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The message that greeted passers-by on state highway 707 in Socastee, outside Myrtle Beach, in South Carolina.
Last week, someone who hardly ever shows up on my Facebook newsfeed actually DID, and it was Mark McKeel’s photo that caught my eye.  Not more than a mile from my own home, along Highway 707 in the rural Burgess-Socastee area outside Myrtle Beach, the Socastee Free Will Baptist Church posted the message you see on the accompanying photo.  At first, I thought maybe it was an old photo from years ago, just resurfacing.  Then I actually drove by the church later that day, and – to my shock – saw the message was, in fact, current.

It occurred to me I HAD to attend this church.  First, I cannot express enough how much I loathe attending a church I’m not familiar with, as it is.  Secondly, walking into what could very well have been a lion’s den of hate and defiance and venom (at least that’s what ran through my mind leading up to actually going) had my better half (Ethan) and I anxious.

Because Ethan couldn’t be bothered to awake before 1pm Sunday (the bum), we decided we would attend the 6pm service.  We walked in, took our seats, were warmly greeted by a half dozen or so congregants and the church’s pastor, himself, Pastor Darren Squires.

Through most of the service, the topic on their marquee wasn’t a topic in the service; until (I’m guessing an understudy-in-training) Thomas weaved his sermon into that realm.  In all fairness, he’s new to the “calling,” so it can be understood that his sermon lacked a little focus and sort of wandered at times, and so I sort of lost  focus, myself, and cannot actually recall how he eventually got to the message that drew us in.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure how or when I was going to speak up; as the service wore on, I opted to wait for a one-on-one with Pastor Squires, and he obliged us – for three hours I might add – and we engaged in quite the exchange of ideology on the matter.

Squires is no newcomer to this conversation, either, and having gotten wind of the attention his sign had gotten on my Facebook timeline before our attending, he was well-prepared to deflect the standard pro-gay talking points.  Seems Jesus hit the “reset” button on a lot of the absurd “abominations” listed in Leviticus (shellfish, for example) so those bullets were immediately taken out of our chamber.

However (and I stood my ground on this), Pastor Squires had zero actual quotes from Jesus’ lips when it came to homosexuality. A female congregant did try to interject with some scripture she’d found but it actually included the word “homosexual,” and that word itself didn’t exist prior to – at the earliest –the 1860s.  It’d be like saying Jesus would approve of space shuttle missions because he loves rocket-propulsion.  it simply didn’t exist, then.  Then the same young woman (who I believe we’d learned earlier in the service is married) brought up sodomy; believe it or not, Pastor Squires blew that one off himself (pardon the pun…I literally typed it THEN caught the correlation) and even went so far as to say he didn’t care if consenting married couples introduced jackhammers into the bedroom, so long as they were married.  When we asked the woman if that meant she and her spouse were to never partake in the legal definition of “sodomy,” her silence was deafening.

This actually went on and on and on, for three hours, with a few sidebar conversations that I diffused a few times because I hate getting off-topic (and our stomachs were rumbling from hunger).  Here’s what we learned: the message on the sign isn’t new to that church or that sign itself.  They’ve apparently garnered (some) local and national press attention from posting the message before (I was unaware) and Pastor Squires admits he posts the message to get attention.  It’s his (and his congregants, too) belief that the entire Bible is “the word of God” (despite the fact that there are dozens of contradictions in the New Testament alone, and that all those Leviticus “abominations” apparently get wiped out by Jesus somewhere later in the Bible).  Despite the contradictions and despite the wiping out of “old law” (aka ‘Leviticus’), somehow something Peter said and something in 2nd Timothy IS “Jesus’ word.”

What else is Jesus’ word?

Matthew 22:37-40, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.“
Seems pretty simple to me, and I’m a non-believer.  However Ethan and I “learned” that god has hate (a human emotion, and one of our worst, if you ask me) and because God hates defying his will (the entire Bible being his will, contradictions and “reset buttons” be damned), his wrath can (and will, says Pastor Squires) rain down on sinners.

All in all, the conversation remained spirited and lively but didn’t devolve into raised voices, pointing of fingers or exploding tempers.  We did it; we walked into the pit of the enemy and walked out having given our two cents.  I asked Ethan on the way out “do you feel like we accomplished anything?”  His answer?  “No; it was like a Facebook fight.”

I’d love to have been a fly on the wall after we left, though.  Because I know this; neither side gave any ground, and I never got that “a-ha” quote I kept asking for from Jesus, which has to have frustrated the pastor (he literally fanned himself with his coat and complained of being quite warm in the room that was fairly chilly in temperature most of the night) and those who stayed behind to show support for him (all but two of whom just sat there with nothing to add – including the understudy minister Thomas).  I wouldn’t say anybody “won” this debate, but I know we left them with a better understanding of ourselves, if nothing else.

The following day (today), Pastor Squires messaged me on Facebook, inquiring “do you wanna accept my Friendship, and if not then I can Block you or you me so we will not Offend you or your Friends who hold to your World View….”

My reply:


“Why would I accept the friend request of someone who sees me in the light you do, Mr. Squires? I’ve no need to block you (if you choose to block me, so be it; it’s a free country and you’re free to do as you with on your account).

    I have no “world view.” It’s just called “acceptance,” pastor. Acceptance that men who wrote a collection of books in an era barely evolved from our living in caves couldn’t POSSIBLY understand the complexities of human sexuality, let alone things like proper sanitation and whether the world was flat or spherical (“round” is two dimensional, by the way).

    Today I and millions more celebrate the coming out of the nation’s first major male athlete. There’ll be no raining on our parade today, sir.

    I didn’t come to your service to make friends; I came to get a sense of what type of congregation and church leadership finds your display last week to be in good taste. I got the sense I sought. Ethan and I both appreciate the gracious hospitality we experienced, both before and after your service. We appreciate the time spent dialoguing with us, as well. That’s that.

    And yes, anyone who thinks I’m somehow sub-human or that the bond I share with my better half is somehow perverse surely cannot be, in the truest and most literal sense, a “friend” to me. Certainly you’d understand that.”

He didn’t; and the conversation continued on for a couple hours on Facebook; suffice to say, we may understand each other better, but that does not make us “friends.”  I know I won’ t be changing my mind anytime soon (read: ever) but I “never say never” with fundamentalist Christians.  It wasn’t that long ago that Exodus International was pushing their conversion therapy; last summer they admitted it doesn’t work.  Not that medical science wasn’t already aware.
What I came away knowing better than I knew before?  That there are these small pockets, still, of people that at least try to make every life decision based solely on what’s in the King James’ version of the Bible; that there is (eery, if you ask me) a lot of distrust in public school teachings, most notably anything in the realm of science.  Oh, and that Job apparently had a pet dinosaur.  Pat Robertson disagrees, but that’s another debate for another ambush at a local church.

Reposted from my BlueDawg blog.

Originally posted to SouthernDemRon on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 07:46 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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  •  Tip Jar (254+ / 0-)
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    by SouthernDemRon on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 07:46:42 PM PDT

  •  If we ever, as a society, and a country (11+ / 0-)

    become honest about the basis for the hate and eliminate it from a position of trusted reference and revered source, we will finally be free to deal with society's challenges with clearer heads.  What is this source of hateful thinking?  The bible.

    Yes, I know the character of Jesus supposedly said all kinds of nice stuff (problem is he didn't exist), however, he didn't exactly counter all the hatred in the OT writings. He said nothing about slavery being wrong. He even used it as a source material for his metaphors and parables.  

    You are not going to change these people's minds. They have the "divine" word to back them up.  Your time may be better spent teaching the world that religion is superstition and the bible is nothing more than a book of mythologies, most of them not moral or very nice, and that there is no "God".  

  •  Thank you for sharing this. (26+ / 0-)

    I live next to a Baptist Pastor (or preacher, I forget the term) he's a big right winger.  

    I feel sorry that they don't learn about love and hope.  It seems to be all about who they hate and the rest is all fear.  

    "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

    by Damnit Janet on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:05:59 PM PDT

  •  Your courage and dedication (16+ / 0-)

    to principle are admirable. I'm speechless.

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

    by raptavio on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:14:19 PM PDT

  •  Men Didn't Write Those Books, Teh Lord© Did (10+ / 0-)

    and they contain no errors.

    Jesus updated Kosher but not the naughty bits; remember he didn't even want straights to marry.

    Yadda yadda, authority, yadda yadda all fundamentalists share the same policy agenda which is why the Christian fundamentalists who want to exterminate Islam agree on every policy point with Islam save the specific name of the deity.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:14:39 PM PDT

  •  Hardcore Christians fear homosexuality (10+ / 0-)

    because they experience some sort of group homosexual panic. Their God was an unmarried 33-year old man who never had a girlfriend and turned down a prostitute who was massaging his leg. Since he lived in an era in which coming out was unheard of, we can never know which way Jesus leaned sexually. And that bothers his followers, who mask their fears of Him being gaying by hating real live gay people all the more. That's my theory anyhow.

    •  Very interesting one. The fear part. (4+ / 0-)

      I figured they just couldn't begin to think of it. Easily both are very likely.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 09:22:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The only reason Jesus and his Mum were in charge (8+ / 0-)

      of snacks at the wedding in Canaan was that it was HIS wedding.  But hey - being married doesn't mean you're straight at all, just married.

      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

      by Mortifyd on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 10:24:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  33 is pretty over the hill (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean, a gilas girl

        for a Jewish man, circa ~30 c.e. Tradition and practice was teenage marriage, adulthood arrived with puberty. Obviously being "in charge of snacks and wine" at a wedding denotes close - and likely lineal - relation to bride or groom.

        Likely a son/daughter or niece/nephew from one of the siblings. Mary (grandma) would certainly worry about what people would say if they ran out of wine, but indications are that Jesus was the only one of her offspring who knew how to turn water into wine. Even if it wasn't really his responsibility to provide, he'd have been the one asked... §;o)

        •  doesn't mean it doesn't happen. (1+ / 0-)
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          a gilas girl

          IF he had been married previously it would have been mentioned, as no one at the time had any kind of agenda to have him unmarried - culturally it was expected as you point out.  

          That being said - since there is no mention of a wedding previously, or wife, or children - it being his is NOT farfetched culturally at all. Finally.  Got him married.  

          You can't just take him out of the context of the culture he lived in - and not everyone was married in their teens, even then.  Some of the greatest sages married "late" in life, being so devoted to Torah they couldn't be bothered previously.  So in that context it boosts the idea he was a great scholar rather than an am haaretz.

          And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

          by Mortifyd on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:50:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, the gospels (0+ / 0-)

            say nothing at all about Jesus' life between the age of 12 and 32/33. Surely you don't believe that means he lost twenty years altogether and went straight from age 12 to age 33, do you?

            •  you do know I'm Jewish, right? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              So what the gospels say are pretty much not of any real interest to me - aside from the fact they are pretty invested in making Jews and Jewish culture look like shit. And get things wrong as well.

              but hey, what do actual Jews know about Jewish culture, right?  It's not like we have records or the Talmud which was written about they same time or anything...

              And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

              by Mortifyd on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:44:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Split (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Especially considering the biblical evidence (forgetting real evidence please) that shows Jesus obeying the Jewish Law, when Paul's mission on this earth was to create a new Roman religion, with a supposed new covenant, that uses the historical texts to add authenticity to the belief system – at the same time removing this new faith from any tie to the old, Judaism. Christians even had the gall to blame the Jews for all time because they killed the messiah!

                I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center. Kurt Vonnegut

                by klimtone on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:57:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  What in the world difference (0+ / 0-)

                would that make to your assertion that it must have been Jesus' own wedding - at the ripe old age of 33 - when he turned the water into wine?

                I merely stated that while it was likely a family wedding, it wouldn't necessarily have been his own. If he and siblings had married young as was customary (Mary was, what? 14 when Jesus was born?), their eldest child/ren would have been of age when Jesus was ~33. Thus he very well could have had hosting duties at such an occasion.

                You then said that "it would have been mentioned" if Jesus had previously married. I pointed out that the Christian gospels (you know, the stories of his miraculous birth and later ministry) mentioned nothing at all between the age of 12 and 32/33 (age of ministry). So not having mention of marriage young or old means precisely zip to the question of whose wedding was held at Cana (and IS mentioned). You being Jewish is entirely irrelevant to that.

                Now, if you do have Jewish records establishing whose wedding it was, I'm not the only one who would be very interested in knowing about them and what, exactly, they establish. But don't act all offended because I pointed out that there's a ~20-year hole in the Christian records.

                •  IF he was moshiach, which is the claim (0+ / 0-)

                  of Christianity - yes? Then his whole family - spouse, children, etc would have been important and named. But no, you get his Mum and his brothers and his "step dad" who was considerably older than his Mum according to your stories, yet he couldn't possibly have been too busy learning Torah to get married young, being mochiach and all.  As the supposed heir to the throne of Dovid HaMelech - we actually DO keep records of that sort of thing and the women do matter.

                  We know who Dovid HaMelech was married to.  We know who Sholomo HaMelech was married to..  We know who the Patriarchs were married to - we know who Moshe was married to and the name of his son he waited to give a bris to - so yeah, those names would have appeared in the context of a Jewish man who was of an important lineage and having an important place in Jewish life and religion.  Hell, we know the names of wives, some children (male and female) of many of the writers of the Talmud and even the names of some of their slaves - but there's bupkis on the family of the man proclaimed by Christians as moshiach in Christian records, supposedly written by Jews?  Because remember, in the beginning it was supposed to be Jews who followed him, not pagans or Romans - Jews.  Who have a long standing culture and literacy and like to write a LOT about people who have an impact on the culture and tradition.

                  So it doesn't make any sense that it was some random family member according to the claims made about the man. What family members?  Mum didn't know he was going to make water into wine, she just wanted it fixed.  His brothers weddings would not be his problem - she didn't say - hey make a miracle already, she said we're out of wine. He apparently had no sisters - and without siblings marrying prior to him - no nieces or nephews.  Cousins? definitely not his problem.

                  So given the CULTURAL context of whose responsibility it would be at a wedding in that region and time period - and we certainly DO have lots and lots of records of the cultural customs and responsibilities of the day - as I said, the Talmud was being written at the time - your insistence that it could not have been his wedding makes no sense.  So my being Jewish leads me to think based on my own culture - the one I share with him, as we're both Jews - that it was his wedding.  So Jewish - very very relevant.

                  I'm not "offended" except in the insistence that the gospels are somehow 1 - historical and 2 - accurate in their portrayal of Jewish culture and law - because they clearly aren't - providing you know anything about Jewish culture and law.  And it intrigues me that Christians often claim to know so much about Judaism - and get so much wrong, because their source material - the gospels - have a vested interest in making Jews and Jewish culture look like shit.

                  And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                  by Mortifyd on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 02:58:23 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Christianity - in the thousand year (0+ / 0-)

                    reign of Catholicism - maintained steadfastly that Mary remained a virgin all her life and never had any other children. Mentions of the brothers was waived away as how believers talk to each other, not that they're actually related. Protestants of most varieties accept that Jesus had brothers. Almost all from both wings would reject the idea that he was ever married. Several liberal denominations and some obscure corners shrug and admit it's possible, and among those you'll fine the spiritual descendants of once-hated heretics: Those who don't subscribe to the deific incarnation angle (non-trinitarians).

                    How old Joseph may have been is and has long been an unanswered question. Portraying him as a middle-aged man is no different from portraying Jesus as a blue-eyed, blonde-haired Aryan. Pure cultural bias, neither here nor there historically.

                    There's quite a lot of apocrypha out there that didn't make the canon. There's books in the Catholic canon that aren't in the Protestant canon. There's also some contemporary Gnostic pseudography of questionable pertinence, some purported to supply stories from the "missing years." Orthodox and mainline denominations accept none of it, but that doesn't mean nobody ever accepted it.

                    Everybody knows Jews are not Christians and Christians are not Jews. I don't recall that such claims were made in this thread. As for what Christians believe, that's literally all over the map. Pretty much always has been apart from the periods when 'The Church' (Catholicism) was busy burning heretics at the stake for believing unsanctioned things. They lost that power awhile back, thank goodness.

                    Any decent academic overview of the culture of Palestine [and environs] during the first century common era makes it clear that teenage marriage/ parenthood was not considered a social problem. There no doubt were people who studied too hard to bother. And people who wandered too far to bother. And people who simply had no interest in 'expected' social practices. That all seems quite uncontroversial.

                    I simply mentioned that if he was in a host role (that is not specified), he was old enough to be the parent. As alternative to being groom. John's narrative doesn't identify whose wedding it was. Nobody else's narrative includes the wedding at Cana at all. The combined narrative goes from speaking with the elders in the Temple courtyard [Luke] to the wedding in Cana [John]. A 20 year hole. Matthew and Mark have a bigger biographical hole. Jesus' childhood and young adulthood must not have seemed that important to the architects of the religion.

                    •  A Jewish woman being a virgin after a chuppah? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      Um -  no.  They get merrily taken to a tent/room by the wedding party where they have sex as part of the celebration. With someone guarding the door. Food and the actual celebration of the couple - that comes after the sex.  Cultural context matters.

                      As does the claim of moshiach.  The king must have heirs. And a spouse to bear them.  You don't leave out details like that.

                      It's details like that - the things that are SO not Jewish, so outside the way Jews do things and write about them - that's why there are still Jews.  It doesn't make any sense to us - and that's just the social aspects, I won't go into the actual theology which is whole universes apart.  Jews are definitely NOT Christians - any Jew who believes G-d walked around in a people suit is an idolator under Jewish law. Period.  And Christians are not Jews - you must have belief in order to be a Christian in something that is outside Jewish thought or culture.

                      One of my friends recently was at a Shabbos dinner where the question arose - which parent does Christianity come through?  How one is a Jew is not a matter of belief but of parentage - another huge difference between us.

                      So we can agree - the gospels have liturgical importance to Christians, but they aren't history or "factual" in the way we think of facts today.  Meaningful - you bet.  Important to the concepts of Christian thought and faith - absolutely.  A primer on Jewish life under the Romans? Not so much.  And perhaps part of the reason the Jewishness of the supposed King of the Jews is downplayed is because the architects of the religion weren't Jews at all - they were pagans.  Using a completely different set of rules to create a new faith, not a continuation of another.  

                      It's interesting that Koine Greek is the scholarship language of the gospels and not Latin, don't you think?  Particularly given that the Romans were the power of the day, the Hasmoneans long gone.

                      Different things are emphasised, the culture and reality of Jewish life under the Romans is crudely and poorly described - because the point is to make something else using a different set of concepts.

                      Christianity is NOT a completion of the Law, or a fulfillment of Judaism - but a completely different thing - as I've said all along.  I have a long standing distaste for Christians claiming they understand Judaism for these very reasons.  

                      I don't have a problem with people being Christians.  I DO have a problem with Christians using the gospels to explain how their beliefs trump ours and ignorantly proclaim they know all about Judaism - using the gospels as their text of Jewish life and culture.

                      Perhaps it's time for Christians to cut the apron strings among themselves and quit lying about Jews, Judaism and the origins of their faith - and blaming us for their inability to read with context and justify their hatred - such as using Leviticus to condemn people.  

                      The gospels are plenty old enough now to be venerated as stand alone texts of belief - and let go of the illusion they are history.  That would be good - it might even lessen institutional antisemitism.  We'd be all for that.

                      After all, we remind ourselves every year that Abraham's father Terach was an idol maker from Ur-Kasdim.  Our origins were pagan too - nothing to be ashamed of at all.

                      But stop talking about us as if we don't exist except in the context of your beliefs - because we are still here, and we make our own context and our own history - despite Christian attempts to drive us into extinction and irrelevance by reframing us as G-d killers.

                      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                      by Mortifyd on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:36:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I've long considered Christianity (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        to be "Paganism Lite." I think it's clear the religion was crafted specifically to appeal to the dominant beliefs of the cultural overlords of the era. The better to usurp them with, a means (and will) to power. Which was so abused for so long that by the time Europeans woke up to just how corrupt it had become, a thousand years had come and gone in distance from what might (or might not) have been real in the mission and ministry of the principal.

                        It is probably in our nature to corrupt everything we touch - even our own hearts and minds. Individuals may find grace in their lives, maybe inspire others to seek it. But it's always struck me odd that there's a whole Big Religion out there that convinces people their ticket to heaven is dependent upon the number of scalps - er, souls - they've collected on their belt. Nobody can 'save' anybody else's soul. Hell, most can't even manage to 'save' their own.

                        I hope that if we survive long enough to evolve beyond the dangerous animals we are now, those who come next will be less burdened by our over-wired brains' inherent confusion between good and evil. But admit our suicidal tendencies make it unlikely that we'll survive that long. [Shrug]

                        •  I might actually argue "Lite" lol but I get it (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          The concept of another being able to forgive your sins? SO not Jewish. lol  You are responsible for yourself and how well or poorly you manage to keep the Law - which is for the benefit of humans, not G-d - to help us aspire to be less shitty people, because people suck.  Not because of "original sin" - another non-Jewish concept - but because we are tribal chimpanzees in shoes, tend to be violent and take the easiest route to comfort at the expense of others not of our tribe.

                          I think we are capable of not killing ourselves - provided the slide away from science is halted.  We need to start sending humans out of our atmosphere at least - and out of our solar system definitely if we are to survive as a species. We're not doing so hot here at home - and there will be a massive die off as a result of our poor stewardship.  I don't believe in an interventionist deity that will fix it for us.  I think Sagan was right - there is a point sentient species must cross - to be able to live long enough to get off the rock and continue, or go extinct.  We're right at that point and it could go either way.

                          And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                          by Mortifyd on Wed May 01, 2013 at 03:28:12 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Sigh. I think that if we weren't alone (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            in our conceivably accessible corner of the universe, we'd probably know that by now. Unless all other possibly "intelligent" forms of life haven't gotten as far as us yet. In which case, God have mercy on them when we do discover them. If we can't exploit them for profit, we'll extinct-ify them. If we foul our own nest to extinction, we've certainly no business exporting it to anyplace else where life might have a chance in hell.

                            You are right that our stewardship of this planet has been so lousy that we may yet succeed in making most forms of life on this planet extinct. Lord knows we're proud of threatening each other and ourselves with that very thing. Sometimes I think it's just a diversion from all the pollution profiteering being done.

                            None of us lives forever. The profit motive is bigger than any single one of us. I find that very scary. Because it's so easy to distract from... §;o)

                          •  if there are others in our neighbourhood (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            I feel sorry for them - we are a violent species and will be feared or destroyed.  I think we have the right to try to continue our existence - not at the cost of extermination of other sentients - but we know how that will go, I agree completely - if we can't exploit them we'll kill them.  Hell, look what we do to the other intelligent mammals (great apes, cetaceans) on our home planet.  We should be confined to other rocks with nothing else on them.

                            Chimps in shoes who make tools of death as toys - aren't we just the friendliest species in the galaxy. sigh  We're the sharpest tools in our shed, but total dicks.  And we have developed so quickly in the last couple centuries that we have forgotten (those of us in the "first world" at any rate) that we are not immune to our own destructive power.  It might very well be good for us to have to work hard again to survive on the moon or Mars for a while before venturing out of our solar system, knock us down a couple of pegs.

                            At least in those places we can't hurt anyone else.

                            And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                            by Mortifyd on Wed May 01, 2013 at 08:51:34 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

      •  Actually... (0+ / 0-)

        ... the story says they were "invited," and Mary told Jesus, "They ran out of wine." The way it's phrased it sounds like they were just wedding guests lending a helping hand.

        261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

        by MaikeH on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:57:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Stereotyping. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mikejay611, tikkun

      I suggest checking out (nonbeliever) alexforgue's diary of today, on the involvement of Christians in the Occupy movement:

      There are plenty of "hardcore" Christians who urge and practice full acceptance of everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 06:54:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Its not what they want to hear (0+ / 0-)

        we're Democrats, right?  That means we can't be bigots.

        Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

        by tikkun on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 12:47:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you! (0+ / 0-)

        Sad to see this down thread almost 200 posts from the smug atheists. One can be quite a devout Christian and believe in the trinity, resurrection, virgin birth, etc. and still believe that gay marriage, women's reproductive freedom, and human rights in general can and should be defended. I would even argue we'd be bad Christians if we weren't advocating those principles.

  •  so I'm waiting the sign to change... (14+ / 0-)

    But I'm glad the conversation was civil.  You did the right thing.
    and I consider myself Christian, thank you.

    My polite answer to people in my church is  should we ever make as least as big a deal  about  Rich people and the eye of the needle, prisoners and all the others Christ ministers to, I'll turn off the filter.  

    Until then, like a good evangelical, I'll take my  truths from my reading of the bible and the preaching as mere advice.

  •  I'm so pleased that you are willing to engage (11+ / 0-)

    in discussion with those who would manipulate scripture to send the message they want it to send (...and hasn't that always been the way.).

    If I lived in your area this 52 year old White upper class female would have been pleased to attend that service with you and simply state that "I'm with them". :)

    Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

    by Morgan Sandlin on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:27:14 PM PDT

  •  Hate Rules, No Room For Compassion At The (4+ / 0-)

    "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003

    by kerplunk on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:27:29 PM PDT

    •  Great song (2+ / 0-)



      by SouthernDemRon on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:29:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Try this one, Jesus Loves Me But He Can't Stand (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You" I know you smoke, I know you drink that brew
      I just can't abide a sinner like you
      God can't either, that's why I know it to be true that
      Jesus loves me -- but he can't stand you
      I'm going straight to heaven, boys, when I die
      'Cause I've crossed every "t" and I've dotted every "i'
      My preacher tell me that I'm God's kind of guy; that's why
      Jesus loves me -- but you're gonna fry

      God loves all his children, by gum
      That don't mean he won't incinerate some
      Can't you feel those hot flames licking you
      Woo woo woo
      I'm raising my kids in a righteous way
      So don't be sending your kids over to my house to play
      Yours'll grow up stoned, left-leaning, and gay; I know
      Jesus told me on the phone today
      Jesus loves me, this I know
      And he told me where you're gonna go
      There's lots of room for your kind down below
      Whoa whoa whoa
      Jesus loves me but he can't stand you...

      Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are.

      by teabaggerssuckbalz on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:15:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No way I could have done what you did. (26+ / 0-)

    I'm perfectly happy to leave the religiously hateful and ignorant in their hate and ignorance.  But you did all LGBT people a great favor.  So many of these congregants who denounce us have never actually met an openly LGBT person, and so they have in their minds a picture of demented demons.  You and your partner showed them otherwise.  That will have a long-term affect on them.  Thank you for that.

    -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

    by gizmo59 on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:34:27 PM PDT

    •  Great comment! (11+ / 0-)
      So many of these congregants who denounce us have never actually met an openly LGBT person, and so they have in their minds a picture of demented demons.  You and your partner showed them otherwise.  That will have a long-term affect on them.  Thank you for that.

      I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

      by Tortmaster on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 10:44:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not demons, (0+ / 0-)

        rather they probably think all gay people wear eye liner or leather or maybe both! Which of course is like thinking all straight women dress in bikinis and men in Mad Men suits. It's all another form of drag and says nothing about the actual person inside.

        The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

        by deebee on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:24:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My dad served in WWII (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pdxteacher, gizmo59

        People lived really sheltered lives in those days, my dad included. Before the military he'd never ever left New York City and only interacted with non-Jews during school hours. Still he was a bit taken aback when one of the men he served with, never having met a Jew until he'd met my father, was struck by Dad's lack of horns. Things were simply not as he'd been told.

    •  Actually its more important than even that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The kids in that congregation who are LGBT and have been taught over the years that their lives are an abomination, need to experience healthy, self respecting gay men and women who aren't afraid to speak out about the errors of  religiously self righteous gay baiters.  These kids also need information about where to go to get help when the beatings happen and when they are kicked out of the house.  Or as many Christians and Jews believe, "When you save one life, it is as if you saved the whole world."

      Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

      by tikkun on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 12:55:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't understand the logic of "Christionists" (21+ / 0-)

    I am a Christian.  My church to me is more than going to service every Sunday.  It's being a part of a fellowship- an extended family.

    And what I love the most about my church is that just about all of us share this one belief:

    Jesus was a liberal socialist.  That was his undoing.  The prophets told of his coming, so if the Jewish leaders truly believed their "Scripture", they were furious that Jesus hung out with the scum of society- choosing to live among the poor, the sick, the outcasts instead of the gilded halls of the temple.

    One member of my church always jokes, "If Jesus came back today, the Christionists would not recognize him."

    Because they don't follow Jesus- they follow Paul.

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:34:41 PM PDT

  •  It cheapens the lives, the credibility, ... (7+ / 0-)

    the very dignity of  these "human beings", as they allow themselves to become part of the unthinking herd ..mob, that has existed since the beginning of time, that seeks in the most clannish and primal of habits to separate people from people. How they fail to see themselves as the current torchbearers in a so very long and detailed (and tired) historical, sociological, "spiritual", context of human oppression. And that they themselves are both victims and oppressors in this insane circular system. I believe that humanity has the potential to surge to a height of achievement unimagined by even the most enlightened among us, if we can ever collectively conquer and vanquish the tendencies of our most base members. It is possible.

  •  Same sex couples are welcome at my synagogue (12+ / 0-)

    and at several others in my area.   Those who choose to join are charged the same membership rate as a heterosexual couple.  

  •  Regarding the word "homosexual" and its variants, (7+ / 0-)

    from what I understand it doesn't exist in any bible printed prior to 1947.

  •  I defriended my cousin on FB for quoting that (11+ / 0-)

    "...Not Adam and Steve" BS.  That is all.  

    "We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike.” -Adolf Hitler, May 2, 1933

    by bekosiluvu on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 10:14:49 PM PDT

  •  And just a short jaunt down ... (13+ / 0-)

    ... the highway in Charleston, South Carolina, a Democrat came out forcefully for Marriage Equality in a debate last night ... and she was cheered!

    I met a group called the "Carolina Bears" over the weekend in Myrtle Beach, and they told me they'd had a great time at their convention in one of the local hotels. I questioned them intently on this subject, and they said their treatment was "kindly."

    And progress is made.

    Your story is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

    I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

    by Tortmaster on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 10:38:52 PM PDT

  •  It's not uncommon (14+ / 0-)

    to discover many right wing Christians are indeed rather "Christian" in how they interact with people opposed to  their views. But those conservative Christians - & I suspect Squires is one - don't really grasp that their preaching may empower others who do not believe preaching against certain  "sins," or even advocating laws against them, are enough.  The sign in front of his church could incite violence against gays. He knows he cannot prevent same sex relationships. He can work against legalizing them. But his sign is  not  about  that. It's a cliche stupid "joke" you see scrawled on cardboard signs held by angry people  at anti-gay demonstrations. I can imagine Matthew Shepard's murderers screaming it at him as  they kicked & tortured him to death.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 11:12:28 PM PDT

  •  That hateful sign reflects a similar mindset (11+ / 0-)

    as that which put the bodies of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner under a levee in Philadelphia, Mississippi in 1964.

    Sometimes one wonders whether anyone ever learns anything about love and acceptance --- apparently not at that particular Baptist "church."

    As a Christian, this grieves me.

  •  Where did this discussion happen? (0+ / 0-)

    Was it inside the pastor's church?  I think this kind of bigotry is disgusting, and fortunately it's dying.  But I also grew up with the bible and understand why these people think the way they do (not just about homosexuality, but education, and science).  As long as they're not putting that hatred into physical action outside their church, I honestly don't care what they preach inside their church.

    •  well... (4+ / 0-)

      the point of preaching is for it to influence your life outside the church.  if they could only keep it inside, that might work, but there is no way to keep it from bleeding out into the community

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 04:43:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But. . . (0+ / 0-)

        I just don't want to endorse a movement of people going into churches, or synagogues or mosques and telling the people there that they are wrong.  8 out of 10 times they are wrong.  But I feel that's imposing on their right to worship as they wish without interference.

        Now, I'll argue with them in the public square and in the political arena, and I believe that most congregants to most churches are on the side of common sense and fairness (hence why marriage equality continues its inexorable march forward), but that could change if we start preaching to the religious in the places they worship.

        Facebook is great.  The floor of congress is better.  But inside a church makes me cringe a bit.

        •  but they waited until after the service (6+ / 0-)

          just as anyone else would do when wanting to speak to the pastor on a matter of faith and practice.

          it's not like they stood up in the middle of the service and shouted out a disruption.

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 06:06:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What They Teach Inside That Particular (0+ / 0-)

          church and others like it, results in the beatings and other horrific abuses of LGBT youth within the church family; and in the expulsion of those same youth from their homes. Many of these same, so called Christian Churches, teach that such treatment of disobedient youth is absolutely Christian and appropriate.  I am a die hard, hard core Christian and there is nothing Christian about this business.

          Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

          by tikkun on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 01:05:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  When people base their lives (4+ / 0-)

    on a collection of poorly written and contradictory short stories, problems are bound to arise. longer in SF.... -9.00, -7.38

    by TFinSF on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 04:20:49 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, pdxteacher, Liberal Heretic

    and well worth reading. I really admire you both for being able to engage in the conversation. For myself, my buttons get pushed far too easily, and I'd have ended up in an inarticulate, foaming-at-the-mouth rage.  

    Good thing you didn't invite me along. ;)

    (Going to pick one nit here: "Acceptance that men who wrote a collection of books in an era barely evolved from our living in caves...": 2,000 MoL years ago is very recent past time actually.)


    Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

    by Miniaussiefan on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 04:53:30 AM PDT

  •  It is an old sign (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority, tikkun, WakeUpNeo

    People were carrying signs with the same wording at the consecration of (openly-gay) Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson in 2004.

  •  Thank you for your diary (6+ / 0-)

    and for your efforts to demonstrate what Christ-like looks like. Your efforts may seem to have fallen on deaf ears and closed hearts, but words and actions can take a while to root and grow. You may have made a real difference in someone's life.

    The two UMC churches I pastor are not, by any stretch, Reconciling (that is, openly accepting). They are small, rural, and homogenous. As such, while they would have been polite and (mostly) pleasant if you and your partner had visited with us, some would also have been visibly uncomfortable, and would have talked about you for weeks afterward. In spite of the genuine welcome you would receive from some, you likely would not have wanted to return. And I would have yet another opportunity to preach on radical hospitality, get into some heated discussions, and have more letters to the Bishop sent behind my back.

    Church can be the faith's worst enemy.

    I have taken a full year of Law and Government Class and have determined that government and politics are my left ass cheek.-my 18 year old daughter

    by left rev on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 05:11:34 AM PDT

  •  So, did anyone ever show you where Jesus (4+ / 0-)

    performs the Leviticusectomy in the NT? I have to admit that I'm a recovering Catholic and never got through the whole Bible - TLDR.

    -7.38, -5.38 (that's a surprise)

    Why must we struggle to protect the accomplishments of Democrats of the past from Democrats of the present? -- cal2010

    by 84thProblem on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 06:06:06 AM PDT

    •  Rec'd for "Leviticusectomy " (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tytalus, His Accidency

      I was wondering the same thing.  If the guy can't quote chapter and verse, I can't see why the diarist let him get away with that.

      I don't know what's been trickling down, but it hasn't been pleasant---N. Pelosi

      by Russycle on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:00:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It wasn't Jesus... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tikkun, 84thProblem

      I suspect that most serious students of Scripture would tell you that it wasn't Christ who performed that surgery.

      Take a look at Acts 15 (NIV) (see?  I saved you from TLDRitis!).  It was a matter of contention in the early church, and it was ultimately decided by the 'apostles and elders' that Gentile converts were not to be expected to follow the Mosaic Law in its entirety.

      It's REALLY interesting to note, however, that they DID preserve some elements of kosher requirements in their instructions to Gentile believers.  They also, however, made specific mention of Gentiles obeying the Law where 'sexual immorality' was concerned.  That's the source of the notion that those particular prohibitions were 'carried forward.'

      Some folks suggest that Christ's admonition in Matthew 5--"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."--is the source of the "Torah waiver", but I disagree; you might find this commentary on that point to be of interest.

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 12:23:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Okay, way more Bible readin' than I've done in (0+ / 0-)

        that last few decades, but I slogged through the links.  I can't say i saw a clear repudiation of Leviticus.
        Thanks for the links anyway though; the interwebs is hard!

        -7.38, -5.38 (that's a surprise)

        Why must we struggle to protect the accomplishments of Democrats of the past from Democrats of the present? -- cal2010

        by 84thProblem on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 05:05:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  References to "the Law" or "Law of Moses"... (0+ / 0-)

          ...refer to the Torah, which includes Leviticus.

          So, when they said:

          It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
          that's where they waived the rest of the Mosaic Law (including Leviticus) for Gentiles.

          The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

          by wesmorgan1 on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:57:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Still, not sure I'd be comfortable with this. (0+ / 0-)

            He seems to be kind of a stickler...

            -7.38, -5.38 (that's a surprise)

            Why must we struggle to protect the accomplishments of Democrats of the past from Democrats of the present? -- cal2010

            by 84thProblem on Wed May 01, 2013 at 04:06:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Best line I've heard about many Christians recentl (6+ / 0-)

    Many Chirstians treat the Bible like a software End User License Agreement. They scroll through without reading and click "I Agree" at the end.

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 06:13:15 AM PDT

  •  I had a similar experience (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, jedennis

    I spent 4 hours last weekend trying to get my Swiffer WetJet Mop to understand the complex duality of the Wave-Particle Theory of Light.

    I think you and I were equally successful.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 06:31:36 AM PDT

  •  I think you should let him friend you (6+ / 0-)

    Maybe I am an idealist, but you and your partner went into that church and likely shattered so many myths they had believed about gay people. You were intelligent, informed, reasonable, and sincere. You did not have horns on your head. You were not scary. I think exposing these people to real gay people instead of the scary evil monsters they imagine gay people to be is going to be the key to acceptance. I get that it is hard when the person holds an offensive view of you, and maybe his only intent is to someday "save your soul," but I am pretty sure the only one in the group whose views have any chance of changing are his. Maybe when he sees the love and support you receive, the interests you might share, and the normalcy of bring gay, he will come to accept that he is wrong. Or maybe not. But connecting with you may be the only exposure he ever allows himself to have to a gay person.

    Just a few thoughts. I admire your courage. My son is 16 and LGBT and I am so grateful to every person out there who promotes exceptance of LGBT people and makes his/her (it isn't quite clear yet) life that much brighter.

    We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

    by CatM on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 06:35:13 AM PDT

  •  I took the trouble to log in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pdxteacher, SouthernDemRon, WakeUpNeo

    just to rec this excellent diary. Fascinating. And brave. And more tolerant than I would have been.

    This whole world's wild at heart and weird on top....Lula

    by anninla on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 07:13:00 AM PDT

  •  This can't be a religious debate... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    saluda, Calamity Jean, a gilas girl

    The fight for gay marriage is about CIVIL marriage, not religious marriage. The bigots refuse to make that distinction largely because it's the only grounds they have for even caring about this issue. That's why we must make that distinction for them. Religion should never be a factor in law making. The bible must be taken out of the equation.

  •  Making fun of the mentally ill (3+ / 0-)

    I fully understand and appreciate how insulting and demeaning those words on the church sign are to gays and lesbians.

    Those words on that church sign are an insult to anyone regardless of sexual orientation who reads the Bible and understand that God and Love are one and the same.  This is exactly what is written in the Bible.

    People who read the Bible and come away with the belief that same-sex relationships are sinful have some sort of mental or cognitive problem.  This is delusional thinking that cannot be changed with facts or reasoned argument.

    I was brought up with the teaching that it is impolite to make fun of the mentally ill.  So I do not engage the religiously deluded in the very place which gives rise and reinforces their delusions.  It would make as much sense to me as going to a crack-house and telling the residents that they should stop smoking crack and go work out at the gym instead.

    I admire your courage and strength.  I hope you and your significant other have a long, peaceful, and loving life together.

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 07:23:27 AM PDT

  •  Well, if you're a believer in a creator/God (3+ / 0-)

    then s/he created Adam, Eve, Steve and a host of others. For some reason they seem to think that the creation of their far from perfect (as we all are) selves was fine but that the creation of those different from them was somehow a mistake by their omniscient creator. Also the "wrath" seems to fall pretty much on everybody (He maketh the rain to fall upon the just and the unjust). Their scripture tells them that "all have sinned" but they have decided independently of their scripture that other people's sins are worse than their own.

    Where are we going and what am I doing in this handbasket?

    by gelfling545 on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 07:31:31 AM PDT

  •  What "Adam and Steve" always reminds me of: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, pdxteacher, MaikeH

    "I've been hearing whining about "Adam and Steve" at least since the early 1990s (I think it was a favorite rhetorical flourish of B-1 Bob Dornan, of accursed memory), but for me the connotation it calls to mind goes back a decade earlier. To 1982-83, to be exact, and the 4th grade. My 4th grade teacher was an absolute moron - her greatest hits included "the coyote is a member of the cat family" and "RSVP stands for 'Respond Soon Very Promptly'" among others, every word of her ignorance delivered in a thick New Hampshire accent that (apologies to my fellow Granite Staters) has ever since been a symbol of dumbness and incompetence to me. And every time some religious whack-job informs us that "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," I hear it in Mrs. L's voice. It's funny how sometimes we can draw comfort and amusement from bigotry.

    Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

    by RamblinDave on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 07:34:14 AM PDT

  •  And the next two humans (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, SouthernDemRon, MaikeH

    were Cain and Abel, not Cain and Mabel. So what?

    The thing about changing the world... Once you do it, the world's all different. (Joss Whedon, BtVS Season 8 "The long way home")

    by sab39 on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:09:18 AM PDT

  •  You never know. (6+ / 0-)

    Some of those silent attendees might have been tuning you in rather than been there for the pastor. You might have started someone on a journey out of the closet. Good show, guys!

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by deebee on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:26:39 AM PDT

  •  The Fig Leaf Phenominon (0+ / 0-)

    It's not that "Xians are BAD" ... clearly there are any number of more or less liberal churches ... extremely liberal congregations  ... and heroically progressive individuals who can be fitted under the classification "Christian."

    ( Some Quakers and Unitarians might want to discuss "what do you mean by 'Christian',  ... but still, for the purposes of this discussion -- Jesus,  and not for example,  Confucius is their Ideal and reference for Perfection.)

    But here's the problem: when push comes to shove the tendency of the Majority is to close ranks around those who in some way resemble them, rather than side with odd and alien critics who in no way do.

    So ... while no one REALLY sympathizes with Westboro Church or Cult Davidian ... STILL ... "godless drunken Public School fairies like Christopher Hitchens really shouldn't ought say stuff like that!"

    Which says to me that "the Moderate" and even many of the Progressive have more fellow-feeling for the more objectionable outliers of the Jesus-Believers than they do for the "outsider" critics.

    With a few noteworthy exceptions ... Rev. Barry Lynn comes to mind ... they are happy to go on doing good themselves and let the Religious Right work out its own salvation its own way -- leaving overt criticism thereof to those "not of the Body."

    So ... you betchum bootum tax money will flow from the common coffers to politically connected Church schools, building funds, and public social services

    I mean ... "why not?"

    "They MEAN well"

    Too bad about that contraceptive access thingie in the ACA.  The Archdiocese of New York will not have it so!

  •  I really enjoyed reading (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SouthernDemRon, tikkun, WakeUpNeo

    this diary and all the comments.  Wonderful that you guys went in to meet with these folks.

    I agree with some of the other posters that you never know just how far-reaching your efforts may be. Someone was listening, and someone may change.

    Wow and thank you for what you started there!

  •  CS Lewis, I think, said... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Heretic

    Religion is for the person who wants to be a better person tomorrow than they are today.

    The drive toward moral improvement, toward a more ethical life takes some down some strange paths, and others down very bad ones.

    My only point here is such stories remind me: People do try to see a better path, using the lamps handed them or - this being something I have a problem with - so thoughtfully upheld by people who do their thinking for them.

    It does not make the yearning to be better tomorrow than the day before any less noble a quest, just a more frustrating and too-often tragic a one.

  •  God loves you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brouski, tikkun

    for what you have done.

  •  quibble (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MaikeH, tikkun
    men who wrote a collection of books in an era barely evolved from our living in caves couldn’t POSSIBLY understand the complexities of human sexuality
    Men understood human sexuality perfectly well then and at any other time.  All of the cultures preceding and surrounding Jesus-era palestine had sexual mores and practices that were at best orthogonal to each other.  The Greeks viewed homosexuality as a stage in life, a pastime or a form of mentorship (with some distinctions depending on the city-state).  The Romans hardly considered it a capital crime.  Hell, there is a reason why Roman histories are often rated R to X.  They gave a go to anything that didn't kill you, and some things that might.  Persians generally disapproved (at least in public, dandyish metrosexuals that they were) but the Babylonians considered it just fine.  Hell the first written cultural/religious epic, Gilgamesh, is a bromance with not-subtle hints that could hardly be missed by literate people of any era.  

    Jesus did not leave out homosexuality out of ignorance, he ignored it because he had more important things to talk about.   If Timothy did not like it, that is a problem for fundamentalist Timothyists to work out.  

    Tom Frank was a pseudo that I coined before I found out about that guy who writes books.

    by Tom Frank on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:07:29 AM PDT

  •  Did you ask about unicorns? (0+ / 0-)

    If the Bible is true, then does that mean that unicorns existed at the time of Jesus? Afterall....

    Psalm 29:6
    Psalm 92:10
    Job 39:9
    Job 39:10
    Numbers 24:8
    Numbers 23:22

  •  They cannot understand until... (0+ / 0-)

    The accept that it is not a "lifestyle," it is part of life.

    "An egg is not poultry.” Brilliantly insightful comment on the notion that a zygote can in any sense be "a person."

    by carbonman1950 on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:36:59 AM PDT

  •  I was once invited to a bible study group (0+ / 0-)

    to offer an atheist's view of the topics. It did not go well. Every person there wanted to say that jesuslovesthemyestheyknowcausethebibletellsthemso and none of them wanted to talk about why the Athenians welcomed a god that didn't need a temple built for him; after I had given my thoughts, (because they welcomed all gods, because not having to build yet another temple sounds like a saving of municipal funds) no one wanted to say anything in front of the devil worshipper. And one woman grabbed her kid out of my reach so fast she made the little girl cry in pain.

    I was absolutely disgusted with them, and when the minister asked if I would come back next week I laughed in his face and told him he had some serious work to do with his flock.

  •  I just had an extremely stupid Facebook exchange (0+ / 0-)

    with a kid I knew in real life. We picketed together.

    Suddenly, he is spewing all this "gay is a sin" bullcrap, so I poked him with sticks on Facebook.

    After a long and pretty stupid (on his part) exchange I was ultimately

    1. Accused of being part of the "atheist religion."
    2. Accused of approving racial profiling because some atheist publicly approved it.
    3. ultimately annoyed by that "hate the sin love the sinner" garbage he was spewing.

    There is no 'atheist religion,' atheists don't all think alike and have the same opinions any more than Christians do.  When I pointed out that Hitler was a Christian, he unfriended me. But not before bawwing about how we were friends before he opened his face to spew Christian bigotry out his pie-hole.

    "Can't we just ignore this argument and keep on being friends?"

    No. You're a bigot and a tool and a douche. I am not friends with your kind of ilk.

    THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN CONTROL PEOPLE IS TO LIE TO THEM. You can write that down in your book in great big letters. -- L. Ron Hubbard Technique 88

    by xenubarb on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:36:43 AM PDT

  •  Everybody knows it's not Adam and Steve (0+ / 0-)

    It's Adam and STEPHEN.

  •  Excellent diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    While you might not have changed his world view, perhaps you planted the seed in his brain to make him re-think his position, and perhaps, as my mother would say, become a more evolved person.

    One way to choke out hate, prejudice, and bigotry is with polite, intelligent debate. I for sure know I wouldn't have the patience to do what you did. :)

    "Freedom comes at the price of eternal vigilance."

    by Liberal Heretic on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 02:06:54 PM PDT

  •  You Could Attend One of Many Tolerant Churches.... (0+ / 0-)

    I know you wouldn't have the same dialogue, but it's worth noting that there are plenty of Christian denominations welcoming to folks who happen to be gay.

    I know that isn't as fun for some of the happy atheists around here, but it's true.

  •  Christian love? (0+ / 0-)

    I get such a kick out of bigoted xians who haven't got the first clue about how nature works. They don't get it that no gay person would make the choice to be gay. In this homophobic society of ours, they, themselves, will confirms that. So my question to all these bigoted, homophobic, holier-than-thou xians is, "If sexual orientation is a matter of choice, when, exactly, did you decide to be heterosexual?" If that "choice" applies to gays, then it also applies to straights. But then again, if you believe the ridiculous creation story as a defense, then there is no hope for you in the first place.

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