Bock

Remaining Issues on Homosexuality Jan 16

We now come to the remaining issues in our look at Newsweek’s piece on gay marriage. There are three issues here: (1) claims about an inherent orientation, (2) the legal issue of rights and recognition, and (3) the idea of inclusiveness.

Inherent Orientation

We now come to the remaining issues in our look at Newsweek’s piece on gay marriage. There are three issues here: (1) claims about an inherent orientation, (2) the legal issue of rights and recognition, and (3) the idea of inclusiveness.

Inherent Orientation

I am not a medical expert, nor do I claim to be, but it is my understanding that the percentage of people born with some type of mixed gender identity is low. A study from the Gender Centre has estimates that run from 1 in 39,000 to 3%, depending on how one defines the category (www.gendercentre.org.au/75article3.htm). The entire area is a very contentious topic of discussion and debate.

So first of all, the very contentiousness of the topic (and the variety of causes for such orientations) makes it a difficult place to begin the discussion, contrary to being the starting point in the Newsweek piece. Second, just because people have a propensity to go in a certain direction by their initial makeup does not make such a propensity right or moral. Many are susceptible to influence by drugs or taking in excessive amounts of alcohol or (perhaps much more common) lust. This does not make such responses right or moral. Even more broadly, we all have an amazing inherent capability to sin in a wide variety of areas, but that does not make such an act moral.

Part of the problem in this discussion involves the different standards people use to measure morality. Some choose to have morality grounded in their understanding about what makes a person and people’s role in society. Others see morality as socially constructed and very fluid. The standard in such cases is often a vague (“as long as it does not hurt anyone else” or other definitions like it). Others, not necessarily Christians alone, see morality rooted in a sacred nature of created life (in Christian circles, this is connected to the sacred status of being made in the image of God, which is neither male nor female, but does connect to the male and femaleness we find in the creation that makes up society, although other religions have similar kinds of standards that also have viewed homosexuality as immoral). This morality extends into relationships of faithfulness and a recognition of the complementarity of the genders in creation design and in reproduction (something to which Romans 1, for example, appeals to directly and Genesis 1 also teaches, so we are looking at a Judeo-Christian standard in this case). What I am suggesting here is that the idea of an inherent orientation is a debated category, and even where it does exist may not be the end of the matter in terms of a moral question. The mere presence of an instinct or inclination does not answer the morality question.

Legal Issue

In one sense, this is the most effective argument to be made by those who argue for gay marriage. In a society where differing standards of morality do apply, but all are citizens and share basic rights, why do we limit the rights of some on the basis that a majority opinion lies elsewhere? It is a fair question. In the case of gay marriage, one is not merely asking for a right that is being contended for but a recognition from society about an act that helps to define what the society is (because it does touch on issues such as raising children and the nature of family). Recognition of marriage provides for certain protections and additional rights (such as adoption), where others are involved. Now one could argue that if one or a society as a whole believes an act is immoral, then such activity could or should be sanctioned by the law and made illegal. This was done for years, but no longer is the case for gay relationships in most of this country. However, gay marriage falls on the other end of the scale by communicating a societal legitimacy to the act and compelling by law that people recognize it. Of course, this is what is being debated and why those who do feel the act is immoral are uncomfortable granting such recognition. It is always why those drawn in this direction seek the legal recognition, for affirmation as well as protection. A society does have a right and even a need to define what are the limits of its recognition of rights as a way of defining the kind of morality it should be concerned about as a matter of not only law but as a question about the kind of society it will promote. I would contend that a society that neither sanctions such behavior nor affirms it is the best place for a pluralistic community to reside on such a socially contentious question. The government does not legislate one’s private morality by preventing it but neither does it offer support for it giving it a legal and moral standing many doubt it deserves. The law, in other words, neither discriminates nor affirms; it stays out of the matter. The moral results and consequences are left to the individuals involved, their consciences, and whatever fate those choices lead them into one day.

Inclusiveness

I would contend that the approach noted above is inclusive. It does not insist on the view of many that such acts are immoral should be enforced as a matter of sanctions in the law. It recognizes the pluralism that is a part of our society but does not affirm a lifestyle that many in the society have deep questions about, questions that are not unique to this society and this time, but ones that many societies have questioned over a variety of times, cultures, and religions. It does not ask many people who see such an act as immoral to embrace a cultural move they sense is misguided, while also permitting those who believe differently from being subject to legal penalty for their acts.

I know this overview is very brief and much is here that could be and is discussed and debated. One of the great problems we do have as a pluralistic society is how do we manage our profound differences on some issues. We each have to make decisions that honor our consciences and religious convictions whatever they may or may not be. The best way forward is to be as honest as we can about the choices we face. This is why I engaged the Newsweek piece. I sensed serious problems in how it represented the religious dimensions of the issue as it made its case for gay marriage. So I raised questions not only about the conclusion of the piece but how it got there. There is another way to see the issue and that is what I have tried to represent, but in a tone that says this is an important conversation that needs careful reflection.

0

7 Comments

  • Avatar

    lenscap

    Final call?
    Dear Dr. Bock

    In the end, you seem to say that’s is ok for Civic law to not actively promote (legalize) equality. Your argument is that legalizing gay marriage would be to bring moral affirmation to an “immoral” social minority.

    This sounds like “separate but equal” legislation: It’s ok for people to ride the bus, just not in the front, because that would be to sanction (promote, according to your above arguement) their equality.

    But the lie that was inherent in Jim Crow laws was that whenever laws don’t actively define equality (or when they legislate separateness), that the very concept of equality is annulled.

    You will argue that sexual preference is not race. I would argue that because morality cannot be biologically proven, you need look no further than the tactics of separation to see a glaring red herring.

    Criminal law states that you are innocent until proven guilty, and yet, by your above argument (“neither does it offer support for it giving it a legal and moral standing many doubt it deserves”), you would argue that it actually promotes and sanctions criminals, because innocence is literally – legally – taken as granted.

    You are confusing protection – a structural legal necessity – with promotion. The law doesn’t promote things like male-female marriage, any more than it promotes crime by giving universal, theoretical protection to potential criminals and upstanding citizens alike.

    Criminal law exists to protect citizens against being wrongly judged. And a judgement, albeit moral, is implicit in denying a law for gay marriage.

    I’ll remind you that your blog concerns what the Bible has to say about moral transgression first, and criminal law second, but that my above point concerns the mechanics of legal judgment first and foremost. Any validation of non-hetersexuality as a social (first), or even legal crime (second) on the basis that it is already “morally” judged by the majority is a textbook example of a circular argument.

    Your 5 articles are about the role of “moral” citizens towards those they deem to be their (somehow) inferiors. Such power-play is implicit in your final prescriptions, where you “draw the line”.

    And sadly, implying this kind of judgement then invites all forms of schoolyard excess. Your blog does matter in the sense that (like a leader or a father) you give people moral validation and support for what will ulitmately be a hierarchical judgement. This leads to real, psychic and physical violence againts those being judged.

    I’ve elswhere drawn a parallel between Koranic prohibitions towards women and your own Christian-inspired anti-gay legal stance. The same hiding behind scriptures to advocate a dominant (and literally judgemental) status-quo.

    The issue has strictly nothing to do with the concept of “innate”. Should an arab woman be allowed to choose the way she dresses even if that differs from local customs? Yes – up to a point that falls short of starting a riot – yes, this should be her choice. Must there be laws to protect (promote) her rights and bodily safety in doing so? The answer – regarding her choice – and the educational and legal promotion of that right, is obvious.

    But, your argument uses the mechanisms of plain and simple cultural dominance. Like so many others from different faiths and ideologies, you are seizing upon difference as a means of shoring up your own hegemony.

    The singlemost error Christians make is in believing they are privy to the only morality, spirituality, and faith around. But morality, faith and sprituality have never been – and never will be – limited to the sphere of religion(s) alone.

    Putting that another way, one that needs to be repeated constantly is that you can be religious and moral, but that being religious is not the only way to be moral. This point is critical and is the only path for peace in the world.

    The issue you’ve brought up in your blog is the relationship between a divine scripture and a social contract between different people. But the only post-enlightement (or universal) answer must at all cost transcend faith.

    Again, I’ve elsewhere drawn a parallel between early (persecuted) Christians, and today’s gays and bisexuals. Not in the loaded terms one or the other’s access to sacrosanct morality, but rather in the mechanics of their relationship to society.

    The message of Jesus had nothing to do with achieving hegemony in order to bring about the kingdom, desptie the fact that early Christians were outsiders under constant threat of torture and death. A spiritual message is a message from within. But hegemony is the converse – a message from without – and always leads to pain, suffering, and war (another word for hegemony is mob-rule).

    Early Christians just wanted to believe, be left alone, and be protected from violence, something the emperor Constantine allowed them when he legalised their faith and freedom.

    The only way to argue that their plight was different than non-heterosexuals’ plight today is to say that they were following from a “universal” source of morality, “God”. This argument is simply no longer workable in the modern world, and that’s why we have the separation between church and state. Furthermore, faith and obviously conversion are – precisely – choices.

    The comparison is not intended to be offensive, but it does call on self-reflection and applying the same standards to everyone. Many non-heterosexuals (myself included) are deeply respectful of Christian values, and all we ask is the same, structurally, just so there’s no confusion.

    Laws therefore must not emanate from faiths, but must bring them together under equality. Moral law must exist above faith, because the great religions – while losing none of their spiritual potency – cannot be credibly (or maybe equitably) seen as the only paths in existence leading to human salvation.

    0
    • Avatar

      Matt Evans

      RE: Final call?
      Dear lenscap,
      I find it very remarkable that a person such as yourself would set up a straw man argument at the first of your reply. You have decided what Dr. Bock’s argument is:
      “Your argument is that legalizing gay marriage would be to bring moral affirmation to an “immoral” social minority.”

      Then you proceed to compare what you have decided to be the argument to another argument, this one against the Jim Crow laws:

      “But the lie that was inherent in Jim Crow laws was that whenever laws don’t actively define equality (or when they legislate separateness), that the very concept of equality is annulled.”

      Now, you validly say that “sexual preference is not race,” or rather you put those words into Dr. Bock’s mouth.

      But let us get past your introduction to your argument. Let us get to the real beginning:
      “I would argue that because morality cannot be biologically proven, you need look no further than the tactics of separation to see a glaring red herring.”

      I find this statement to be glaringly true. There is no apparent tie between morality and biology. However, since pedophilia or a tendency to commit homicide is a moral issue rather than biological, perhaps your argument here should not only be in favor of homosexuality, but also in favor of releasing pedophiles and murderers from prison. That is to say, unless this is not a valid argument at this point.

      Now, I do find your next claim interesting:

      “You are confusing protection – a structural legal necessity – with promotion.”

      But if this is the case, who is protecting those murderers and pedophiles from themselves and from being looked down upon in modern society? Perhaps what is going on inside them is not a moral decision to commit atrocities, but rather a biological mechanism that triggers. If this is the case then they must be set free. It is not their fault. They have no choice in the matter. They were born that way.

      Well, anyway, on to the next claim:

      “Any validation of non-hetersexuality as a social (first), or even legal crime (second) on the basis that it is already “morally” judged by the majority is a textbook example of a circular argument.”

      Please, would you mind explaining the “circular argument”? If, by this, you mean that you are starting with something that you admit Dr. Bock’s blog does not, perhaps it would be better to set a level ground with which to examine your point here.

      “Your 5 articles are about the role of “moral” citizens towards those they deem to be their (somehow) inferiors. Such power-play is implicit in your final prescriptions, where you “draw the line”.”

      Again, you set Dr. Bock’s argument up to be a straw man. I must say that while I am not homosexual, I do know a few who are. I do not judge them to be inferior to myself. They are in sin, but not inferior. I must add here that I have not said that I never sin. The difference, I believe, is that I see my sin for what it is: sin. And I repent and give God glory.

      Next:

      “Your blog does matter in the sense that (like a leader or a father) you give people moral validation and support for what will ulitmately be a hierarchical judgement. This leads to real, psychic and physical violence againts those being judged.”

      I imagine you mean “psychological” rather than “psychic,” but please do correct me if I am wrong. With that being assumed, I must ask, are we to seek ways to make sure that everyone in the world goes without ever feeling judged? If this is the case, then we must dismiss the court system from our government at all levels, allow everyone who applies for credit to receive the maximum amount of it, certainly never allow a police officer to pull over a car for running a red light. But if we do that, are we not in effect judging those things as well? I can see only one or two logical outcomes of your argument here: Either we must start an anarchic government where everyone judges for themselves right from wrong or else we must shut our own selves up in our rooms and never interfere with our environment in any way.

      On to your claims against Christianity:

      “I’ve elswhere drawn a parallel between Koranic prohibitions towards women and your own Christian-inspired anti-gay legal stance. The same hiding behind scriptures to advocate a dominant (and literally judgemental) status-quo.”

      By saying this do you realize that you are judging Christians everywhere to be wrong? You are saying that the Koran holds just as much truth as the Christian scriptures. But the Christian scriptures tell us that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Now, you do go on to discredit both as being false, but you minimalize Christians far beyond what I believe you mean.

      “But, your argument uses the mechanisms of plain and simple cultural dominance. Like so many others from different faiths and ideologies, you are seizing upon difference as a means of shoring up your own hegemony.”

      Again with straw man tactics. Set ‘em up and knock ‘em down.

      Here we return to the attack to Christianity:

      “The singlemost error Christians make is in believing they are privy to the only morality, spirituality, and faith around. But morality, faith and sprituality have never been – and never will be – limited to the sphere of religion(s) alone.”

      If by religion you mean that which is set up in which a god (or gods) determines right or wrong, then I must not agree with you that “morality, faith and spirtuality [sic] have never been…limited to the sphere of religion(s) alone.” These things inherently are limited to religion. What religion is now the question. Is it Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Wicca, tribal religions? Or is it the religion in which the individual has set himself up as the one who determines right or wrong (in effect making himself a god)? So, this leads us back to the beginning of your claim here about the error Christians make. Is it really just an “error” that WE make? I think not.

      “Putting that another way, one that needs to be repeated constantly is that you can be religious and moral, but that being religious is not the only way to be moral. This point is critical and is the only path for peace in the world.”

      How do you know this is the only path for peace in the world? I am getting a bit off subject, but frankly, so are you. Where did this statement come from? Is it your own claim? If that is the case, then you are religious for you have set yourself up in a way to judge how the world should be. If that is not the case, however, then your point is moot.

      Onward:

      “The issue you’ve brought up in your blog is the relationship between a divine scripture and a social contract between different people. But the only post-enlightement (or universal) answer must at all cost transcend faith.”

      Ok, so here it is not yourself that is a god. You do not have a religion of self. Or is your argument losing it’s momentum and is now scratching at another argument from another position? Either way, in the argument here it appears that “post-enlightement (sic)” is what decides right and wrong. And here that religion judges that faith is not enough. But I thought we mustn’t judge others. Will this not lead to some serious psychological or physical harm of Christians if this religion you are promoting becomes pre-eminent?

      But wait:

      “Again, I’ve elsewhere drawn a parallel between early (persecuted) Christians, and today’s gays and bisexuals. Not in the loaded terms one or the other’s access to sacrosanct morality, but rather in the mechanics of their relationship to society.”

      So you do not want Christians to be persecuted? Well, let’s move on to the meat of this particular claim:

      “Early Christians just wanted to believe, be left alone, and be protected from violence, something the emperor Constantine allowed them when he legalised their faith and freedom.

      “The only way to argue that their plight was different than non-heterosexuals’ plight today is to say that they were following from a “universal” source of morality, “God”. This argument is simply no longer workable in the modern world, and that’s why we have the separation between church and state. Furthermore, faith and obviously conversion are – precisely – choices.”

      This is a sad look at Christian history. You get vague ideas right, but you miss it all at the same time. Christians knew and expected persecution. Jesus saying that he came to bring a sword was not going to make Rome happy and those that believed knew it going in. Persecution was expected to such a degree that if a minister of the gospel did not have the marks of persecution it could take some doing to convince fellow believers that you were not simply a spy.

      I do not think there are any heterosexual Christian spies working to make sure that homosexuals are known and persecuted. Again, if I am wrong here please tell me. However, despite my position on that, your position has returned back to the individualistic religion you had previously set up. You have decided that God “is simply no longer workable in the modern world.” So, we have outgrown God, have we? But that only implies that there is something greater than God: you.

      “The comparison is not intended to be offensive, but it does call on self-reflection and applying the same standards to everyone. Many non-heterosexuals (myself included) are deeply respectful of Christian values, and all we ask is the same, structurally, just so there’s no confusion.”

      You are right. This comparison should not be taken offensively. I do not for a second think that your comparison is worth any merit of offense. And you are right again. Self-reflection and the application of the same standards to everyone are called for. But who is to judge what those standards are? You? Your way seems to lead to logically lead to anarchy. Do not confuse your own self. You do not respect Christian values for you do not know them. In fact, you attack what you believe they are at every turn.

      And now to your conclusion:

      “Laws therefore must not emanate from faiths, but must bring them together under equality. Moral law must exist above faith, because the great religions – while losing none of their spiritual potency – cannot be credibly (or maybe equitably) seen as the only paths in existence leading to human salvation.”

      This conclusion is weak. This is the same point I keep coming back to. You have set up your own religion: The religion of the individual. Your laws would be based in faith! As for the great religions not being the only way to “human salvation,” I have already addressed this as well. It seems you are arguing in circles.

      I must note at the end of this examination of lenscap’s argument that I have not addressed the issue of homosexuality. This issue should be addressed, but first, bring a well-developed argument.

      0
    • Avatar

      Kenneth Schei

      Thanks, Lenscap
      Dear Lenscap,

      I stumbled across this discussion while doing some research for a project that I’m currently preparing. I was going to take time away from my work in order to respond to Dr. Bock, however, your well-reasoned and civil response made that unnecessary (thus saving me a lot of time and effort).

      Thanks for the good work!

      Sincerely,
      Ken Schei
      Founder: Atheists for Jesus

      0
  • Avatar

    Anonymous

    Final round
    Dear Dr. Bock,
    I’m still hoping you’ll reply to my initial comment, as – I’m sure you know – it takes a lot of time and effort to present the issues in, hopefully, a concise manner. Below I hope to expand some points further.

    Dear Matt Evans,

    I aim to be respectful but I won’t hide the fact from you that the reason I’ve commented here is because I feel that calling homosexuality a sin (upstream, in the Bible, on the pulpit, and on blog pages) inevitably leads (further downstream, in the schools, in the streets) to real-world psychological and physical violence against human beings who don’t deserve it.

    If you convince me that calling non-heterosexuality a sin (first), and then voting to preclude the “sinners” from civic marriage contracts, for example (second), does no tangible harm in terms of giving a theoretical framework for the more excessive, psychological and physical ostracizing that gays have always and perennially suffered, then I will be satisfied.

    First, neither you, nor Dr. Bock have – in any way – addressed the substance or appropriateness of my “Separate But Equal” comparison. So – as I am awaiting a rebuttal – I’ll keep expanding on it:

    Civil rights was not about whether science could explain (prove) racial difference, rather, it took for granted racial difference (for whatever the reasons that said difference may or may not exist), and created actual laws to change people’s actions and attitudes about how they treat each other.

    Dr. Bock says this for gays – “A question to ask is whether a given behavior is innate or can be changed.” The implication appearing to be: if non-heterosexuality were innate, like race, the circumstances would be mitigated, or perhaps even ok.

    My view is that the concept of the “innate”, in homosexuality – as in race – is utterly offensive. Homosexuality is the same non-issue as race: consider yourself telling someone that if they could “choose” to not be black, then they would be morally remiss not to do so. This is – precisely and to the letter – what Dr. Bock and (possibly) yourself are suggesting for non-heterosexuals.

    Elsewhere, the issue of non-heterosexuality brings up the issue of what society considers to be tolerably different. To me, you’ve brought up a classic retort: there are things which are intolerable, such as murder and pedophilia, and something like “do these people (gays) want to get rid of those crimes as well?”

    Serious question: since when are murder and pedophilia crimes? Is this an incendiary question? I will agree it is – but can you explain to me how these crimes are not deemed to be so (serious crimes) through socially educated conventions (civil contract)? My view is that these are indeed customs, and that all customs fall along along a spectrum of obvious to much less obvious.

    The question of sexual preference cannot be so obvious: you’ve told me, and Dr. Bock has also said, that you have (or have had) gay friends/acquaintances. Well, do you have murderer and pedophilic friends/acquaintances, as well? I doubt it, and that’s because those types of crimes are not anywhere near as debatable as what you consider to be the transgression of non-heterosexuality.

    You state “who is protecting those murderers and pedophiles from themselves?”, which I suppose is to be expanded to “who’s to protect those gays, lesbians, bisexuals from themselves?” I know your answer is God, or the Scriptures, or hopefully by Christians quoting the prohibitive passages in your texts… My feeling is that same-sex kissing (etc…) is such a lame issue to be getting on your soapbox about as to be laughable – that is if it didn’t produce such amazing and horrific suffering in the people you are addressing.

    I can’t address many more specifics, I don’t have time. But I’ll give one anecdote:

    Whenever I talk to friends or open-minded people in general, they always say the same thing about Christians and non-heterosexuality. They say “why can’t Christians abide by their most famous maxim: Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done Unto You.?” Nevermind if the quote is neither correct, nor the most famous – I’m saying that this is what I’ve heard the most, by far.

    So we’re saying, why can’t Christians understand that we are not calling, nor have we ever called, heterosexuality a Sin. Don’t you agree that you would not want us to do that, so that (according to your own dictum) calling us sinners is hypocritical?

    I should end there, because the whole topic truly makes me want to vomit. Not your fault, but the fault of history, and peoples, and the world. Yes I’m upset, and you should know that your concept of Sin is upsetting.

    Sin – the concept of scary monsters for adults. Remember when you were frightened of the dark, and it took you so long to believe what your parents were telling you, that the monsters weren’t actually there, that it was entirely your own imagination? Here you are still believing that God is a scary authoritarian, he’s going to chastise you with his Scriptures. Sin, also known as a paranoia.

    Hopefully, a humourous note could end this tirade well. Your Bible, to me, is like a collection of repair manuals for cars that were produced circa 70-150 AD. Great and fascinating manuals, but the problem is a great bunch of people are still trying to repair their cars with them in 2009!

    It’s absurd to think that God produced one manual for all of time. Nevermind that a great many people don’t any more believe a Divine being, any more than the Romans believed that there was only one of them, as opposed to scores of them. And it’s absurd not to see the outdated car parts in your own manual, when such parts in similar car manuals are so obvious. Yes the parallel and contradictory claims of Divine exclusivity in the Koran and Bible simply annul each other.

    But again, I only say these things because you (Christians) started it. You are the ones (in this debate) who set us up (as Sinners) in order to knock us down. But take heed, you are historically in great company – many societies have done the same, and will continue to do so – mayhem is the way of the world.

    0
    • Avatar

      Lynn

      last thoughts
      As a believer who loves God, and believes the Bible was given to humanity by God, with the writings inspired and governed by God…my argument is not to dismiss His Word, but to consider all of the Scriptures with depth, honesty, consistency, the context of passages, and with a view to all of the doctrines therein. It is abundantly clear to me that many believers understand God’s Word in both a highly selective and non-discerning manner. Everyone is entitled to their conclusion on the issue, but certain much-ignored truths are indisputable in my view.

      In all of the efforts to characterize the beliefs of Dr. Bock, let me try my hand at this endeavor. His belief appears clear to me. He obviously does not place “race” in a moral category, and respects racial diversity as part of the perfect creation of God. He would not make the statement that this should be changed in people, if it were possible. It seems to me that he is open to the possibility that some people are born with an innate homosexual orientation, and he can clarify if I have misunderstood him on this. His point has been clear throughout, that even if this is the case for some people, this does not translate into moral acceptability in his view. He has also made the point that, at least in the cases of some people, this orientation can be brought about through various circumstances in life, such as drug or alcohol use, past sexual abuse I’m sure he would agree, or lustful thoughts. His belief appears to be that this can be changed, for at least some people, and at the very least should be denied oneself.

      In my understanding of God, what is “perfect” is not rendered so much in the physical creation as related to humanity, but in the principles of love and understanding. It is problematic to relate “holiness” to creation, but I believe is clearly found in obedience to the commandments of Jesus Christ, and given by and through Him.

      It is an indisputable fact of life, to myself and to many honest and intelligent people, that some people are evidenced to be born with an innate, homosexual orientation in their very makeup. It is the case for myself. It is amazing to me that this testimony is not evidence to some people, and the outwardly apparent evidence, which is the case in some gay people, is not evidence to these people. I have heard some of God’s people call it a “ridiculous” notion, that anyone is born gay. Speak of people as you will, but it is not deniable on that kind of level of certainty. I was born with a homosexual orientation. It did not come from drug use or sexual abuse, because neither of these things existed in my life, and I don’t think “lust” is a factor in the life of a twelve year old girl. It is evidenced as part of my makeup, and it came from nowhere but how I was born and created by God. Feel free to hold onto denial of this, but it is true, and is not subject in the least to disagreement by those who possess a certainty, that all people are created heterosexual by nature.

      The question now becomes, for believers who see this reality in creation and in the makeup of humanity, in a view to the biblical texts. I believe I’ve addressed this sufficiently in my summaries here. I also want to note that I personally have the acceptance of God in my life. I’ve walked with Him for many years, and I’ve had a profound experience with Him in my life. You can say that He has revealed His will on the issue in His Word, but in my reading of the Bible, what was addressed there was clearly spiritual rebellion, committed out of lust by those who do not love God. It is an important distinction, and God does not judge anyone legalistically. It is easy to see how this may not have represented a full address of the issue, considering the explicit context, and several N.T. precepts are also not the law of the faith today. Considering that God set up the Law in the way that He did, including abomination and death penalty laws, and then rendered these laws not the law of the Christian faith…what more would He have to do to show that the “new covenant” functions with discernment of good and evil, and not according to a rigid use of laws? The law of God is all that defines love, and this also requires high standards and waiting for the right person. It is very clear to me. It is clear to many other people that it is “all the same” to God, and you are entitled to your view.

      What I appreciate in Dr. Bock, is that he does not come across to me as an overbearing condemner of gay people, as so many Christians are. I appreciate the problem and the issue for him, and for many other sincere Christians, that it is all about the moral question, as related to how the laws of the land are established. As a personally conservative believer in the Lord myself, I can appreciate that they do not want to see something that they view as immoral sanctioned in the laws. This being said, I have no doubt that the generations of the present and future will discern this issue as not related to immorality, and those who are burdened with this preconception will be outnumbered in time–not in the least as a manifestation of a moral slide, but as a reality of nature and an issue of fairness and compassion. I believe equality in domestic laws, for all of the practical reasons that apply to heterosexual marriages, should and will be established.

      Much has been said about “morality” here, but it seems to me that “natural law” would be a more appropriate term, and with a view to the effects and fruits of deeds, rather than a use of religious doctrines. Some people would argue that natural law dictates that all people are to be heterosexual or celibate. That is a fundamental unfairness in my view, and defies sensibility. I don’t believe it can be argued that natural law would require that the gay person marry the opposite sex, whom they do not desire and cannot be in love with. (Celibacy is a gift, according to Scripture, and though is stated to be the ideal way of life, relatively almost no one is interested in following this instruction of Paul, including divorced Christians. People want to be married and have companionship, as was the point of the Newsweek writer.) Children do best in loving and attentive homes. The individual who is born gay does best, when he or she is not indoctrinated to believe that there is something dreadfully wrong with him or her, and treated with non-acceptance by parents, which a study has recently shown.

      In closing, I want to say that it is “hypocrisy” that has been proposed to be established in the highest law of the land, and in the name of God. It is also a contradiction to the spirit of the Constitution, as rights would now be taken away from people. A certain former presidential candidate gained astonishing support in declaring that “the Constitution should be conformed to the Bible.” Never mind what the Bible says about remarriage and adultery, though, as this would step on too many toes. This proposal would not only be an affront to the First Amendment, which they must also want to repeal, but it would drag God’s glorious gospel–whose truth can bring a grown man to his knees in tears, because of God’s power and love for him–down into politics, and would continue to make it repulsive to many people. God help this nation if this is ever successful. Thanks.

      0
  • Avatar

    Nathan

    What? Where’s the “talk Bock?”
    Dr. Bock is SUPER LAME for not responding to the earlier posts…

    Christian view:
    A. God gave Scripture to tell people about the state of their relationship with Him.
    B. God gave Jesus to restore the relationship (everyone finds out, from A, that the relationship is broken)
    C. God gave the Holy Spirit to affirm A & B.
    D. Repenting of sin and believing in Jesus (both resulting from A thru C) is the only means of being given a restored relationship with God.
    E. A thru D cannot be coerced by anything including law — God’s or man’s.

    “Outlawing” gay marriage does not prohibit gay marriage.
    What it does is exclude a group of people from receiving legal rights AS WELL AS giving them legal responsibilities:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_and_responsibilities_of_marriages_in_the_United_States#Rights_and_benefits

    “Outlawing” gay marriage does not prohibit the perceived ills that result from homosex because…
    1) homosex will occur with and without the legalization of gay marriage,
    2) some of the ills that are often referred to as the direct result of homosex are actually the result of promiscuity, which gay marriage would lessen to some degree,
    3) the other ills are also not a direct result of homosex, but from the prejudice against it — it’s like raising a child in a pet carrier, and then wondering why she behaves like a dog. OR, treating people like garbage and then wonder why they stink.

    “Outlawing” gay marriage does not preserve a Christian nation because America is not Christian for many reasons. Some are…
    1) abortion,
    2) alcohol & tobacco (which support a lot of the government-run programs Christians use),
    3) adult amusements,
    4) dishonoring the Sabbath,
    5) glorification of self that we eat up and support in pro-sports,
    6) gluttony,
    7) greed,
    8) Muslims, Mormons, Buddhists, false Christians, etc. etc. etc…

    “Outlawing” gay marriage does not protect the church because the church will still have a say regarding its membership. Today, a church can exclude a married couple solely on the basis that the couple’s marriage is not of the right type, namely remarried divorced people.

    The way I see it is “outlawing” gay marriage allows its proponents to feel superior and exercise a kind of dominance over a group of perceived inferiors. It institutionalizes a restriction of religious beliefs and practice. It institutionalizes negative interactions between groups of people. It forces people to discriminate. It forces people to be untruthful.

    I don’t see it as having any worth as far as what laws are supposed to accomplish within in a country that claims freedom as a top priority.

    0
  • Avatar

    Becky

    I just stumbled upon all
    I just stumbled upon all these comments, early in the morning when I couldn’t sleep. I do have to say they are all quite interesting. Many of them seem to say lots without saying anything. I think our government and our society has become just that, say a lot but mean nothing. All I get from the comments are mostly personal opinions, where are the Bible verses to support what has been said.

    I go right to the Bible, I Corinthians 6: 9-11, also in Genesis when God destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah, and many more scriptures. I find it interesting how people need so badly to excuse their sin, but this has been going on since time began. To legalize marriage for homosexuals is a sin! Yes, I said it! The reason being is that God is against homosexuality and if you believe in Jesus Christ or the Word of God you can’t condone something that God opposes. No, I do not hate homosexuals. Any true “Christian” will love and pray for them.

    Your comment in “final round” about how you find it absorb to think that “God produced one manual for all time” is even more absorb! The Bible has been here for thousands of years and all the effort to destroy it hasn’t been effective and never will be. Old car manuals aren’t being used any more because of course they’re outdated and they aren’t continually reprinted! Well the Bible is as relevant today as it was a thousand years ago, it gives a moral compass to live by, for today and interestingly enough predicts the future, even lets me know that all that has been said in the last few comments I’ve read is right on tract with what God says in the “Bible” will happen.

    How does it feel to know that everything that you have said; has been predicted in His Word and a true believer, one that believes the “whole Bible” and everything in it, knows this! Of course it’s not word for word but it’s there, the decline of morality, in every way, apathy, living for ourselves and in our own little self centered worlds, and much more.

    I believe the “Bible” explicitly for what it is the “Holy Word of God”, it will never be outdated or destroyed. Leave you with this: “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” ” As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” As a believer I will live through all eternity with Christ, sound weird, not any more than to believe that people evolved from apes, which has no definite scientific proof. Which ever way you lean you have to believe and have faith, well I choose explicitly God and His Word, popular opinion or not!!

    0