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The Book of Ghinedu: Prostituion and Papal Hypocrisy

March 04, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Religion

Papal Gay Sex Scandal and HypocrisyThe following is inspired by the recent gay sex scandal of the Roman Catholic Church – or more specifically, of the papal house. It was recently revealed that a member of the house was actively seeking male prostitutes – not to save their souls, but to lay with them as they say we should lay with woman.  You may recognize some of the phrases below from the Book of Job, chosen because that book dealt with Job’s struggles with Satan which I feel has an interesting metaphorical relationship with the LGBTQ’s community struggle with (and within) the Catholic church.  For the “story” of the sex scandal, I encourage you to read this post at thenewcivilrightsmovement.com.

The Book of Ghinedu (the Choir Boy).

Now there was a day when the choir boy, Ghinedu, at the Vatican called upon the prostitutes of the land to present themselves before the papal houseman but hypocrisy came also among them.

And the papal houseman said unto Ghinedu, “Whence bringest us our homosexuals so that we may lay with them before condemning them?” Then Ghinedu answered the papal house, and said, “From going to and fro I have found the men you have requested to lay with and go down upon them.”

And the papal houseman said unto Ghinedu, “Thou hast done well in the eyes of our hypocrisy and we shall pay thee well for thy services,” and the papal houseman considered those that were brought and chose the perfect and an upright man, one that liketh being on top and would remain silent?

But the investigators were listening and exposed the hypocrisy, saying unto the Vatican, “How doest thou continually commit the sin while damning the sinner?” But the Vatican hath no answer and delivered unto the investigators more hypocrisy by the work of their blooded hands.

It was the same whence the homosexuals had put forth their hand and asked unto the Vatican, “Doest thou not realize they words are causing us death ?” And the Vatican responded to those that are the homsoexuals, “Thy face and they hands are cursed and thou shalt never touch all that he hath.”

But the Vatican was not speaking of the Lord “he” but instead of the prostitute he and touched him only after paying the man with gold given to them by the congregation. And the homosexuals said, “You’ve got to be f-ing kidding me.”

Evangelical Church Moves to be Accepting of Gay Parishoners

December 22, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Religion

Rainbow Jesus - Are Evangelicals changing their minds?Although it is unlikely that the mainstream Assembly of God church will change their view that LGBT people are damned to hell and therefore, not worthy of civil equality (let’s face it, that’s the argument, plan and simple), one church, the Highland Assembly of God near Denver, CO, has opened its doors to openly gay and lesbian attendees.  But when Pastor Mark Tidd proclaimed the evangelical church a welcoming place, he lost more than just a few members of the church.

But Tidd isn’t phased by the protests from the mainstream Assembly of God church against his inclusive ideas, he states:

Our position is not one of lenience, but a matter of justice.

And therein, Tidd responds to the actuality of the gay debate in the United States.  Religion is imposing its ideology on the meek – but it should be a matter of justice.  Does Pastor Tidd’s movement indicate that the church may start recognizing the difference between social justice and persecution in the name of religion — or is their little hope that mainstream evangelicals will ever see the light?

Unfortunately, because evangelical history, at least in the United States, sends mixed messages, those questions can’t easily be answered.  Although the evangelical churches for the most part no longer preach that blacks are soulless and cursed by Ham as they once did, they still preach that a woman should serve man.  In some cases, extending those teachings further to prohibit women from wearing jeans or cutting her hair.

Perhaps what we will see is a slow migration in the evangelical church, as with that of women’s rights, where evangelicals will no longer seek to impose legislation restricting women from wearing jeans or cutting their hair and recognize such laws as strictly religious, not civil.

As the bumper sticker on the minivan in front of me this morning read: “Want to live in a country rule by religion? Move to Iran.

There was a Time when Jesus Tried to Kill Me

December 03, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Religion

Little Ole MeI first started begging for death at 14 years old.  Oddly, the same thing that led me down the path to pleading for death was the very thing that saved my life – religion.  I knew what was considered a “sin” by the church (which in my family amounted to anything other than being miserable): no shorts for men, no haircuts for women, no playing cards, no alcohol, no cigarettes, no sex until marriage, no jewelry other than a wedding ring, no cussing, no taking of one’s own life (or the lives of others) and don’t forget to say your prayers.  It seemed there were so many things I wasn’t allowed to do without being damned for all eternity.  But there was one thing no one told me – homosexuality is a sin.  This oversight was likely due to the fact that sex was never mentioned in church or otherwise.

I knew though, from society, that being a queer or a sissy was bad.  That fact was echoed every time my older brother’s friends decided they wanted to play a game of “Smear the Queer,” which translated into, “Beat the hell out of Jay.”  It’s important to note that I was not taught religion at a church so much as I was taught religion from my family.  On visits to my evangelical family, church was always on the agenda.  I did embrace the Bible (KJV), Jesus, God and even angels.  I had convinced myself that I had a set of guardians (the angelic ones) watching out for me and no matter what happened, no harm would come of me.  I prayed several times a day, faithfully studied Bible text and occasionally put a televangelist on the TV to listen to the gospel [music that is].

That’s how it happened.  I was flipping channels and stopped on a televangelist.  The music was the first thing to catch my attention, then the preacher began to speak, “Man shall not lie with man as he does a woman, the Bible says it, folks.”  His words were followed by a splash screen reading: LEV. 18:22.  I ran to my bedroom and grabbed my blue bound Bible with my name in silver letters embossed on the cover, a gift from my aunt.  It took seconds for me to find Lev. 18:22 and read the text:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

I didn’t bother reading 18:21 or 18:23.  I stood there in shock.  I had been trained that preachers don’t lie, that the Bible was the inerrant word of God and every detail of it should be followed letter by letter.

I spent the next several days tormenting myself over that quote.  Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet yet and asking someone about it would be like telling them that I’m a queer.  It was better not to speak of these things and pray away the sin.

But it wasn’t working.  I found my thoughts drifting to a day when I would find my knight in shining armor waiting to take me away and live happily ever after, then switching to darker thoughts and debates about to kill myself with pills or by slicing my wrists.  As days turned into months, the thoughts grew more frequent.  Between daydreaming about my future lover and wondering which method of death would be the simplest, there was no room for other adolescent tasks.  I became increasingly withdrawn until finally, I was near anti-social.  I decided at that point that I had to make a firm decision and stick to it.  My options were: (1) live a life of sin; or (2) kill myself.  But suicide, as mentioned above, was a sin. Regardless of which option I chose, I was doomed to an eternity of hell.

Eventually, I was able to rationalize my doom.  If I chose to kill myself, my eternity in hell would start immediately; however, if I choose to live a life of sin, I could buy myself some time on earth and have a little fun in the process.  You would think at this point that morality would become moot.  If I was going to hell, I might as well lie, cheat, steal and even kill.  But that’s not the way it happened.  In spite of being banished from heaven, I’ve yet to commit any of the major no-no’s.

As I questioned religion, God, Jesus, the Bible and all that I’d been taught, I began educating myself on other religions, other cultures and other beliefs.  I had come out of the closet and was no longer afraid to ask questions.  I asked questions like, “What does your religion say about homosexuals?”  I sought out a religion that agreed with my idea of morality, life and harmony – one where cutting your hair, wearing make up or playing cards was perfectly sinless and considered micromanaging.

Finding a religion that matched my beliefs turned out to be impossible.  While the Wiccan principle of “harm none” was perfect, I found the sacred elements and invocations exhausting and a bit to “Dungeons and Dragons” for my taste.  I really liked bacon at this stage in my life, so becoming Jewish wasn’t an option.  I’d been taught that being Catholic was the worst sin possible and I was too upset with Siddhartha Gautama’s abandonment of his pregnant wife to even consider being a Buddhist! Hinduism was far to exotic to be considered and becoming Muslim seemed like way too much prayer time.

Eventually, my quest for the perfect religion ended when I realized that I was simply regurgitating information being provided to me by leaders of varying faiths, rather than actually believing in any of it.  In fact, I never did believe in any of it – I was just taught it, like being taught to speak.

Religion is a lot like language in that respect.  Depending on who teaches you or where you are, you could speak English, Hebrew, Greek, Spanish or any multitude of differing languages and dialects.  I could have a “southern” accent or a mid-western one – it just depends upon how I was taught.  How is that different from being taught religion?  It’s not.  Religion is as created as language and only has the power and meaning assigned to it from teacher to pupil.  I do not believe that religion is untrue or false any more so than I believe language is untrue or false.  Some accents appeal to us, some do not.  Some religions are appealing, some are not.  The good news is that with enough therapy you can change an accent – or your religion.  One thing that I can’t change is my love for the man I’m lucky enough to have in my life who, unlike religion, has never meant me harm.

Many years have now past since that scared and suicidal queer kid was dismissed from my life.  I’ve since realized that although religion may have saved my life, it first tried to kill me.  I can’t imagine forgiving someone who stabbed me multiple times then sewed up the wounds, so why would I forgive religion for the damage it did to me?  Each time I hear the right wing call out that they are protecting “our children,”  I think of myself as a child and what might have been had I only been able to choose between pills and slit wrists.  I will no longer allow your God to be my burden.

My Cousin, My Hero: Why Coming Out Matters.

September 19, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Religion

shirleyBy the time I was 15 years old, I had already had my first boyfriend, kind of.  I had begun to accept that I was “gay,” but I had also experienced the sting of being a “fag.”  Society, it seemed, disapproved.  The disapproval was so great that I’d often be chased home by groups of boys on bicycles throwing rocks at me and calling me “fag.”

I remember walking home from school one day at 12 years old and coming across the one person in that small Arkansas town I thought I could call friend.  She was interracial; and like me, she was the “only one in the village.”  She was well accepted in a town that was overwhelmingly white and entirely protestant.  As her story was told to me, her mother had been raped by a black man, and decided, rather than succumb to the sin of baby murder, to have the child; this interracial child.  Because her mother wasn’t willing, the town’s people felt it was “o.k.” to allow a “negro” there.

One day, I walked up to her smiling and laughing about a recent experience in the classroom, she looked at me and screamed, “Get away from me, you faggot.”  That was society’s doing.  She was taught that I was worthless.  I was rejected even by those that were rejected.

I often think of that every time I hear someone say, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”  At 12 years old, I was a virgin, had never kissed another boy and certainly wasn’t ready to do so.  I had not sinned, but I was hated.

Go forward again to 15 after I’d escaped back to the “big city” of San Antonio, Texas and you’d find me sitting in my room talking on the phone with various girlfriends.  We’d usually be on a three-way call and sometimes four or five people would be on conference together using a pre-determined three-way calling chain.  I’d call Jen, who would call Jeremy, who would call Cathy and so forth and so on.  What the girls on the call didn’t know is that sometimes Jeremy and I would talk without them on the line.  We’d laugh and carry on, flirting mercilessly with one another.

My first “gay” kiss was with Jeremy.  He was 2 years my senior and so much wiser.  The result was that Jeremy was ready to come out, and decided to take me with him – unbeknownst to me.

Imagine my surprise the next morning at school when I found that my carefully planned disguise/girlfriend, Emily, was now fully aware that I had a “boyfriend.”  Imagine my horror to discover that many of my friends had been taught the same way as those in the small town of Arkansas and I was again, “fag.”  I cut all ties with Jeremy and hid myself away until finally, my mother advised we were moving.  God was smiling down to save me and back to the closet I went, safe from the torment.

I had a bit of a social shut down.  At my new school, I dared not attempt to make friends, they would find out.  Society hated me.  Society was my enemy.

I had been raised around a highly evangelical family.  God was invoked for nearly every situation.  Whatever it was, it was in his hands. But still, I hadn’t been told anything like, “being gay is a sin.”  I was wholly (or holy) unaware that God hated me as well.  I found solace in God and heaven and knew I could endure the torment some day, if I just had enough faith in God.  I was almost ready to tell the world again; to come out.  With Jesus as my companion, I would prevail.

Then I turned on the T.V. one day to see a televangelist smiling down his nose at me.  His words spoken, then flashed onto the screen, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.”  As the Bible reference appeared, I went running to my room, devastated. I read the words in Leviticus 18:22 from the perspective of a 15 year old boy whose only true friend was Jesus.  My friend, it seemed, had betrayed me.  There was no one left to love me because I was gay.

I could go on about the countless nights of tear-stained pillows, the chronic depression and suicidal thoughts carefully hidden away least someone find out why I was so depressed.  I could tell you about my prayers where I begged God/Jesus to let me die in my sleep.  I dared not commit the sin of taking my own life or live the sin of being a gay man, but that is not the point.

God, the supreme power, the one that we all are told we can turn to when life brings us down, was off-limits to me.  Society rejected me and God rejected me.  I was out of options — or so I had been taught.

Then I went to visit my extended family.  My cousin was a few years older than me and we’d always been fairly close growing up.  We went running around the town without a mission or purpose with her girlfriend.  I knew she was a lesbian thanks to rumors from the family, but she’d never told me herself.  That night she did tell me and I suddenly wasn’t alone.

That’s another one of the many reasons why Harvey Milk was right.  We have to come out.  We have to tell people.  We have to let kids that are in that dark place know that they aren’t alone, that not everyone hates them, that God has not abandoned them and that we will not abandon them.  We have to keep them safe.

Thank you, Shirley, for unwittingly saving my life.

Gay & Lesbian Mormons to Hold Conference in Salt Lake City: Affirmation Conference 2009

September 16, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Community Outreach, Featured, Religion

affirmation“The View From Here” conference, hosted by Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons, is being held September 18 – 20, 2009 in Salt Lake City.  That’s this weekend for my Utah friends that haven’t registered.

Some of the speakers and the lineup at the conference include:

According to their website:

Thirty years ago, the four chapters of Affirmation: Gay Mormons United, Matt Price’s vision brought to reality two years earlier, met to form a new organization, international in scope, to be called Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons. Matt’s vision is clearly visible in the view from here, as is that of the Father of Affirmation, Paul Mortensen. Affirmation Conference 2009.

Pre-registration has expired, so to register as a walk-in, please email david@affirmation2009.com to let them know you’re coming.  Registration fees are modest considering the wealth of information available.

If you’ve ever doubted the need for faith reconciliation, even within the LDS Church, I hope you will join me tonight on Closet Talk when I speak with David Baker, a gay man who has decided to stay in the Mormon faith.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: There Are No Pro-Gay Scriptures

September 10, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Religion, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysThe Promise Metropolitan Community Church, along with 4 other churches in North Texas are sponsoring a Pro-Gay billboard campaign where they are using snippets of Biblical text to show that Jesus would not discriminate.

The billboards have sparked outrage from many other Christian organizations for their use of the scripture to support love and tolerance rather than spawn more hatred, hostility and murders.

In response to the billboards, one self-described Christian had this to say:

I’m hard pressed to find that scripture advocates that it’s alright to live in a gay lifestyle. Just like I’m hard pressed to find that scripture advocates that’s it’s alright to live in an adulterous relationship or as a wife abuser or as a murderer.

– Pastor Sam Dennis, of Parkway Hills Baptist Church in Plano, TX.

Instead of focusing on the Pastor’s very derogatory comparison of gays to murderers and bullies, I’m going to try to be a bit more proactive and educate him.  Anything can be found in the scripture – in fact, scripture has even been used to excuse racism!  Let’s look at some of the text on the billboards and the supporting Bible passages:

Billboard: “David loved Jonathan more than women.” – Samuel 1:26

Biblical Text: I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. – KJV

Billboard: “Jesus affirmed a gay couple.” Matthew 8:5-13

Biblical Text: And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,And saying, Lord, my servant [pais] lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.  KJV [pais in ancient Greek was used to refer to a same-gender partner]

There are many more examples and explanations of biblical support for loving same-gender relationships at wouldjesusdiscriminate.org.   Perhaps, if Christianity, and our Pastor friend, were more about love, tolerance, life, liberty, happiness and respect, everyone would be a “Christian.”  Unfortunately, everything is subject to interpretation and many “Christians” follow the flock off the cliff rather than open their hearts and minds.

For more informatino on the billboard campaign, please visit: wouldjesusdiscriminate.org.

NOTE: For more of the column, Stupid Things People Say About Gays, click here.

Business As Usual May Mean No More Southern Baptists.

June 24, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Religion

southernbaptistconventionThe Southern Baptist convention made no apologies for breaking its 127-year relationship with the Fort Worth Baptist church because the relationship was breached due to the Fort Worth church’s lenient stance on homosexuality.

Apparently, allowing homosexuals to be members of the church is a no-go for the Southern Baptist Convention.  Although seminary president, Danny Akin, will readily admit (and in fact has said), “Business as usual is not working” for the Southern Baptists, it looks like it is business as usual for this elitist organization of right-wing conservatives.

Now, I’ve always thought Baptists were the most hypocritical of all religious groups.  Central to this belief is their ability to sin one day and repent the next so that they can continue sinning later and repent again.  It’s a vicious circle, but not uncommon from my experience with Southern Baptists – which is a very vast experience crossing not only personal, but also professional, bounds.

But they’ll continue with business as usual and fight such important battles as whether or not to boycott Walt Disney, whether women should be allowed to preach the gospel, whether wives should “submit graciously” to their husbands, whether they should screen out the missionaries who speak in “tongues” and other issues central to the downfall of American society, like gays.

So, here’s to you Southern Baptist Convention for continuing business as usual – may it lead to the ultimate downfall of your organization as you exclude yourselves out of business.

See:  Southern Baptists eject Fort Worth church over gay issues – On Deadline – USATODAY.com.

Why Pat Roberston Can Have Heaven.

June 22, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Religion

heavenWhen I was young we would play “the telephone game.”  Essentially, a large group of people would get together and one person would start with a phrase like, “The portal opened up into a new dimension.”  That would be whispered to the next person, who would whisper it to the next and so on and so forth until it gets to the last person.  The last person would then say the phrase out loud and it would almost inevitably lead to a huge roar of laughter.  What was, “The portal opened up into a new dimension,” would now be, “The turtle suffered from severe dementia.”

The telephone game wasn’t intended to be one where you intentionally changed what was said, it was something that happened.  It happened because someone would mishear a word or part of the phrase and assume what it was.  It happened because no matter how hard we try to tell a story exactly as it happened, we alter it based upon our own perceptions.

To me, much of the Bible is like the telephone game.  Obviously, if Adam and Eve were indeed the only humans on Earth, there were no scribes to write down events as they happened.  Therefore, one would assume that Adam and/or Eve relayed the stories to their sons (either before or after the incestuous relationships resulted in the populating of Earth).  In turn, their sons would relay the stories to their children, and so it goes from generation to generation until someone decides to write the story down.  Therefore, it’s very possible that Adam was actual Allen and Eve was actually Eva.

Thus, when I hear someone like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell or John Hagee or any other evangelical minister using the word “truth” to describe the words in the Bible, it strikes a very unnerving chord on my internal piano – something you may hear just before someone is attacked in a horror movie.  I often think of Pat Robertson and his lot as Don Quixotes in that their quest is driven by their inability to distinguish fact from fiction, or more particularly, belief from truth.

For an example that relates to this site and myself, many evangelicals take the position that God’s truth is that “man shall not lie with another man as he does a woman.”   But is that true?  Is it true that God said this?  The Bible says this, but did God speak those words to a crowded gymnasium?  Did something get lost in the repetition, translations — in the telephone game?

In fact, Cardinal Bellarmine once taught God’s truth and said:

To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin.

Another example of Christian “truth” was far more horrific.  In fact, Christian ministers used to preach that black people didn’t have souls and were cursed, hence the color of their skin.  One minister, R. Furman (a Baptist) had this to say:

The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example.

The minister is right, there is slavery in the Bible, but does that mean it is God’s truth that we should have slaves?

But sometimes, even the ministers disagree as to what God’s truth is:

God gave the savior to the German people.  We have faith, deep and unshakeable faith, that he [Hitler] was sent to us by God to save Germany. — Hermann Goering

Many of those people involved in Adolf Hitler were Satanists, many were homosexuals — the two things seem to go together. — Pat Robertson

The point here is that those people that claim God’s truth don’t really know it to be truth anymore than I know what is true when it comes to God.  I know what I believe; I believe there is no God.  I believe that if there is a God and those people like Hermann Goering, Adolf Hitler, Pat Robertson, R. Furman, Jerry Falwell and all the other Don Quixotes are going to Heaven – I don’t want to go.  It’s bad enough I have to spend life on earth with that sort of ignorance. The last thing I want to do is spend eternity with it.

God, Organized Religions and Gay.

June 13, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Commentary, Community Outreach, Religion

religious toleranceIn the fight for equal rights for LGBT folks, gay activists are often confronted with religious groups who are anti-gay. Some of these groups are very vocal and have also poured a lot of money into convincing legislators and everyday citizens that our world will be destroyed if we give equal rights to gay people.

Obviously, I don’t believe this or I wouldn’t be here blogging on a gay man’s website. But it does raise the question: Are all religious groups like this? We all personally know Christians who are gay or support gay rights. I attend the United Church of Christ, an open and affirming church, which I have seen described as a left of left cult that isn’t even Christian. Clearly, these individuals haven’t taken the time to familiarize themselves with this denomination or they would know what good people these are.  Gee, kind of like…… they don’t know any gay people so it’s ok to dehumanize them too.

What about other denominations? Where do they stand on gay rights? The answer is there is a growing movement in literally every denomination that supports gay rights.

The Lutheran Church, that one started by Martin Luther that gave us Protestant faiths, as in Protest, has been making progress toward the acceptance of lesbians and gays. These Lutheran churches are called Reconciling in Christ. I was pleased and surprised to see this in today’s news.

The Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America oversees Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. ……The resolution showing support for gay clergy and their relationships was approved in a 238 to 183 vote. The synod also passed a statement on human sexuality that calls for a “greater understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

“I am old enough to remember when pastors being held to a higher standard meant that if you were divorced, not only did you have to suffer that pain, but you could no long be a pastor in the church,” said Rev. Dale Sillik of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lilburn.

“Thankfully the church looked deeper and wider into what our Lord said, and found Christ in the grace to see beyond those words, to the truth that God had given those people to ministry.”

First, I want to point out this is happening in the Deep South, which is perceived as the most intolerant of gay people. I truly applaud these Lutheran ministers. They have looked into their hearts to find truth and compassion. I think that last sentence says it all. “the grace to see beyond those words…”

Reading more deeply into the meaning of words is a reoccurring theme as humans become more enlightened. We read deeper and deeper into our Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. We didn’t stay frozen in time, accepting slavery, accepting that only white men with property have rights. We read more deeply into the words. Some people believe that the Bible came directly from God. I don’t believe this. I believe the Bible was written by humans, greatly influenced by their culture and ability to understand the world in the context of the times.

Before we examine how faith and religious organizations are changing in our world, let’s look at this concept that the Bible is carved in stone (no offense Moses). These quotes are from a website Fundies Say the Darndest Things.

“To say the Bible was written by men and may contain inaccuracies completely contradicts the word of the Bible. “

“Make sure your answer uses Scripture, not logic.”

“If your original Hebrew disagrees with my original King James — your original Hebrew is wrong. If your original Hebrew agrees with my original King James, your original Hebrew is right. “

Well, these are opinions and all I can do is point out that the statements are absurd. Let’s examine a claim by one poster who cites Bible passages to prove their point. Now we’re getting somewhere.

The Fact the Earth is Flat is not my opinion, it is a Proved Fact! While all we need to know is that the Bible says the Earth is flat (Is.40:22, Ez.7:2, Dn.2:35; 4:10-11,20, Mt.4:8)… but for a second can you imagine what these so-called ‘scientists would have us believe — If the earth really was round, that would mean there arre (sic) people who are HANGING DOWN, HEAD DOWNWARDS while we are standing head up.

I have my both my childhood Bible and my husband’s childhood Bible. Mine is the original King James version from 1600 while my husband’s is revised. (GASP!).  I looked up every single chapter and verse in this quote. Let’s look at Dn 2:35, which is Deuteronomy. My book says “Only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves and the spoil of the cities which we took.” My husband’s says “Only the cattle we took as spoil for ourselves, with the booty of the cities which we captured.” It might be me, but that doesn’t seem to say anything about the earth being flat.

Two of the quoted verses do mention the earth. One, Matthew 4:38 says, in my Bible says , “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world”. The other verse is Ezekiel 7:2 which says “thus saith the Lord God unto the land of Israel; An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land”.

From this, would you conclude that the earth is flat? Or could there be other interpretations? You might be thinking, of course the earth isn’t flat. You didn’t address the Bible verses that say being gay is wrong. No, I haven’t. But I will. Just as soon as I can find a reputable theological source on those verses. So for now, you will have to stay in suspense. Besides, you already know….. that no matter what I find as the original words and intent, I will still consider those the words of people writing in the context of their time. In other words, nothing will make me believe them. So is it worth my time and yours for me to address those? Let me know.

Now, that we’ve had our Saturday fun, let’s move on to the more serious topic at hand. Can a person be gay and be a Christian, or be a member of an organized religion? Of course.  Believing in a supreme being isn’t about sexual orientation. It’s about your belief in how the universe was created, what makes it tick. Many straight people are atheists or agnostic. There is no moral advantage to believing in a supreme being or any organized religion. Many of my close friends are atheists or agnostic and they are the most caring people I have ever known.

Whether you are straight or gay, this is my message for you. Each of us goes through life on our own journey, our own path. Be true to yourself. Your whole self, from flesh to mind to heart to spirit. If we all embrace the values of compassion and respect, seeking understanding and acceptance of others, the world can benefit from our diversity. I go to church because our minister has a way of making me feel better about myself. I find his sermons enlightening and they touch a part of my being. I go to be part of a group of people that actively help others in our community and far away places. I don’t go because I’m afraid of God’s judgment or hell. I don’t need the threat of punishment in order to behave with values. If you are seeking a spiritual life, gay or straight, I hope you use your heart and look inwardly to find that guidance, rather than being afraid of words that have been written, translated, rewritten and retranslated. If God did speak to people 2000 years ago, why can’t s/he speak directly to you?

I’ve collected websites from many faiths that support LGBT folks, as well as links to the work that HRC and GLAAD are doing with different faiths. I believe that every day, we will see more and more clergy and faiths stepping forward to speak up for gay rights.

Christian (general):

Worldwide Directory of Open and Affirming churches

Metropolitan Community Churches

Jewish:

Aleph

GLBT Jews

Hindu:

Galva 108

Catholic:

Dignity USA

Presbyterian – More Light Presbyterians:

MPL.org

Various churches:

http://www.operationrebirth.com/affirmingchurches.html

http://www.lafof.org/P20-Links.html

Mormon:

http://mormonsformarriage.com/

Lutheran – Reconciling in Christ:

LCNA.org

Methodists:

Umaffirm.org

Baptists:

Rainbow Baptists

Episcopalian:

Integrity USA

Quaker:

FLGBTQC – quaker.org

GLAAD:

GLAAD (faith information)

HRC – Human Rights Campaign:

HRC’s Religious Information

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlGeekgirl is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles.

Christians Support Atheists for Jesus? A WTF Moment.

May 01, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Religion

Atheists for JesusI recently stumbled across this article, F-Words: The future of atheism is religion, which quotes another blog at BoingBoing on “Big Tent Atheism”.

I think closeted atheists who participate in other religious activities are the future of atheism. They know that prayer feels good without a needing brain scientist to tell them, and they know you don’t need God to want to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and provide homes for the orphaned. What if they simply stopped reciting the words that they didn’t agree with during religious services, without calling attention to it? In many places I don’t think they would be kicked out or turned upon and beaten just for that.

As a gay man and an atheist I find the above very disturbing.  Although I’m well aware that my “religion,” unlike my sexual orientation, is a belief with no foundation in fact (something a significant portion of Christians could use a dose of), I still feel as though pretending to pray would be as vile as pretending to be heterosexual and it would likely invoke the same nausea.

There is a certain level of hypocrisy that I refuse to breach.  Sitting quietly by while others pray is one thing, but I draw the line at reciting the rosary with anyone – leaving out words or not.

There is also something I know that apparently the author of the above was unaware – prayer doesn’t feel good to me, it’s actually sometimes uncomfortable and almost always leads to comments about how I did not pray.  Prayer for me is less fulfilling than standing in front of the mirror talking to myself.  If prayer were fulfilling, perhaps I would not be an atheist.

There have been many occasions where those around me have joined hands to pray, say the rosary or offer a blessing over their meal – I do live in Texas after all.  Each time I’m in that situation, I make it a point not to lower my head, not to appear to be muttering words to nothing and to remain very quiet and very still.  While I respect their religious choice, I will not “pretend” to be of the same persuasions and beliefs anymore than I would expect them to pretend to be homosexual if they were not.

Perhaps I feel so strongly about this because I spent so many years pretending to be a heterosexual and even more years pretending to be “christian,” or perhaps I’m upset at the inference that atheist organizations wish to have “big tent” meetings and join together in some sort of celebration of … of what?  Does this author expect that atheists will form a new church, “The Church of Atheists for Jesus?”

Believing in the existence of an all powerful deity is exhausting – particularly when their are thousands of organizations claiming their way is the right way, each purportedly acting on behalf of “god.”

Yet the religious opinion seems to have been and will always be, “At least pretend to conform to the way we believe so we don’t have to hate you.”  Oh hypocrisy… didn’t Christ have something to say about that?