue a strongly anti-Christian agenda and also work very hard to restrict the right of Christians to promote biblical orthodoxy on sex and sexuality: man-women-inside marriage-for life. And, as I have posted before, in addition to being fundamentally illiberal, such a position is also very dangerous to a society that increasingly believes that ‘anything goes’ in sexual relationships, as long as it is between consenting adults.

                    The ‘woozy words’ are now asking me to type ‘lipid minpin’, which sounds like a fatty deposit from children’s literature. Peter, is your anti-Spam software on strong medication? :-)

                    • Philip writes:

                      > My disagreement with you is on the labelling of the many and varied ancient and medieval same-sex relationships as gay. You see, most of these relationships also included marriage and the production of children, including the famous ‘gay kings’ of England, Edward II and James I. I am of the view that gay (at least its current view as an unchangeable same-sex orientation) is an essentially modern and post-modern construction that has become increasingly politicised by gender activists.

                      I agree, we must beware of anachronistic terminology, and I’m usually among the first to ridicule the extrapolation of modern concepts or judgments back into earlier times when they might not apply. In such a situation, I use the word “gay” only default-de-mieux, which is why I recall sometimes putting it in quotes. As a moral issue, quite a few cultures made a dichotomy of inserter/insertee instead of gay/straight. To be an insertee was considered demeaning, and downright dishonorable and unworthy of one’s station in society if one’s partner was lower in status. In such an environment, a homosexual encounter could easily signify something more like hatred than love. As one of the books I cited explained, soldiers would rape conquered peoples quite indiscriminately simply to humiliate, and to demonstrate their total power over them.

                      Yet there were also deep and lasting same-sex love relationships. The ancient Romans, at the latest, recognized that some men were inclined to relations with women, some with other men, and others could be happy with either. Even culturally, “gay” people seem to exhibit certain characteristic secondary traits in common, whether in ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy, Elizabethan England, twentieth-century Paris, or even North American natives. They often had roles in arts and crafts, teaching and cultural transmission between generations, or spiritual matters: priesthood and communication with the Numinous. So I would claim that despite cultural relativity, the presence of a single inherent essence can also be found in the most persistent individuals.

                      A homosexual inclination or relationship could be consistent with also being married because less was demanded of marriage in terms of affection and spousal equality than is the case now. To give royal examples is particularly meaningless, I think, because in their case the relationships were determined by political and national considerations far more than personal. Furthermore, they had enough power and privacy to maintain affairs of the heart on the side and perhaps were even fully expected to do so. Even in our own time, Prince Charles was apparently following a tradition so taken for granted that he hadn’t thought it necessary to explain it to Diana.

                • Philip,

                  good to be debating with you again.

                  Going to be brief as not got much brainpower left (see time…). Responding to your paragraph 2 first: “Monogomous is clear enough, but what is ‘committed, loving and faithful’? People generally (gay and straight) have different definitions of these words. We fear that ‘committed, loving and faithful’ is too vague a definition”. How about John 15:13… but I’m aware I’m repeating myself as I think I suggested this before. I guess the cross is the icon of self-giving love, so there is another image. At the risk of both glibness and hypocrisy (I don’t think I love like that in my own life), para 2 does not seem that awkward a question to me.

                  Paragraph 1 is a bit knottier. Thing for me is, I’m quite happy saying I wasn’t born gay – and that others aren’t born straight – really not sure about the notion of a baby having a fully-fledged sexuality! I don’t think a trait has to be congenital for it to be or be part of a God-given identity by the way. Think of someone who’s, say, very gifted musically – she needs to practise and hone her talent; it’s not given as a ‘complete package’ at birth. Perhaps that analogy’s off the mark – I’m sure you’ll tell me ;)

                  Moreover, again I don’t much object when you say “gay isn’t a biblical identity”. I cannot see the force of this argument. British (for example) is not a biblical identity either – but I don’t suppose that would be a strong argument against the BNP. We use all sorts of ‘labels’ that aren’t biblical – I don’t see why that fact alone means they are not valid.

                  I think I’d quibble more about the “rather than careful exegesis of the Scriptures”. If you look at some of the comments I made on the ‘Sexuality and slavery – arsenokoites’ thread, there’s an example of how careful exegesis leads to some doubts and questions about the conservative case on this. Gareth Moore OP’s work (which I’ve shamelessly stolen from in places) is another good example of this.

                  The last thing I’d like to say that links to your paragraph 1 is stolen from James Alison and I’m not sure I can express it clearly… but it’s basically about faith and learning. If the central point at issue is that either “being gay is a defective form of being heterosexual, or it is simply a thing that just is that way”, then perhaps orthodox faith helps us discern which of those is true. Quoting JA again: “Since what is now is not totally bereft of continuity with what we shall be in the New Creation, then in principle, and with due attention to circumstance, the tendency to corruption or to flourishing which can be detected by means of study and discernment of the lives of people over the long term, does indeed point towards what the person really is. That is to say, if it were true that all humans are, by the mere fact of being human, intrinsically heterosexual, then there would be detected in those who, not recognising this, live as if they were gay or lesbian, a growing corruption of their human nature which would affect all the areas of their lives” (from his 2005 talk ‘Good-faith learning and the fear of God’). I may have just deluged words at you that I don’t fully understand – but my point is that it’s arguable that, following an orthodox expression of the faith, we can discern that there is such a thing as being gay. And that does not undermine the fact that our ‘foundational’ identity is in baptism.

                  Goodness knows if that is clear. And again I said ‘Going to be brief’ – was I heck…

                  in friendship, Blair

                  • Blair

                    And so we cross swords again, my fellow long winded compadre! Actually I’d promised myself that I was going to be shorter in my postings, and look how that’s just worked out with my response to Paul! (NOT!)

                    So I’m going to do a naughty on you and for your response to my earlier paragraph 2 ask you to go to the point on the ‘Sexualisation of Heresy’ thread. I addressed that very point (what is ‘committed, loving and faithful’?) towards the end (Yes, I know the words haystack and needle come to mind). And then Carolyn took the hump and went away as a result. I like to in response to my irrefutable logic and biblical exegesis (said he humbly).

                    My response to your response to my paragraph 1 (if you see what I mean) is to go to what I’ve just written to Paul about the whole mystery of God, male and female in creation thing (which I’ve posted on before as well). In short, its a foundational theme throughout scripture. And you don’t want to get me started quoting bible verses do you?

                    I agree with everything that Peter wrote about ‘arsenokoites’ and I disagree with you. He is clearly a Greek scholar and a Bible exegite, exigeet, exogusite. Oh, *#$@! (someone who understands the Bible very well!) So there!

                    I was fascinated by your quote from James Allison but perhaps not for the reasons that you intended. If I understand it correctly, it points to the idea that all of us, gay and straight, are broken this side of heaven and are only partially revealing our identities as they will become in Glory. I can only wholeheartedly agree! The stain of orignial sin affectes us all and it is perhaps appropriate to observe that some evangelicals should remember this fact. But there is surely a difference between recognising that we are all imperfect, whatever our sexuality, and recognising how God clearly instructs us on sexual behaviour in Scripture. Biblical orthodoxy remains that homosexual behaviour is a sin, and if no less a biblical exegeet, exodite, exsegew (someone who knows the Bible very well) than the Archbishop of Canterbury declares this to be so, then who am I to demur!

                    [The woozy words (to use Paul’s lovely phrase) are telling me to write ‘Gibbon clunked’ which sounds like a pretty good statement of liberal theology to me!]

                    God bless.

                    Phil

        • Jill,

          “what does, say, an adolescent male see in today’s society, especially if he is mildly confused about his ‘sexuality’?”

          If an adolescent is indeed “mildly confused about his ‘sexuality’”, then hearing shrill condemnations of gay people not only won’t help to resolve the confusion; it’s just likely to complicate it. Knowing about any dangers associated with anal sex – with which you seem obsessed, by the way – is good in itself and should be part of sex education, but that won’t resolve the confusion either. You could in theory (although I doubt it in practice) terrify everyone about anal sex so much that no-one engaged in it ever again, but the same percentage of people would still grow up gay because, you see, Jill, being gay is not primarily about attraction to anal sex or to any other particular sexual practice; it’s about erotic attraction to PEOPLE of one’s own sex.

          “But he will see approval of ‘gay’ from all quarters, from society, TV shows, the law, often even the church”

          Good. Good. That’s how it should be. Growing up I saw not only approval of ‘straight’ from all quarters, from society, TV shows, the law, often even the church – which is fine – but also nothing but condemnation of ‘gay’. Did that turn me straight? Did it hell as like.

          “nobody tells us about the huge risk of anal sex!”

          Not true, Jill. I always pick up the free mags and papers in my local gay pub. They always contain information – and not in small print either – detailing the potential risks associated with all forms of sex, and it always makes it clear that unprotected anal sex is the No. 1 risk as regards the transmission of HIV and other STDs.

          “an addictive and dangerous lifestyle”

          Being homosexual is not a lifestyle. It is a sexual orientation. There are as many different possible gay lifestyles as there are straight ones. The best possible lifestyle for the average gay person is a stable and faithful gay relationship. Such a same-sex relationship is as legitimate a need for a gay person as a mixed-sex relationship is for a straight person. Being gay is not an addiction any more than being straight is.

          “he will get sucked into something which could ruin his life”

          People do not grow up homosexual by being “sucked into it.” Young gay people do sometimes get in with the wrong older crowd (just as young straight people do), and I have seen this happen myself. It’s most likely to happen when they have no opportunity to meet other gays of their own age group. That’s why gay youth groups are such an excellent thing.

          “He sees that any attempt at reparative therapy is shouted down by so-called ‘experts’.”

          That’s just an emotionally toned way of saying that “reparative therapy” has been called a fraud. It is. The more people who know it the better.

          I see that on another of your recent posts on this thread you’ve been going on about paedophilia yet again. The subject of paedophilia is a difficult and complicated one. I can feel sorry for people with paedophilic tendencies, because I realise how difficult life must be for them, while also being the first to agree that they must be kept under control and not allowed to interfere with children. I also agree that any suffering by paedophiles cannot be allowed to way against proper protection of children. But I don’t know why you keep bringing up the subject in the present context; it’s irrelevant and simply muddies the waters. A consensual, loving gay relationship between two adults is in no way comparable to paedophile activity; it is good and beautiful and can be positively therapeutic. It’s in no way comparable to paedophile activity.

          Swedenborg believed that there would be sex (of some sort) in heaven. If he was right – and I realise how highly contentious that is, but I’m only saying “if” – then I don’t doubt that that will include gay sex too (of some sort).

        • Oh, and just a further comment and a few questions, Jill.

          (1) You wrote:

          “I have read similar stories on the NAMBLA website a few years ago, which were heartrending to read (until I remembered what it was these men were doing) when the perpetrators felt that suicide was the only option for them if they were caught – and many of them did in fact commit suicide.”

          I’ve already said that, while I can feel sorry for paedophiles in some respects, their suffering mustn’t be allowed to stand in the way of our protecting children from their activities.

          The suffering endured by gay people as the result of anti-gay abuse, on the other hand, is for no good reason. That is the crucial point, and that is why I think that anyone who wants to keep on inflicting it should indeed be thoroughly ashamed of his/her attitude. I should also point out that anti-gay abuse makes young gay people more, not less, likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour and puts them at greater risk of genuine mental illness. It sure as hell won’t change their orientation.

          (2) You mention that you have a family member who is, as you put it, “same sex attracted”. I don’t like to pry into people’s private lives, but since it’s you who have brought it up, I can’t resist asking whether you adopt towards him/her the same tone as you adopt on here. If so:-

          (a) What has it achieved to date?

          (b) What do you hope that it will achieve in the future?

          (d) Does he/she thank you for it?

    • Jill writes:
      >The truth will eventually out, however.

      Indeed it will, and how well you have put it.

      Almost 31 years ago, Harvey Milk’s leadership did what hardly anyone dared to believe possible: rolled back Proposition 6 in California, AKA the Briggs Initiative, stopping a near-juggernaut of legal repressive in its tracks. He did it by calling for gay people to “come out.” Once hundreds of thousands, then millions, had done so, which required great courage at first, they gave the lie to the slanders that one might believe about people whom one doesn’t know. Among these was the notion that all homosexuals are mentally ill. It was an understandable assumption as long as the only homosexuals known to a psychiatrist were those that came to his attention because they were mentally ill. But it doesn’t hold water anymore.

      I submit that, thanks to these millions of voluntary self-revelations, we are in the presence of considerably more truth in these matters today than we were then.

      • Yes, Paul, you’re so right. The repercussions of the “coming out” phenomenon have been enormous. I don’t think that the western world is better in all respects than it was when I was a child, but it certainly is far, far better in this one.

        Back then most people would have said, if asked, that they “didn’t know any homosexuals,” and all that they knew about them was what they had read in the local paper and the Sunday tabloids about men being prosecuted for cottaging, schoolmasters molesting pupils, scoutmasters molesting boy scouts and clergymen molesting choirboys. (The fact that the molesters of children were, as often as not, married men with children of their own was ignored when it couldn’t be suppressed.)

        How different things are now! We have people in all fields of public life – MPs (including cabinet ministers), eminent journalists and broadcasters, authors, pop singers, composers, orchestral conductors, clergy (including a few bishops), you name it – who are openly gay or lesbian, which would have been unthinkable a few decades ago. The days when Sir Cyril Osborne (I think it was) could say with a straight face that in all his years in the House of Commons he’d “never come across a single homo” are gone for ever, and I’m sure that few would now confidently state, as my late father did years ago, “There’s no homosexuality in my family.” The world can see that we’re just people.

        Jill and those who think like her would apparently like to turn the clock back; they can’t seem to grasp that the Rubicon has been well and truly crossed.

        • A few months ago, a high official in a middle-eastern
          country– Iran, I think– spoke at Columbia University. In answer to a question, he said, “There are no gay people in Iran.” The audience promptly rolled in the aisles. Sometimes laughter is the best medicine.

          • Paul,

            I’m not sure why, but currently most of your comments are falling straight into my spam trap. Do please be patient with me if what you write doesn’t appear straight away.

            • Sorry about that, Peter. It could be because I forget to copy the woozy words at the bottom of the screen, or don’t read them correctly. I’ll try to remember.

              A little while back, I bookmarked this page:

              http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/news/20060626/birth-order-may-affect-homosexuality

              A study finds that those with older biological brothers are more likely to feel same-sex attraction. Those
              who accept the concept of orientation can say that having older biological brothers correlates with a gay orientation. Those who do not accept the concept of orientation would explain it how? Has God, for reasons best known to himself, just decided to tempt little brothers more in that way?

              This observation says nothing about causation. It is
              a mere correlation, yet it demands a “hmmm”, doesn’t it? The suggested cause is pre-natal chemistry.

              • Make that “Does God allow younger brothers to be tempted
                more?” I don’t suppose that God does the tempting, but
                then I don’t suppose that it’s a question of devilish
                temptation, either. By my lights, it’s just a matter
                of the human species being no different from numerous
                other species in which, as we now know, homosexual behavior
                occurs.

                The prenatal biochemical evidence for gender dysphoria
                is even stronger. Once he looked into it, even an erudite
                arch-conservative friend of mine was convinced enough by
                it to declare that it was morally o.k. for a transgendered person to have a sexual relationship with another person born with the same physical gender– but only, he cautioned, after the sex-change operation. (?!?!) Heaven help anyone born
                with the condition before these operations were invented, huh?
                huh.

                I daresay that even a mere gay person can scarcely
                imagine the torment someone must have lived in to go through with such a drastic change.

              • There are two good suggestions as to why the research shows that later brothers are more likely to have same-sex attraction. One theo. ry is that it is to do with hormonal levels in the womb (we know that they change for later pregnancies). However, no one has been able so far to prove causation, merely correlation (and such correlation is not terribly high). The other theory is that since younger brothers have more siblings to take the time of their parents, the environmental factors that might lead to same-sex attraction are more prevalent in such brothers.

                I wonder whether it’s probably a combination of the two?

                • Blair, what does it matter what I think? Who gives a toss, really? My opinion is just that – an opinion. If anyone looks to me for guidance (hah!) then they are looking in the wrong direction. I am as flawed as the next human being. People have to abide by their own consciences on how they live, and we are fortunate in the West to be able to do that.

                  For Christians, though, it is not that simple. We have our Guide Book, don’t we? It sets out a pattern for us, and as far as sex is concerned, that is restricted to within marriage between a man and a woman – two independent but sterile halves which come together in marriage to make a fertile ‘whole’. So some people don’t like that – but that’s how it is. It won’t change. Sadly some Christian denominations have abandoned that precept. Anglicans are halfway down the slippery slope, but the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches will not alter that core doctrine, no matter how many people rail against it. It is there for all time.

                  It is a precept which has served society well for thousands of years. People will disobey it, to a greater or lesser degree, but it is still stands. It is one which I agree with, because – in spite of some exceptions – I think it is the one which best serves the individual, makes for a stable society, gives the best environment for children and ensures a future for mankind. Our bodies were designed for this purpose. If I didn’t believe this, then I would have to renounce my faith (if that were possible!).

                  Somehow this simple belief seems to have morphed over the last couple of decades in some people’s perceptions into ‘homophobia’. There is no doubt that homophobia exists, but really I think the Christian community is the last place you are likely to find it.

                  For the record, no, I don’t think sexualising of same-sex friendships is right. I think it ruins the friendship for a start – there is evidence that in same-sex relationships, once the sexual activity stops, the friendship deepens with increased respect for the other.

                  This viewpoint does not spell ‘homophobia’, though. I think our society is so sex-saturated that every person thinks he/she has an absolute right to have sex whenever and with whomever they choose, but I don’t think this is right either. Many people never have sex, and manage to live happy and fulfilled lives. Various minorities lay claim to special status, but they cannot expect the rest of Christendom to agree with them. How can we say no to polygamous families, for instance, if we overturn scripture on homosexuality?

                  I do not think people can be truly happy or fulfilled in sexualised same-sex relationships. It happens sometimes, yes, but these relationships are generally notoriously short, because of the constant quest for the perfect partner, who simply does not exist. Gay affirmation, in my view, merely increases the frustration of people in search of this elusive happiness and puts obstacles in the way of them seeking help.

                  I think God has something better for us than this. I am very interested in reparative therapy, which like all therapies is finding its way and improving all the time, and admittedly no one method suits all people. We have come a long way since the electric shock treatment of the early days. Reparative therapy can and does work, though, I have seen this with my own eyes, and I think people deserve the best chance. I firmly believe that same-sex attracted people should have the opportunity to break out of the cycle of addiction and be able to seek help without fear of intimidation, and to know that there are people willing to walk alongside them.

                  I am going to back out of this conversation now, as I fear I have ruined Peter’s thread, and am going to be pushed for time this week. My apologies if I have hurt anyone’s feelings; that is never my intention – I would never have entered into the conversation if it hadn’t been for the supremely confident and misguided statement that gay sex was okay.

                  • >Many people never have sex, and manage to live happy and fulfilled lives.

                    Yes, and a few other people who are duly licensed
                    to have sex anytime they wish call another who
                    might have sex seldom or never an addict, just because
                    they don’t approve of the sex that he seldom or never has. If the shoe fits, put it on.

                    I could take a little finger-wagging of that kind from the Pope (although I’ve never known him to say it). At
                    least he walks the walk as well as talking the talk.
                    But coming from a married man or woman, such language is
                    Orwellian and offensive.

                    • When I read Jill’s bitter anti-gay rants and see how they’re propped up by her Christian fundamentalism, they put me in mind of two other things that I’ve read. The first is from Patricia Nell Warren’s gay novel, “The Beauty Queen”:

                      “I wish Mom wasn’t saved. I wish she was an infidel like everyone else. … You aren’t saved, are you, Granddaddy?”

                      The other is something that the famous British Methodist preacher, Donald Soper (later Lord Soper), wrote in 1961:

                      “I must confess that of a number of people who have told me they were converted, I liked many of them a good deal better before it happened.”

                  • Here’s how I read it:

                    >We have our Guide Book, don’t we?
                    MY INTERPRETATION: “I still haven’t grown out of believing in infallible oracles, and I’ll use the one that I believe in to justify playing games with other people’s lives – which is what I’ll do if they’ll let me.”

                    >I don’t think sexualising of same-sex friendships is right.
                    MY INTERPRETATION: “I don’t want gays to form sexual relationships, and I’d put a stop to it if I could.”

                    >I do not think people can be truly happy or fulfilled in sexualised same-sex relationships.
                    MY INTERPRETATION: “I certainly don’t want them to be truly happy or fulfilled, and none of them would be if I could prevent it. Better, in fact, that they be unhappy and unfulfilled in solitude – or even in unworkable mixed-sex relationships, even if that’s unfair to the other party in the relationship.”

                    >these relationships are generally notoriously short
                    MY INTERPRETATION: “And those that aren’t short should be, and if I had my way I’d break them up.”

                    >because of the constant quest for the perfect partner
                    MY INTERPRETATION: “When heterosexual people think and behave like that, we don’t offer them “reparative therapy” to rid them of their other-sex attraction; we try to help them to form a more grown-up view of life and to adopt more humane and realistic expectations. But that’s not what I want for homosexual people.”

                    >Gay affirmation, in my view, merely increases the frustration of people in search of this elusive happiness
                    MY INTERPRETATION: “But I’ve got no compunction about encouraging them to embark on a bootless quest for an elusive “reparation” of something that doesn’t need repairing anyway.”

                    >How can we say no to polygamous families, for instance, if we overturn scripture on homosexuality?
                    MY INTERPRETATION: “That’s the ‘slippery slope’ argument that I’m so fond of. I’m ignoring the fact that if there is a slippery slope here, it doesn’t start with homosexual relationships but with heterosexual ones, as a reading of the marital practices of the ancient Hebrews in the Old Testament plainly shows.” [The ancient Hebrews didn’t see any reason why, if you could have marriage between one man and one woman, you couldn’t have marriage between one man and more than one woman. Luther didn’t see why not either; that’s why he told Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, “If the Old Testament patriarchs did it, Philip, then you can do it too.”]

                    >Reparative therapy can and does work, though, I have seen this with my own eyes
                    MY INTERPRETATION: That’s rather difficult to interpret: sexual orientation isn’t something that is normally visible to the naked eye. Does it mean “I’m clairvoyant, so I can see from their spirit auras that their orientation has changed”?

                    >I would never have entered into the conversation if it hadn’t been for the supremely confident and misguided statement that gay sex was okay.
                    MY INTERPRETATION: “I have serious hang-ups about the idea of gay men making love, and I see crimson when I hear from people who don’t share them.”

                    • Thank you, William! Very insightful analysis
                      (pun intended).

                      I’d have a little more patience with Jill
                      if she were even-handed in her discussion of
                      homosexuality, but she seems primarily
                      intent on getting into the middle of what guys do in private. It really seems that a few women regard any closed door as a personal insult.

  23. William

    I don’t think it is correct to categorise Jill as bitter based upon what she has written. She has been hard hitting, and she is clearly obsessed with anal sex for some reason. I would not have brought up the subject of paedophilia as I think its a blind alley. She was also a bit wild with some statements about scout masters and boys, and I can understand gay people finding this offensive. But I don’t think you can say that she’s bitter from what she’s said.

    However, I do think that there is too much ‘botty talk’, as I term it, from conservative Christians. Please can biblical conservatives just quit the obsession with anal sex! Its not relevant to the issue, it gets boring and it paints you as an obsessive. Personally, as a middle aged man I have enough problems with my own botty to be worried about what other people do with theirs. You see, I periodically suffer from bouts of chronic flat…(ED, That’s a little more than we need to know, Phil). No, its really quite embarrassing at times (ED, That’s enough!). Can anybody out there help me? (Go away!)

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