Category Archives: LGBT

gushee2

Why Not to Gush Over Gushee’s LGBT Views

At a LGBT conference on November 8th, 2014 Christian ethicist Dr. David Gushee gave a speech encouraging all Christians to become LGBT affirming . Some comments/quotes during the speech via twitter included:

  • Rarely am I surprised by keynote speakers on LGBT Christian issues. @dpgushee is impressive.
  • Current Christian teaching on lgbt sexuality are unChristlike teachings of contempt
  • The churches anti LGBTQ theology must be discredited just as the churches anti Semitic theology was.

The speech used an analogy between the mistreatment of Jews based on Scripture and mistreatment of LGBT people based on Scripture.  Let me first pick on my own position to demonstrate what makes for a valid analogy.

Argument: Marriage is for procreation.

What is the subject? Marriage. What is the point? The purpose of marriage is to produce children. So the LGBT proponent has a choice. They can reply with arguments or analogies. What is more effective? In this case, an analogy is the simplest way to respond.

Analogy: Should senior citizens be allowed to marry?

What is the subject? Senior citizen marriage.  Analogies have to be different yet strongly related to the point of an argument to be effective. What is the point? If senior citizens cannot have children yet can marry, so should same-sex couples. Is this analogy valid and effective? Yes.

It partly pains me to point out that a favorite argument of many on my side of this issue is invalid. But invalid arguments are not helping us. We need to lay them aside, on both sides, and focus on valid arguments so we all can come to truthful conclusions.

Now let’s look at Dr. Gushee’s point that to discriminate against LGBT people is similar enough to anti-Semitism that a valid analogy can be drawn. (Note: No one has a problem with justifiable discrimination – its unjustifiable discrimination that is a problem).

What biblical justification were Christians using to discriminate against Jews? Passages related to the murdering of God’s servants.

What biblical justification are Christians using to discriminate against LGBT people? Passages related to sinful sexual behavior.

Houston, we have a disanalogy. Remember what made the opening analogy valid? It related directly to the point of the argument.  Dr. Gushee’s analogy does not. Attributing sin to people for what other people did 2000 years ago is not analogous to attributing sin to peoples own actions today.  Dr. Gushee himself discriminated between what is and is not biblical sexual behavior when he said in his speech: “What is the sexual ethics standard that applies to followers of Christ? Celibacy outside of lifetime covenantal marriage, monogamous fidelity within lifetime covenantal marriage.” Biblically discriminating sexual behaviors based on ones own actions – something we can all agree on.

I am reluctant to write the following as I do not wish to offend. But Dr. Gushee did communicate in his speech that those with unChristlike teachings should be discredited. I agree and discrediting does involve stepping on some toes. Considering that Dr. Gushee is an ethics professor/scholar with advanced training and education in formal logic:

  1. If he does not know his analogy is fallacious, what does say about his ability to reason?
  2. If he does know his analogy is fallacious, what does this say him as an ethics professor?
  3. What does it say about a Christian ethics professor who calls his own decades-old position an “unchristlike teaching of contempt?”
  4. Why should one be open about how God directs them concerning LGBT issues yet Dr. Gushee “will allow no one to challenge” how God directs him? [1]
  5. What does it say that he calls for engaging the biblical text but when a leading scholar from the opposing view provides him with a chapter from his book to read he doesn’t have the time? [2]

Again, I do not write these things to intentionally offend. I am expressing these thoughts so folks who are greatly impressed with Dr. Gushee realize why others have good reasons not to be.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/11/04/im-an-evangelical-minister-i-now-support-the-lgbt-community-and-the-church-should-too/ (about 2/3 into the article)

[2] http://www.christianpost.com/news/david-gushees-gay-switch-biblical-scholarship-and-slanted-reporting-128817/

hate

What’s With All the Gay Hate?

This article addresses the question: “Why do some same-sex marriage (SSM) advocates mention the hateful motivations of their opponents so much?”  Of course there are many who oppose SSM because of their hateful motivations, but this article addresses why some might say that any and all opposition to SSM is motivated by hate.  The focus will also be specifically in regard to Christians who oppose SSM. Christians have opposed all aspects of the sexual revolution to one degree or another: contraception, pre-marital sex, no-fault divorce, abortion, co-habitation, alternative sexual relationships of all stripes. But opposition to SSM has warranted the label of ‘hateful’ no matter how civil one is about it. Why might the advocates of SSM refer to their opponents as hateful so much?

The format lists a reason and why to consider a change of mind.

Argument from Ignorance

There is more than one motivation to oppose the SSM besides hate, such as moral and/or religious convictions. To claim one knows something without facts or evidence is a fallacy called an argument from ignorance.

Consider:

  1. You don’t know if it’s true.
  2. If it’s false it is slanderous.
  3. You don’t want others doing this to you.
The Race Analogy

The thinking of many is that homosexuality is an inborn trait, just like race. Many people are motivated by hate when they discriminate against black people, therefore, peoples motivation must be the same towards gay people.

Consider:
  1. It’s a disanalogy. See here and here.
  2. There are non-hateful reasons to oppose SSM, such as morality.
  3. It’s an argument from ignorance, claiming to know others motives without actual evidence.
Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

This phrase, a favorite of Christians, is meant to communicate love yet actually communicates hate to gay people. While for most straight people their sexuality is an afterthought, for gays it’s a primary thought – an identity. As one gay person put it, “To say you love me but hate my sin is like saying to a black person you love them but hate their blackness.” There is little to no separation of sin and sinner in this regard in the mind of many gay people.

Consider:

  1. It communicates the opposite of what is intended to gays.
  2. It’s not really effective with anyone.
  3. It’s not from the Bible – there is no imperative to use it.
Hurts Gays

Gays see marriage and the acceptance it brings as having many benefits. If one does not affirm SSM, they must want to deny gays these benefits, and conclude others motivation must be hatred.

Consider:

  1. It’s self-condemning. There are others in America, i.e., incestuous, polygamist, who want the benefits of marriage yet SSM supporters oppose them. This would condemn SSM supporters as hateful.
  2. It assumes what first needs to be proved – that SSM is morally good. If one first determines SSM is immoral, the ‘hurt’ point is mute.  Nobody wants to promote immoral relationships. (Marriage is a promotion of certain sexual relationships).
  3. Morality is a paramount concept. It supersedes other arguments. No matter how well incestuous couples argue for benefits, morality will override them all.
Projection

Psychological projection occurs when people defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves, while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude.[1]

Consider:

  1. It leads to false views of others.
  2. You don’t want others to do it to you.
  3. The hatred within will harm you more than anyone else.
Bullying

Some SSM supporters will use whatever tactics available to achieve their goals. Calling others names like ‘hater, homophobe, and bigot’ is an effective means in the absence of valid arguments of bullying some people into submission.

Consider:

  1. Bullying is hateful.
  2. In light of the fact that most gay people have been terribly bullied, they and their advocates should not do the same.
  3. By your actions you are teaching others to bully.
Stereotyping

It’s always easier to stereotype someone or a group of people than to actually get to know them and represent them accurately in the face of strong disagreement.

Consider:

  1. Stereotypes are not true of everyone in a given group, therefore they are slanderous.
  2. Gay and lesbian people have been terrible stereotyped. SSM advocates should not do the same to others.
  3. It teaches others to stereotype.
Loaded Language

Loaded language attempts to influence others with manipulative wording instead of a valid arguments. Campaigning politicians are the most prevalent users of this kind of rhetoric, demonizing their opponents instead of providing valid reasons why anyone should vote for them.

Consider:

  1. It’s unkind to hateful, depending on the severity of the language.
  2. It gives the impression, and sometimes the truth, that your position is too weak to argue fairly.
  3. You don’t want others doing it to you.
Superiority

Some SSM advocates use loaded language not only to demonize their opposition but also to portray their superiority. While opponents are portrayed as haters, SSM advocates are portrayed as champions of love and compassion. It is obviously better to be a loving than hateful, therefore SSM advocates can think of themselves as better people.

Consider:

  1. It creates excessive pride.
  2. Reveals a character problem that one would needs to put others down in order to prop themselves up.
  3. You don’t want others doing it to you.
Leadership

SSM activists encourage the thought of any opposition as hateful.

Consider:

  1. This is stereotyping.
  2. This is bullying.
  3. This is arguing from ignorance.
  4. This is using  loaded language.
Conclusion

Many SSM supporters feel that the loving thing for Christians to do is affirm SSM even if it contradicts their beliefs. But this represents a serious lack of understanding of most conservative Christians. There is a saying in out culture: “go to hell.” Now this is not meant for a person to go burn in a literal place but to simply go away. It’s a hateful thing to say. Now for the conservative Christian, asking them to be in favor of SSM in contradiction to their beliefs is like asking them to literally wish gay and lesbian people to go to hell.  That is the most hateful thing imaginable to such a  Christian.

Luke 13:3,5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

1 Corinthians 13:6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.

1 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection)

think

How Shall We Think About LGBT?

Consider two friends, Jen and Amy, catching up in a coffee shop:

Jen: My daughter Jane has a new boyfriend. He’s struggling with AIDS.
Amy: Really? Have you given her any advice about him?
Jen: Yes, I told her to go with her feelings.
Or
Jen: Yes, I talked to her the health risks, her desire for a life-long marriage, and to have kids.

Which advice is more reasonable? Regarding sexual ethics, sound moral decisions are derived from the mind and mistakes are derived from the emotions. In the above example, Jane may feel like being sexual active with her boyfriend, but is it the right thing to do? Feelings should not answer this question – her intellect should.

LGBT supporters often heavily appeal to emotion to persuade people of their position.  But regarding sexual ethics, whether LGBT causes should be accepted or not, should be for intellectually valid reasons, not emotionally invalid ones.