Michael Brown responds to the Southern Poverty Law Center article on ex-gays

I posted yesterday about a Southern Poverty Law Center article, titled Straight Like Me, by Casey Sanchez, which blasted the ex-gay movement. In my post, I note several inaccurate reports. In this post, I provide a brief email interview with Michael Brown, president of the FIRE School of Ministry, who was named in a companion piece, Former Ex-gay Minister Speaks Out. I emailed Dr. Brown with some questions about these statements and he was very kind to respond quickly.  

Throckmorton: In a recent SPLC article, you are referred to as giving a keynote at the latest Exodus Conference. This subject of this article asserts that you believe the Old Testament law should be followed regarding homosexuals. Is this your belief?

Brown: Absolutely not! I am not and have never been a reconstructionist or theonomist, and if we were to put practicing homosexuals to death, we would also have to put Sabbath breakers to death, among many others. 

Throckmorton: Furthermore, in that same article, you were paraphrased as saying in that same Exodus speech that  you encouraged the audience to “give up their lives” in the fight against homosexuality. 

Brown: Out of context. What I did say was that JESUS was worth living for and dying for, and I often quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to illustrate what Jesus meant when he said that if we try to save our lives we lose them but if we lose our lives for him and the gospel, we find them. King said, “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right; a man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice; a man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.” I was encouraging those fighting unwanted SSA in their own lives to be strong in the Lord and to give themselves unconditionally to His service, then talking about the threat to our freedoms coming through an activist gay agenda as a wake up call.

Throckmorton: Could you react to the following excerpt from the SPLC article: “When you have a keynote speaker like Michael Brown, to me that’s unacceptable. It’s preaching a message of Christians not just simply opposing gay civil rights and believing a spiritual revival is necessary for this country, but actually calling on Christians to lay down their lives in a spiritual revolution to set up civil laws based on one extreme interpretation of biblical laws from the Old Testament [that calls for the death penalty for homosexuals]. It’s Christian Reconstructionism [a doctrine that calls for imposing harsh Old Testament laws on civil society], Christian dominionism. It’s abhorrent, and it’s dangerous, not just for LGBT people but for our entire society. Because if civil laws are based on [Brown]’s interpretation of the Bible, it’s not going to be a democratic society.”

Brown: Well, as a Jewish believer in Jesus and a frontline apologist, I have been accused of many things, but I don’t think I’ve been accused of calling on people to sacrifice our lives to set up OT law!  I can actually send you my power point notes from the message or get Exodus to send you the message itself. I have no clue how such a claim could be made based on my message, which completely contradicts the tone and content of my preaching. Interestingly, since the Exodus conference, I have been invited to become a regular conference speaker with Love Won Out, which is hardly known for calling for the death penalty for homosexual practice.

I was also provided with this link [Straight Like Me] in which the following was written about me: “Brown is “a millennial Jew who once described the red T-shirts worn by his ministry students at a gay rights march counter-demonstration as ‘the shed blood of Christ flowing toward the gates of hell.'” I have no idea if anyone ever said that, but it certainly was not me. Also, our red-shirted students were not part of a counter-demonstration but rather of a compassionate, one-on-one outreach during the city’s gay pride event in 2005.

I intend to send the links to the this and the other post about the SPLC article for their reaction which, if I get one, I will post.

UPDATE: Michael Brown sent a link which provides proper attribution for the quote about the red shirts and the gay pride parade. Flip Benham, head of Operation Save America wrote that in this website newsletter.

449 thoughts on “Michael Brown responds to the Southern Poverty Law Center article on ex-gays”

  1. Warren:

    A number of the regulars have left this thread and I honestly don’t think Dr. Brown will have any problems letting J. James have the last word. Please consider closing it for further comments.

  2. Michael,

    Thank you for letting me have the last word.

    I certainly have no desire to prove to someone that I’m a defender of “the faith” in this setting here.

    I don’t blame you. Your moral position is untenable.

    You now raise some larger, general questions which are outside of the purview of this blog and, more particularly, this thread

    I completely disagree. The basis for every view you have expressed in this thread and for every view which spawned this thread itself is wholly grounded in the validity of your faith. If your faith is invalid, then every single view you have expressed here is invalid and there would be no discussion at all. In that sense, it is not only entirely inside the purview of this thread, but it is the very essence of this thread.

    hence my suggestion that you contact my ministry and we will refer you to sources that will be of help.

    I fail to understand why you think I want or need your help. I don’t see you as a teacher, a friend, or a minister. I see you as a vicious enemy who merits no compassion whatsoever.

    If you are that serious about the questions, you will certainly be ready to invest the months and years of studying and researching the materials to which we will refer you. If you have already done so, I don’t expect that a few comments from me will change your views.

    I fail to understand why you think I’m looking toward you to change my views. I’m not in this for self-improvement. The way that you see gay activists is the way that I see you. You’re not just an anti-gay activist, you’re an anti-me activist. You long for a me-free world.

    So, this is the last you’ll hear from me on this, and the invitation for you to contact our ministry remains. And I would be delighted to have one of my grads speak with you by phone should you want to get into a more in-depth discussion of your questions.

    I would be delighted to turn any number of your lackeys into lukewarm doubting Thomases, but how does that help me if the act of doing so isn’t public? I completely understand why you want that conversation to be private. It’s obvious that you are in the inferior moral position with no way out. Having to publicly defend the validity of your faith in light of 1 Samuel 15:3 and Hosea 13:16 is the last place I would want to be.

    if you think I should reply to everyone in detail on every blog and thread and in every email, I will gladly put you on the list, in which case I would hope to be able to get back to you about 15-20 years from now, you now being the latest to be added to that list. 🙂

    Fifteen to twenty years seems a little soon for the public debate you never intend to have. Since you’ve so graciously given me the last word, I will gladly take the opportunity to leave the facts out here for all to see:

    Michael makes a strong moral stand against homosexuality. Michael thinks that homosexuality is wrong in all cases without exception. However, Michael has to waffle on the issues of baby murder and forced abortion. Michael must concede that those actions are sometimes morally right, even holy, because his god mandated that they be done, and this very same god is Michael’s chosen moral compass.

    This is why we should take pride and satisfaction in being hated by Michael’s god. Michael’s god is an evil and malicious god. I don’t want a god like that to approve of me. I would much rather a god like that to despise me.

    Be well,

    That’s pretty rich. If you had it your way, I would vanish from the world forever.

  3. Ann,

    Are you christian? I notice you are implying J. James’ assumption was wrong, yet you never actually said he was.

  4. Its like the Energizer Bunny – it just keeps going and going

    Jayhuck,

    Funny 🙂

    Since Dr. Brown is no longer posting here and Dr. Throckmorton is winding this thread down, I will be checking out as well.

  5. I assumed you were a Christian.

    J. James,

    Assumptions about other people do not always tell you the truth and, therefore, should not be used, especially when making accusations. When you want to be effective, it is better to present what you have to say with facts rather than assumptions. This usually plays out best by asking the question to verify the answer and then proceeding with the truth. You will be far more credible.

  6. Well that may be your impression of Dr. Brown, I (and I suspect a few others) have a very different one.

    Ken,

    It was my impression of Dr. Brown and I was grateful for the opportunity to know of him through these posts. I am aware now that you had a different impression and I respect that.

  7. Maybe if Michael had included Christianity along with rape and violence as things that wouldn’t exist in his “perfect world” then you would be able to generate some empathy for my position.

    J. James,

    Again, I am not sure what religion you are assuming I am – can you clarify that?

    My words were not meant to be condescending and I am sorry you chose to interpret them that way. They were meant to be just the opposite.

  8. Ann,

    Like I said, I do not feel qualified to answer any of these very important questions you have.

    As they say, the Bible has the answer: 1 Samuel 15:3.

    I don’t know if this will mean anything to you but I hope you at least listen to it – just because someone else says something does not mean that it has to become your reality or truth. You will always be at the mercy of another if you allow what they say to affect you the way that this has.

    Those condescending words come easily to you because there is nothing that Michael written which could be threatening to you. In short, you are his ideological ally. As you told Michael in comment #73360, “Please be encouraged – you are articulating just fine, even if it is not what others want to hear.” Maybe if Michael had included Christianity along with rape and violence as things that wouldn’t exist in his “perfect world” then you would be able to generate some empathy for my position.

    I interpreted Michael’s comments differently than you did. In a perfect world there would not be the challenges that all of us face, however, we do not have that perfect world.

    And clearly Michael sees me as a “challenge” that needs to he needs to “face” (and presumably defeat). Fine. I rise to meet his challenge.

    Where’s Micheal?

  9. James,

    A (last) quick note to you personally.

    I got involved in a specific thread for specific reasons. Our ministry receives hundreds of emails requesting direct answers from me on scores of different subjects, but I’m obviously unable to reply to them personally, and I certainly have no desire to prove to someone that I’m a defender of “the faith” in this setting here.

    You now raise some larger, general questions which are outside of the purview of this blog and, more particularly, this thread, hence my suggestion that you contact my ministry and we will refer you to sources that will be of help. If you are that serious about the questions, you will certainly be ready to invest the months and years of studying and researching the materials to which we will refer you. If you have already done so, I don’t expect that a few comments from me will change your views.

    So, this is the last you’ll hear from me on this, and the invitation for you to contact our ministry remains. And I would be delighted to have one of my grads speak with you by phone should you want to get into a more in-depth discussion of your questions.

    Again, my own schedule does not permit me to help you more than this; otherwise, if you think I should reply to everyone in detail on every blog and thread and in every email, I will gladly put you on the list, in which case I would hope to be able to get back to you about 15-20 years from now, you now being the latest to be added to that list. 🙂

    Be well,

    Michael

  10. Ann said in post 81392

    He has been more than generous and fair and patient in answering everyone’s posts and did it in a thorough and respectful way.

    Well that may be your impression of Dr. Brown, I (and I suspect a few others) have a very different one.

  11. Your god mandated his people to violently murder children and infants. Is that true or false?

    J.James,

    Like I said, I do not feel qualified to answer any of these very important questions you have. I just don’t have the credentials to answer with the integrity they deserve, nor do I have the personal knowledge. I believe there are many who can answer and Michael is one of them. As to my personal belief, I know the Bible says these things happened. I know nothing more than that, nor would I indulge myself into believing that I know. If God selected me to be the person to understand all of His ways, I do not believe I have the ability to comprehend His reasonings. If all this is too much of an explanation, then I will just say “I am not sure”.

    I don’t know if this will mean anything to you but I hope you at least listen to it – just because someone else says something does not mean that it has to become your reality or truth. You will always be at the mercy of another if you allow what they say to affect you the way that this has. Please don’t do that. Ultimately what others say have nothing to do with how you are going to live your life. Be careful who you listen to and how you chose to intrepret what they say. If they do not agree with you initially, that does not mean there cannot be common ground and further discussion. If you continue to be hostile and coercive, then discussion will shut down and you will be remembered for that instead of what you have to say which is important. You do not have to be a bully to capture someone’s attention.

    I interpreted Michael’s comments differently than you did. In a perfect world there would not be the challenges that all of us face, however, we do not have that perfect world. As to whether any of us fit into that world, I believe we all do.

  12. Ann,

    Lose the drama and hostility

    Your god mandated his people to violently murder children and infants. Is that true or false?

    My prediction: you will dodge that question and sink into more invective.

  13. Ann,

    In comment #73423, Michael wrote:

    In a perfect world, there would be no hatred, no war, no rape, no injustice, no greed, no drunkenness, no violence . . . . Perhaps we agree on this. In a perfect world, there would be no sickness, no mental illness, no barren wombs, no infertile males . . . . Perhaps we agree on this too. And in a perfect world, I would be a very different human being than I am!

    But a perfect world would be a heterosexual world, with all loving couples able to enter into a lifelong relationship through which they can produce the unique byproduct of that relationship in their biological children.

    If you feel hatred in this statement or utter rejection in this statement, I can understand why.

    A heterosexual world is a world with no homosexuals, and that quite clearly a prerequisite of Michael’s “perfect world”.

    Michael later added in comment #75783 to this by stating:

    Obviously, that still doesn’t answer the question from your perspective, one in which you would say you have no desire to change, so let me answer incrementally: Ideally, in this “perfect” world, I would not know what your sexual orientation was, since that would be a private matter.

    Clearly that leaves some things unsaid, such as, what would the penalty be for coming out? And does he support sodomy laws? Lots of Christians will take a passive-aggressive stance by saying, “Oh, I love you, I really do” and then “The law is the law!” In other words, they’re content to let the government persecute gays on their behalf, as many States did before the outcome Lawrence v. Texas (which many Christians protested).

    But that doesn’t matter now. The fact that Michael has included homosexuality along with the apparent “moral equivalents” of rape and violence as things that wouldn’t exist in his “perfect world” is enough for him to be clearly understood as someone who wishes me ill.

  14. If you would rather take Michael’s place, then by all means do so. (Answer the questions.) Otherwise, bow out of this conversation immediately and stop apologizing for him. He drew first blood, and now he must deal with the consequences.

    J. James,

    Lose the drama and hostility – they are both ineffective and do not lend to your credibility. Michael has invited you to open a personal diaglogue with him – if you want him to specifically answer your questions, do it personally, you don’t need a stage.

  15. Michael has stated on this very forum that he wishes I would vanish and that he yearns for a world in which I do not exist. He doesn’t have my best interest in mind.

    but make no mistake that Michael has clearly indicated that he longs to see me gone forever and has thus positioned himself squarely as a hostile enemy.

    J. James,

    In the spirit of truthfullness and clarity, please verify the place on this thread where Michael has said this.

  16. Ann

    I’m not interested in a dialogue with you

    I don’t blame you. You’re in a very bad position. I wouldn’t want to trade spots with you.

    Dr. Brown has indicated that due to time contraints he is not going to be posting to this thread any further. What is it about that that you do not understand and insist that he do otherwise?

    Michael can speak for himself.

    Your questions are very valid and I hope that you receive all the answers you are looking for – if not now, perhaps in the fullness of time and with maturity.

    You mistake me for someone who is looking for insight from Michael. Michael has stated on this very forum that he wishes I would vanish and that he yearns for a world in which I do not exist. He doesn’t have my best interest in mind.

    Continually say what you want and what others should be giving you at your request, is immature and not conducive to a meaningful dialogue or the desire to understand another’s point of view.

    My position is that your religion is false and evil, and I will argue for that position publicly and without compromise. I can’t see why you would call this “meaningful dialogue” from your own point of view. Christians usually view “meaningful dialogue” with non-believers as a conversation in which the non-believer listens and eventually accepts Jesus Christ as his or her personal Lord and Savior. That is certainly not my intention, as I will measure my own success in how lukewarm Michael’s faith is by the time our conversation is done. I will be polite and I will be fair, but make no mistake that Michael has clearly indicated that he longs to see me gone forever and has thus positioned himself squarely as a hostile enemy. Let Michael and I agree to polite debate over the validity of his religion and may the best mind win. Michael is permitted to ask his god for help if he so wishes.

    If you would rather take Michael’s place, then by all means do so. (Answer the questions.) Otherwise, bow out of this conversation immediately and stop apologizing for him. He drew first blood, and now he must deal with the consequences.

  17. Ken,

    That is how you see it, not Dr. Brown – I believe his request should be respected. He has been more than generous and fair and patient in answering everyone’s posts and did it in a thorough and respectful way. My guess is that if he continues to post here, it leaves open the possiblility that others will again join in and out of his kindness, he will want to repsond. He has indicated that due to time constraints, he cannot do that now. J. James has some very important questions that can be directed to the person he has specifically requested answer them.

  18. Ann said in post 81380:

    Dr. Brown has indicated that due to time contraints he is not going to be posting to this thread any further.

    I don’t see how discussing via e-mail saves a significant amount of time versus posting here.

  19. If you disagree with anything I’ve written, then I invite you to stand up for your faith. Calling me selfish and implying that I’m lazy does not reflect well upon your witness.

    J. James,

    I’m not interested in a dialogue with you – perhaps someone else is. I do not feel like I have the proper qualifications or temperment needed to discuss the things you want to. Dr. Brown has indicated that due to time contraints he is not going to be posting to this thread any further. What is it about that that you do not understand and insist that he do otherwise? That he extended a personal invitation to you was generous and in light of your questions, it might be in your best interest to write him. Your questions are very valid and I hope that you receive all the answers you are looking for – if not now, perhaps in the fullness of time and with maturity. Continually say what you want and what others should be giving you at your request, is immature and not conducive to a meaningful dialogue or the desire to understand another’s point of view.

  20. Ann,

    What a selfish thing to ask after what he just wrote you.

    You write that as if you had a non-selfish motivation in responding to me.

    Read the other 400 comments and you will have all the answers you need and want.

    I have read the entire thread. There is no post which answers my questions that I have posed to him (and to you, for that matter). I want him to answer them here and in front of everyone. I don’t understand why you would object to that kind of public defense of the validity of Christianity.

    Do your own work instead of asking someone else to do it.

    He should not be ashamed to work to defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ and neither should you. I insist that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is false and even evil, and I am ready to explain why in great detail by relying wholly upon the Bible.

    If you disagree with anything I’ve written, then I invite you to stand up for your faith. Calling me selfish and implying that I’m lazy does not reflect well upon your witness.

  21. I would much rather you answer me here so that everyone can see it. I want you to make a public defense of your faith — one that is not afraid to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    J.James,

    What a selfish thing to ask after what he just wrote you. Read the other 400 comments and you will have all the answers you need and want. Do your own work instead of asking someone else to do it.

  22. Michael,

    Thank you for responding.

    Actually, because of time constraints and the winding down of this thread, I’m checking out of this blog for now. Also, my question was specifically for Timothy when it was raised.

    That’s not important now.

    However, since you express your seriousness about these issues, please contact me through my website (www.icnministries.org; Contact Us), and I’ll be very happy to refer you to some resources that address the important questions you raise.

    I would much rather you answer me here so that everyone can see it. I want you to make a public defense of your faith — one that is not afraid to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  23. James,

    Actually, because of time constraints and the winding down of this thread, I’m checking out of this blog for now. Also, my question was specifically for Timothy when it was raised.

    However, since you express your seriousness about these issues, please contact me through my website (www.icnministries.org; Contact Us), and I’ll be very happy to refer you to some resources that address the important questions you raise.

    Thanks for understanding,

    Michael

  24. Michael writes:

    In any case, I have a simple question for you, and I appeal to you to answer me directly: Is it possible that I am right in saying that homosexual practice is sinful in God’s sight? I stress the words, IS IT POSSIBLE that I am right in saying this?

    Yes, I think homosexual behavior is condemned in the OT and in the NT.

    My question to you, Michael, is, why should I see that as a bad thing? The reason I ask this is because I do NOT, under any circumstances, want a god like yours to approve of me. Why would I write such a thing?

    Let’s dive back into scripture:

    “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” 1 Sam 15:3

    Is it possible that I’m right that your god not only approves of the violent murder of children and infants in some circumstances, but also orders his followers to do it in some circumstances?

    Let’s dive back into scripture again (I love the Bible):

    “The people of Samaria must bear their guilt,

    because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.” Hos 13:16

    Is it possible that I’m right that your god not only approves of forced abortion in some circumstances, but also orders that it be done in some circumstances?

    I look forward to your honest responses since I honestly answered your question. I am not merely trying to get under your skin by posting “gotcha!” verses from scripture. I think your god is an evil, malicious god who is not worthy of being worshipped, and I would want him to disapprove of me the same way you don’t want to be in Satan to disapprove of you. I’m serious as a heart attack about this.

  25. Warren,

    Yes, I concur in terms of this thread winding down, which was also a scheduling inevitably on my end as well. Thanks so much for the opportunity to participate, and I hope my comments have been of value to some.

    You ask for some closing thoughts on my end, and here are a few.

    I have no comments no Patrick’s final posts; I think they speak for themselves, while Eddy’s relevant comments are germane.

    For my part, I always seek to listen and learn as well to contribute in a meaningful way when engaging in serious dialogue, so I have certainly come away the better for the exchange. In all candor, however, what has been disappointing to me (after several decades of debates and dialogues with many others) is the degree of mistrust, suspicion, mind-reading, etc., directed towards me. At times it was either mildly frustrating or sadly amusing to raise a point in all sincerity only to find my motives questioned or, most recently, to be accused of a cheap debating trick or the like. In fact, it looks like we will have to wait for another time for the whole important discussion of whether one can be sure that he or she is right, or what the consequences of being wrong would mean, or how we should each proceed based on the alleged certainty or uncertainty of our knowledge, or how we should treat our “opponents” based on these same questions. I do plan, however, to raise some of these very issues in my upcoming lecture series in Charlotte (Feb. 11-15), God willing, and at that point, others will see why I felt it was so important to flesh these things out.

    On a lighter note, however, I became used to exchanges such as this in this thread: Me: “I appreciate your question and I take it seriously, but I can only say that after years of careful reflection on the issue, my conclusions are firm.” My opponent: “You close-minded bigot! How dare you claim to be right! Religious fanatics like you are always wrong!” To me, it was a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black, and Eddy’s recent note about all the tactics used against me were, from my perception, quite accurate. (At this point I can see the expected “Don’t make yourself into a martyr” post coming my way, but if I understand you correctly, we’re coming to an end here; plus, I never fashioned myself the victim in this thread, just one person trying to be fair to many serious posters.)

    Having said this, here’s what may surprise Timothy and Patrick and Jayhuck and David and others: The biggest thing I take away here is the fact that without long term, personal relationships, or, at the least, without more face to face, offline dialogue, it will be difficult for me to be trusted by these men and women. Moreover, I don’t entirely blame them for that, given their worldview, given their understanding of the “hostile” position I take, given the fact that to them, I am undermining their humanity, their civil rights, indeed, their very relationship with God, even claiming to stand in God’s place (in their eyes). Thankfully, through the years, I have built up some very solid relationships with rabbis and Jewish “counter-missionaries,” people who still oppose what I stand for but count me as a friend (and I the same with them) after being quite antagonistic to me in the past, now with genuine respect and love on both sides of the divide. I hope the same thing will happen here, and in that spirit, I make this closing comment.

    It is with care and concern before the Lord that I take any of the stands that I take, and I never do so without much introspection and, often, genuine pain, not wanting to hurt the GLBT community more than it has been hurt, not wanting to reflect my heart rather than God’s heart, not wanting to be a poor witness of Jesus, not wanting to reject those that He is affirming, and always wanting to be sensitive to the voice of the Spirit, the voice of conscience, and the voice of the disenfranchised. And while awaiting the ultimate day of accounting before God’s throne, I bring myself before Him (often daily), asking Him to examine my heart, my life, my motives, my responses, my words, my actions, praying for both mercy and forgiveness where I fall short and for courage to stand where His truth requires it, regardless of the cost or consequences. More than that, I cannot do.

    With appreciation,

    Michael

  26. Jayhuck,

    I too don’t discriminate against people, but I do make moral decisions that affect other people, as do you. Witness the recent blog here about the (non-identical) twins who were married in the UK after being separated all their lives and unaware of the other’s existence. They were required to separate by the law, which to many could seem like an act of discrimination. So, I appreciate your thoughts but do not ultimately believe it’s as simple as you make it seem.

    To me, the ultimate act of discrimination is to destroy a child in her mother’s womb, yet there are surely some posters here who would argue for the woman’s right to choose and not be disriminated against. So, once again, it’s not that simple.

    In any case, as I have stated many times before here (and as I’m sure we all agree), we must all do our best to honor God in this life and then give a final accounting to Him. May He help me and you and each of us to live in such a way that gains his approval.

    Blessings and grace,

    Michael

  27. Eddy,

    Thanks for responding – I understand now. Thank you for bringing it to my attention because I would not have read it otherwise. I think you covered everything very well in how you explained and clarified the two posts he wrote. I agree with you.

    I did not read the original article that began this thread and have been responding only to just the posts. I found Dr. Brown to be so respectful, fair, intelligent, and patient in his responses and those communications are what I know about him. I really appreciated what he wrote and perhaps it is the way I chose to interpret it that made me see it differently from others who did not agree with him. I plan to look at his website when I have more time and hope he checks in often as time permits. My posts were very personal in nature and did not reflect what I felt others should feel or do in their own lives. I hope that was clear on #80124 and 80132. I think Jag said it best when she wrote that she didn’t have to agree with someone to deeply respect them and I feel the same way.

  28. I debated letting those posts remain but allowed them through in part because I think Emproph was trying to make a point that is reasonable enough. He thinks he is right (he’s an addict) and others think they are right (they’re addicts). In my opinion, the metaphor to addiction trivializes both addiction and strongly held conviction and is thus off the mark.

    Now, this thread has been interesting but it may be about up. Let me invite all those who have been commenting to take up comments on the other threads. I want to thank Michael Brown for spending lots of time here as a new reader and commenter. Thanks to all commenters for a mostly respectful and enlightening thread.

    Are there other thoughts, Michael, that you want to close with?

  29. Every tactic in the book. Stonewalling, side-tracking, accusations, insinuations, ganging up, mind-reading, projecting, prejudging, misjudging, baiting and then, finally, Emproph’s two outrageous posts.

    Any rational reader realizes that Emproph’s quotes are inflammatory rhetoric. Picture a ‘preacher’ from the opposite side of the pendulum than Dr. Brown. So, the words are charged…intentionally. The only real connection those words have to any of us is that we seem to fit the label ‘conservative’…the writers are ranting against ‘conservatives’. Any rational reader realizes that they are ranting against a caricature, against an image.

    A rational reader will read those insinuations about our character and they’ll go up and read what’s been said in this thread. And there’s not a shred of Emproph’s charges that will make any sense.

    So, I was kinda saying “Let it roll, he’s trying to bait us”. Blog guidelines suggest that sometimes the best thing to do is not respond at all.

    Stay real!

  30. I hope that Ann and Dr. Brown also see them as a part of the larger telling picture of this thread

    Eddy,

    What is it that you want me to see and in what posts and what is the larger telling picture of the thread?

  31. Re: Piece and Peace. Thank you. I’m learning not to be fully persuaded by the numbers though. LOL! The 70,000 could be mostly ‘slackers’ who never cared much for linguistic accuracy in the first place. One picks up the bad use from the other and it spreads. I enjoy light books on the history of expressions. Looks like it’s time to shop for another.

    Re: Your other two posts.

    Priceless! You’ve demonstrated my points beautifully. I hope that Ann and Dr. Brown also see them as a part of the larger telling picture of this thread. 🙂 Peace. Out. (That one is spelled p-e-a-c-e.)

  32. Ok, let’s try it like this,

    Just throwing it out here for all of us to consider:

    The real issue with these people is not their specific faiths. It’s their addiction to thinking they are right. It’s an addiction to believing they have a corner on the market of truth. In other words, it’s an addiction to a “made-truth,” that is, to a belief that the truths they’ve created in their minds are indeed absolute truths and that everyone else must be made to believe in the same truths lest they perish.

    They are addicts. And like other addicts, they do not respond to logic or sound arguments. Like other addicts, in order to feel good, they must believe that their made-truth is the only reality, and they must, therefore, defend that truth against any outside influence. Like other addicts, anyone who threatens to keep them from believing their made-truths is seen as a threat to their own good feelings – or in other words, to be opposed to their brand of made-truth is to be a threat to their personal value as humans, and thus they will attack with ferocity anyone who even questions their veracity.

    http://elroy.net/ehr/fighttheright.html

    Now, for the record, I’m an addict too. But I make it a point not to confuse thinking that I’m right, with actually being right. To actually be right requires the willingness to recognize being wrong.

    What I am seeing in this conversation (in regard to this thread), is that it is a sin to even consider being wrong, and thus, to consider even being in need of further understanding.

    When I say that I am open, what I mean is that I am willing to be wrong.

    So it’s not just the addiction to being right that we’re talking about here, it’s also the unwillingness to be wrong.

    It’s hard being wrong, but to consider as much to be a sin on top of it, is to consider learning itself to be sinful.

  33. “Obsessive question: Is it “says their peace” or “says their piece”? Anyone?”

    That’s been bugging me for years. Since you said that I finally Googled it.

    From what I gather, it’s piece and not peace. Though once you’ve said your piece, one could technically say they’ve said their “peace.” So it seems that the confusion is warranted.

    30 some thousand results for “said my peace”

    70 some thousand results for “said my piece”

    Enclosed in one of the links was this:

    Update #2: Jonathan Mayhew writes:

    I’m wondering whether the idiom “to hold one’s peace” leads people to assume that the opposite idiom should be “to speak one’s peace” instead of the more correct “to speak one’s piece”

    Do people write: “I’m going to give him a peace of my mind” ? Most of the hits that show up for that are making a deliberate pun, like “just desserts” as a name of a pastry shop.

    You would probably find an eggcorn for “holding one’s piece” as well, if the confusion were working the other way around. Try to peace that one together.

    Whatever. I’ve Googled my piece.

  34. Also,

    This is one of my absolute favorites.

    A couple of quotes:

    “Herein lies the most obvious moral danger of religious faith. In taking themselves to be guided by divinely ordained commandments, theists may be tempted to relax the rigor with which they scrutinize their actions, and are thus capable of the most unspeakable atrocities. That is, secure in the faith that God wills a certain course of action, they may be prepared to disregard any suggestion (even from their own consciences) that this may not in fact be the morally correct thing to do. This is not to say that God may on occasion will us to do immoral things, but rather that we may, as fallible humans, sometimes be misled about exactly what it is that God expects of us. Unfortunately, it is also often a tenet of faith that to question God is itself an immoral act, and so it can become especially difficult to correct a moral error once it has been made on these grounds. This is because the difference between questioning a command of God and questioning one’s own understanding of that command is a subtle one, not at all easily recognized, and harder yet when any doubt is seen as weakness of faith and therefore sinful in itself.

    This pride is uniquely difficult to identify, for it is well cloaked in the garb of pious humility. What makes it so elusive is that it appears as a faith in God, when in reality it is a misplaced faith in one’s own judgement. It may well be that God is just and perfect and incapable of error, but we most certainly are none of these things, and to act with the firm belief that one is in perfect harmony with God’s perfectly just wishes is to lose sight of that truth. Indeed, the person who acts in this way is guilty of the greatest pride, for she puts her moral judgement on a level with God’s. She claims to know with absolute certainty that which can be known only to God. The faith here, then, is not in God at all, but in the individual’s own reliability in knowing God, and if we understand idolatry as the sin of ascribing divine significance to a human artifact, the pride involved is idolatrous when the individual believes her knowledge to be perfect in this regard.”

    This is the portion I love best about this essay:

    It may well be that God is just and perfect and incapable of error, but we most certainly are none of these things, and to act with the firm belief that one is in perfect harmony with God’s perfectly just wishes is to lose sight of that truth. Indeed, the person who acts in this way is guilty of the greatest pride, for she puts her moral judgement on a level with God’s. She claims to know with absolute certainty that which can be known only to God. The faith here, then, is not in God at all, but in the individual’s own reliability in knowing God

    The Epistle of Thomas to the Creationists

  35. Eddy,

    I may have said this earlier but many of the comments seem pretty close to ‘censorship’ and that’s been one of my hot-buttons since my teenage Underground Newspaper days. In the pendulum scenario, everybody says their peace, does their thing and, somehow, something not too far from center emerges. (Maybe that’s where my problem lies…in not wanting to move too far from center.)

    Once again, I agree with you. This IS becoming a habit!

    Dr. Brown,

    We all have opinions about abortion, illegal immigration, tax reform, the war in Iraq, education, family, same-sex issues, etc., and we go about forming our opinions in many different ways, some of which include biblical and spiritual reflection. And then we vote or act according to our consciences as American citizens. Don’t you do the same?

    What it boils down to for me is not discriminating against other PEOPLE based on my personal religious views.

  36. Jayhuck,

    No sarcasm intended here at all, but honestly, I don’t follow what you’re saying. You wrote to Eddy: “Dr. Brown is taking his interpretation of the Bible, and his own personal religious beliefs, and is suggesting by ‘speaking politically’ as you put it that EVERYONE should have to live by it. I find that terribly wrong.”

    What is wrong with exercising my rights as an American citizen to vote for candidates of my choosing and to support legislation of my choosing and to make those decisions based on my moral and spiritual and social convictions, many of which are based on the Scriptures?

    We all have opinions about abortion, illegal immigration, tax reform, the war in Iraq, education, family, same-sex issues, etc., and we go about forming our opinions in many different ways, some of which include biblical and spiritual reflection. And then we vote or act according to our consciences as American citizens. Don’t you do the same?

    I did not vote for Bill Clinton as president and I did not like many of the things he stood for. Nonetheless, he was my president because of our democracy, just as George Bush is our president today, depsite many people not liking him.

    So, once again, I really don’t follow what you’re talking about here at all, and I would appreciate it if you would explain what is so “terribly wrong” with my position.

    Also please note that I have pointed out elsewhere in this thread that I have very little political involvement — as stated previously, well less than 1% of my time and energies are exerted in that direction — so I’m not even sure why that receives such a focus here. Most of the relevant “battles” I’m involved with have to do with getting a certain message out, sometimes an activist message that differs from the message of the GLBT activists — but in doing so, both sides are merely exercising our constitutional rights.

    I look forward to your response.

    Michael

  37. I view politics as a pendulum. I believe it needs to swing both to the right and to the left to find a healthy balance. We need the ultra-conservatives to balance the ultra-liberals. Most people aren’t persuaded to go ‘ultra’ in either direction. If they’re thinking people, they hear, they digest and then they act. But, in my world at least, I want voices from both sides–and, occasionally, I want more radical voices from both sides. It’s how I learn.

    I may have said this earlier but many of the comments seem pretty close to ‘censorship’ and that’s been one of my hot-buttons since my teenage Underground Newspaper days. In the pendulum scenario, everybody says their peace, does their thing and, somehow, something not too far from center emerges. (Maybe that’s where my problem lies…in not wanting to move too far from center.)

    Obsessive question: Is it “says their peace” or “says their piece”? Anyone?

  38. Eddy,

    Dr. Brown is taking his interpretation of the Bible, and his own personal religious beliefs, and is suggesting by “speaking politically” as you put it that EVERYONE should have to live by it. I find that terribly wrong.

  39. Eddy,

    Speaking about politics is one thing Eddy, trying to force your beliefs on others through legislation is entirely another. I’m not sure how to make this any clearer. Can he do it, yes. Should he??? I don’t believe so! I don’t try and discriminate against those law-abiding, tax paying citizens I don’t agree with by trying to pass legislation that would prevent them from having the same rights I enjoy.

  40. Jayhuck–

    Please refer to the topic before you attempt to define for Dr. Brown what “we’re talking about”. I’m not trying to be snarky but Dr. Brown has only been answering challenges and questions. From his heart…from what he believes. And, the topic is, after all, “Dr. Brown responds…” not “equal access” as you suggest.

    (LOL! I’m going to have to re-read the thread. I didn’t think we overtly discussed specific political issues much at all.)

    You say in one sentence that no one is trying to deny him the right to interpret the Bible as he does…or to live or preach as he sees fit. But, almost immediately you admonish “you shouldn’t try and force your beliefs onto those who do not agree with you through legislation.” Live and preach as you see fit but, if you see fit to speak politically, don’t go there. Wouldn’t you feel it demeaning if I made that challenge to you? Wouldn’t you feel I was putting a constraint on your freedom and responsibility?

    Jayhuck, no one is trying to deny your right to view homosexuality as you do before God. Or to live and blog as you see fit. What we’re saying is that a lot of people don’t agree with your interpretation, both Christians and non, and you shouldn’t try and force your beliefs onto those who do not agree with you through legislation. Don’t worry! I’d never suggest such a thing. The freedom to live and act based on your conscience is a fundamental freedom in America.

    It’s a freedom I don’t withhold from Dr. Brown, either.

    This forum, itself, is merely a discussion blog. Where people with differing viewpoints can discuss. Dr. Brown came here by invitation of the blog owner and was willing to engage in discussion. His tone was civil; he spoke the truth as he sees it (which was uncomfortable for many…but isn’t it the rule the rest of us are operating by…to ‘tell it like it is’, as it were?)

    Your final comment that its “not how you see the Bible that we’re discussing” was simply unfair. Wasn’t he responding to Emproph(Patrick) who brought the Bible examples to the table?

    Karaoke calling. 2 new practice/performance discs just arrived. Would you forgive me if I cut my blog time down to 1/2 hour a week? 🙂

  41. jag – i second jayhuck. We don’t agree on a lot but I appreciate your reasoned comments and will miss your voice in the dialogue.

    Welcome back anytime.

  42. Jag,

    “While you will certainly find me continuing to be active in the Boards of Directors, civil rights groups, lobbying organizations, and fundraisers to help make us all equal in the eyes of man as exists under God, I no longer find it beneficial to “make a case” here for others of my love or my faith. I have both, and for this I consider myself more than fortunate, and am eternally grateful – waiting patiently for the day when others see what I have known to be true all along.”

    You will be missed terribly! Your kindness, patience and intelligent words for those who would support your family and even for those who would like to not see it exist, or who work against it, were welcome.

    I sometimes wonder if we would all be better off following your example by becoming more active in our respective groups than continuing to talk here.

  43. Michael,

    That’s why, as per my earlier posts, the Bible is far more clear in its condemnation of homosexual practice than it is in terms of its statements about polygamy.

    I don’t think anyone on here has been trying to deny you your right to interpret the Bible as you see fit. Or to live as you see fit or to preach as you see fit. I think what we’re saying is that many people don’t agree with your interpretation, many people aren’t Christians in the first place, and that you shouldn’t try and force your beliefs onto those who do not agree with you through legislation. We’re talking about equal access Dr. Brown, for those whoa agree and those who disagree with you, not how you see the Bible.

  44. Patrick,

    A quick response to your post 77737 (on same-sex marriage, polygamy, and the alleged slippery slope):

    You state, “So first of all, we’re talking about the equal right to marry one spouse, not the additional right to marry additional spouses.”

    Well, right there, you’re off the slope and have already jumped off the mountain. In other words, you have already redefined marriage far more fundamentally than have the polygamists.

    The fact is, the first reason that marriage exists (in the Bible and in world culture) is for the continuation of the human race. The same with sex: We all agree that sex brings intimacy between two people and that it is gratifying. But its first purpose (in terms of divine intent, as revealed in the Scriptures and in terms of the needs of society) is procreation, period. That’s why everything in the Bible assumes male-female union and why it assumes father-mother relationships. Polygamy actually does far less damage to these foundations than does the concept of homosexual unions. Polygamy also recognizes the divine design in humanity (and the rest of creation), combining male and female anatomy, unifying seed and sperm, recognizing the purpose of the womb and the ability of the mother, not the father, to nurse a newborn baby, etc.

    That’s why, as per my earlier posts, the Bible is far more clear in its condemnation of homosexual practice than it is in terms of its statements about polygamy. (BTW, on a purely pragmatic level, polygamy exists in some cultures as the only way to ensure progeny and proper care of women when the life expectancy of males is much lower than females, such as happens in times of war, etc. Again, this is simply stated not as justification but in contrast with the fruit of homosexual practice.)

    It may be a while before I have time to reply, should you care to respond, but I thought it was still worthwhile making this simple point.

    Michael

  45. Patrick,

    Replying at last to your post 79336.

    You write: “You say (paraphrased):

    “So, let’s say that someone [heterosexual] was married, divorced, then living with someone out of wedlock before they came to faith in Jesus, and God gave them a fresh new start. That fresh new start would require that they either separated or married,

    “Great, so as long as you’re not saved, and you ‘repent’ of your divorce and remarriage once having gotten saved…

    “Luke 16:18, via God’s words through himself as Jesus Christ don’t count – via Michael Brown’s studied view of what the Bible says.

    “‘Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.’

    “So that’s # 1, what is your Biblical basis for that position? Your words directly contradict Jesus’ own words. (Yes, we get it, the Bible is clearly against homosexuality. Can you just drop it for a moment and answer the question?) “

    My response: When comparing scripture with scripture, we look for the fullest statements possible, putting together all the relevant verses that address one subject. So, as we have discussed earlier in Matthew 5 and 19, Jesus adds the “sexual immorality” (porneia) clause as a legitimate grounds for divorce: So, in Matthew 5:32 he states, “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.” (See also Matthew 19:9.)

    How does this apply to the case of Joe Dallas? After reading his testimony, it appears that: 1) He and his wife were married as believers; 2) he committed sexual immorality against her, giving her grounds for divorce; 3) they were then divorced; 4) he gave himself over to sexual sin and walked away from the Lord; 5) he returned to the Lord and repented and then was married again.

    Understanding, of course, that a major reason for divorce was for the purpose of remarriage – hence Jesus’ warnings about wrongful remarriage based on a wrongful divorce – and seeing that the first divorce had a biblical basis (namely, sexual sin on Joe’s part), potentially freeing his wife from the relationship – there is nothing in scripture forbidding his first wife from remarrying or Joe from remarrying after that. Please, Patrick, show me where Jesus forbids this, based on His own words in Matthew.

    Does God hate divorce? Absolutely. And to repeat something I’ve stated elsewhere in this thread, Are there many illegitimate marriages and divorces and remarriages in the Church today, especially in America, even among leaders? I fear that there are. Does Joe’s case fit that description? I do not believe so, based on the words of Jesus just cited, which gave Joe’s wife grounds for divorce.

    You then write:

    “And then there’s this on the subject from Assemblies of God:

    “‘The Bible shows that God expects contracts to be kept even when entered into wrongly.’

    “Contracts entered into for the express purpose of committing sin should be kept? Is this something you believe? Because that’s pretty much what comes across when you say ‘God gave them a fresh start.’

    Patrick, I have no affiliation with the Assemblies of God and don’t speak for them, nor do I know the larger context of this statement you cite, but to respond to your direct question, No, I do not believe that “contracts entered into for the express purpose of committing sin should be kept.” If I was with the Mafia and signed a contract with them to kill someone for me and then I came to faith in the Lord, I would have to break that contract and would have the moral responsibility to do my best to stop the other person from being killed. But I still don’t see how that applies to Joe’s situation. He was divorced on biblical grounds (sexual immorality), after which, as I understand the scriptures, he and his wife could potentially marry others.

    You then ask, “How is it possible for God to give a fresh start to those who have expressly conspired to continue to commit sin, via divorce and remarriage outside of Biblical exceptions?”

    Again, please show me how Joe’s divorce and remarriage was outside of biblical exceptions? In point of fact, as sad as it is to say, it was exactly what Jesus spoke of: sexual immorality (which in Greek included all kinds of sexual sin outside of marriage, including incest, bestiality, homosexuality, or adultery) as a grounds for divorce, and this according to Joe’s own testimony which you provided for me.

    You write, “And yes I’m irritated. The fact that you constantly dance around the subject in such polite and crisp and clean terms makes it so.”

    I’m not irritated, but I am surprised, since I’m dancing around nothing. Why is my citation of scripture dancing around things whereas yours is authoritative?

    You write: “So, we have, ‘How is it possible for God to give a fresh start to people who have made an expressed commitment to sin?’”

    That does not apply here, as I have made clear. Joe came back to the Lord as an already-divorced man (on biblical grounds) with the possibility of remarriage open.

    You write: “And THEN we have the example of Joe Dallas, married, divorced, and remarried – AFTER he came to faith in Jesus – whom you use on your website as a reference for moral authority.”

    Just for the record, on my website, I simply recommend Joe’s book, A Strong Delusion (in the more recent edition, The Gay Gospel).

    You continue: “So: # 2 would be, what about those who have ‘come to faith in Jesus,’ who were then married, and then divorced, and then remarried outside of Biblical exception?

    “The Bible, through God, as Jesus Christ, defines them as unrepentant adulterers.”

    Again, this does not apply to Joe, but if you’d like to take up this general topic just for the record, let me know and I’ll try to get back to it.

    You ask: “Now Michael Brown, back to the subject, what is the eternal fate of those who choose the unrepentant adulterous lifestyle, given that the Bible is clear on its condemnation of adultery?”

    Patrick, I am deeply concerned about Christians who marry in the Lord, then divorce as believers with no biblical grounds, then remarry others as believers. Without question, I fear for their present and eternal wellbeing just as I fear for the present and eternal wellbeing of professing gay Christian couples. The Bible condemns adultery just as it condemns homosexual practice.

    You write: “When you say things like this:

    “So, let’s say that someone [heterosexual] was married, divorced, then living with someone out of wedlock before they came to faith in Jesus, and God gave them a fresh new start. That fresh new start would require that they either separated or married,

    “That to me is your extrapolation on what God may or may not mean, without you even admitting as much. I find that abhorrently dishonest. The very simple solution to avoid this of course, is to clarify that what you are saying is belief on your part, and not something that has been proven to you. Unless you think God allows the understanding of itself only to those who ‘study’ Him. If so, say so.”

    Again, there’s nothing dishonest in what I wrote, let alone abhorrently dishonest. Based on how I understand the Scriptures, I raised a hypothetical situation and gave my perspective on that. Of course that’s my extrapolation of the various relevant texts; should you want to get into an in-depth exegesis of the Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek of every relevant passage, God granting us the time, that would be a delight.

    You write: “But if God has actually been proven to you, and you’ve actually seen God enough to be able to speak for God, then you have a story to tell us all in order to qualify your spokesmanship for God.

    “Until then, please stop speaking for God, because I don’t like it. It happens to strike me as profoundly evil and idolatrous.

    “Especially coming from you.”

    Patrick, although I only know you from these few posts on this thread – which means that I know very little about you at all – I can tell you honestly that I do care for you as a fellow-human being, loved by God, and that I appreciate your passion and the depth of your convictions, despite my occasional comments to you that your rhetoric sometimes obscures your points.

    As to my being a witness for God, this much I can say: I can witness to His life-changing power, as He set me free from drugs and dereliction more than 36 years ago; I can testify to His keeping power (“There go I but for the grace of God”); and I can testify to the truth of the Scriptures (meaning, the Bible truly is God’s uniquely inspired Word). I therefore do my best, in reverence and humility before Him, to represent His Word accurately, and to be dogmatic where, as I understand it, His Word is dogmatic, and to be broad-minded where, as I understand it, His Word gives me that liberty.

    Is that so “profoundly evil and idolatrous”?

    Michael

  46. David,

    Do you ever answer a post so that it keeps the discussion open or is it your purpose to close it down with your comments? I just want to know in case I want to respond to any in the future. Thanks.

  47. David,

    I finally caught on and have decided to use my own discernment too. I have now realized that you fully understood the important nature of my question (which should be self-evident to all at this point, I would think) and decided to resort to the cheap debating trick of accusing me of using a debating trick so as to deflect attention from the actual question I raised to Timothy. 🙂

    Seriously, let me know how to contact you offline, and I’ll gladly explain my line of reasoning, just to demonstrate to you — for whatever it’s worth — that I don’t engage in debating tricks. If you shoot a note to http://www.icnministries.org (Contact Us) I can follow through from there.

    I’m happy to explain things further in this setting, but as soon I finish interacting with Patrick, I’m going to have to sign off from here for some time, hence my offer to interact privately.

    Michael

  48. To those on the forum –

    I thought this would be as good a place as any to post this on – since everyone seems so active here. As of today, I will no longer be posting. Though I have greatly enjoyed many of the conversations I have had here, learning much and hopefully contributing much, I am politely bowing out.

    I have come to realize that despite claims of some to be “open,” when reduced, this is not as open as it claims to be. Truly a shame.

    Everyone has a right to believe as they wish, and I have learned much about the ex-gay struggle, perspective, and difficulties that I will continue to hold close. I certainly have a deep respect for so many people who have commented here, because of our similarities – and for some, despite our differences.

    In good conscience, I think that people here know where I stand and what my values are. I hope that you keep the message that I am not just an exception in the gay community, and that there are many just like me – gay, Christians, committed to their family, serving God, who carry on daily, living our truth despite those who tell us that we are not Christians, who hold signs which say vile things about us, and who work actively to prevent us from even having the most basic rights and protections.

    While you will certainly find me continuing to be active in the Boards of Directors, civil rights groups, lobbying organizations, and fundraisers to help make us all equal in the eyes of man as exists under God, I no longer find it beneficial to “make a case” here for others of my love or my faith. I have both, and for this I consider myself more than fortunate, and am eternally grateful – waiting patiently for the day when others see what I have known to be true all along.

    My best regards to you all.

  49. Actually I was insinuating, albeit facetiously, that I was doing as you had before – leaving under one name and taking on a new identity to continue talking. I thought it was a good zinger, no desperation at all.

    Eddy, in all honesty, I stopped taking you seriously after you did that – before we simply disagreed. I’m not trying to be mean, but that is one of the most deceptive things one can do in an online discussion.

    Now before this ends up in the kind of exchange that likely made it tempting for you to change faces before, I’ll join the list and turn off my subscription to this thread now. There is no reason for me to muck it up for you and everyone else just because I don’t see it as productive (though I would suggest Warren create a new place for you to talk, this thread really is unmanageable for any newcomer at this point).

    Knock yourself out.

  50. Thanks, David. Your insinuation that I may be having another discussion with you under another name is priceless. I’ve been all over the current threads this morning and I don’t recall seeing you in any of the ongoing discussions other than this one. So, even if I was using a different name, it could hardly be in a conversation with you now, could it?

    Implying that I lied to you some months back when I said I would not blog under another name. That’s not as funny. What makes it worse is that I believe that you believe me. It appears that your desperation for a ‘zinger’ got the best of you. (And, if you don’t believe me, that’s fine too. It’ll save us the trouble of attempting to communicate in the future.)

  51. Who’s not exploring? I just find little to be gained from this thread. There is *plenty* to study concerning Michael Brown and it will come up I’m sure, but in another venue.

    Perhaps you are already having another discussion with me under an alternate name, Eddy. So like anonymon or whatever that “alter-ego” of yours was, you don’t really know, do you? Perhaps in that reality we agree 😉

  52. LOL! This particular thread has led me to make a number of ‘determinations from observation of’ those responding (or not) to ‘his exchanges’.

    It’s a great relief to me to realize that I don’t have to explore my conclusions further to clarify if they are accurate.

  53. “So I hope you’re not suggesting that he’s recruiting.”

    Not at all. The point is that it is not “mind-reading” to make some determinations from observation of his exchanges.

  54. David–

    I’m missing the point on that last one. I’ve been invited several times by you to read blogs and comments over on Ex-Gay Watch. So I hope you’re not suggesting that he’s recruiting.

    Earlier in this blog someone cited the reality that written words can seem to be more harsh than they actually are. The inference being that we read with our own filters…our own inflections. We stress words that the writer didn’t stress and skim over words that they should have stressed with italics or bold. Inviting you to sample his spoken tone seemed reasonable to me. (I think listening to all of it might be ‘undue suffering’ but perhaps a few minutes worth wouldn’t hurt.)

  55. Michael,

    That you disagree with my assessment of you is understandable, and yet it remains – I’m not going to be dishonest about it. Others can and should use their own discernment concerning your words here and how they relate to your activities outside Warren’s corner of the web.

    There is no reason for you to martyr yourself, but the question you asked is still a useless trick of debate. If you want to use it, don’t protest when others call you on it.

    @ Eddy

    Keep in mind that Mr. Brown himself just asked me to listen to his debates and watch his DVDs to find out what kind of person he is.

  56. Correction to 80469:

    I’m sure I have tons of unnoticed typos on this thread, but these were just a bit too much to leave. So, instead of: “(basically, OJT through the years after believing lovingly challenged by learned rabbis as a teenager, Jewish believer in Jesus; I’ve never had “formal” training)” please read: “(basically, OJT through the years after being lovingly challenged by learned rabbis as a teenage, Jewish believer in Jesus; I’ve never had “formal” training).”

    Sorry about that.

    Michael

  57. David,

    David,

    Sorry, but your discernmnent is wrong, plain and simple. I can’t say it any more plainly than that.

    God is my witness that I was simply asking Timothy an important question, and if you’ll listen to my online debates with rabbis or watch the DVD’s, you’ll see at once that I’m a “what you see is what you get guy.” Again, I’m really disappointed with the level of judgment you feel free to exercise, and that in the name of discernment. As for evangelism techniques, I’ve never had a course on one, never read a whole book on one, and my own volumes on Jewish apologetics are, again, quite straightforward — and now, 1,500 pages worth of information. No tricks here!

    Techniques are not the issue; truth is — and quite frequently on this thread, as unbiased readers will hopefully agree — when I try to flesh out a serious and relevant question, wanting to hear a legitimate response, I frequently meet with either personal attacks, ad hominem diatribes, judgmental comments, or attempts to read all kinds of things into a simple question. If not for my genuine interest in this thread and in those who post here, I would have dropped out within the first few days.

    As for hosting a debate with Stephen Bennett, I actually invited local gay clergy and gay-affirming clergy to have an equal time public dialogue with me at my home church, followed by Q & A from the audience. All of those invited chose not to come to the event. I did feel, however, that it was important to hear from a former homosexual, at least during the audience Q & A, and when Stephen (who was a friend of a friend of mine) was able to be with us, I was glad to have him there. (That night was the first time we had ever met.) When none of the GLBT-related clergy showed up, I divided the time between myself, Stephen, and Frank Turek, and I was quite impressed with Stephen’s testimony and attitude. What did I do here that was suspect, dishonest, disingenuous, or out of character with anything I have posted here? What about this gives you the right to accuse me of using cheap debating tricks? And how many evangelical churches give an open microphone to a Soulforce activist (the young Matt Comer) and allow them to share their story freely, also giving him permission to blog and video for his website as a member of the media? Honestly, David, your evident biases seem to be clouding reality to you.

    As for Peter LaBarbera, yes, I have found a number of important news items on his website and, upon further research, have found them to be reported accurately, hence my reference to his website as a resource. (For the record, we’ve spoken once by phone and exchanged a few emails.) Once again I ask, How does this make me unreliable, dishonest, or guilty of using cheap debating techniques?

    Of course, on a certain level, you are perfectly free to make any personal judgments you want to make about me: God knows the truth, and we both answer to Him in the end. But you really need to reexamine your closing comments about “this sort of exchange” not changing your views. David, look at my most recent posts (meaning those since you dropped in formally), look at yours, and ask yourself: Who is dealing in a straightforward way here and who is making personal judgments? And how far would we get if the moment you cited someone I differed with, that caused me to judge you personally and accuse you of being a disingenuous person? Everyone on this blog knows my views; I made reference to my Coalition of Conscience website in some of the opening comments; I’ve been as clear as possible in terms of stating what I believe the Scriptures; I believe there is an activist gay agenda that I oppose. What am I hiding? Where are the games?

    In any case, due to time constraints and due to my still being behind on a few posts, I don’t plan to engage you on the personal judgment issues much more (not wanting to waste your time either). How about just letting questions stand as questions? Is that really too much to ask?

    Michael

  58. And, if Dr. Brown’s question goes unanswered, we won’t ever really know if David’s mind-reading skills are dead on. We’ll simply have an allegation. Sorry, David, but that’s a debate tactic too…

    It makes me wonder if it takes a skilled debater and wordsmith to recognize one.

  59. I’m sorry Michael, in this instance I have to use my own experience and discernment and say that I simply don’t believe you.

    A variation on this nonsense has long been taught as an evangelism technique. You ask the unbeliever if they think that man possesses an understanding of everything in the universe. The honest answer will always be “no.” Then you whittle the number around to perhaps would you accept that man posses an understanding of less than half of what exists in the universe? Whatever the figure, you then ask if the unbeliever will accept the possibility that the half we don’t understand might allow for God. Discussion over.

    This is a card trick for debaters. And it cheapens the discussion in my view to treat it as anything else. To discuss absolutes would be foolhardy, and so asking one to concede that is irrelevant and redundant. Therefore the purpose for doing so, especially by someone as skilled with debate as Mr. Brown, must be otherwise.

    You host debates with Stephen Bennett and recommend Peter LaBarbera as a valuable resource. There is a lot about you I simply do not respect or trust. If you want to change that (and I’m not saying that you do), it won’t be done through this sort of exchange.

  60. David,

    Yes, it’s true that I have some good debating experience (basically, OJT through the years after believing lovingly challenged by learned rabbis as a teenager, Jewish believer in Jesus; I’ve never had “formal” training), and I’m certainly learning something in this thread — primarily, I continue to gain a better perpsective of how a certain portion of the GLBT community sees itself and sees people like me — but I can tell you quite candidly that there was no intention of using a debating trick here. I have a very good reason for asking my question, and it will lead to constructive dialogue.

    Frankly, while I have no idea whether Timothy will, in fact, answer my question (based on his history with me in this thread to date), I’m hopeful that he will and, again, to be quite candid, I’m a bit fascinated by all the posts that have followed my simple question.

    In point of fact, I do have a direct question for Patrick arising from some of his recent comments relative to my “possibility” question, but in fairness to Timothy, I still want to hear from him before weighing in — plus I owe Patrick a full response to some of the posts to which I have promised a response.

    So, Timothy, we’re back to you: Is it possible that I’m right in my position about homosexual practice being sinful in God’s sight?

    If Timothy declines to respond in a timely fashion, then I’ll engage the relevant points raised in the recent posts.

    Michael

  61. I don’t see the trouble with an occasional debate and especially not with this one. Unless you’re implying that he’s absolute awesome at debating, you’ve got to factor in that he’s being challenged by at least a half dozen people who are very articulate and well-versed. (Heavyweight in the ring with six contenders?)

    I disagree that it’s useless to ask the question. I learn a lot about people from watching their ability to envision a reality other than their own. I agree it can’t lead to any conclusive answer but it is, nonetheless, revealing.

  62. Even if you see that as the purpose, the question doesn’t accomplish that and it never does. It’s a trick of professional debate.

    Is there any chance at all that there is no God? Is there any chance at all that we are living in a false reality? Is there any chance at all that the Jews got it right and Christ is not Messiah? Is there any chance at all that you are completely wrong and I am completely right?

    It’s useless to ask such a question, because it reveals nothing – Red Herring. No one challenges Brown’s right to believe as he wishes. What he does on the basis of that belief, and how it affects the lives of others is a different matter.

    I’ve mostly been watching this thread, and Michael Brown is a skilled debater. I suspect he is gaining a great deal of experience here.

  63. David–

    Actually, it is responsive to comments made. Bloggers are trying to portray Dr. Brown as more inflexible in his beliefs than they are. They’ve been challenging him that he doesn’t consider that he may be wrong. It’s a fair question to find out if the challengers have any of the openness they accuse him of lacking.

  64. Michael Brown said:

    Is it possible that I am right in saying that homosexual practice is sinful in God’s sight? I stress the words, IS IT POSSIBLE that I am right in saying this?

    Now there is an old debating trick I haven’t seen used in a while. Can be used by either side and favors whoever asks it first. Similar to tic-tac-toe and about as useful for discerning the truth.

  65. Emproph–

    No. I don’t think it does. It seems clear to me that you are trying to pick a fight and I’m simply not interested.

  66. Eddy says…

    “The proverbial ‘we’. This has turned into an ‘us and them’ type of conversation. So, the ‘we’ would be the people perceived to think along the lines that I do.”

    Thanks again, that’s what I figured you meant, but I wanted to be sure that it wasn’t JUST you and Dr. Brown ganging up on Jayhuck ( 😉 ) for saying this:

    Eddy: My perception of Dr. Brown is that he is as open to the possibility that he is wrong as most of the rest of us.

    Jayhuck: And you may be correct Eddy, but I would hope that if he were truly open to that possibility that he wouldn’t work so hard to try and undermine equal rights for gay people. His actions make me think that he doesn’t leave any room open for that possibility.

    Doesn’t sound very oppressive to me. But there does seem to be a misunderstanding. Especially in that “we” consider the quality of our love to be “equal” to that of yours. But you, and the proverbial “them,” consider our love, and thus our relationships, and thus our lives (from our perspective), to be counterfeit.

    So when we say “equal rights,” you hear: “counterfeit rights = equal rights.”

    So be it. But I prefer to look at the glass as half communication problem.

    Just once I would like to be “loved” enough to be told to my face, so to speak, that I am just too stupid to realize that I should be attracted to the opposite gender, and that everything I say is suspect as a result.

    It would be insulting, yes, I wouldn’t recommend doing it, and I can’t say it wouldn’t be used against you, but at this point, if that’s what it takes for people like me to believe that people like you are sincere, I’ll take it.

    Does that at least make general sense?

  67. Ann says…

    “Why would I want to open up a dialogue with you if I see that this is the way you respond to people? Your self admission to sarcasm is unappealing and I prefer not to put myself in the position of being the recipient of that.”

    You called me.

  68. If you have a specific complaint in regard to this assessment, then by all means challenge me.

    Emproph,

    Why would I want to open up a dialogue with you if I see that this is the way you respond to people? Your self admission to sarcasm is unappealing and I prefer not to put myself in the position of being the recipient of that.

  69. I would be delighted to respond to the questions about the possibility of my being wrong just as soon as I get a clear answer from Timothy.

    Dr. Brown/Michael,

    As far as I am concerned, you have not raised any questions with me – I am very satisified with everything you have said and the way I have chosen to interpret it.

  70. Ann says…

    Emproph: Who has said it is wrong for Dr. Brown to speak or vote?

    Ann: Well, with comments and labeling like this –

    Emproph: Poor thing. I just hate it when virulently anti-gay activists are so unfairly maligned like that.

    Ann: that perhaps you think it might be wrong for him to speak, especially when you think of him in this way.

    —-

    And nearly 400 comments later, I stand by my sarcasm. As far as I can tell, the shoe fits.

    If you have a specific complaint in regard to this assessment, then by all means challenge me.

    I’m open. (And I do mean that 🙂

  71. Emproph–

    The proverbial ‘we’. This has turned into an ‘us and them’ type of conversation. So, the ‘we’ would be the people perceived to think along the lines that I do.

  72. Eddy, thank you.

    Also: When you say “We don’t deny you the right to speak and vote your conscience.”

    Whom specifically do you mean by “we?”

  73. Sometimes it’s the weekend that slows communication down. I’m hoping it’s not my snarky question up in 80180. I’d be happy to see the conversation proceed with all the principals present.

  74. Ann, Eddy, Jayhuck (and Timothy if you’re there!),

    I would be delighted to respond to the questions about the possibility of my being wrong just as soon as I get a clear answer from Timothy.

    I’ve very much enjoyed reading the interchange between all of you in these recent posts.

    Michael

  75. Jag,

    Thanks for your comments and the spirit in which you offered them. Be assured that if I was convinced before the Lord that your position was correct, not only would I no longer differ with you, I would champion your cause. So, I trust you understand that my position does not constitute a rejection of you as a person but a spiritual and moral difference before God.

    Again, thanks for your comments.

    Michael

  76. Who has said it is wrong for Dr. Brown to speak or vote?

    Well, with comments and labeling like this –

    Poor thing. I just hate it when virulently anti-gay activists are so unfairly maligned like that.

    that perhaps you think it might be wrong for him to speak, especially when you think of him in this way.

  77. It comes down to me not desiring to force my religious beliefs on others through legislation.

    Jayhuck,

    Do you think the same could be said about gay advocates? Do they desire to force their beliefs on others through legislation?

  78. Emproph–

    Jayhuck does. It’s in this portion of post 80366:

    “that he wouldn’t work so hard to try and undermine equal rights for gay people.”

  79. EDDY says…

    “We don’t deny you the right to speak and vote your conscience, why is it wrong that he speaks and votes by his?”

    Who has said it is wrong for Dr. Brown to speak or vote?

  80. Jayhuck–

    We don’t deny you the right to speak and vote your conscience, why is it wrong that he speaks and votes by his? Why does it say more about him being closed to the possibility of being wrong than your words and actions do about you?

  81. Eddy,

    My perception of Dr. Brown is that he is as open to the possibility that he is wrong as most of the rest of us.

    And you may be correct Eddy, but I would hope that if he were truly open to that possibility that he wouldn’t work so hard to try and undermine equal rights for gay people. His actions make me think that he doesn’t leave any room open for that possibility.

  82. Eddy,

    it seems clear that you haven’t given that possibility much thought at all.

    I’m not sure how you came to that particular conclusion. I’m living as a celibate man for a reason!!!

  83. My perception of Dr. Brown is that he is as open to the possibility that he is wrong as most of the rest of us. 🙂

  84. Ann,

    I wasn’t trying to make anyone wrong at all. Please re-read what I wrote and if that doesn’t help I’ll try to make my point in a better way.

  85. Eddy,

    While you say that it IS possible that homosexual practice is sinful in God’s sight, it seems clear that you haven’t given that possibility much thought at all. You state empirically that ‘what’s MOST important here’ is that Dr. Brown considers that HE might be wrong. Why is that more important than the possibility that YOU might be wrong?

    You and I and Dr. Brown probably agree on many more things than I may have let on. The difference is I DO give consideration to the fact that I might be wrong, and because of that allow for other things. Dr. Brown doesn’t seem to at all.

  86. Eddy,

    I can find evidence in the Bible where God was incredibly stern and others where He was incredibly gracious. I can’t pretend to know how He will rule ultimately on any person’s life. In my understanding, what seems to be key is the direction of our heart towards Him. If we do our best not to muck that one up, I’m hoping that counts for a lot.

    I’m not sure if this is becoming a habit or not, but I absolutely agree with what you said above. In fact, I doubt I could have said it better myself. Thank you!!!

  87. Ann–

    Very well put. I’d like to see less advocacy and more discussion.

    Jag–

    I appreciated your dialogue with both Ann and Dr. Brown. Yesterday it worried me a bit but I had a karaoke focus going on…tried 3 new songs last night.

    Anyway, woke up this morning thinking “Oh no! I’ve got a new label. I’m an absolutist.”

    But I’m glad to see that you can appreciate that that’s simply my take on the Bible. I DO realize that I might be wrong and but I haven’t been persuaded otherwise yet.

    I’d like to think of myself as a ‘gracious absolutist’ or an ‘open-minded absolutist’. My faith and your faith are the same in that we both live by it…it’s not just something we give lip-service to…we try our best to live by it. We see that in each other and respect that in each other and it does provide a common ground from which we can discuss.

    I believe much as Dr. Brown does. It’s the reason I’m ex-gay. Believing as I do, I’m concerned for friends and loved ones who may be in spiritual danger. At the same time, I realize that God’s thoughts are higher than my thoughts, that His ways are higher than my ways. Maybe He’s not as hung up on behavior as I am; maybe He’s more able to see beyond a behavior and into the heart of a person. (I can get glimpses of a person’s heart, as I have with yours through your openness, but God sees even more…and HE’S the final judge.)

    I can find evidence in the Bible where God was incredibly stern and others where He was incredibly gracious. I can’t pretend to know how He will rule ultimately on any person’s life. In my understanding, what seems to be key is the direction of our heart towards Him. If we do our best not to muck that one up, I’m hoping that counts for a lot.

  88. You state empirically that ‘what’s MOST important here’ is that Dr. Brown considers that HE might be wrong. Why is that more important than the possibility that YOU might be wrong?

    Eddy,

    I agree with you – the above statement is very disturbing. It seems to be a state of mind that becomes a common theme on this blog to make others wrong if they are not in complete agreement with what has been voiced/written. Sometimes I wonder if this blog is for advocacy or discussion. One closes down dialogue and learning while the other one opens and continues it for common ground and respect.

  89. Michael –

    I realize I didn’t finish what you asked…and in the spirit of being thorough, I’ll finish:

    “do you think you should say, “I may be wrong about this, but as best I understand the Scriptures and God’s heart, I’m married”? Do you think that qualifying comment should be there?”

    I feel equally convicted in my own life about my interpretations – but like yours, they are human and thus despite my own certainty in my own life, I do not judge others by my understandings because it is human. You will find that I am quite supportive of those who believe differently than I do, who are ex-gay, attempting to be, or do not believe as I do. But as for myself, I have no doubts in my heart as to the meaning of scripture for me, and my life.

    I am willing to say that: I live according to scripture to the best of my discernment of it, I am married according to the law and under God as I understand him to be.

    You also stated:

    “Second, I have no idea what you meant by the “voyeuristic” comment, and I’m not sure I want to know what you meant.”

    Although there are many where I live, when you put yourself out there as a christian same-sex couple, you often get a lot of people who want a “glimpse” into your life. For me, I have mostly found this nonproblematic because it is often the individuals just don’t know how “normal” you are.

    However, like any other married person, I consider my relationship sanct. I am protective of it and do not wish to field comments which are more about that voyeuristic gleaning with ill intent of dissection, than about open dialogue, understanding and a genuine expansion on both our parts.

    That’s why, as open as I have been on this forum (if you ask others, I’ve answered many questions and had no problem with this), I will be abstaining here. I’d ask you keep any questions relevant to me on the table, but not to my family. It is the most beautiful, sacred thing in my life, and I thank God everyday for the gift I was given.

    It is my hope that everyone could be as fortunate as I have been in this life.

  90. Jayhuck–

    The Cher reference brought a chuckle. (Dr. Brown, Cher has become somewhat famous for her farewell tours…can’t stay retired.)

    Your answer to the question that Dr. Brown asked Timothy disturbs me. While you say that it IS possible that homosexual practice is sinful in God’s sight, it seems clear that you haven’t given that possibility much thought at all. You state empirically that ‘what’s MOST important here’ is that Dr. Brown considers that HE might be wrong. Why is that more important than the possibility that YOU might be wrong?

  91. Michael –

    Thank you for your clarification…however it is indeed much less offensive when you restate your comment to say:

    “based on my understanding of the scriptures, you are not married in God’s sight.”

    Because it does not refer to “perfect knowledge,” but just scriptures as you understand them. Many people have their own take on the scriptures, and that’s fine by me. Everyone has to live in accordance with their own discovered truths…I expect that freedom, and I in turn, afford others the same, even when I don’t agree with it.

  92. Dr. Brown,

    For the record, I have absolutely no interest in listening to any of your “lecture series”. I do, however, think you are a good man, with many good intentions.

    Is it possible that I am right in saying that homosexual practice is sinful in God’s sight? I stress the words, IS IT POSSIBLE that I am right in saying this?

    It IS possible Dr. Brown, but it is also possible that you are WRONG! And THAT is what is most important here. Being humble and willing to accept the fact that you may not be right, that others may not want to live as you would have them live, and as such be willing to hesitate in legislating your beliefs onto those who do not agree with you.

    Eddy,

    I have one word for you: Cher! 🙂

  93. Timothy,

    Nice to hear from you again.

    As you know well, I have responded directly to many pointed questions on this post about what I believe the Scriptures state, and I trust that we both agree that there ARE some non-negotiable absolutes in God’s Word. The question is, What are they? That, of course, is where we differ in terms of homosexual practice. (And may I ask that you quote me accurately when you do quote me? I have been quite explicit about the possibility of someone being a follower of Jesus while still have homosexual desires that they do not act upon — thus, in that sense being “gay and Christian”; homosexual practice is, however, contrary to God’s Word, based on everything I understand in the Scriptures.)

    In any case, I have a simple question for you, and I appeal to you to answer me directly: Is it possible that I am right in saying that homosexual practice is sinful in God’s sight? I stress the words, IS IT POSSIBLE that I am right in saying this?

    Even a simple Yes or No is fine if you choose not to elaborate further.

    For those wishing more information on my upcoming lecture series, which will include a public dialogue with Harry Knox of the HRC, please go to: http://www.coalitionofconscience.org/news.shtm.

    I look forward to your response to my question.

    Thanks,

    Michael

  94. Jag,

    Thanks for your responses to my comments to Jayhuck.

    First, let me say that I agree with you when you criticize the succint nature of my blanket statement of, “according to the scriptures, not so” (in terms of your marriage).

    If you’ve read my previous comments, I almost always am careful to say, “As I understand the Scriptures,” or, “Based on years of prayerful reflection and study, this is what I understand to be God’s will in the matter.” I should have been more careful in my statment and not take anything for granted. So, to restate, Not based on my personal opinions or judgments, but based on my understanding of the scriptures, you are not married in God’s sight.” I don’t that that strikes you as less harsh, and I do not mean it as a personal insult. But as I have stated and restated in these posts, my only goal is to honor God and to agree with His positions.

    On your end, do you think you should say, “I may be wrong about this, but as best I understand the Scriptures and God’s heart, I’m married”? Do you think that qualifying comment should be there?

    Second, I have no idea what you meant by the “voyeuristic” comment, and I’m not sure I want to know what you meant. But just for the record, whatever you were thinking was not what I was asking. I was simply asking if you both refer to each other as wives.

    Michael

  95. I really don’t mind that you’re back. It was the leaving statements I had trouble with. I thought “tantrum”.

    Petty vs Tantrum. Sounds even. I can live with that.

  96. JAG,

    I could be wrong, however, I believe Dr. Brown was referring to what he, personally, cannot and will not do instead of making a blanket statement about others.

    Ann is mistaken. Dr. Brown is very very clear that his statement is a blanket statement for all people at all times. In fact, his seminar – which he will be presenting again next month is entitled:

    Can You be Gay and Christian

    You may notice that this is not Can I be Gay and Christian. And lest you not yet know the answer, Dr. Brown unhesitatingly states that you cannot be gay and Christian. Nor can I or anyone else.

    Ann does not read my comments so feel free to pass this info on to her.

  97. “Can I engage in romantic and same-sex relationships and does God endorse those things and can I be a follower of Jesus at the same time? The answer is absolutely, categorically no. ”

    Jag,

    I could be wrong, however, I believe Dr. Brown was referring to what he, personally, cannot and will not do instead of making a blanket statement about others.

  98. Ann –

    Thank you for your clarification. I appreciate your efforts to be thorough, and I suppose now…am further baffled with your supportive statements toward someone who made this remark:

    “Can I engage in romantic and same-sex relationships and does God endorse those things and can I be a follower of Jesus at the same time? The answer is absolutely, categorically no. ”

    I have suggested, that this remark be addended and for him to, rather than state it in some absolutist way…say that “from my understanding of scripture,” etc…

    This is, frankly quite offensive to those of us who try to live according to God’s word the best we know how, and commit our lives to him. It seems both of us would disagree with Mr. Brown on this one…from completely different perspectives.

    I respect your own belief about your own life and how to live it…and that you believe that same-sex relationships are wrong for you, as you understand scripture/God. Everyone has a right to live their lives as consistently with scripture as they understand it. I respect the fact that you work as hard as you do to create a christ-centered life, as you understand it to be serving God.

    People don’t have to agree with me, for me to respect them deeply.

    Thank you again for your clarification.

  99. on a personal note, I would be remiss if I did not express that it is truly disappointing, and disheartening that you would align with the belief that my love, and living as close to my own understanding of scripture as I can, has ruled me out of God’s kingdom.

    Jag,

    I do not believe you or anyone else has been ruled out of God’s kingdom. I never said that, nor would I ever say that – please forgive me if I gave any indication that that was my belief. God will continue to show all of us the way, and for that, I am grateful.

  100. Jag and Jayhuck,

    With all due respect, I did answer your question as stated below. You asked

    so you also believe that there is no such thing as a practicing gay christian, such as I claim to be?”

    I answered

    To answer your question about what I believe – I think anyone can, and often do, identify themselves in anyway they want to and live that identity according to their personal beliefs

    You asked me if I believed there is “no such thing” as a practicing gay Christian – the fact that you identify yourself as gay and as a Christian proves that there is such a thing according to you and others who are aligned to your belief.

    As to my personal belief, which you did not ask, so please forgive the indulgence if it is not pertinent.

    I think I have indicated to both of you often that I do not believe in labels and/or organized religion to verify who we are or are not. As individuals or as groups of people we all have different interpretations of religions and labels. Jesus was a practicing and observant Jew – most Christians of today do not include the Jewish traditions He practiced and believed in, some are actually arrogant enough to disregard them in favor of ones they have made up, somehow thinking they are more fun or relevant than what Jesus believed in and practiced – I find that very odd. My personal belief is to love and respect and practice both traditions and incorporate them together as much as we can. The word Christian or Christianity came long after Him and came from His followers, and their followers, not from Him. My personal interpretation of the word Christian is to live one’s life according to the teaching of Jesus – it is not all the added on dimensions that various religions have told us were imperative to our well being – there are too many to list. The hypocrisy within some religious organizations is staggering and a blatant contradiction to what Jesus asked of His followers.

    As to my personal belief in God and the quiet, grounded, and substative way I percieve and feel that, and the way He has asked and require that I live as directed by my conscience (which I believe is that small still voice) and the gift of the Bible for reference and direction – no, I cannot be practicing same gender sex, and be aligned to or have integrity with the God that I love and want to please.

  101. Ann –

    Upon further reading, perhaps you did answer my question when you stated:

    “I would say that I concur with and appreciate everything he has said, and so importantly, the way he has said it.”

    I would hesitate to make the assumption that you hold these beliefs, but I will assume this based on your statement – let me know if you disagree or I am misrepresenting you.

    If this is true, I just want to express that we have exchanged much thoughtful dialogue over the course of this blog. Although you certainly have every right to believe as you wish, to the best of your own knowledge of scripture…on a personal note, I would be remiss if I did not express that it is truly disappointing, and disheartening that you would align with the belief that my love, and living as close to my own understanding of scripture as I can, has ruled me out of God’s kingdom.

    I would hope this is not the case.

  102. Ann –

    With all due respect, I had asked you a question…

    “so you also believe that there is no such thing as a practicing gay christian, such as I claim to be?”

    I was surprised by your support of a man who takes an absolutist stance that Christians cannot also be gay. i was hoping that perhaps your clarification of this question might shed some light as to your thoughts on the matter.

  103. I again was surprised by your support of Michael’s position..so you also believe that there is no such thing as a practicing gay christian, such as I claim to be?

    Jag,

    What position are you referring to? From what I have read in his thoughtful and intelligent and heartfelt writings, I would say that I concur with and appreciate everything he has said, and so importantly, the way he has said it.

    To answer your question about what I believe – I think anyone can, and often do, identify themselves in anyway they want to and live that identity according to their personal beliefs. Often, this changes many times over a lifetime.

  104. Michael, I have been very respectful to you, despite you attempting to undermine my marriage. I would ask you to place any criticisms you have onto me personally – and not to my family.

    Amen and hallelujah Jag 😉

  105. Michael –

    you stated to Jayhuck:

    “According to the law where they liave, apparently so [they are both spouses]; according to the scriptures, not so.

    In any case, Jag spoke of her other as her wife; does her other speak of her the same way? Hence my question.”

    If you ask anyone on this forum (ann, jayhuck, eddy etc..), I have been open about answering questions about my relationship. But as for a voyeuristic criticism, I think I will abstain from that. I respect my relationship too much to put it on display for disrespectful dissection with ill-intent from the start. They may not have all agreed with it, but they asked questions in the spirit of genuine interest and open dialogue.

    By stating that somehow my spouse and I are not married according to the scriptures, that is your opinion, and I respect that this is how you feel, though obviously, I disagree with it.

    Michael, I have been very respectful to you, despite you attempting to undermine my marriage. I would ask you to place any criticisms you have onto me personally – and not to my family.

    Thank you in advance.

  106. Jayhuck –

    Thank you for the clarification of gender on my behalf, I really appreciated it.

    Ann –

    I again was surprised by your support of Michael’s position..so you also believe that there is no such thing as a practicing gay christian, such as I claim to be?

    Michael –

    Two things. Yes, to clarify your discussion with Jayhuck, I am both legally and spiritually married to a woman and have done so in Canada, and in a church.

    [please refer to 78873 if refreshment required]

    Secondly, all I was stating was that in making such a statement as:

    “Can I engage in romantic and same-sex relationships and does God endorse those things and can I be a follower of Jesus at the same time? The answer is absolutely, categorically no. ”

    You do not have the authority, no matter who you are, to make this statement on God’s behalf. You might say, “to the best of my understanding of scripture, I think this is not the case,” but Michael… you don’t have perfect knowledge. You have your human understanding of a perfect God.

    History has shown over and over again, that sometimes those “human” interpretations…as certain as they are..as honest as they are meant…just are not correct.

    There are many sins that people pass judgement around…for example, pride, some might say, is a mighty sin to overcome.

  107. Jayhuck,

    According to the law where they liave, apparently so; according to the scriptures, not so.

    In any case, Jag spoke of her other as her wife; does her other speak of her the same way? Hence my question.

    Michael

  108. Jayhuck,

    So, are they both “wives”? I guess that’s what threw me in the posts. Interestingly, however, the tone of the posts seemed more womanly, to the extent that can be gleaned.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Michael

  109. Michael,

    I just happened to catch your last post and wanted to let you know that Jag is a woman – one who is happily married to another woman as a matter of fact.

    Take care

  110. Patrick,

    With regard to your responses to Jag’s posts, I really don’t have much to say. From a biblical standpoint, and supported by key studies I have cited on this thread, I see no connection between slavery and the rejection of the morality of homosexual practice.

    And I have repeatedly said on this thread (and to Jag as well) that I have come to these views through decades of prayerful study of the original text WHICH DOES NOT THEREFORE MAKE ME RIGHT AND DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO DIFFER WITH ME ON THOSE THINGS. I don’t think I can say this any more clearly.

    No one has to “suck up” to me. They simply need to understand that I’m not stating these things flippantly or in a cavalier manner and that I have wrestled with many of the issues raised here for years. Therefore people should not be surprised that I have convictions in the matters under discussion. You certainly have your convictions, but that does not entitle me to attack you for holding to your views or to unload on you every time I take exception to your posts. I simply differ with your views, and I’m happy in another setting to spend hours in a meticulous discussion of any biblical passage relating to homosexual practice.

    As for my interaction with Jag, I meant it quite sincerely, no games were being played, and I was trying to interact honestly with his position, which seemed to say: 1) “I believe we can be absolutely sure about some things, but not this issue”; however, 2) “I am saying in absolute terms that you do not have the right to be absolute in your convictions on this issue. I believe I fairly challenged those concepts, some of which seem to be based on his view of the authority and clarity of the Scriptures vs. mine.”

    Michael

  111. Patrick,

    Thanks for your responses. I have copied them offline and will write my responses there before posting. This way I can avoid getting stuff lost with the ongoing internet problems I’ve had at home.

    I did find it intriguing, though, especially in light of your closing words in your last post, that you were unable to refrain from calling my approach dishonest again — and this time in stronger terms than usual.

    In candor, this habit constantly undercuts your arguments, basically saying that you are unable to understand the process by which I come to my conclusions which thereby weakens your rebuttals. (Once again, I emphasize that this is nothing personal to me; I’m simply addressing a negative, harmful pattern in your posts.) Nonetheless, you raise enough other questions of substance that you allow me a window for response, and I will certainly pursue that.

    Michael (or, Dr. Brown, or whatever is in vogue these days)

  112. Timothy,

    Not by Ann — based on her earlier comments.

    And nice to hear from you again. I thought you were gone for good from here. (No sarcasm on this end.)

    As soon as I respond to Patrick, though, and then hear out any responses he has to make, I’ll be signing out here too.

    All the best,

    Michael

  113. 73513

    Remarriage Adultery

    73619

    You say (paraphrased):

    So, let’s say that someone [heterosexual] was married, divorced, then living with someone out of wedlock before they came to faith in Jesus, and God gave them a fresh new start. That fresh new start would require that they either separated or married,

    Great, so as long as you’re not saved, and you “repent” of your divorce and remarriage once having gotten saved…

    Luke 16:18, via God’s words through himself as Jesus Christ don’t count – via Michael Brown’s studied view of what the Bible says.

    “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

    So that’s # 1, what is your Biblical basis for that position? Your words directly contradict Jesus’ own words. (Yes, we get it, the Bible is clearly against homosexuality. Can you just drop it for a moment and answer the question?)

    As I said in 73513:

    And then there’s this on the subject from Assemblies of God:

    “The Bible shows that God expects contracts to be kept even when entered into wrongly.”

    Contracts entered into for the express purpose of committing sin should be kept? Is this something you believe? Because that’s pretty much what comes across when you say “God gave them a fresh start.”

    How is it possible for God to give a fresh start to those who have expressly conspired to continue to commit sin, via divorce and remarriage outside of of Biblical exceptions?

    And please spare me the “oh that’s a good point Patrick.” Answer the question please. (And again, yes we get it. Homosexuality = evil evil evil, God’s Word, the Bible.. Drop it and answer the question please)

    And yes I’m irritated. The fact that you constantly dance around the subject in such polite and crisp and clean terms makes it so.

    So, we have, “How is it possible for God to give a fresh start to people who have made an expressed commitment to sin?”

    And THEN we have the example of Joe Dallas, married, divorced, and remarried – AFTER he came to faith in Jesus – whom you use on your website as a reference for moral authority. So:

    # 2 would be, what about those who have “come to faith in Jesus,” who were then married, and then divorced, and then remarried outside of Biblical exception?

    The Bible, through God, as Jesus Christ, defines them as unrepentant adulterers.

    As unrepentant adulterers, they are doomed to eternal damnation, lest they repent and discontinue fornicating with each other.

    Again, we ALL get it, homosexuality, booga, booga! Evil, evil, evil, bad, bad, bad. Those of us who accept ourselves are doomed to eternal damnation. Again, again, WE GET IT.

    Now Michael Brown, back to the subject, what is the eternal fate of those who choose the unrepentant adulterous lifestyle, given that the Bible is clear on its condemnation of adultery?

    It’s even in the ten commandments. If you need me to I can search for that particular Biblical quote on BibleGateway, just let me know.

    When you say things like this:

    So, let’s say that someone [heterosexual] was married, divorced, then living with someone out of wedlock before they came to faith in Jesus, and God gave them a fresh new start. That fresh new start would require that they either separated or married,

    That to me is your extrapolation on what God may or may not mean, without you even admitting as much. I find that abhorrently dishonest. The very simple solution to avoid this of course, is to clarify that what you are saying is belief on your part, and not something that has been proven to you. Unless you think God allows the understanding of itself only to those who “study” Him. If so, say so.

    But if God has actually been proven to you, and you’ve actually seen God enough to be able to speak for God, then you have a story to tell us all in order to qualify your spokesmanship for God.

    Until then, please stop speaking for God, because I don’t like it. It happens to strike me as profoundly evil and idolatrous.

    Especially coming from you.

    P.S. Make sure to change the subject when responding. I haven’t heard anything about Ephebophilia in awhile, or ephebophilia, or ephebophilia either. Please make sure to put gay and ephebophelia in the same sentence while insiting that you’re not making the connection between gay and ephebophilia.

  114. Michael Brown!

    Good god man, you are so full of it.

    78719

    JAG says…:

    “I’d be careful of the absolutist statements of certainty in the words you stated above. Examine yourself, and realize that those who have condoned slavery have used scripture to support their firm, absolutist beliefs also.”

    Was it not clear to you that JAG was condemning the “absolutist beliefs” that have justified evil? And was using slavery as an example?

    Your response was to undermine this moral conviction against evil by insinuating a lack of any moral conviction at all — by questioning it SEVEN TIMES.

    0) On your end, may I ask you some direct questions?

    1) Are you not sure about anything?

    2) Is there no truth upon which you are willing to stake your life and reputation, even though others differ with you?

    3) Is everything up for grabs?

    4) Are there no absolutist statements in the Bible?

    5) And is there nothing absolutist in your statement that you and your wife “live [your] lives according to Christ and the scriptures”?

    6) According to whose interpretation of Christ and the scriptures?

    7) Doesn’t your very position indicate some degree of certainty in terms of how you live?

    All of which was a set up for the clincher:

    And isn’t it somewhat ironic that you, as a professing Christian who disdains absolutism, feels free to critique my studied view of what the Bible says?

    “Who disdains absolutism”

    JAG now “disdains absolutism” of any kind what so ever. This based on JAG’s disdain for the absolutism that justified the EVIL of slavery.

    Which then qualifies Michael’s accusation observation of “irony” that JAG, “as a professing Christian who disdains absolutism, feels free to critique my studied view of what the Bible says?”

    This is typical of your loaded and obfuscatory responses Michael. This one just happens to have been easy enough to pick apart.

    It’s insulting to the bone. And yes, to you and to JAG, I realize it wasn’t even directed toward me. But Michael Brown, your careful dismissal of such an important conviction against evil, twisted into the insinuation of no conviction at all, demonstrates to me, a supreme disdain for being questioned on your part – not for anything JAG said, or anyone else for that matter. Simply, I just got the sense of: HOW DARE YOU QUESTION ME!

    Except you always seem to put it in Little Bo Peep terms…

    And isn’t it somewhat ironic that you, as a professing Christian who disdains absolutism, feels free to critique my studied view of what the Bible says?

    Here’s the thing Dr. Brown,

    Based on this thread alone, any human on Earth is now in a position to critique your “studied view of what the Bible says.”

    Because we’ll always have the Bible to compare your words here that directly and repeatedly contradict it.

    __

    I’m not in the most creative mood, but one suggested response might be:

    Patrick, I’ve asked you repeatedly to cut down on the rhetoric, I just don’t see how I can have a rational conversation with someone who doesn’t continually suck up to me. At this point I’m going to have to avoid addressing any notion of having CAREFULLY perverted the meaning of JAG’s post. I just hope and pray that some day you’ll learn to love your neighbor as yourself, and to not judge people like me for simply being who they are, based on our very carefully chosen and selective, cherry-picked Biblical beliefs.

    __

    Oh that’s right, you also asked for those #’s for the posts I wanted a response to. I’ll see what I can do.

    Another thing, I’m completely not expecting you to turn this around onto me, or back on to JAG, or JAG’s gracious response to your response, or onto the “sin” of homosexuality, or onto to ephebophilia, or ephebophilia, or ephebophilia, or…

  115. Dr. Brown,

    I spoke to PFLAG regional director as I said I would. I’m very tired tonight. College started back today. I will send you private email to ICN in the morning.

    I am sorry that I am not as available to discuss as before. However, I am still looking for that private contact you said you would send. Your staff has my contact info.

    Shalom and blessings,

    Grethel

  116. Jag,

    Thanks for your responses. I’m happy to interact with you and, if called for, “refute” things that I differ with.

    To my question, “Are you not sure about anything?” you responded, “I am personally sure about many things, but so much so as to believe myself infallible and attempt to judge others by it? No. There is a distinct difference to me between personal knowledge of truth, and perfect knowledge of truth. I have the former but not the latter.”

    I appreciate that, and I do not consider myself worthy to judge others. However, where I see that God in His Word has made Himself clear, I do not feel that I have the wisdom to differ with Him. Also, do you not in stand in judgment of me, at least to some degree, by telling me what I can and cannot be sure of?

    To my question, “Are there no absolutist statements in the Bible?” you responded:

    “There are I’m sure…and the Bible is a document that has been written and rewritten many times over, by people with various beliefs, personal biases, and the influence of the culture of which they were a part. I read the Bible as a sacred document, but I read it carefully with this knowledge knowing that ‘absolutist statements’ I might read in it now, may not have existed – may have been reinterpreted, etc. I do a lot of work on the background of the texts I read, examining the original hebrew and greek the best I can (I have an interlinear text that is not infallible, for sure), and draw my conclusions based on this. I take it as the sacred scripture it is, take the meanings as I believe God meant them from the original language (as best we can), and don’t just snapshot current versions because of convenience.”

    I very much differ with your assessment of the Scriptures, believing that God accurately conveyed to us His will and standards and plan of reconciliation – using many different voices writing at many different times to convey a symphony of truth to us. Of course, I fully concur with you when you say that you “don’t just snapshot current versions because of convenience,” which is why in my own life, I found it necessary to major in Hebrew in college and then earn an M.A. and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, and which is why I continue to study the original texts in their cultural context to this day. Now, the fact that I can read the Bible in its original languages and that I’m familiar with the ancient manuscript evidence does NOT make me right. It simply means that, to the best of my ability, I seek to understand accurately the matters of which I speak.

    I asked, “And is there nothing absolutist in your statement that you and your wife “live [your] lives according to Christ and the scriptures”? According to whose interpretation of Christ and the scriptures? Doesn’t your very position indicate some degree of certainty in terms of how you live?”

    In response you wrote, “It should read that ‘we live our lives according to Christ and in alignment to our understanding of scripture,’ that would be more accurate. My position displays the difference I referred to earlier in this post…I have much personal knowledge of my own truths, but not perfect knowledge. I am always seeking to grow and do not believe my current understanding of anything cannot benefit from expansion.”

    Again, I deeply appreciate the humility of your position, and I too seek always to remember Proverbs 3:8: “Don’t be wise in your own eyes. Fear the LORD and depart from evil.” I do not think that I’m some theological hotshot. However, where I believe God has made Himself clear, my honor of Him requires me to be dogmatic, or, put another way, to stand in solidarity with Him. On the issue of homosexual practice, I have no question whatsoever that the Scriptures are clear. There are many questions and issues about which I am not dogmatic, but this is not one of them and, to repeat, it is because the scriptural witness is undeniably clear to me.

    You make reference to “my statements towards others,” specifically, “Can I engage in romantic and same-sex relationships and does God endorse those things and can I be a follower of Jesus at the same time? The answer is absolutely, categorically no. ”

    And you state that this “shows that you don’t only hold this as a personal truth, but claim to speak for what God intends. You may believe you have ‘perfect knowledge,’ and I don’t want to spoil the party here…but, I reserve that for only one being – God.

    Jag, can you understand that since I believe the Scriptures are God’s Word to us and that He calls us to follow Him and believe His witness, and since I believe that the Bible clearly forbids homosexual unions, it would be arrogant of me to deny this and think that I know better or am wiser or more compassionate than Him? And doesn’t the fact that you speak of God’s existence with certitude – for which I am personally glad and, of course, fully concur – mean that you would tell an atheist that his or her view was wrong?

    Finally, throughout this thread, I have simply been stating what I believe God’s Word states about homosexual practice and what the implications of that would be. Should I not be candid and straightforward, especially since according to everything I understand, this is non-negotiable?

    Michael

  117. Jayhuck –

    Off topic briefly, but congrats on your status of top commenter…I just noticed it. My goodness you’ve been busy.

  118. Michael –

    You stated:

    “On your end, may I ask you some direct questions? ”

    …then you proceeded to ask me 8 of them. I’ll answer the majority hoping my answers cover anything I might have missed:

    “Are you not sure about anything?”

    I am personally sure about many things, but so much so as to believe myself infallible and attempt to judge others by it? No. There is a distinct difference to me between personal knowledge of truth, and perfect knowledge of truth. I have the former but not the latter.

    Given this:

    “Are there no absolutist statements in the Bible?”

    There are I’m sure…and the Bible is a document that has been written and rewritten many times over, by people with various beliefs, personal biases, and the influence of the culture of which they were a part. I read the Bible as a sacred document, but I read it carefully with this knowledge knowing that “absolutist statements” I might read in it now, may not have existed – may have been reinterpreted, etc. I do a lot of work on the background of the texts I read, examining the original hebrew and greek the best I can (I have an interlinear text that is not infallible, for sure), and draw my conclusions based on this. I take it as the sacred scripture it is, take the meanings as I believe God meant them from the original language (as best we can), and don’t just snapshot current versions because of convenience.

    “And is there nothing absolutist in your statement that you and your wife “live [your] lives according to Christ and the scriptures”? According to whose interpretation of Christ and the scriptures? Doesn’t your very position indicate some degree of certainty in terms of how you live?”

    It should read that “we live our lives according to Christ and in alignment to our understanding of scripture,” that would be more accurate. My position displays the difference I referred to earlier in this post…I have much personal knowledge of my own truths, but not perfect knowledge. I am always seeking to grow and do not believe my current understanding of anything cannot benefit from expansion.

    Your statements toward others:

    “Can I engage in romantic and same-sex relationships and does God endorse those things and can I be a follower of Jesus at the same time? The answer is absolutely, categorically no. ”

    shows that you don’t only hold this as a personal truth, but claim to speak for what God intends. You may believe you have “perfect knowledge,” and I don’t want to spoil the party here…but, I reserve that for only one being – God.

    Maybe you would like to refute this?

  119. David,

    One comment I overlooked in my response in your post had to do with someone being “saved” and not knowing it or living it. That’s certainly not a biblical concept either, and as one historian once said, The only proof of the new birth is the new life.

    Michael

  120. Jag,

    Thanks for your comments, but please do be assured that I write and speak in the fear of God, not trusting my own opinion and only speaking with any sense of authority or dogmatism when there is no possible doubt in my mind on a subject — and that, generally speaking, only after years of reflection, study, and prayer.

    On your end, may I ask you some direct questions? Are you not sure about anything? Is there no truth upon which you are willing to stake your life and reputation, even though others differ with you? Is everything up for grabs? Are there no absolutist statements in the Bible? And is there nothing absolutist in your statement that you and your wife “live [your] lives according to Christ and the scriptures”? According to whose interpretation of Christ and the scriptures? Doesn’t your very position indicate some degree of certainty in terms of how you live? And isn’t it somewhat ironic that you, as a professing Christian who disdains absolutism, feels free to critique my studied view of what the Bible says?

    I have cited some excellent volumes in this thread that deal with the pronounced differences between what the Bible says about slavery, women’s issues, and homosexual practice, and if you will take the time to review the volumes I cited, you might come to some surprising conclusions.

    Wishing you the best,

    Michael

  121. Michael –

    You stated:

    “However, if you mean can I practice homosexuality? Can I engage in romantic and same-sex relationships and does God endorse those things and can I be a follower of Jesus at the same time? The answer is absolutely, categorically no. ”

    As has been mentioned before on the forum, I happen to be a Christian, who is married to another woman. We attend a reconciling Methodist church, and live our lives according to Christ and the scriptures.

    I’d be careful of the absolutist statements of certainty in the words you stated above. Examine yourself, and realize that those who have condoned slavery have used scripture to support their firm, absolutist beliefs also.

    They were likely just as sure then, as you are today.

    As for me, I allow God to be my judge…not man. Man has been far too errant.

  122. I drank a lot of spiritual milk in my AG days, and much of it surrounded the weak view of grace with which that denomination is plagued. Claiming that a Calvinist view of salvation is license to sin is to reveal a severe lack of understanding on the subject. And while I do agree with much (most?) of Christendom that one in unable to rip oneself from the arms of God after having given oneself to him, it has nothing at all to do with my understanding of homosexuality.

    But like many things Charismatic, I notice what seems to be an inability to understand how someone can still be saved (an idiotic phrase to begin with) and not feel like it or even act like it. Those periods of learning are between the individual and God.

    As to Brownsville, I did not attend though a good friend did. I studied it quite a bit, along with a few other “revivals” that were in vogue during that period. We had extensive activity around here from a guy that would have us believe laughing hysterically was revival (Rodney Howard-Browne). I hope more positive came out of them than it seems.

    Each comment seems to branch out here and I honestly don’t have the time to respond any further for now, so please don’t think me rude if I don’t. When we write a post which touches on this, I will contact you for a quote or two.

  123. David,

    By all means, write to me at http://www.icnministries.org (Contact us) if you would like to dialogue further.

    As for fundamentalists who do not believe that homosexual practice would keep someone out of God’s kingdom, I’m not aware of any, unless they hold to “once saved, always saved,” meaning, once you’re “in,” no matter how you live, you cannot possibly “lose” your salvation.

    As for Brownsville — were you ever able to attend there between 1995 and 2000? It was my privilege to have been in roughly 800 services during that time (specifically, 1996-2000), and it was an extraordinary experience to see hundreds of people flooding the altars night after night, turning from sin and making a fresh start in God. I then had the joy of training many of those people for ministry, and to this day, many of them are full-time missionaries around the world, often serving among the poorest of the poor.

    That’s one of the best ways to test the vailidity of something: Look for the long-term fruit. The standard criticism, which is pretty much a given in a true revival, will come and go and soon be forgotten, but the wonderful fruit that remains tells the real story.

    Thanks for bringing Brownsville up! 🙂

    Michael

  124. Thanks, David.

    Yeah, it was the term ‘hard core’ that was throwing me. I was actually thinking that I didn’t know any ‘hard cores’ who didn’t see it as a salvation issue. If I forget to check in, I’m sure Warren will link it if it pertains to this discussion.

  125. I’m not sure “hard core” was a good way to phrase that – there are so many ways to view these things depending on where you come from theologically. Rather than give you something off the cuff since I don’t have time right now to go into detail, I will be posting my thoughts on this at XGW shortly (days, not weeks) and I invite you to read and ask questions from there if you like.

    I will address it, as I think it important.

  126. David Roberts–

    I’ll admit to having tried to steer clear of most hard core fundamentalists for the past dozen years or so but I wasn’t aware that many didn’t regard homosexuality, in some way, as a salvation issue. Can you elaborate at all? i.e what brand of hard core fundamentalism they are part of, in what areas they remain ‘hard core’ or perhaps what issues they do regard as salvation issues. I don’t need a lot…just enough to steer me in the right direction as I search it out. Thanks.

  127. it might also be important to remember that throughout a lifetime we can interpret scriptures in different ways according to our personal circumstances and personal development, hopefully growing and maturing into the truth of God’s purpose and plan for our lives – what really matters the most is that we turn to God for our moral standards and stay close to His word for our moral dilemmas. We don’t need any particular kind of religion or organization for this – only a personal relationship with Him that speaks to our heart about His truth, the grace to understand it unselfishly and be blessed by it.

  128. Patrick,

    I’m trying to wind things up in this thread, and I want to be sure that we’re in sync about the primary posts that I have not yet fully responded to (from you):

    1) The Joe Dallas question (and the question of adultery)

    2) Your recent questions on polygamy

    3) Previous questions regarding incest?

    If you have a minute, perhaps you would be kind enough to give me the numbers of the primary posts to which I have not responded (obviously, all of us on this thread have raised some questions or issues that have not received satisfactory answers, in our respective judgments, but I’m just talking about the open posts to which I have promised a response). If you don’t have the time or inclination to note the specific post numbers, I’ll do my best to sort it out. Then we can interact a bit more before I sign off for a while due to intense schedule constraints. (Of course, I don’t presume to tell you how much to respond or not to respond; I’m just sharing my own timeframe for involvement.)

    You have really raised some excellent points along the way, so I do want to be sure to respond as fully as possible.

    Thanks,

    Dr. Brown

  129. I appreciate your follow through on that question Mr. Brown. And no, you are not my personal judge, but then neither am I yours concerning Brownsville. That you interpret scripture in such a way is telling, however. Even among some hard core fundamentalists, I know few who would consider homosexuality a salvation issue. And while you are certainly free to maintain such a position, I believe it renders you somewhat limited in how much good you can really do in this arena.

    Thanks again for responding clearly. This thread is so huge that I would imagine it is about done, but perhaps I can contact you further if we post on a subject which involves you in the future.

  130. Patrick,

    You asked, “omniscient – knowing everything.

    ~

    Dr. Brown, is God omniscient?”

    Yes, He is. (I’m sure I’ll find out in a moment why you asked!)

    Dr. Brown

  131. David,

    I’m not sure what happened, but I only saw your posts when I checked in again tonight.

    Thanks for asking for clarifying remarks, and I apologize for any ambiguity in my initial statement, since none was intended. I have no reason not to be entirely forthcoming in this matter, and I embrace God’s Word and His standards.

    You asked, “A person who is attracted to persons of the same-sex (gay for this discussion), and who happily lives (i.e. not a ‘struggler) in an intimate, monogamous, same-sex relationship, and who also claims a faith and relationship with Christ as Savior, is this person precluded from entering the kingdom of God, and therefore bound for hell by your reckoning of scripture?”

    The answer is yes, as I reckon the scripture. Same-sex relationships fundamentally violate God’s male-female order, and the fact that someone does not struggle with their same-sex desires certainly adds no justification to their decisions.

    Obviously, I am no one’s personal judge, and it’s painful for me to think of anyone being separated from God, regardless of the cause, but the Scriptures are quite clear in their blanket condemnation of same-sex relationships, be they monogamous or otherwise.

    I know that there are many sincere gays and lesbians who would strenuously differ with me here, and they would assure me that their relationship with Jesus is just as vibrant as mine. Again, I am not their personal judge but I am captive to God’s Word, which is clear and unambiguous to me on the subject.

    Again, thanks for asking.

    Michael

  132. Ken–

    In 76755 I askedTimothy why he found Dr. Brown’s word ‘combative’. The first words in his reply were “I set out from the beginning to find common ground”, since all of Timothy’s exchanges with Dr. Brown were right on the blog page, I went back and looked for evidence of this effort to find common ground. I couldn’t find it and I said so in 76929.

    Getting no response to that, I went back to the ‘Culture Wars’ (where ‘combative’ seemed to be rooted) and mentioned once again how ‘common ground’ perplexed me. That was my post 77469.

    By my post 77683, Timothy still hadn’t explained “I set out from the beginning to find common ground” but instead brought his list which he claimed to be holding back in fairness. I did NOT question his motive in holding them back, I merely said that it further confused the notion that ‘from the beginning’ he was trying to find common ground.

    So, my first question was answered by an opening comment that didn’t make sense to me–and I said so…several times. Please don’t portray me as someone who would rather assume than ask questions or seek clarification. We all fall into the trap of assuming sometimes…and sometimes, when we aren’t being answered, assumptions–based on those words that we can see–are the only way to go.

    I have no interest in pursuing it any further. My words are there in the posts I cited. (Oh, there’s another possibly related comment in my post 76264 on the first ‘same sex marriage thread’ where this topic bled over). I’m willing to let them stand and let other bloggers decide if I was assuming without asking for clarification. You and I, I’m sure will dialogue again but I’m afraid, on this point, we’re going to have to live with the fact that we disagree.

  133. Michael, did you have an answer for my question in comment #78129? I notice you responded to another question after mine this morning. I think it is quite important that you be as candid and concise as possible on this. Thanks.

  134. Ann –

    “does it matter what anyone else thinks – isn’t it between God and each individual?”

    You and I agree on this. I think we get into a lot of our problems when we attempt to pass judgment on others, or legislate actions/behaviors that do us (and them) no harm.

    Whether someone is gay, ex-gay or straight…whether they believe in a personal relationship with christ, or confess to a Priest, it is not for me to say who is given entrance or in the good graces of God. I live according to my own moral code and understanding of Christianity the best that I know how, and I suppose that’s the best I can expect from anyone…

    I am always suspicious of those who claim to have the ultimate interpretive truth – it stops growth. I suppose I can say that I still believe I have things to learn and that listening to others, growing, adjusting and evolving in my faith and perception of self in the world can only make me a better person.

  135. Patrick,

    I’ve had some internet problems recently and have gotten stalled while trying to download your longer posts and respond. Hopefully, I’ll have that resolved today.

    One quick note about Matt Comer’s posts on the forum. Do you think it’s typical of “virulent anti-gay activists” — as you described me earlier on this thread — to invite folks like Matt to an open forum in my own church, to give him the mike and allow him to share his “testimony,” and to allow him to do his own videotaping and to blog as a member of the media, without censoring anything he wrote or posted? Just curious!

    Once we release the full version, I think you’ll find it enlightening: No matter what we said or how we said it, Matt heard, “You want all gays to die!” (You’ll hear his own words on the DVD.) And then, when a local cult-based guy asked his questions — namely, why don’t we enforce Old Testament law, like putting Sabbath breakers and adulterers and gays to death — the entire panel was shocked and, of course, rejected his notions categorically and with strong warnings. For Matt, of course, this proved that is what Christians believe. To the contrary, it proved the opposite, and there’s not a Christian I’ve worked with in 36 years around the world that holds to such views, and the reaction to them proved my point.

    Again, a very enlighening night overall, and although Matt did his best to be objective on his postings and the way he set things up, he acknowledged to me in advance that he would be proceeding from a certain bias — and did he ever! 🙂

    Michael

  136. Practicing homosexuality and actively affirming something that violates God’s order would preclude entrance into His kingdom.”

    Thank you for your response, but I need to ask you to clarify this statement. You say “practicing homosexuality AND actively affirming something that violates God’s order would preclude entrance into His kingdom.

    This statement implies that “practicing homosexuality” (and by that I am assuming you include a person in a monogamous, intimate, same-sex relationship) is not enough in and of itself to preclude entrance, hence the “and.” One could also say that practicing celibacy AND actively affirming something that violates God’s order… See what I mean?

    This must be precise because there are so many variations on meaning out there that a direct statement which all can understand as the same thing is not easy.

    So could you clarify in the most basic language. A person who is attracted to persons of the same-sex (gay for this discussion), and who happily lives (i.e. not a “struggler”) in an intimate, monogamous, same-sex relationship, and who also claims a faith and relationship with Christ as Savior, is this person precluded from entering the kingdom of God, and therefore bound for hell by your reckoning of scripture?

  137. Eddy,

    Rather than just making unflattering assumptions about people, if you are unsure about something, why don’t you simply try asking them to clarify what they mean?

    I.e. instead of making assumptions about what Timothy knew and his intentions, how about you just ask him directly?

    Similarly, if you are uncertain about something I’ve said, ask me to clarify. I’m more than willing to do so.

  138. David,

    I don’t know that it’s been mentioned quite that explicitly in this thread, but the answer is a define NO.

    http://www.interstateq.com/archives/2391/

    Re: Dr. Michael Brown, “Can you be Gay & Christian” forum, Thursday, September 20, 2007:

    At the beginning of the forum, however, Brown made his point very clear: One cannot be gay & Christian, or rather, one cannot be a self-affirming gay person and Christian:

    “If you mean, can I be a devoted follower of Jesus while struggling with unwanted sexual desires, while saying I know these are wrong, I resist them, I don’t give into them, I do not practice homosexuality, I’m celibate and I’m abstaining from these things and my goal is to be pure in front of the Lord, but I’m still struggling with these things… Can you be gay and follow Jesus? In that sense, yes. And that’s the same as a heterosexual struggling with lust, desire, temptation outside of wedlock. However, if you mean can I practice homosexuality? Can I engage in romantic and same-sex relationships and does God endorse those things and can I be a follower of Jesus at the same time? The answer is absolutely, categorically no. The Scripture leaves no room to question that.”

    There are three videos on the page, the quote above is from the last video — the “Highlights of the Forum” video, and is a direct and exact quote.

    The only mistake I noticed in the quote was in the first sentence, it should have said “unwanted same-sex desires” as opposed to “unwanted sexual desires.”

    Lots more on that page regarding Matt’s experience at the “Can you be gay & Christian” forum.

  139. David,

    Actually, this question was not addressed directly on this thread, so here’s my response.

    If by the question you mean, “Can I be a true follower of Jesus and still battle with same-sex attractions, recognizing they are wrong and refusing to yield to them,” I would say absolutely yes. Being heterosexual is not a requirement for following Jesus. Saying no to sin and crucifying fleshly desires is what is required, and God calls us to holiness more than to heterosexuality. I would hope, however, that over time, someone’s attractions would change and that person would be able to enjoy a fulfilling and pure heterosexual relationship.

    If by the question you mean, “Can I be a true follower of Jesus and be a self-affirming gay person who engages in homosexual practice,” then I would say categorically no, based on the Scriptures. Practicing homosexuality and actively affirming something that violates God’s order would preclude entrance into His kingdom.

    The DVD of the forum we held should be available shortly, so if you go to my main website at http://www.revolutionnow.org and sign up for the email list, we’ll let you know when it’s out. In fact, here’s an offer to anyone who’s been on this thread. If you’d like a free copy of the DVD — which was not professionally recorded, BTW — just identify yourself as such in the Contact Us form on the home page and let us know how we can send you the DVD for free. Once we do so, we’ll remove your address from our database.

    Now, having said this so, I do not for a moment think that is an easy road and I know that many on this blog would say that they tried the route outlined in my first answer and that it failed miserably. Moreover, they would say they learned that God made them both gay and Christian and that I’m misinterpreting the Word of God. I understand that perspective, I can only begin to imagine the level of personal turmoil that such people went through, and I do not speak from a point of moral superiority. I am simply doing my best to be faithful to God and His Word, since it is to Him I will ultimately give account, and practicing homosexuality and following Jesus are mutually incompatible.

    Does this answer your question?

    Michael

  140. Eddy (and others who are interested),

    Two quick notes:

    First, as Timothy mentioned, there was nothing hidden or hard to find regarding some of the information of mine that he posted (aside from the wrong statements he made and the wrongly attributed quotes). It came directly from my Coalition website, which, as I mentioned in a previous post, was a site to which I drew attention at the outset of this thread. No surprises there!

    Second, just for the record, I personally devote less than 1% of my time to dealing with Congressional legislation and “political’ issues — although I know they are important. In fact, the occasional emails I send out to the Coalition e-list regarding these issues represent the sum total of my efforts re: ENDA and other related bills, and that’s why I generally forward the emails of other conservative groups dealing with these things rather than write my own. Again, this is not to say that the issues are not very important, it is simply to describe where I put my personal activist efforts.

    Michael

  141. Michael Brown said:

    One reason that I held the forum at our church on “Can you be gay and Christian?” was to break down walls and remove the stigma of interacting with the GLBT community, also sending the message clearly that “We don’t hate you!”

    I only had time to digest about half of this thread, but in all that I never found an answer to the following Mr. Brown: What is your response to the question, “Can you be gay and Christian”? Could you give a yes or no to this, and elaborate as well if you care to?

    If this has been answered, please forgive me and if possible provide a reference. Thank you.

  142. Ken–

    The basic point of my post that you first objected to was that we shouldn’t listen to unsupported allegations but rather listen carefully to see if, by chance, Dr. Brown marched to a different drummer. You took exception to this and supported your objection with—unsupported allegations.

    As I re-read your first objectioning post, you did get more specific about the types of offenses you were alleging but you didn’t support any of it…didn’t give any examples of the what and the why for specific offenses. Primarily for that reason, I took your response as ‘non-responsive’. I apologize for that.

    As I saw it, Dr. Brown was barraged with questions from the start. For the most part, the questions weren’t open. Even those that pretended to ask questions were in fact laying accusations. (“You’re using pedophilia because….”, “you’re using male on male pedophilia because…’, “how do you answer to that, Dr. Brown?”) Michael would ask direct questions only to have them ignored or twisted; yet the demands that he answer were insistent. I questioned Timothy’s statement that ‘he sought to find common ground from the beginning’ when it seemed to contradict the words and tone of his beginning interactions. I think I brought it up at least two more times…and the question still hangs. And, oddly, Timothy then came in with a more specific list of charges that he was ‘sparing us from’ although, it seems, he had them all along. With those charges, I better understood Timothy’s tone throughout the thread but it made the ‘I sought to find common ground from the beginning’ even more of a stretch.

    Then came the “I’m leaving” speeches and exhortations. (Not enough to say you’re leaving…do it and come back…and again…and, throw in a comment every now and then to the effect that “you really mean it this time.”) Anyway, because you made charges without substantiating them, were occasionally ‘snarky’ and then seemed to jump back in only to announce you were leaving, I DID form an opinion based on that and lost sight of the fact that you might actually be trying to dialogue. For that I apologize as well. (This blog, in particular, is overwhelming evidence that we can all ‘witness’ the same things and yet perceive them dramatically different.) LOL. That feels grammatically awkward but I’m not sure what the fix is…can’t be two ‘ly’ endings in a row, can it?

    And, you are right, I did twist your last statement but without meaning to. I’m still trying to read your sentence and not rephrase it “Well, of course, I’m willing to give the new school marm a chance, but I’ve heard her pretty words and I’ve had teachers before, used some of those same words. I’m wise to her tricks.” (Although that kid thinks he’s being open-minded and fair, he’s got a boatload of bad associations that will cause him to respond negatively to ANYthing she says or does…”Oh, don’t try your nicey-nice smile on me, sister, I’ve been there.”; “Oh, look, now she’s playing like she’s all patient and fair, but, just you wait.”) Maybe that new teacher is just like all the rest but–maybe not. What then? A whole lot of missed communications and miscommunications in the meantime.

    So, I was looking forward to hearing more from Dr. Brown. “Messianic Jews” often bring a fresh spin to theological and social discussions. Those that are conservative appear to be more thoughtful about their worldview. Their faith isn’t something that they bring out for Sunday service; generally speaking, they try to live it out and apply it in more areas of their personal lives than most. These are only my impressions based on those that I have known.

    I hope we’ll hear more from Dr. Brown on another day, in another thread to see if he’s ‘more of the same old stuff’ or if he does have some new beat from his different drum. Several months back, I was flattered when someone ‘from the other side’ lamented that it was unfortunate that I was no longer a full-time voice inside Exodus or the ex-gay movement. I think they were responding to a ‘balance’ I was projecting. I’ve thought about that a lot. No, I’m not going back into full-time ministry. What I thought about was the fact that the ‘balanced’ views I was presenting were views I held some 30 years ago…and it took this long for someone ‘from the other side’ to see past the presumptions of what I believed,felt, etc. to get a glimpse of what I’ve been saying all along.

    But, I’d say something only to be challenged with “well, so and so said such and such, how do you answer to that?” I think I finally had to scream in a blog that I was the one in the room…respond to MY words, to what I’M saying. So, in a sense, those who say they aren’t hearing anything new are right. Sometimes, they aren’t hearing it because there’s nothing new being said. Sometimes, they aren’t hearing it because they’ve got their filters on way too high. And, sometimes nothing new is being said because we won’t let the speaker vary from the script we’ve laid out for them.

    My famous dad story. Long story short. As a teenager I called Mom ‘a witch’. In a heartbeat, Dad had a hold on me and screamed “What did you call her?” Truthful lad that I was, I stammered “a witch”. He swatted me a second time. “What did you call her?” Again, the same results. After the third time, I whimpered. “Don’t ask me what I said, ask me if I’ll ever say it again.”

    (My apologies if I’ve told that one. Mom joined Dad in the afterlife back in September and I know I’ve told it a time or two…just not sure where.)

    My honest hope is that, despite the fact that we have this huge theological difference and despite the fact that it motivates us differently in our connection to the world, we’ll ask questions that will focus more on our obscure common ground rather than on our obvious differences. Then, because we asked something new, we might get answers that are new and fresh too!

    One final word. Lest anyone think that I’m trying to come across as ‘the mature one’ or anything, I must confess that this is my second draft of a reply. My first was much shorter and had a healthy (unhealthy?) dash of snarky and sarcasm. I went back to Ken’s first post to me and realized that it wasn’t as sarcastic as I had taken it. And my first draft went to the trash where it belongs.

  143. Shalom Grethel,

    I did receive your message and I look forward to speaking with you offline. You’ve raised some very candid things here, and I think it’s best if I respond in private, not on a public blog.

    The one thing I will say, however, is that it appears that you have experienced either some level of sexual fluidity in your lifetime or else have only gradually understood your sexual identity. Perhaps the process is not yet finished?

    I will be in touch! Thanks for your gracious invitations.

    Dr. Brown

  144. Dr. Brown,

    I also want to mention that I really suffered emotionally when I discovered that I am lesbian. I had no clue. I was married for six years and divorced on 9/11/2001. I was an active member of the Assemblies of God church that you have visited several times in the past in this local area when I discovered this about myself.

    At the same time, I also had another identity crisis and issues not feeling that I really belonged where I did. I dealt with this issue first–becoming a Jew. After I was welcomed, loved, accepted, and part of the Jewish community, I then looked for help in regard to being lesbian. Knowing that my Rabbi is accepting of GLBTs and has spoken at the local Love Welcomes All conference made things more comfortable for me. I had no trouble approaching him and telling him about myself. He helped me find PFLAG because he also knows the regional director.

    It also isn’t easy being in relationship with someone, too. My family doesn’t know about me and I am not ready to tell them. My girlfriend’s mother knows and has really been nasty to her in many ways. My GF’s mother is a fundamental Christian.

    Deep down I want nothing more than to have a life with my GF and her children. It will not be easy all the time. There’s a lot of difficult factors involved. But, I love her and the children. And I’m willing to be here for them.

    She and I have a lot of love for each other and I do believe we can make it through many of the obstacles.

    Also, as a teacher, I am fearful. Discrimination does exist in this field. There isn’t any legal protection, either.

    Shalom,

    Grethel

  145. Dr. Brown,

    I sent a message via “ministry@icnministries.org” back to you in reply to your invite to visit with you all in Charlotte. I extended to you an invite to visit my synagogue and my girlfriend’s church. I did not want to share with everyone where I live.

    I seen my friend, the regional director of PFLAG, at the United Religions Initiative Interfaith Peace Service in my local area this past Sunday. But, I didn’t mention you to him or your willingness to dialogue, present, and etc. My girlfriend and her two children were with me. So, we were busy interacting as friends. He and his wife are also a members of my girlfriend’s church. They are both good friends to us and one of our support systems.

    I lost his email but he emailed me this week. So, sometime today I will email him about this.

    Shalom and blessings,

    Grethel

  146. Eddy said in post 77815:

    As to your second objection, you offered no substance to support your allegations of ‘all the red flags’ or that ‘he isn’t really interested in any sort of honest discussion’.

    No I didn’t because I didn’t feel like rehashing all of his posts. If anyone wants me to provide support for my claims I’m quite capable of doing that. Of course, I notice Eddy you didn’t actually ask me to support my claims, you just implied I couldn’t.

    It’s always a red flag when someone claims that their opinions are ONLY based on what’s currently being said and immediately afterwards say “Past experiences with others like him…” are the basis for my comprehension.

    This is the 2nd time in this topic you have misrepresented what I said Eddy and I don’t appreciate it. I never said my opinion was ONLY based on what Dr. Brown posted here. I said it was largely based on what he posted, there is a significant difference. In addition to what he posted I also rely on my knowledge and past experiences that I’ve accumulated over my entire life. However, I had never heard of Dr. Brown before he started posting here, and I didn’t have any preconceived notions about him.

  147. Dr. Brown/Michael –

    Thank you for your incredible wisdom and patience displayed in all your responses, the articulate, intelligent and thoughtful way you write, and for your fortitude and substance. I appreciate everything you have said and the way you have said it.

  148. but you do raise a good, general question: Why didn’t the Bible explicit prohibit polygamy from the start?

    The better question would be, why didn’t God Himself ensure that His prohibition of polygamy made it into His recorded Word from the start?

    from a biblical standpoint, homosexual acts are a more serious violation [than polygamy] of God’s order

    Therefore homosexual relationships are more sinful in God’s eyes than polygamous relationships.

    Do you agree?

    it has rightly been concluded that the Bible, read in totality, is against polygamy.

    Therefore polygamy is sinful in God’s eyes.

    Therefore polygamy was always sinful in God’s eyes.

    Do you agree?

  149. Eddy (and Timothy, if you’re there),

    After I got offline last night, I began thinking about Timothy’s post 77538 again, and I couldn’t help but make some further observations, especially about methodology and double standards.

    First, every time I cite anything specific in any post, I’m accused of citing a falsely reported story, as if Timothy has the real lowdown on every gay-related incident and I only have unreliable, second-hand information. Of course, in a case where something was not reported accurately by the media — such as the polygamy case in the Netherlands — I do my best to go back and make a correction (which is why I expressed my appreciation to Timothy for pointing out that I had not made the correction to my online article that mentioned this). But the fact is I always do my best to check the accuracy of the sources, and in some of the very cases where Timothy stated that I was simply reporting conservative media rumors, I had friends who were intimately involved with the legal cases – and the facts were just as I had reported. Now, what makes this all the more ironic is that the very first charge Timothy brought against me was not accurate, whatever his source might have been. The double standard was there for all to see.

    So, Timothy claims that, “[Brown] uses the tactic of anecdotes – always presented in National Enquirer standards – to insinuate the evils of gay people. These never seem to have the factual basis that Brown suggests, but his point has been made. Facts and honesty are not the point, insinuation and skewed stories scare the audience into fear and retaliation. “ In reality, my own habit is to be pedantic about citations and accuracy to the point of frustrating people with endnotes and details. As for the skewed stories, etc., perhaps the skewing is not coming from me but against me?

    Second, Timothy gives the impression that he has withheld dirt about me until now, writing, “I did not list any of this before. I did not want to make this about Dr. Brown. I wanted to try and get at issues and have conversation.” He even tells Warren, “I think it is important to know who it is that we are dealing with.” This too is fascinating. Does anyone on this blog not now that I am a conservative, Jewish Christian activist? Didn’t I draw attention to my Coalition of Conscience website in one of my earliest posts? In the very blog that started this whole thread, I told Warren (with reference to my Exodus Conference message this past June): “I was encouraging those fighting unwanted SSA in their own lives to be strong in the Lord and to give themselves unconditionally to His service, then talking about the threat to our freedoms coming through an activist gay agenda as a wake up call.” I think that’s pretty clear!

    The Coalition of Conscience is a grass roots network of Christian leaders and believers, based in the Charlotte area, who are working together for moral and cultural change through the gospel, and my primary focus thus far has been dealing with gay activism. Is it a surprise that I do not support including sexual orientation in the hate crimes bill? Is it a surprise that I have issues with ENDA as it stands? Jayhuck noted in a recent post that he could surmise where I stood on these things already – rightly so. As for the feeling that all this stuff has been dug up on who I really am – to Warren’s alleged enlightenment, no less – most of it comes from one page of the Coalition website that lists past emails. Nothing hidden or secret there!

    Third, there is the constant guilt by association or guilt by insinuation that I frequently find in Timothy’s post and in other related posts. So, for example, if I forward to the Coalition e-list one email with good useful information from Mission America, I therefore believe everything that is on their website or I agree with the content of every email they have ever send out. The same with AFA, for example. Again, none of my emails are hidden and whenever any related subjects have come up in this thread, I made my viewpoints clear. Yet I am now, by implication, in alliance with everything said by Don Wildmon about homosexuality. (I’m not saying this to speak against Mr. Wildmon; I’m simply illustrating a tactic used consistently in these posts.) As for my actual affiliations, please remember that I stated in the initial blog with Warren that I was going to be speaking at the Love Won Out conferences sponsored by Focus on the Family. I’ll also be speaking at an FRC event for the first time in a couple of months. No secrets here!

    Still, the feeling I get can be illustrated like this. Let’s say I’m explaining to a gay man in France that I’m simply acting as an American citizen in the stands that I take. He then replies, “But America is bombing innocent Iraqis and Bill O’Reilly called for the economic boycott of France!” If you’ll go through the posts, you’ll see this kind of approach, one that really distracts from the issues themselves. I also notice that no matter how I carefully and clearly respond to a question – such as my definition of a gay activist and how I use the term – Timothy does not hesitate in the least to tell me what I mean by the term and redefine how I use it. (Again, Timothy, if you’re there, I’m not playing into your “Evil Timothy” and “Dr. Brown the Martyr” scenario; I’m simply seeking to give truthful reflections on your post for the benefit of other readers. I would be delighted to take some time and talk by phone privately, just to clear the air, and not to prove any point.)

    Fourth, there is the apparent failure to recognize that there are two sides to the story. I appreciate Timothy’s conviction that he is totally right in his views and that I am totally wrong. His passion is admirable. But I take for granted going into a dialogue like this that both sides feel strongly about their views and that each side claims a moral base for those views. Timothy, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to realize that there can be any moral or spiritual basis for opposing his view. (How the tables have turned in all this!) Thus he states, “[Brown] uses his own personal religious beliefs as supreme right to invalidate any counterargument or presentation of fact by those who don’t share his beliefs.”

    Hardly! Rather, when asked why I stand where I stand, I explain that I am deeply convinced by the Scriptures and by years of prayerful reflection that homosexuality is not a gift from God and that homosexual acts are sinful in His sight – and therefore I do not believe that there should be same-sex marriages or the like. I AM SIMPLY EXPLAINING WHAT I BELIEVE AND WHY I TAKE THESE STANDS, and I frequently emphasize that this does not prove the point to the other person, it just answers their question as to why I do what I do. I ASSUME others do not share my beliefs; I ASSUME that some of the posters here do not believe in God or the Scriptures, or if they do, their understanding of God and His Word is different than mine. But I thought the whole purpose of dialogue was to put the issues on the table and challenge one another’s view point and wherever possible, learn from each other? In all candor – and I mean no harm in this statement – it seems that Timothy is not able to enter into DIALOGUE on this, which is why I suggested speaking by phone for the sake of better understanding.

    In keeping with this last comment, I don’t think Timothy and others here recognize the process I go through in terms of my own activism. Through the years, I had no doubt about what the Scriptures stated regarding homosexual practice – after all, biblical studies are my field as opposed to psychology or political science – but when I began to deal with the subject afresh, I read carefully the pro-gay biblical arguments and used those arguments to challenge my own beliefs. Despite my preconceptions and existing convictions, I built up a substantial library of books from the opposing viewpoint and even read through the relevant biblical passages on my knees, in the original languages, asking God honestly if there was anything I was missing. This is not some game to me, and I fully realize that people’s lives are at stake. And the result? I am more sure than ever about what God’s Word has to say on the subject.

    And on a more personal level, just two nights ago, I re-read some of Timothy’s earlier, more conciliatory posts, along with those of Grethel and Jayhuck and others, and I laid in bed and prayed and reflected, trying to put myself in their shoes, challenging myself again: “Is there any way you’re on the wrong side of these issues? What is the right thing to do? What pleases the Lord?” This is not because of doubt or insecurity on my part but because of compassion and concern and because of love for Jesus and those for whom He died. The result again is that my convictions are not changed – but I assure you, I will go through this same process many more times in the coming years.

    Again, I don’t write this to defend myself. Getting slandered is a daily occurrence for me (on Jewish websites, I’ve been called a “soul-murdering pariah,” while some pro-gay folks have called me a Nazi, among many other names), and any personal attacks on me on this blog have been very mild (perhaps having a “lying tongue” and being a “false witness” was the most extreme here – which, again, is mild compared to what I’m used to). But I share all this candidly so people can know who they’re really dealing with and, assuming we’re coming towards the end of this thread, I felt it would be appropriate to be this candid with folks with whom I’ve spent a lot of hours in the last few weeks.

    So, we return to where we started on this very blog: I’ll gladly take the heat for what I actually say and do and believe, but it’s always best to separate fact from fiction, and I still don’t see how it can hurt to talk to each other frankly and respectfully in the midst of our differences.

    Blessings and grace,

    Michael

  150. Ken felt the need to challenge this statement I made:

    I have reason to believe that Dr. Brown beats a slightly different drum as well…not the one you expect and not the same as mine either.

    And what do you base this belief on Eddy?

    Well, we already learned that his concerns re the Charlotte Gay Pride were about enforcing existing local laws NOT in restricting the lawful parts of the assembly. That might not be new to you but it’s a distinction that has been muddied for many who read here. And, like it or not, it IS a different drum beat than the one you want to portray him as having. So, I stand by my exhortation.

    As to your second objection, you offered no substance to support your allegations of ‘all the red flags’ or that ‘he isn’t really interested in any sort of honest discussion’. So, I’m going to stay with “But we won’t find out if we presume from the start that he has nothing unique or different to say.”

    Speaking of red flags. It’s always a red flag when someone claims that their opinions are ONLY based on what’s currently being said and immediately afterwards say “Past experiences with others like him…” are the basis for my comprehension.

  151. Michael–

    Thanks for your clear response to the first allegation on Timothy’s late appearing laundry list. I am similarly perplexed as to how to proceed. The “I’m leaving” and “I will resist” comments were already on the table when I posed my question. Maybe you and I (and the recently returned Emproph) are the only ones in the room.

    Timothy-

    I would like the links you offered that support the rest of the allegations. The learning never stops! If you’re officially ‘out of the discussion’, that’s okay, just the links will suffice. Thanks.

    Off the Wall New Year’s Musing: Every time a place a word in italics or bold using HTML, I think of Timothy! LOL. I’ve been using them ever since Timothy got me over my hurdle…but, it’s true, time I start the code, there’s still that momentary remembrance.

    Happy New Year, ANN, wherever you are…

  152. Eddy said in post 77712:

    I have reason to believe that Dr. Brown beats a slightly different drum as well…not the one you expect and not the same as mine either.

    And what do you base this belief on Eddy? I have yet to see Dr. Brown post anything to indicate he is any different from other anti-gay “compassionate”, conservative christians. The same methods of presenting the extremes as though they were the common case; focusing on the minutiae while ignoring the salient issues; biased distortions of facts; insulting analogies. I’m not seeing a whole lot different about Dr. Brown.

    But we won’t find out if we presume from the start that he has nothing unique or different to say.

    My opinions of Dr. Brown have been based largely on his posts here. Past experience with others like him has allowed me to quickly see all the red-flags in his posts and to realize he isn’t really interested in any sort of honest discussion.

  153. Eddy,

    I didn’t read any of Dr. Brown’s statements in response to Timothy or Myself, but I did read yours. If Dr. Brown is saying something new or unique, he hasn’t said it yet, and every single thing I’ve heard to date is a repeat of things I’ve heard throughout my life. I’d love to hear something new Eddy, I really would, but that hasn’t happened yet. 🙂

  154. (I’m having trouble with the preview, so please forgive any mistakes)

    should the polygamists be allowed to freely practice their convictions?

    I didn’t get around the this one before, *sigh,* so just to make it official, *sigh.*

    This is an article I put together about a year ago:

    ———

    Polygamy…and the not so slippery slope.

    The slippery slope argument that same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy is a staple of anti-equality organizations like Focus on the Family. As former Senator Rick Santorum queried earlier this year, “If gender doesn’t matter anymore, why does number matter?”

    I haven’t had a good grasp on the merits of this argument – until now.

    From the book “How To Win An Argument” by Michael Gilbert:

    You will slide down the Slippery Slope unless you remember that different statements need different reasons… Is each of the steps exactly the same?

    There are always two questions to be asked about a slippery slope:

    1. Is the slope truly slippery?

    2. Should the first step be taken?

    If each of the steps is just like the previous one, the next question is: Should the first step be taken? If the slope is slippery and the first step must be taken, there is nothing you can do but enjoy the slide and then come at the problem from another direction.

    If the first step can be avoided, however, then you should not take it to begin with. In all cases, always reserve judgment on whether the slope is indeed slippery

    So first of all, we’re talking about the equal right to marry one spouse, not the additional right to marry additional spouses.

    Though I suppose any marriage arrangement outside of one man and one woman would be considered equally non-existent to some. Thus, one “zero” gay marriage would appear to them as equal to one “zero” polygamous marriage, ergo, gender equals number.

    A pretty basic difference, albeit not for those who are convinced that homosexuality is a perversion. But when it comes to those who politicize this so-called argument, with all the “research” they do to demonize gays, they’ve GOT to be aware of the following.

    I found this article fascinating and most of it was new to me. It was thorough and it seems every base was covered. (BTW polygyny = polygamy)

    A few highlights:

    So far, libertarians and lifestyle liberals approach polygamy as an individual-choice issue, while cultural conservatives use it as a bloody shirt to wave in the gay-marriage debate. The broad public opposes polygamy but is unsure why. What hardly anyone is doing is thinking about polygamy as social policy…

    …Polygyny…is a zero-sum game that skews the marriage market so that some men marry at the expense of others…when one man marries two women, some other man marries no woman. When one man marries three women, two other men don’t marry…

    Crime rates tend to be higher in polygynous societies. Worse, “high-sex-ratio societies are governable only by authoritarian regimes capable of suppressing violence at home and exporting it abroad through colonization or war.”

    Sound familiar? And so far America is only generally sexually repressed, imagine if we were sex-ratio imbalanced on top of it.

    …societies become inherently unstable when sex ratios reach something like 120 males to 100 females… The United States as a whole would reach that ratio if, for example, 5 percent of men took two wives, 3 percent took three wives…

    …boys could no longer grow up taking marriage for granted. Many would instead see marriage as a trophy in a sometimes brutal competition for wives.

    Same-sex marriage stabilizes individuals, couples, communities and society by extending marriage to many who now lack it. Polygamy destabilizes individuals, couples, communities and society by withdrawing marriage from many who now have it.

    If they gave reasons as compelling as those as to why same-sex marriage was destructive to society, even I’d be against it!

    But for contrast – from the Focus on the Family web site:

    When posed with the question “Why draw the line at two people?,” same-sex marriage advocate Cheryl Jacques of the Human Rights Campaign said, “Because I don’t approve of that.”

    …well, that brings an important question to mind: How come your “because I don’t approve of that” objection to polygamy is more reasonable than my “I don’t approve of that” objection to same-sex “marriage”? (This line has even won strong applause from hostile audiences!)

    One would think that with their million$ upon million$, AND the Family “Research” Council at their disposal, Focus on the Family would have been able to determine at least as much as has been presented here – on their own.

    The effects of polygamy are inherently opposed to those of same-sex marriage. They’re two completely separate arguments, in practice AND in principle.

    ——

    The full article I drew from is here:

    One man, many wives, big problem: When some men have several brides,

    Chicago Sun-Times, Apr 9, 2006 by Jonathan Rauch

    I posted this mainly for those here who can appreciate its merit, but a P.S. for Michael, if you’re going to respond to this post, I will assume you have read the article linked above, in full – just so that the rest of us know, that you now know, what we know. I thank you in advance.

  155. Patrick,

    Thanks for your post on polygamy in the Bible.

    Yes, there are plenty of examples of polygamy in the Scriptures, and I appreciate you citing some of the examples. Anyone who has read the Old Testament has been aware of this, but you’re right in assuming that some of the posters here may not be familiar with the material.

    You ask, “So why is one man one woman marriage considered to be a Biblical standard of marriage, or even ‘the way it’s always been?’”

    I certainly did not make that statement here on this blog, but you do raise a good, general question: Why didn’t the Bible explicit prohibit polygamy from the start?

    Actually, from a biblical standpoint, homosexual acts are a more serious violation of God’s order and are more roundly condemned. That’s how important heterosexual relationships are in the Scriptures.

    As for polygamy: 1) The first pattern established by God was Adam and Eve (one man and one woman). That is to say, God did not give Adam two wives but one wife. 2) There is not a single positive example of polygamy in the Bible but there are many negative examples (such as the problems Jacob had with Rachel and Leah; the problems David had with his wives; the problem Solomon had with his wives – and harem!). 3) Jesus in the New Testament reinforces the teaching of one man cleaving to one woman, and there is no mention of any apostle having more than one wife. 4) Paul sets it forth as a rule that a church leader can have only one wife, and leaders, conversely, were called to set examples for the rest of the congregation.

    Based on these scriptural examples and teachings, it has rightly been concluded that the Bible, read in totality, is against polygamy. But I repeat: From a biblical standpoint, polygamy is not spoken of in the same negative terms as is homosexual practice, although I oppose both based on the Scriptures.

    Thanks again for the post.

    Michael

  156. Eddy,

    To answer your question, when I spoke to the mayor and city council (the speech was recorded), and when I met with the police and district attorney (in each case, being one of several people who spoke or was in the meeting), my only request was for laws against lewd public conduct to be enforced. And as I said publicly and in writing, had there been a heterosexual event with public displays similar to those of the early gay pride events in Charlotte, I would have raised my voice against those as well.

    Do I personally like gay pride events in my city? No. Do I think that homosexuality should be celebrated? No. Do I have the right to stop lawful public gatherings of gays and lesbians? No again.

    To be precise, then: “How about Timothy’s first charge. That you supported and lobbied to restrict Charlotte’s Gay Pride from congregating? Were you seeking limits or elimination? Were you party to an effort to prohibit gay pride assembling or were you trying to curtail the excesses and enforce existing laws?”

    I was seeking to curtail the excesses and enforce existing laws. I also helped to organize a group of about 120 mainly young people in 2005 who went into the park and shared the gospel with those attending the event. (This was strictly one on one, and no one was harassed or coerced to speak in the least.)

    Thanks for asking. Hopefully, people will actually take note of the facts.

    Dr. Brown

  157. Timothy,

    One more quick question for you: Is it ethical when writing about someone to put a sentence in quotation marks as if the person himself made the remark when it actually came from another person? To be specific, you quote a remark which, I believe, came from a CWA emailing and then attribute it to me. Was this an oversight on your part? (Again, I’m referring to post 77538.)

    I personally appreciate the work of FRC and others (obviously, you appreciate HRC while I appreciate FRC), but I honestly don’t understand what purpose you could have of erroneously attributing quotes to me. Again, this is how this whole thread began. It looks like history continues to repeat itself.

    Once more, no hard feelings on my part, but in the interest of truth, I think it’s important that I mention these things here on the blog.

    Michael

  158. should the polygamists be allowed to freely practice their convictions?

    Let’s see what God has to say on the matter.

    http://www.biblicalpolygamy.com/

    This site has 40 examples of polygamy in the Bible. There’s a chart at the bottom of each page which lists them all. I’ve plugged a few into BibleGateway and so far they’ve come up legit.

    A few examples:

    Gideon

    A judge of Israel

    Drumah, Shechem

    “And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives.” Judges 8:30

    ———

    Esau

    3 Wives – Judith, Bashemath and Mahalath

    “And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:” Genesis 26:34

    “Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.” Genesis 28:9

    ———

    Abraham

    Faithful friend of God and father of the Hebrew nation

    “Father of the faithful”

    3 Wives – Sarah, Hagar and Keturah

    “Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.” Genesis 16:1

    “And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.” Genesis 16:3

    “Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.” Genesis 25:1

    ———

    Forty examples of polygamy in the Bible seems like a pretty compelling argument in support of God’s own support of polygamy as opposed to his opposition to it.

    So why is one man one woman marriage considered to be a Biblical standard of marriage, or even “the way it’s always been?”

  159. I had trouble with the prejudgements implied in Jayhuck’s statement:“Your arguments against gay people aren’t new Dr. Brown, in fact I’ve heard them all my life. Not that they have to be new, mind you, but I’ve personally heard them ALL before.

    For months I was challenged on this site for beliefs people believed I held because of my connection to things ‘ex-gay’. For months, people belabored our discussion with “I’ve heard it all before” until one day someone realized ‘oh wait, he is saying something different’. I believe Timothy was one of the first to recognize that I was beating a slightly different drum. I have reason to believe that Dr. Brown beats a slightly different drum as well…not the one you expect and not the same as mine either. But we won’t find out if we presume from the start that he has nothing unique or different to say.

    Jayhuck–I purposely went mellow so as not to draw you back in. I know the frustration of trying to leave a discussion (or the blog itself) and yet feeling hopelessly sucked back in. Good luck.

    15 minutes til New Year’s here! Happy Leap Year Everyone!

  160. Timothy,

    Somehow I missed your detailed post 77538. You obviously know me better than I know myself, plus you’ve stated that “I am going to resist Dr. Brown’s defending of himself and justification of his alliances, tactics, and words. I will not make this about making Dr. Brown a martyr of the Evil Timothy.”

    Timothy — no one is making you Evil Timothy and no is calling me a martyr. This is, however, quite a fascinating scenario for me to observe: You attack me at length in a post, then make clear that you are not willing to hear a syllable from me regarding what you have written, and then set it up as if you are the victim in the interchange. In any event, the case is apparently closed before it is opened, since you have no desire to hear any other side of any story cited, and when I expose inaccuracies or exaggerations or false statements on your part, you fail to admit your error. This is “Christian” interaction?

    That being said, should anyone want to get the rest of the story — or perhaps the real story — on anything mentioned in your post, I invite them to ask here online, and I’ll respond openly and candidly. (I noticed Eddy’s recent question about your aforementioned post, so I’ll respond to that first.)

    I will, however, ask you a question that harks back to one of your earliest posts to me: Since it appears that almost no gays and lesbians read Kirk and Madsens’s “After the Ball” — I say this based on the general disclaimers I hear from GLBT folks about this book — how did it become a top NY Times Bestseller? Just curious! 🙂

    Michael

  161. Timothy,

    Robert Gagnon is a fine NT scholar, which is why even a pro-homosex scholar like Marti Nissinen, author of Homoeroticism in the Biblical World, stated that Gagnon’s major book could not be ignored.

    Perhaps you could show me where he is guilty of faulty exegesis of the Hebrew or Greek?

    Michael

  162. Jayhuck,

    All the best to you! Perhaps we’ll meet on another thread one of these days, although I don’t foresee being able to give as much time to other threads as I was able to give to this.

    Blessings,

    Dr. Brown

  163. In post 77538 it appears that Timothy is finally willing to answer the very first question that Dr. Brown asked him. And, now that Timothy has been ‘forced’ to share the dirt with us he is careful to add: And I am going to resist Dr. Brown’s defending of himself and justification of his alliances, tactics, and words.

    I’m trying to be clear on what that means. Do you mean just you or do you mean we should all resist anything he says in answer to your charges? I haven’t been party to ‘shut them up before they have a chance to answer’ bullying since high school. (Please note: Timothy didn’t include the possibility of ‘explanation’; it’s ‘defending of himself’ and ‘justification’. Guilt is already presumed.)

    Dr. Brown,

    How about Timothy’s first charge. That you supported and lobbied to restrict Charlotte’s Gay Pride from congregating? Were you seeking limits or elimination? Were you party to an effort to prohibit gay pride assembling or were you trying to curtail the excesses and enforce existing laws?

  164. One quick correction – I said *I* above when I really meant to say “the gay community” when talking about respect and dignity! 🙂

  165. Timothy,

    One more note: I must take exception to what you attempted to do in your previous post. You cite an opening paragraph from an article of mine written in 2006 to create a very misleading picture — allegedly as revealing my tactics. For the sake of the truth — and as a fair way to end the year — here’s the article in full. It’s also interesting that you post this now, since it was a misinterpretation of similar comments of mine that began this very thread (when Warren called for me details about the SPLC allegations). And please note carefully how many times I make reference to gays or gay activists in the article.

    Let me also highlight this one quote (with emphasis), since, again, it stands in direct contradiction to the SPLC allegations: “And the only way we can have a true Jesus Revolution in our nation – A NON-VIOLENT REVOLUTION BASED ON PURITY, COMPASSION, AND SACRIFICE RATHER THAN ONE BASED ON ANGER, INTIMIDATION, REBELLION, AND FORCE – is to have a sweeping revival in our churches.” I stand by this statement and the sentiments behind it wholeheartedly, and I will continue to call for “a spiritual, moral, and cultural revolution.”

    May God speed it in this new year!

    Blessings,

    Michael

    Here’s the article in full:

    On Friday night, September 22 [2006], the eve of the Feast of Trumpets, I spoke at a meeting in Moravian Falls, North Carolina, urging those in attendance to hear the trumpet call, to wake up to reality, to recognize that we are in a life and death struggle, to understand that we cannot reduce a concept like “revolution” to a popular religious cliche. We really are in a war!

    That Friday night service marked the beginning of a solemn, ten day season on the biblical calendar, beginning with the Feast of Trumpets (called Rosh HaShanah, the New Year, in Judaism) and ending at sunset, Monday, October 2, with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Jewish tradition calls these ten days the “days of awe,” a time of repentance and awakening and soul-searching, a time in which God is judging the world. It is a time to stir ourselves and to wake up. It is a sacred, holy season.

    Little did any of us know that during the next ten days there would be three tragic school shootings – the most heinous and horrific of all being the slaughter of the five Amish girls on the Day of Atonement – not to mention news of the gay sex scandal involving Representative Mark Foley and some of his male pages.

    All four cases involved minors, and three of the four cases involved the sexual molestation of children, including the claim by Congressman Foley that he himself had been abused by a clergyman when he was a teenager in addition to the report that the murderer of the Amish girls had molested minors in his family twenty years earlier when he was only twelve.

    What has happened to our society? Has the world gone completely mad? The answer is absolutely yes, the world has gone completely mad – but this is hardly a recent development. As painful and shocking as these recent events are, the Scriptures state plainly: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). This is where we have allowed ourselves to be deceived, where we have failed to grasp reality. We live in a battle between two kingdoms, and we can never be totally at home in this world.

    And yet there’s more. To whatever extent America was a “Christian nation” in the past, it has long since taken a terrible moral plunge. We went over the deep end years ago, and the slaughter of the Amish children did not mark the end of innocence in our nation. The end of innocence came decades ago – in fact, it came long before the Columbine massacre in 1999 and well before the legalizing of abortion in 1973 – but we have failed to grasp the urgency of the hour. Reality makes us uncomfortable, and we would rather continue to sleep on in comfort than wake up. But we cannot afford to slumber any longer. The trumpet is sounding a loud and clear note. It is time to wake up!

    We need to face the facts: Our nation is saturated with violence – from TV to the movies to video games to the Internet to sports – and is drowning in sexual addictions. And no one has been more attacked than the children, from abortion on demand to the decimation of the family, and from sexual predators (we have roughly 400,000 registered sex offenders in our land) to godless educational curricula. The cold-blooded, execution-style killing of little children in a one-room school house only underscores the moral depravity of our society. It is but a symptom of our long-standing sickness.

    In 1969 Dr. Bill Bright wrote, “We live in the most revolutionary period of human history. . . . Social band-aids and reform antiseptics give little hope for a cure or even an improvement. A revolution is needed.” How much more can this be said today? It is revolution or we die, revolution or it’s over, revolution or it’s too late. And the only way we can have a true Jesus Revolution in our nation – a non-violent revolution based on purity, compassion, and sacrifice rather than one based on anger, intimidation, rebellion, and force – is to have a sweeping revival in our churches. We need a massive, repentance-based, Spirit-empowered movement that awakens us from our stupor and calls us to battle. We have no other choice!

    It is true that, as Americans, we have the responsibility to be involved in the political process, doing what we can to elect righteous officials and to call our elected officials to stand for what is right. Yet we must be realistic: There is no political solution for our nation’s illness, nor will a new Christian teaching or an exciting new seminar get the job done. We need a spiritual, moral, and cultural revolution.

    In 1999, the call for a Jesus revolution began to be sounded by many leaders throughout America and around the world. Seven years later, that call is louder and clearer than ever. Can we count you in?

    http://www.coalitionofconscience.org/articles/wakeUp.shtm

  166. Thank you Timothy and Eddy – God bless you!

    Tim, I think we’ve all done a good job of bringing to light how Dr. Brown operates. You better than most, and I’m betting many people, including myself, appreciate that 🙂

    Just so you know Dr. Brown, I know you believe you have good intentions, and I believe you are, at heart, a kind and compassionate person. Does that mean I should work to carry on this conversation or have dinner with you, no, it doesn’t. Does that mean I believe you give me the respect or dignity I deserve, NO, it doesn’t mean that either – and this is part of the reason I wouldn’t choose to share a meal with you.

    Your arguments against gay people aren’t new Dr. Brown, in fact I’ve heard them all my life. Not that they have to be new, mind you, but I’ve personally heard them ALL before, and this forces me to ask myself this question – why should I continue this conversation when I’m not hearing anything new and I feel that we are going around in circles? Timothy talked about it before, but it boils down to a lack of progress. I feel that I am spinning my wheels and there are so many more worthwhile things I could be doing. I feel that I’ve gotten the sense of who Dr. Brown is at this point, and what he believes. Perhaps, if things change, we could have a meal in the future, who knows? I never close any doors!

    As hard as this is for me to do, and believe me it IS hard 🙂 – I won’t be back to this thread (ok, well, never say never, but that is my goal). I do dislike not knowing what people say about me and not having a chance to defend myself, but if by winning (that little talk we had earlier), we mean having the last word, then you get to do it/have it Dr. Brown – as far as I’m concerned anyway. I, on the other hand, am going to take a cue from some other frequent posters that I respect and let this thread go – I’m sure we’ll meet on other threads or elsewhere in cyberspace 🙂

    God bless! 🙂 I’m off to ring in the New Year with friends and family.

  167. Timothy,

    Thanks for pointing out my failure to update my article after further reporting on the Netherlands situation came out. I’ll correct it ASAP.

    As for your opening quote, since I’ve written whole books on the subject of our calling to a NON-VIOLENT Jesus revolution, interested readers can be referred to multiplied pages explaining my alleged “perspective and intent.”

    And may I challenge your own pursuit of integrity here? You falsely accused me of relying on the Mass Resistance website, and I corrected your assumption. Was there any retraction or apology on your end? You assumed I was making reference to the Parker’s with a situation I referred to, dismissing it completely. I then cited an article referring to a different couple with the same situation in the same location. Did you apologize or print a retraction? No. I could multiply examples, but let’s start here.

    So, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

    Michael

  168. Dr. Brown,

    I think if you re-read this thread you’ll see we’ve already qualified these things. I feel that we are simply going around in circles at this point.

    To be fair, I never said that I couldn’t tolerate you. Take care Dr. Brown.

  169. And just for fun…

    I don’t often discuss Robert Gagnon, but since Brown refences Gagnon as the authority on Scripture, I think this quote of Gagnon is worth observing:

    I believe that Scripture regards homosexual practice with at least as great a severity as, and likely greater severity than, it regards consensual adult incest and adultery, and certainly adult consensual polyamorous bonds

    This is in context of Gagnon chapioning the firing of gay persons, especially for white collar jobs. He also favors denying housing to gay persons.

    I know Gagnon is revered in the anti-gay camp. I’m not so impressed.

  170. I think this best exemplifies Brown’s perspective and intent:

    On Friday night, September 22, the eve of the Feast of Trumpets, I spoke at a meeting in Moravian Falls, North Carolina, urging those in attendance to hear the trumpet call, to wake up to reality, to recognize that we are in a life and death struggle, to understand that we cannot reduce a concept like “revolution” to a popular religious cliche. We really are in a war!

    And this exemplifies his tactics

    In a two day period during the last week of September, the case for same-sex marriages in America was dealt two serious blows. First, on September 29, California’s governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill seeking to legalize same-sex marriages. Then, on September 30, the Netherlands approved its first polygamous civil union. “I love both Bianca and Mirjam, so I am marrying them both,” stated Victor de Bruijn, who was already married to Bianca.

    As it turns out, the Netherlands story was completely untrue. There was no polygamous marriage recognized in the Netherlands. But yet the falsehood remains on his website as though it were fact. No retraction, to correction, no revision, not even an asterisk.

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2005/10/05/lies-hypocripsy-and-same-sex-marraige/

  171. Jayhuck,

    May I ask once more if you REALLY mean “everyone” in post 77525? Are you sure that you would not have to qualify that?

    If a Muslim extremist has the message of, “Join us or we’ll kill you,” should that person be “free” to carry out those beliefs and actions, without restraint and without legal repercussions?

    And back to my perennial questions, should the polygamists be allowed to freely practice their convictions? Should all consenting partners, regardless of age, be granted their “rights” to pursue their romantic and sexual relationships?

    I fully believe that all human beings should be treated with dignity and respect and love, but when they break laws (such as rape or murder), justice and the functioning of a proper society demands a punishment. And when a person seeks to change the law in a way that violates my moral convictions — even if it is moral to those trying to pass the law — then I will exercise my rights as a citizen to vote against the law, I will raise my voice to educate, and I will reach out to those on the other side with integrity and grace.

    Why isn’t this enough? Why must I abandon my heartfelt, scripturally supported convictions to live in your perfect world?

    I’m really trying to understand where you’re coming from, since if this particular thread is an example, while I preach co-existence in the midst of our differences, with each side fighting for what they believe is right but only with truth and honor, those who oppose my views cannot co-exist with me. I am incorrigible, hopeless, virulent anti-gay activist — and presumably not part of the “everyone”!

    Let’s be real here: If Timothy and Ken and you have decided to drop out of the dialogue with me because it’s hopeless and all I want to do is win — Timothy’s words and sentiments, not mine — how are we expected to LIVE side by side in real life? You can’t even tolerate me on an Internet blog — and all that, in the name of tolerance!

    You would say, “But you’re in the majority position, exercising all your rights and privileges, while the GLBT community is oppressed.” I understand your position, so by all means, stand up for what you believe, and I’ll do the same on my end.

    In great detail I painted a picture for Timothy as to how this would work in real life, but it was dismissed with nary a word of subtantive interaction. To me, all this is really very enlightening.

    As for your question as to where I stand on, “hate-crime legislation, civil unions, workplace, living and other protections for gay people,” I would afford the same legal protections for gays as for heterosexuals — that is to say, protection from everything proscribed by the law — but would not endorse adding sexual orientation and/or sexual identification under hate crimes. I’m happy to explain why if you would really like to know more, but in short, I don’t see you wanting to add hate crimes against heterosexuals to the legislation. What if a gay man attacked me because he hated heterosexuals? Why shouldn’t that be a federally protected hate crime? (I could add: What if someone attacked me because they hated males, or tall people, or people with big noses and mustaches? Why isn’t that kind of hate punishable by special legislation? There are other reasons that I take issue with the hate-crimes, more important than what I’ve raised here, but that’s for another discussion.)

    As for same-sex civil unions, I would not support those for the same reasons I would not support same-sex marriages (although I would repeat that most of the benefits that you could obtain through a civil union could be obtained already through other means). As for workplace issues, since “T” is clearly part of GLBT today, and since gay activists were unhappy with that aspect of the hate-crimes bill being removed, I think that’s a good place to start: If I, as an employer, am unhappy with Bob, my receptionist at my dental office (just for the illustration here), wearing a dress and wig to work while “trying out” his new female identity before undergoing sex-change surgery (as is often recommended), should I not have the power to dismiss that person over that? (Lest you think I’m just talking in the abstract, real life situations like that have arisen.)

    Dr. Brown

  172. Warren,

    You ask about Dr. Brown’s political agenda.

    Dr. Brown supported and lobbied for efforts to restrict the Charlotte parks from allowing gay people to congregate for their cultural celebration.

    He opposes ENDA and considers it a “real concern” that so many congressional leaders believe that gay persons should have the same protections in the workplace as racial minorities, women, Jews, Christians, or Jews who are Christians. He alligns himself with Peter LaBarbera and his rantings on this issue.

    http://www.coalitionofconscience.org/email/archive/102507.htm

    Brown alligns himself with Family Research Council on Hate Crimes legislation. He repeats the fraudulently spun story about Michael Marcavage and his Repent America team in Philadelphia. Oh yes, grandmas are going to jail if the federal government tracks violent crimes against gay people. “If hate crime laws proliferate, the freedom to speak one’s mind will be limited to those who celebrate and promote homosexuality.”

    He also joins with Don Wildmon of AFA to perpetuate the lie (yes, deliberate lie) that protections based on sexual orientation would include incest, pedophilia, sadism, and beastiality.

    (I’m not linking all the sources so this doesn’t get tied up. If need be, I can provide the links)

    Brown claims not to be at war with any individuals. No, he’s all about love. But this is the sentence with which he opens endorsement of Linda Harvey and Mission America’s opposition to the Day of Silence:

    Next week, many of our local schools will become battlegrounds over the issue of homosexuality.

    Dr. Brown regularly appeals to the myth that gay persons follow some manifesto created by Madson and Kirk to achieve a nefarious agenda. Ironically, he follows many of the ideas that they laid out. He presents himself as a martyr, he accuses his enemies of being intollerant, he portrays those he doesn’t like as being a secret cabol of the powerful. While the gay community never set out to deliberately follow After the Ball, it certainly seems like Brown has.

    He claims that gay groups – such as HRC – are not civil rights groups and claims they are “extreme” and “radical”. (Working for gay equality seems to be the only qualifier that makes HRC “extreme” and “radical”)

    He regularly links homosexuality with pedophilia and uses the latter as an argument against the first. Incidentally, it is same-sex pedophilia that he discusses to make sure the link is made in the mind of the audience. Example “..why shouldn’t pedophilia – especially, “consensual” sex between a minor and his “lover” – be protected under that same heading?”

    He uses the tactic of anecdotes – always presented in National Enquirer standards – to insinuate the evils of gay people. These never seem to have the factual basis that Brown suggests, but his point has been made. Facts and honesty are not the point, insinuation and skewed stories scare the audience into fear and retaliation.

    http://www.coalitionofconscience.com/articles/didYouKnow.shtm

    Brown has clearly identified his tactics. He talks about “love” but engages in war. He talks about individuals but refuses to acknowledge that his actions harm individuals. He talks about “activists” but by his definitions, every gay person who is unwilling to be treated inferiorly by their government is an activist. He links his enemies to other dispised groups (a Hunter/Madsen technique). He sets himself out to be a martyr (Hunter/Madsen). He pits his arguments as evil v. good. He uses his own personal religious beliefs as supreme right to invalidate any counterargument or presentation of fact by those who don’t share his beliefs.

    Brown has clearly identified his alliances: Don Wildmon, Pete LaBarbera, Linda Harvey, Michael Marcovage. These are not your garden variety conservative Christians. These are people who will say anything and do anything in their efforts to harm the lives of gay individuals. They have long ago abandoned any sense or reason or compassion or even pretense at honesty. They exist for one reason only – to war against those they dislike. While he calls HRC extreme (an ironic moniker considering their position on the recent ENDA campaign), he himself is alligned with the most extreme anti-gay voices around.

    You are not unfamiliar with this camp, Warren. And I don’t think you would be willing to sully yourself by affiliation.

    I did not list any of this before. I did not want to make this about Dr. Brown. I wanted to try and get at issues and have conversation.

    And I am going to resist Dr. Brown’s defending of himself and justification of his alliances, tactics, and words. I will not make this about making Dr. Brown a a martyr of the Evil Timothy.

    But you asked, Warren, and I think it is important to know who it is that we are dealing with.

  173. Jayhuck said: Perhaps this will make things a little clearer. My hope and prayer is that we will one day live in a world, something like Timothy described earlier, where everyone is free to speak and live as they see fit, but champions equality. I hope I’m not out of line by saying this (please forgive me everyone if I am), but Timothy, I and I’m sure even Jag and Mary BELIEVE in real equality for those we disagree with – can others say the same? Yes, they can.

  174. Eddy,

    Perhaps this will make things a little clearer. My hope and prayer is that we will one day live in a world, something like Timothy described earlier, where everyone is free to speak and live as they see fit, but champions equality. I hope I’m not out of line by saying this (please forgive me everyone if I am), but Timothy, I and I’m sure even Jag and Mary BELIEVE in real equality for those we disagree with – can others say the same?

  175. Warren,

    I am not clear, however on where he stands on hate-crime legislation, civil unions, workplace, living and other protections for gay people. I have my ideas. 🙂

  176. Warren,

    Haven’t we already been through this? Dr. Brown would support legislation that would deny marriage rights for same-sex couples. I think he’s already, at the very least, implied that this would be the case.

  177. Eddy,

    You ‘respect’ Dr. Brown’s right to his beliefs as long as he doesn’t speak them, act on them, vote them; that’s not respect.

    You are wrong. I never said anything about speaking or acting on them. In fact, what I said is that Dr. Brown can and should, speak, educate and live as he sees fit. What I would hope that everyone would do, however, is allow all law-abiding people to have equal rights, and he does not see this as necessary. I’m sorry if I did not make this clear earlier. Timothy was very gracious about this matter in post 77192.

    I, unlike Dr. Brown, do not believe in imposing my religious views on others through legislation.

    Dr. Brown,

    We CAN have our differences and be on the opposite side of the ideological divide without demonizing one another, without being hateful to one another. We CAN sincerely pray for God’s best for everyone involved

    I believe everyone on here does, and always has felt this way. I’m sorry if I didn’t make illustrate this in my own posts, and please don’t take my unwillingness to have dinner with you as hateful. Sometimes you have to know when to walk away, but that doesn’t mean I don’t pray for you or wish you well.

  178. Eddy,

    I was quite impressed by his incredible patience in answering and became increasingly appalled at the tone of the responders. That’s just my opinion but I believe an objective re-reading of this entire thread would support it.

    I was also quite impressed with Timothy’s patience as well as Michael’s – I’ve seen many people on here, including Jag and Timothy be incredibly patient and compassionate towards those who would tell them that they don’t deserve equal rights. Its one thing to be kind and patient when you are in a majority and are enjoying these rights and quite another when you are an oppressed minority. Personally, I think it takes a great deal more character to be patient, kind and understanding when you are the latter, and my hat is off to those who have accomplished this.

  179. Patrick,

    Be assured that with all the kind New Year’s wishes being exchanged, I still intend to respond to the unanswered points you have raised to me (including Joe Dallas’s testimony, etc.). Sometimes it’s easier to respond to the most recent posts, which I have been doing the last day or two, while neglecting ones from a few days back, especially when they’re filled with so many important points, like yours often are.

    Thanks for being patient!

    Dr. Brown

  180. Timothy, Jayhuck, Patrick, Ken, and others,

    With all seriousness, as we exchange our new year’s wishes for one another, I really do believe that there is something to this.

    We CAN have our differences and be on the opposite side of the ideological divide without demonizing one another, without being hateful to one another. We CAN sincerely pray for God’s best for everyone involved while holding to our convictions and acting upon them, even if in doing so each side feels opposed by the other side. Can we not do this while looking one another in the eyes and saying, “I respect you, I care about you, but I strongly differ with you?”

    If I can change your viewpoint or you can change mine, fine and good. If our views can be nuanced in any way through our interaction, wonderful. But at the least, we can still listen to each other and be reminded of our joint humanity before God, and to me, this is always a positive step and something that always comes out of constructive, honest dialogue.

    Praying for God’s best and His will and His highest goals for everyone on this blog,

    Michael

  181. Timothy said: It is my impression that the conversation that you observed between Micheal Brown and myself took place primarily in your own head. But it’s also Timothy’s impression that he reached out to Dr. Brown trying to find common ground when, in fact, Timothy’s very first comments to Dr. Brown were four accusations.

    It was Timothy’s impression that Dr. Brown wasn’t answering his question yet I demonstrated via 7 points that Dr. Brown was answering all along. Dr. Brown checked in later and thanked me for my response–meaning I had correctly heard him. I’m going to conclude that Timothy’s impressions aren’t always based in reality.

    Jayhuck–

    It’s my feeling that you do draw a line when the comments are as combative and non-responsive as they were with Dr. Brown. I was quite impressed by his incredible patience in answering and became increasingly appalled at the tone of the responders. That’s just my opinion but I believe an objective re-reading of this entire thread would support it.

    By the way, EVERYONE WHO VOTES ‘tries to impose their views on the rest of society’. People disagree…that’s what politics is about. You ‘respect’ Dr. Brown’s right to his beliefs as long as he doesn’t speak them, act on them, vote them; that’s not respect.

    Warren: a fascinating new topic idea.

    Can people on opposing sides in the culture war find any areas of meaningful discussion? Could anything be gained by such discussions?

  182. Eddy said in post 76929:

    From there we had lots of talk about pedophilia but it was all charges, guesses and insinuations about what he was implying, where he was trying to go with it, even that he was a latent pedophile, etc. (you, Emproph and Ken primarily).

    I never implied Dr. Brown was a pedophile. I believe is uses that analogy to antagonize gay-rights supporters. That he knows just how inappropriate and insulting it is and brings the topic up every chance he gets.

    None of you would actually respond to his direct question because you felt it was a trap.

    Grethel did respond to that argument in post 76100.

    I think if you were to examine Dr. Brown’s posts a little more closely you would see that Timothy’s assessment of him is much more accurate than yours is. I believe Dr. Brown isn’t the least bit interested in any form of honest discussion. He simply wants to “win” the debate any way he can. And I too am no longer interested in anything he has to say nor will I continue to attempt any form of discussion with him.

  183. Timothy,

    You know, its actually kind of liberating 🙂

    I want to wish you and everyone else that is a part of this blog “family” who I haven’t said this to already, a happy, and safe New Years Eve, and a blessed and joyous 2008!!!!

  184. Concerned,

    I have seen how it destroys families because I live in a country that already has such acceptance. Luckily the political forces that imposed it on us have been thrown out. We can only hope that it is for a long time.

    I have seen the opposite Concerned. I have seen real love, compassion and sacrifice from gay people, gay couples and gay families.

    Homosexuality and heterosexuality do not destroy families, unhealthy people do. Just because I know many dysfunctional heterosexual families does not mean I run out and blame the problem on the sexuality of the parents or those involved, but it sounds like this is what you are doing with gay people.

  185. Jayhuck,

    Like you are. I often see close mindedness rather than a willingness to walk in anothers shoes. The debate you are so forcefully defending is doing much harm in other peoples lives. I have seen how it destroys families because I live in a country that already has such acceptance. Luckily the political forces that imposed it on us have been thrown out. We can only hope that it is for a long time.

  186. Timothy,

    Upon reviewing some of your most recent comments, I feel that it is appropriate for me to ask how you know that there is nothing “God Himself could say that would have any impact on Dr. Brown.”

    Thanks for your response.

    Michael

  187. Jayhuck,

    Let me try to respond to all your recent posts in one long post (with a quick shout to Timothy along the way).

    First, let me make reference to something said by “Concerned,” specifically, “Perhaps the tone of gay activists has changed over the years, but I have followed this for many years and there was little respect shown for people of faith in the early days of this debate.” Here’s a recent case in point, from the Gay and Lesbian Educators [GALE] of British Columbia, “we must dishonour the prevailing belief that heterosexuality is the only acceptable orientation even though that would mean dishonouring the religious beliefs of Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc.” So, it would appear that “civil rights” for one group means limited rights for other groups.

    Now, to your specific comments. You write, “Here is the reality you are going to have to come to terms with. Gay people and gay couples are NEVER going to go away. Their numbers will likely increase. My question then is, knowing this, is it better for a society to have these relationships in its midst and not encourage them to be monogamous, or is it better for society to grant certain rights, privileges and benefits to these couples so that more of them are loving, long-lasting and monogamous? The answer seems pretty clear to me. If you care about society, you have to grapple with this reality.”

    At the risk of being redundant, if I believe that same-sex relationships and same-sex acts are wrong in God’s sight and contrary to His order, why should I “grant certain rights, privileges and benefits” to same-sex couples? Would you accept this argument about other orientations or behaviors? I keep asking that question because it simply does not get answered in a substantive way.

    Let’s just say that I make the argument that the compulsive exhibitionist is never going away (and I am NOT comparing gays and lesbians to compulsive exhibitionists). Well, why not accept the behavior as normal and remove the stigma? This way, the person does not have to live with constant rejection and judgment. I imagine you would say to me, “But the behavior itself is wrong,” and I would agree. So also, I do not believe that God intended men to have romantic and sexual relationships with men or women with women – the Scriptures are totally clear on this point, in my studied opinion – and therefore I cannot in good conscience endorse same-sex marriage or civil unions. So, fill in the blank in your sentence and replace “GAY PEOPLE and GAY COUPLES are NEVER going to go away” with some other group whose orientation or behavior you do not endorse, and see if you could still write the rest of your paragraph the same way.

    Also, most of the benefits that accrue to marriage can be obtained by same-sex couples without marrying, and, to me, more importantly, the issue of monogamy has to do with love and commitment more than a marriage certificate. So, the reason I do not cheat on my wife is not primarily because I made a public vow one day (although that is certainly a factor) but because I love my wife and am committed to her and I would not want to break the sacred trust we have with each other. But I assure you: I felt this way the moment we were in love, and there was no more chance in my mind that I was free to sleep with another woman before we were married than after we were married.

    And one more thing on the issue you raise. For me, there is a real and clear slippery slope ahead – in fact, we’re on it already – and no sooner am I having to address your question about “equal rights” for gays and lesbians then I have to address the same question from the transgender community, even down to little children in public schools (witness the recent issues before the Board of Ed in Montgomery County, MD). It is a direction which I am convinced is not in the long term best interest of society.

    Next, you wrote to Eddy that, “When I was talking about fear mongering, I wasn’t just talking about the use of the phrase ‘wake-up call’, I was talking about how he attempts to characterize all gay people in a certain way in order to get people to back him up. THAT, to me, is fear mongering.”

    Jayhuck, once again, at the risk of being redundant, in the article you cited, I was pointing to ugly things being done in public in 2004 – things that the police cracked down on in 2005 and then the GLBT community self-policed beginning in 2006 – and I was simply quoting from a local gay activist who has some very pronounced views about what the world should look like. How is that characterizing all gay people?

    And how about quoting from the opening paragraph of my article entitled “Charlotte Pride or Charlotte Shame”? Here it is: “Although it is politically incorrect these days to speak of a ‘gay agenda,’ there is no doubt that many gays and lesbians do, in fact, have a specific agenda, one that is designed to bring about both ideological and social change. This should come as no surprise, since the homosexual community sees itself as locked in a struggle for equal rights, having to combat antiquated and hateful ideas on a daily basis. From their perspective, they are faced with the formidable task of overcoming deep-seated biases, bigotries, and intolerant attitudes. It is high time, our gay friends would tell us, to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, just as Americans have sought to end discrimination based on race, color, or creed. It is high time, they would argue, for liberation and freedom.”

    So there you have it: my description of the evil gay community and their ominous agenda. Really now, how can you read this without recognizing that I understand the viewpoint of the GLBT community but still reject it?

    Perhaps another question that I raised in that article should be raised here “And isn’t it ironic that those who most loudly call for tolerance are often the very ones who seek to suppress and muzzle all opposing views? Is not this the height of intolerance?” I know that Timothy just wrote to Eddy that, “I would fight for your rights [and Dr. Brown’s rights] to believe and do as you wish.” Yet it appears to me that Timothy opposes this very right and feels that even to engage in discussion with me and my kind is a waste of time. I must ask honestly and openly: Is there really consistency here?

    Finally, in the same article I write, “Perhaps it is now time even to ask our gay and lesbian friends – people whom we love and care for, but people whose agenda we oppose – Are you really proud of everything that took place at last year’s ‘Pride’ event? Is this how you want to be known? Surely, if traditional couples came together for a ‘Celebration of Marriage’ day in a public park, little children would feel welcome, and people would not have to close their eyes and cover their ears to avoid contact with vulgar and obscene images, gestures, and words.” Is not this an appeal to the wider GLBT community to separate itself from these things?

    Finally, here’s the answer to your question asked in your first new post, “what IS a gay activist in your eyes? If a gay person votes and fights for equal rights but doesn’t right books or march in parades, are they considered activists?” First, I’ll state again that I don’t believe the majority of gays and lesbians have any more “agenda” than the average heterosexual person. Second, I don’t consider the millions of conservative Christians who vote according to their principles to be activists anymore than I consider a GLBT person who votes according to his or her principles to be an activist. Third, a dictionary definition of an activist is, “an especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause,” and so in any community, activists can generally be recognized. They are people who fit this definition just given. I am an activist for the values for which I stand; I have no idea whether you are. Wayne Besen describes himself as an activist, and he obviously is. Others are less vocal but are actively involved in groups like GLSEN or GLAAD or the NGLTF or the HRC. Those people would qualify as activists.

    I hope this helps!

    Dr. Brown

  188. Timothy,

    But those who love freedom and equality have long known that there will always be enemies of freedom and equality who claim moral superiority while they seek to interfere in your life… doing God’s work, of course.

    I applaud you for this statement. It is something I have known for some time but could never have said quite as well as you! Thanks!

  189. Concerned,

    Let me just add that it doesn’t sound as if you are truly trying to understand gay people or why they deserve equal rights, it sounds as if you are looking for reasons to justify beliefs you already have.

  190. Timothy,

    I have no desire to “win,” since I’m not in a war with you or in a debating contest.

    You are passionate about your viewpoints and I am passionate about mine, and we each do so before God.

    Perhaps you can find it within yourself to accept that fact and to drop the rhetoric? It really is not helping your cause.

    Again, I wish you abundant blessings on your new year.

    Michael

  191. Eddy,

    Yet, now, you propose to draw a line for the rest of us here saying that voices like Dr. Brown’s have no place in meaningful discussion.

    I didn’t draw a line for you Eddy, and I didn’t make a general statement saying that voices like Dr. Brown’s have no place in meaningful discussion.

    you’ve been engaging in the war you accuse Michael of

    You are right – I’ve been engaging in the war started by people like Dr. Brown, one in which I said I would disengage and for that I’m sorry.

    A dialogue is at minimum, two parties sharing ideas. Since you admit that Dr. Brown’s viewpoints aren’t even worthy of discussion, you haven’t been dialoguing; you’ve been making little speeches.

    I think that’s a bit unfair Eddy. Even if we don’t agree, even if neither of us changed the other’s mind, we were still sharing ideas on a number of things.

    Timothy,

    I invite you to disengage from the Culture War and to let him “win”. There is nothing you or I or God Himself could say that would have any impact on Dr. Brown.

    You are right. Its easier for me to say sometimes than to actually DO!

    Concerned,

    I have never lumped all ex-gay people together – heck, I technically am an ex-gay person. What is odd is that I have to keep repeating this fact. Ever since I met Mary and some other ex-gay individuals who have their own personal views, but still fight for the rights of gay people – I knew I couldn’t lump all of them together. However, I do make accusations against ex-gay organizations, but that’s not the same thing. I realize there are many “ex-gay” individuals out there who define ex-gay in different ways, and who have different beliefs when it comes to equal rights for gay people. If its true and I have lumped all ex-gays together in a post before, I am sorry.

    Let me ask you this Concerned. If a group of people were trying to tell you that you didn’t deserve certain rights, that you didn’t deserve to marry the person you loved, that you deserved to be treated as a second-class citizen, wouldn’t you be a little upset. I’m honestly surprised that so many gay people, on here and outside of cyberspace are able to be as polite and gracious as they have been with those who try and deny them equal rights. I think you need to re-read some posts here and check out how different gay people react to these situations before you go doing back to me what you claim I was doing to you – saying that all gay people are angry and hypocritical! There have been some amazingly compassionate and well-thought out messages posted by gay people on this blog.

    Jag,

    Thanks 🙂

  192. Jayhuck,

    I cannot emphasize to you enough that what I see you accusing Dr. Brown of I have seen used time and again by yourself and Timothy and Jag to lump all ex-gay people into one general category when there are many differing reasons why someone might wish to give up this type of behaviour. I want to thank all of you for helping me to clearly understand why I can not support your cause for same-sex marriage or acceptance of the gay life even as you describe it for yourself. It comes across much too hypocritical and anger based. It shows very little room for any kind of open discussion.

    Perhaps the tone of gay activists has changed over the years, but I have followed this for many years and there was little respect shown for people of faith in the early days of this debate. I saw alot of what you are telling me is the extreme. I still see this extreme in pro-gay magazines (which are available to the general public here is Canada) and they are often very disrespectful to people of faith. The war was most definitely started by gay activists some 40 years ago and these people are still trying to push the envelop and ofter admit this is what they are doing.

  193. Jayhuck,

    I invite you to disengage from the Culture War and to let him “win”. There is nothing you or I or God Himself could say that would have any impact on Dr. Brown.

    Let it go. There’s no way to make progress here.

  194. Eddy,

    It is my impression that the conversation that you observed between Micheal Brown and myself took place primarily in your own head.

    But to address one point: there is already a place for you and Mary and Dr. Brown in my world. I would fight for your rights to believe and do as you wish. I would insist that you be treated equally by your government. I would demand that there be no barriers placed on your access. I would champion the recognition of your relationships – even if I thought they were bound to eventually cause harm.

    You know this to be true.

    You also know that this devotion to the freedom of those who disagree with me is not always reciprocal.

    But those who love freedom and equality have long known that there will always be enemies of freedom and equality who claim moral superiority while they seek to interfere in your life… doing God’s work, of course.

  195. Jayhuck–

    I got my answer in your reply to Dr. Brown. Thank you. Please consider that you have admitted yourself that you cannot have meaningful dialogue with someone who believes as Michael does. This is more true than you know. You haven’t been trying to dialogue; you’ve been engaging in the war you accuse Michael of. A dialogue is at minimum, two parties sharing ideas. Since you admit that Dr. Brown’s viewpoints aren’t even worthy of discussion, you haven’t been dialoguing; you’ve been making little speeches.

    You do have the right to feel that way about Dr. Brown–but if you are aware that you can’t have meaningful dialogue with someone with his viewpoints–you really ought to wonder why you expect him (or us) to listen to you. I’m personally concerned about the censorship. What was it–two weeks ago–that you and Timothy were discussing the blessings of the prostate gland? Yet, now, you propose to draw a line for the rest of us here saying that voices like Dr. Brown’s have no place in meaningful discussion. You can decide that for yourself but not for me.

  196. Dr. Brown,

    Here is the reality you are going to have to come to terms with. Gay people and gay couples are NEVER going to go away. Their numbers will likely increase. My question then is, knowing this, is it better for a society to have these relationships in its midst and not encourage them to be monogamous, or is it better for society to grant certain rights, privileges and benefits to these couples so that more of them are loving, long-lasting and monogamous? The answer seems pretty clear to me. If you care about society, you have to grapple with this reality.

  197. Michael,

    First of all, what IS a gay activist in your eyes? If a gay person votes and fights for equal rights but doesn’t right books or march in parades, are they considered activists?

    As for: “Yet because of that you could not sit down with me and have a meal together?”

    I’ll say it again to make sure you understand. If someone doesn’t respect me enough to allow me to marry, if they believe they know what is best for me and treat me in this way, I will not have dinner with them. I think its wonderful that you reach out your hands to the gay community and that you use the kind tone you use, but until you start treating us as equals, and until you start putting us on equal footing with you, as long as you work to keep various rights out of the gay community’s reach, there can never be much of a meaningful dialogue.

    As for people trying to change the institution of marriage, I’ve believe we’ve had this discussion before. The institution of marriage has changed a great deal throughout history, and the fact that it will probably continue to change shouldn’t surprise anyone. When gay people asked for a place at the marriage table, they didn’t want a war, they wanted respect and equal treatment. When conservatives said no, you don’t deserve it and we will work to withhold those rights from you, that is when a war started. Maybe it is a matter of perspective, but it seems pretty clear to me when the actual culture war began.

  198. Eddy,

    Anyway, so far, it’s looking like the ‘culture war’ is simply that he believes it’s sin and includes that in his preaching and in his personal political views.

    If what you mean is he votes against equal rights for gay people, then you would be right. The culture war, as I said before, was started for some of these reasons.

    When I was talking about fear mongering, I wasn’t just talking about the use of the phrase “wake-up call”, I was talking about how he attempts to characterize all gay people in a certain way in order to get people to back him up. THAT, to me, is fear mongering.

    You can villify someone, or a group of people in this same way. Gay people who demand equal rights are seen as the enemy, although he never uses this term, and no matter how many tactful terms he uses or how often he hides this fact under a pleasant tone, this is still what he is doing. I know he believes it is right, and I know he believes that he loves gay people, but *I* still firmly believe that after decades of HIS/THIS kind of love, its time for a change.

    Eddy, you seem to have difficulty understanding what certain things are implied in his speech, and in the way he words his speech.

  199. Jayhuck,

    Thanks for your posts and for sharing some of your story. I appreciate that.

    As to who started the “war,” it certainly is a matter of perspective, isn’t it? If you look at the subject of same-sex marriage, throughout human history, the institution of marriage has been between people of the opposite sex. Now, for the first time in millennia, people are trying to change that. Who started that “war”?

    As to the question about the “right” to marry whoever you love, I really do think I’ve responded to that in great detail in many posts above. Perhaps you’ve missed some of them? As I have pointed out repeatedly, you do not grant that same “right” to others – be it the brother and sister in Germany who want to be married; be it the man who is in love with a fourteen year-old boy; be it the man who is already married to one woman he loves but who now loves another man too.

    Of course, we can rephrase the question from, “Why shouldn’t I have the right to marry the person I love” to “Why shouldn’t marriage include same-sex relationships?” – and I would have a host of religious and moral and societal reasons why I would argue against that. Does that make me bigoted, homophobic, mean-spirit, intolerant, and unfair? Before God, I believe that same-sex unions are wrong and contrary to His order, because of which I believe they are not in the best interest of our society, and I believe that in the generations to come, that will be clear. Yet because of that you could not sit down with me and have a meal together?

    Chai Feldblum, a Georgetown University law professor and a lesbian activist had something very interesting to say. She wrote: “It seemed to me the height of disingenuousness, absurdity, and indeed disrespect to tell someone it is okay to ‘be’ gay, but not necessarily okay to engage in gay sex. What do they think being gay means?” But, she continued, “I have the same reaction to courts and legislatures that blithely assume a religious person can easily disengage her religious belief and self-identity from her religious practice and religious behavior. What do they think being religious means?”

    She explains: “When we pass a law that says you may not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, we are burdening those who have an alternative moral assessment of gay men and lesbians.” Now, Maggie Gallagher notes that Prof. Feldblum believes that, “Most of the time, the need to protect the dignity of gay people will justify burdening religious belief. But that does not make it right to pretend these burdens do not exist in the first place, or that the religious people the law is burdening don’t matter.” Does this make sense to you?

    Finally, I would ask you to give me examples of where I have painted the GLBT community with a broad brush. The fact is, I make constant reference to gay activists to distinguish them from the broader community – although, ironically, I get excoriated for referring to gay activists! – and I have stated plainly that the “average” GLBT person has no more agenda than simply living a productive and enjoyable life and just being accepted for who he or she is. But where activists go on the offensive, I will use this as a “wake-up” call, and when the GLBT community chooses to defend public vulgarity rather than renounce it and keep it out of its public events, I will hold them accountable. And when groups like the HRC call the vast majority of the human race “right-wing extremists,” since we hold to male-female marriage, I will certainly take exception to that.

    The dialogue continues . . . .

    Michael

  200. Michael,

    Actually, conservatives WERE the ones to start this war. What gay people were doing is asking to be treated as equals. Not to be looked down on or pitied, but merely to be treated as adults, who don’t have a disease, who are acting legally by forming their relationships – to be allowed to marry.

    It was in the way that conservatives responded to this that began the war. There was no war until they responded like they did.

  201. Michael,

    First of all, I’m technically ex-gay, although I’m not comfortable with this term.

    I actually know of gay men and women who marry just for the tax benefits, but that isn’t my point. Do you really think that the fact that you can marry someone you love and I can’t is equal?????

    If you truly care about treating me with dignity and respect, why wouldn’t you allow me to marry the person I love?

    Its also one thing to live, preach and educate as you see fit, and quite another to force people to live under your religious beliefs by supporting legislation that does just that.

    And you are right as far as those other relationships go Michael, but we’ve already told you not just why we are uncomfortable with them, but why they are wrong and why same sex couples should be allowed to marry.

    I really do appreciate your tone Michael, but the way you work, the way you try to use a broad brush stroke to characterize all or most gay people in order to rouse those on the right to work with you is wrong, and I hope that one day you see that.

    I do wish you a happy and blessed New Year Michael, but I doubt I would ever sit down to dinner with someone who doesn’t respect me enough to allow me to marry the person I love.

  202. Jayhuck–

    No, I don’t believe that a wake up call is the same as fear mongering. Thanks for asking.

    As I said, I also have trouble with vilifying someone, refusing to back up the charges with specifics that could be discussed or answered to and somehow being under the impression that the vilification qualifies as ‘trying to find common ground’.

    I really just have this one burning question; it’s the statement I closed with above: Anyway, so far, it’s looking like the ‘culture war’ is simply that he believes it’s sin and includes that in his preaching and in his personal political views. If it’s something more than that, that’s what I’m having trouble seeing.

  203. Jayhuck,

    You asked, “How about he advocate for equal rights for all people, then preach, live and educate as he sees fit!”

    Well, rather than starting this whole thread over again from scratch, I do think we’ve covered this ground already. But, to recap:

    First, you and I do have equal rights. For example, we both have the right to marry one person of age from the opposite sex, but we do not have the right to marry whoever we love (be it a second spouse or someone who is not of age or our own brother or sister or someone of the same sex).

    Second, I don’t think that you “advocate for equal rights for all people” in the sense that you’re stating here, otherwise you would have to argue for the “rights” of all people to be married, regardless of the combination of people or situations involved. (Again, we’ve been around and around on this one already, with my questions about other forms of relationships that most of the participants on this blog are not comfortable with and are not ready to endorse.)

    Third, if I “preach, live and educate” as I see fit, I will stand against some of the very things you are fighting for – but always treating you with dignity and respect as a human being, and always working within my rights as an American citizen (in other words, not trying to force you to agree with me or to use intimidation or force – God forbid! – to coerce you). And I would expect you to respond in kind, fighting for what you consider to be progress and what I consider to be decline.

    But let me end on a conciliatory note for the New Year. Whether you believe it or not, I really do seek to break down walls and to help Christians turn away from wrong attitudes towards GLBT folks as a whole, and by God’s grace, I will continue to do that. Perhaps one day we’ll even get to meet outside of this blog and grab a meal together.

    Blessings on you in 2008!

    Michael

  204. Jayhuck,

    Thanks for your questions. I guess we get to interact a little more before you check out officially. 🙂

    When I state that the culture war came to me, I really do mean that. When we moved to Charlotte, dealing with homosexual issues was the last thing on my mind, and then some of my friends went to the gay pride event and were shocked. (Thankfully, it has been greatly tamed since then, for a number of reasons.) We could not believe that things like that were taking place in our city in a public park, and as I told the mayor and city council, whether heterosexual or homosexual, the public displays were appalling. That’s an example of the “culture war” coming to us. (BTW, to this day, I can’t imagine why such things are associated with “pride.”)

    One of my students works in a pre-school in our area. Some of the well-known pro-gay-family children’s books are there as part of the required reading program (for the teachers to read to the students), and the teachers are not allowed to refer to the children by gender (boys or girls). This is highly offensive to some of the teachers, and it violates their religious and moral conviction. That’s another example of the culture war coming to us.

    I could go on and on with other examples, but I’ll just give a couple more: When the Human Rights Campaign wants companies to have a policy granting special bathroom privileges to people undergoing sex-change operations, and when it calls on companies to warn and even fire workers who express that they are uncomfortable with Bob coming to work in a dress — I have the actual literature from the HRC for each word I’ve stated here — then the culture war has come to me.

    And let’s also remember that the early gay lib movement was anything but tame and tempered in its approach. As explained by gay activist Mark Rubin:

    “The Gay Activists Alliance stood for writing the revolution into law. Although individual members would ally themselves to causes not directly related to the oppression of homosexuals, the organization’s single issue focus enabled it direct all of its energies toward working intensively in, on, with, and against ‘The Establishment’ on issues effecting lesbians and gay men.

    “It said, ‘We demand our Liberation from repression and to the point where repressive laws are removed from the books and our rights are written into the documents that protect the rights of all people, for without that writing there can be no guarantees of protection from the larger society.’

    “The means to achieving these ends included, street actions famously defined as ‘zaps’, marches, picket lines, political lobbying, education, active promotion of the need for lesbians and gay men to come out of their closets, and a constant in-your-face presentation of the fact that gay is good. Its goals were revolutionary in that it sought, through these means, to restructure society.”

    This “culture war” was brought to me and my generation, and I am simply standing for what I believe to be right and good and to resist what I believe to be deleterious and wrong.

    I care deeply for all people, but that does not mean that I agree with the type of restructuring of society that Mark Rubin and others have called for.

    Can you see, then, that I was not the one to start this “war”?

    Michael

  205. Grethel,

    It’s been a delight interacting with you, and my office does have your contact info.

    If you’re ever in the Charlotte area, please pay us a visit.

    Blessings on your (non-Jewish but still important) new year!

    Dr. Brown

  206. Eddy,

    Thanks for your detailed post. I was quite surprised at Timothy’s response to you since I really sought to engage him as a human being and to interact with his questions. Apparently, he feels I did not — but that won’t stop me from continuing to reach out and interact.

    Blessings on your new year,

    Michael

  207. Warren,

    Jayhuck – For what legislation do you suppose Dr. Brown advocates?

    I think I misunderstood your question when I read it earlier. I think its pretty clear he advocates for legislation that prevents gay people from having equal rights? Is this what you meant? He often talks about opposing the “gay agenda” and that is what that usually means.

  208. Warren,

    How about he advocate for equal rights for all people, then preach, live and educate as he sees fit!

  209. Eddy,

    As an example of the way Dr. Brown operates, take this quote from one of his articles titled “Charlotte Pride or Charlotte Shame” as an example:

    What may, however, come as a surprise to residents of Charlotte is that this city has been specially targeted by the gay community. Referring to the recent $195-a-plate gay dinner in the city, homosexual activist Shane Windmeyer stated that the event “offers an opportunity for us to come together and look at how we want Charlotte to be in five or 10 years.”

    What exactly does this mean? Does it mean more of what was flaunted at last May’s “Charlotte Pride” event – more gay and lesbian couples passionately kissing in our public parks, more photos of totally naked men advertising “hot nudist camps,” more overt references to little girls as “dikes on trikes”? (All this – and more – took place in Marshall Park last May.) Is this what Charlotte will look like in five or 10 years?

    Perhaps it is time for our gay neighbors and friends to be surprised. Perhaps the bold proclamation of the gay agenda for this region will serve as a wake-up call to the hundreds of thousands of residents who do not believe same-sex marriages are conducive to healthy families and wholesome childrearing, who do not believe that queer is quaint, and who do not believe that pornographic images belong in our public parks – be those images heterosexual or homosexual. Perhaps it is time for a different agenda to be articulated, one that says, “We too have a vision for how this city will look in five or 10 years. And in our vision, what is now called Charlotte Pride will be remembered instead as Charlotte Shame.”

    Doesn’t anything in this quote strike you as fear-mongering? The use of the words “wake-up call” and implying that gay people must all be judged by the actions of a few? I’ve been to gay pride parades, I used to even participate in a few of them, but I seem to remember ALL sorts of people participating in them, people who span the spectrum from “conservative” to uninhibited. I’m also curious to know if most gay people really participate in them – I don’t know for sure but my guess would be No. Do you think its fair of Dr. Brown to say all these things, make these insinuations? I’m curious. If he’s not out-and-out lying, isn’t he somewhat twisting the truth? He’s trying to paint a certain picture of gay people in order to “rally the troops”, and I don’t agree with that.

  210. Eddy,

    The culture war was started and continues to be waged by conservative Christians who don’t agree that all people should have equal rights – there’s more to it than that, granted, but it seems, from what I’ve read, that this is a big part of it. THAT is what this ALL boils down to. You couch Dr. Brown’s behavior in terms of him speaking his mind. No one on here wants to silence anyone’s speech. It is his actions that are the problem. He tries, through legislation, to impose his views on the rest of society instead of simply living and believing the way he sees fit. He wants to force others to live under his religious beliefs. Is that right?

    If you want to know more about the culture war, there is a nice and short Wikipedia article on the subject: Culture War Article

    As for pedophilia – haven’t we determined that this is a disease and homosexuality is not?

  211. Timothy-

    In response to my question about the culture wars you said: I set out from the beginning to find some common ground with Dr. Brown. I sought to communicate with him in a manner in which I might with Warren or Dr. Blakeslee or others – based on the matter at hand, based on actual facts, based on my life instead of some nebulous “gay activists”. But this isn’t true. You’re very first comment to Dr. Brown was:

    Michael,

    It’s always best to make judgments based on facts and truth, not on what hears about someone else.

    I completely agree. As does Emproph, I’m sure.

    We’d just like to see that standard applied to you, as well, when you talk about gay people. We don’t like being lied about either, Michael. Perhaps this experience will give you pause the next time you lash out against gay folks.

    I think a lot of peace could be achieved in this world if people didn’t think that seeing someone else as your enemy gave you permission to demonize them. Let’s both shoot for that goal.

    So, in your very first comment you accused him of lying, of lashing out against gay folks, seeing gay people as the enemy and demonizing them. That doesn’t strike me as setting out ‘from the beginning to find some common ground’.

    Dr. Brown countered asking you to support your allegations and you never did. You came back at him several times with your question about ‘what would happen to you’. You felt he never answered; I felt he did.

    1) If you worked at the same secular workplace, he would be bound by it’s secular principles. In most cases, this would work out but if push came to shove, he’d choose to leave rather than change the company’s policies. (gleaned from his anecdote about his friend)

    2) if it’s an issue like gay marriage, something on the state or national level, he’d be against it and would exercise his political freedom of speech to attempt to influence the outcome

    3) this is uncomfortable and he realizes how misunderstood it is but he feels he’d be remiss in his Christian duties if he didn’t speak his mind

    4) he admits that he bases his morals on a traditional conservative interpretation of the Bible

    5) he wonders where you find the base for your moral interpretations (That’s why the pedophilia talk. He knew you felt pedophilia was wrong but was trying to find out where your sense of rightness/wrongness is based. (Where does our common ground begin?) What issues between same-sex marriage and pedophilia could or would be justified ?)

    6) in his perfect world, there would be no more sin, no more pain, no more sickness, no more bitterness and war. (‘Perfect world’ seemed like a part of the trap you were trying to lay. Force him to say that I’d have to ‘stop being my gay self’ to fit into his perfect world. But, what if we turned it? Would people like Dr. Brown fit into your perfect world? People like me or Mary? Like Alan Chambers? Like the ex-gays? I can’t imagine us having a place in your perfect world.)

    7) he’d speak out and stand up against bullying but wouldn’t want school programs to actually advocate homosexuality

    From there we had lots of talk about pedophilia but it was all charges, guesses and insinuations about what he was implying, where he was trying to go with it, even that he was a latent pedophile, etc. (you, Emproph and Ken primarily). None of you would actually respond to his direct question because you felt it was a trap. How dishonest of him to ask a question that demanded more than a pat answer! But, wasn’t that what your question was, as well? Isn’t that why you kept asking it?

    Anyway, so far, it’s looking like the ‘culture war’ is simply that he believes it’s sin and includes that in his preaching and in his personal political views. If it’s something more than that, that’s what I’m having trouble seeing.

    Happy New Year, All! (I’ll likely be checking in all weekend but realize that some of you may be ducking out.) Stay safe!

  212. Response to Dr. Brown’s post # 76374 to me posted on December 27, 2007:

    Dr. Brown, you said:

    “Thanks again for your even-tempered response.”

    You’re welcome.

    You said:

    “But will I endorse a same-sex relationship (romantic and/or sexual) or vote it for to be legally recognized? Certainly not, for the many reasons stated throughout this blog.”

    My response:

    I don’t expect you to. I didn’t when I was involved with the Assemblies of God and shared the organizations mindset. Your mindset is similar. And I do not believe in trying to change who a person is. I don’t want to convert you in any shape form or fashion. To me, that is unethical.

    Likewise, I don’t want someone to expect me to vote the way you do. I don’t. I know vote for same-sex marriage and I use URJ’s Religious Action Center to write to my government representatives about same-sex marriage issues. Also, I use Care2.com’s petition site to voice my views.

    You said:

    “Once again, I concur. The problem for me, however, in terms of the environment of this blog, is that when I stand up for my moral and spiritual convictions and simply seek to do what I can as a citizen of this country to see those convictions upheld, I’m portrayed as doing something illegitimate. The interaction thus far with some of the participants has been quite telling in that regard.”

    My Response:

    I am very sorry for the interaction that you have had. I can’t appologize for other people’s behavior, though.

    You have as much right as we do to voice views to our government. It is the government that has the hard job of filtering out the views and making the decisions.

    At least, Dr. Brown, you are willing to stand up and voice your views! I applaud you for that. It saddens me when people do not share their views with the government and then complain about the government.

    And it saddens me more when people don’t register to vote or when people are registered to vote and don’t!

    You said:

    “As a father and grandfather, and as the friend of many large families with small children, and having worked with Christian orphanages in the Third World, I cannot imagine anyone taking advantage of a child. The thought is repulsive beyond words, and I’m glad that everyone posting on this blog shares that moral disgust. At least we agree on that!”

    My response:

    I can’t express to you the anger I feel when I think of someone harming a child.

    You said:

    “Well said! The problem is that there are books and even scientific studies arguing for the benefits of ephebophilia – based primarily on the testimonies of the boys, not the adults, many of them years after their consensual relationships with older men. There are the NAMBLA’s of this world – and again, I assume that Timothy and Patrick and the others firmly reject the goals of NAMBLA – that consider the rest of us bigots for rejecting man-boy love. ”

    Once again, we have to allow the government to do the work that we expect the government to do. Personally, I question these studies. And I would very much speak up against legalizing ephebophilia. Sounds to me like I need to do some research and then, I need to do some speaking!

    You said:

    “And so we go around and around, without convincing each other, which in reality, was never my goal. My goal, instead, was to demonstrate the fallacies and inconsistencies of the “pro-gay” arguments that are used, as well as to learn what I can from the dialogue and allow my own positions to be challenged.”

    Humans are prone to fallacies and inconsistencies. It doesn’t matter what a person stands for; people just are prone to such ways. The best thing to do is to recognize this and try to use critical thinking as much as possible.

    BTW, I accept compassionate listening. It works better!

    I learned about compassionate listening through my Rabbi who has had experience working with compassionate listening through The Compassionate Listening Project. {Google to find out about the organization.}

    You asked:

    “Can you step back from your own involvement in the dialogue and look at the larger issues raised? I believe the attitude you have demonstrated in this posts illustrates that you can.”

    I try. And I have been trying.

    My involvement also does affect my thinking and I can’t say that it doesn’t. My girlfriend is Christian and a mother. Her children are very wonderful children who also have special needs due to dwarfism. I love her and the children with all my heart.

    I can’t promise any more responses. College will be starting back up soon. I am busy with my synagogue community and with the church community that my GF and I are involved with. I am trying to get very much involved with the URI {Interfaith organizatio} in this area. I have friends and family to spend time with. And I try to squeeze time in with my GF and children. So…

    I’ll do my best.

    I do have email. Your staff has it along with my cellphone number.

    I still haven’t had a chance to talk to the PFLAG group here. But, I will. I was more concerned about helping my GF through a crisis. I’m sorry. I give you my word, I will talk to the regional director.

    Shalom and blessings,

    Grethel

  213. Dr. Brown,

    What do you mean when you say “the war has come to me”? My understanding is that conservative Christians started the war in the way they began responding to gay people’s search for equal rights.

  214. Patrick,

    I will begin to interact with your post 76721.

    You begin by stating:

    “I finally figured out what he’s doing with the whole ‘if I approve of your consensual relationship, why not approve of a child’s consensual relationship with an adult?’”

    Actually, there was nothing to figure out. I think I’ve been pretty straightforward the whole way through in terms of why I raise these questions. (For the record, I’ve emphasized the situation of the ephebophile more than the pedophile because the former is attracted to adolescents and the latter to children.)

    You wrote: “Now we’re all familiar with the canard: ‘why do gays define their core selves by their sexual behavior?’ Obviously we don’t, at least not inherently anymore so than straights do.”

    Fair enough, but please hold on to that thought.

    You then wrote: “So the anti-gay ploy here is to keep us on the defensive by having us defend ourselves, against ourselves (i.e., what they have defined us as).

    “Dr. Brown takes this simple canard – especially in regard to the “ephebophilia” card – several obfuscatory steps further.”

    Well, let’s see if you followed my reasoning here.

    You wrote: “In regard to my example above, it would go something like this:

    “I’m not saying you define yourself by your sexual behavior, I understand perfectly that you define yourself by who you love. So I’m not equating the two, I’m just asking what you would say to the person who DOES define themselves by their sexual behavior.”

    Not at all! Who said that the ephebophile defines himself by his sexual behavior? He would say to you the same thing you just said to me, namely, that ephebophiles (or, for that matter, pedophiles) no more define their core selves by their sexual behavior than gays do. They would say that this is who they are in the core of their being and that it is a matter of love and attraction more than sex. And they would also say that this is who they have always been and that their orientation is immutable, just as you would say yours is.

    So, the question I have asked over and over again is: What do you say to THAT person about his desire to experience love? I know that you are a thinking man and that you are fully capable of raising serious and challenging arguments, which is why I can’t for the life of me figure out why you think I’m asking anything other than what I’m asking. And so, the question still remains unanswered by you or the others posting.

    Now, please understand: I am not minimizing the importance of your question – for you personally or for others in similar situations. I have simply been trying to demonstrate that the question cannot be the basis for changing the way our society views things.

    You wrote: “First we are told that two unrelated things are not being compared as equal, then we let our guard down, then we are ‘asked’ to defend the difference.”

    Hopefully, by now you can see that this was not what I was doing at all.

    “In advertising terms it’s called bait and switch.”

    Well, this is not advertising, and it’s not bait and switch. How about, “It’s called put the issues on the table and ask someone to respond to them directly”?

    More to come ASAP.

    Dr. Brown

  215. Eddy,

    I set out from the beginning to find some common ground with Dr. Brown. I sought to communicate with him in a manner in which I might with Warren or Dr. Blakeslee or others – based on the matter at hand, based on actual facts, based on my life instead of some nebulous “gay activists”.

    That is the purpose of my “I will not do battle” comment. I was not going to lob accusations or list grievances or see who could be the greater martyr. I wasn’t, in short, going to do what most blogsite comments do – place winning at a higher premium than communication. Knowing some of Dr. Brown’s history, I felt it important to set down the ground rules for the conversation.

    Dr. Brown was repeated unwilling to have a conversation. His communication was a constant recitation of imagined harms and threats including anecdotes from Sweden and those which I know to be factually different from how he claimed them to be. When refuted, he never stopped to wonder if his assumptions based on these incorrect stories were wrong, he just hopped back up with another “yeah, but” anecdote.

    Dr. Brown was unwilling to talk about how his political ideals would impact gay people. Completely unwilling. He wanted to talk about incest and pedophilia and other completely unrelated topics. The gist of his argument seemed to be “let’s not talk about what I want to do to you, let’s talk about how you don’t want to support pedophilia. Or do you? Huh, do you?”

    Dr. Brown was unwilling to discuss gay people. He only talks about “gay activists”. And he refused after I asked him three times to ever tell me exactly what he would do with me – not some unnamed gay activist, but me. He could talk about what he thinks he’s justified in doing… but not how his actions and goals would impact the life of an actual living breathing person. Like many in the Culture War, he can only objectify his opponents, he can’t see how his War is harming them.

    Dr. Brown pretends to not understand one’s points. He pretends to think you mean something other than what you are clearly saying or demonstrating. For example, when I corrected his points of fact about same-sex historical relationships, rather than admit he was factually incorrect, he took those among the listing of examples from the site that were age disparant and pretended that this was what I was talking about.

    And Dr. Brown delights in “laying traps”. For example, the rather obvious one where he tried to get me to equate homosexuality with pedophilia by using a quote and changing the words. Even when I refused to step in the trap, he went right on as though I had because he wanted to “make his point” and not have discourse.

    These are not the tactics of someone who seeks knowledge or communication. These are the tactics of someone who wants to fight. These are the tactics of someone who wants to destroy those who disagree with them and who wants to “win”.

    When he started talking about NAMBLA, I was done completely. THat is the hallmark of the Culture Warrior – ignore the conversation and fire the cannons.

    So, I’m letting Dr. Brown “win”. He’s not one who can be engaged in conversation – he doesn’t WANT conversation. He isn’t open to anything, ANYTHING, I or anyone else has to say. He already knows “the final outcome”. He believes that God is on his side and that he’s fighting the good fight against sinners and heathen so he doesn’t have to listen.

    I have no problem with him believing whatever he likes. But trying to talk to those who have their fingers in their ears is a waste of my time.

    I’ll let God deal with Dr. Brown. He’s better equipped than me.

    As for your uncertainty about why you may have been accused of culture war… I’m not certain, I’d have to know the context.

    It may have been when the other party thought you weren’t interested in them but only in destroying them. Perhaps they thought that you see others only in terms of a threat rather than a brother. They may have gotten the impression that you were seeking civil action without the slightest regard as to how your action was going to hurt others.

    That doesn’t sound much like you, Eddy, so I really am not certain why the accusation was leveled at you.

  216. Patrick,

    You wrote, with reference to the population of the earth through Adam and then Noah: “Biblically speaking — in regard to what seems to be God’s unequivocal design and approval of immediate family member incest – why do you not support adult-consensual-incestuous relationships in the context of one man and one woman marriages?”

    Obviously, the only time that God clearly approved of “incestuous” relationships was in the first years of the human race (after creation, as stated in the OT), and that is because those who were the only human beings around! Adam and Eve’s son had to marry Adam and Eve’s daugther. No other options! But this was clearly exceptional, as evidenced by the healthy nature of the reproduction. As for Noah’s day, his three sons were married already, and so the potential marriages in the first generation would have been between cousins. Beyond that, the Scriptures are quite clear in their prohibition of incestuous relationships, as evidenced by the long list in Leviticus 18.

    That is enough for me in terms of why I would reject a consensual, adult, incestuous union today: God’s Word is against it, as it is against same-sex unions. Having said that, we also understand that there are reasons that God is against it, some of which have to do with family dynamics and others with health issues (for offspring, as you noted in an earlier post).

    Dr. Brown

  217. Patrick,

    One more example of something that you really need to refrain from. You wrote:

    “I have just demonstrated that there is an inconsistent position here, AGAIN, and you have yet to prove that I am wrong.

    Worse than that however, you continue to demonstrate that you have no desire to prove that I am wrong.”

    Please, friend, put aside the personal judgments. I have no idea what causes you to think this way– if I didn’t have a desire to prove you wrong or to prove the rightness of my point, why in the world would I engage you on these posts? — but I ask you once more to refrain from these attacks, since they really distract from the very important issues that you raise.

    So, to repeat: I value what you have to say but it’s difficult to separate the rhetoric from the important stuff. Is this so unreasonable?

    Dr. Brown

  218. Patrick,

    One more appeal to you use some restraint in your posts, OK?

    You write (with reference to my comments about Joe Dallas’s testimony): “Grethel and I have both quoted from the source and have each provided links, so what you should have said is, ‘I’ve ignored the truth of the situation twice now, so correct me if I’m wrong and I will most likely ignore it for a third time.’

    That would have been more honest.”

    Please check your posts and take note of every time you accuse me of dishonesty or the like, OK?

    On my end, I’m trying to respond to a legion of posts from a number of articulate bloggers, and at the same time, the rest of my life does not stop: I’m president of a Bible college and a full professor there; I’m also a visiting professor at other seminaries and a conference lecturer; I oversee a team that is responsible for a church of 450 people and 200 missionaries on the field worldwide; I travel extensively in the States and overseas; I’m engaged in Jewish apologetics and outreach; I’m in the midst of several writing projects; I have a TV show that requires a massive amount of work; I also have a wife, two kids, and four grandkids, plus the need to maintain my private times with the Lord and hopefully get some exercise here and there . . . .

    Why do I say all this? Simply to say that in the midst of my busy schedule, I’m really trying to devote quality time to this blog, but I have not had the opportunity to check every link, and sometimes in responding to certain posts (like long ones like yours) I don’t re-read every line each time but rather focus on key issues.

    So, there’s nothing dishonest here, nor is anything being ignored, and I HONESTLY think that it would go a long way to getting to real issues if you could just hold off on the rhetoric which, I might point out, began with your very first post.

    Dr. Brown

  219. Jayhuck,

    Thanks, and blessings on your new year as well!

    As for “my culture war,” how about coming up with something more original? 🙂

    On my end, I’ve been seeking to walk a certain way before God for the last thirty-six years since he wonderfully delivered me from a wasted and decadent life. The “war” of which you speak has actually come to me, and I’m simply trying to respond in a truthful, God-honoring, constructive, and compassionate way.

    I’ll miss you if you’re not around, but hopefully our dialogue will not end here.

    Michael

  220. Timothy, I have serious issues with this whole ‘culture wars’ deal you bring up. You made several accusations as to the state of Michael’s heart for gays way up near the top in post 72754. Michael asked you to support your allegations both in a brief post and then, in a longer one, he said:

    If you can point out a single instance where I have “lied” about the GLBT community, I will correct it publicly. Please be kind enough to do so. In all my public communication, I have done my best to be fair and accurate, taking issue with gay activism, expressing my moral differences with homosexual acts, based on my understanding of the Scriptures, but seeking to treat everyone with dignity as a fellow-creation of God. And if you have never read my statement to the GLBT community in Charlotte, please go to: http://www.coalitionofconscience.org/statements/homosexualCommunity.shtm.

    To be sure, there is a moral divide between us simply over our view of homosexuality, and my stance against gay activism is in your eyes a heinous act of unchristian bigotry. I understand that, and I do not minimize our differences. However, you claim that I have lied about the GLBT community, and I sincerely ask you to show me where and when.

    Your response to that was:i>”I will not engage in a battle with you. “ It puzzled me why you led with that. Dr. Brown simply stated the belief system he operates from and that he is public with his beliefs. Why did that strike you as combative?

    As I reread through the thread, it does seem that this ‘battle’ you referred to so early on morphed into the ‘culture wars that you will not engage in’. Is that correct? Were you already anticipating an endless culture war in your “I will not do battle” comment?

    I’m really just trying to understand what exactly in the discussions translated into ‘culture wars’. The conversation seemed both polite and responsive from Michael’s end. You were leaking sarcasm but were within blog norms. Where did you pick up on a ‘battle’ or ‘culture war’?

    I’m not trying to draw you back into further discussion with Michael, I really feel a need to understand this ‘culture wars’ thing. I’ve had that comment thrown at me a time or two and never quite understood my offense.

  221. Re post 75796 – Michael Brown’s response to the adultery of remarriage, and his use of (Biblically speaking) unrepentant adulterer Joe Dallas as an anti-gay reference on his website.

    4) You state, “The point is, as has been expressed, it’s your anti-consistency position that is at issue here, not your anti-gay position.”

    In point of fact, there is no anti-consistency here.

    Well then, in point of fact, you’re wrong about your concept of facts, especially in regard to your contention that there is no inconsistency here on your part. But unlike you, I and others can, have been, and will continue to prove it.

    3) How does this apply to Joe Dallas? As far as I understand his story (and I have not read his full testimony in detail, so please correct me if I’m wrong on his story here),

    Grethel and I have both quoted from the source and have each provided links, so what you should have said is, “I’ve ignored the truth of the situation twice now, so correct me if I’m wrong and I will most likely ignore it for a third time.”

    That would have been more honest.

    But for the record, and for the third time, here is the link again:

    http://www.stonewallrevisited.com/pages/joe_d.html

    Strikethrough here = irrelevant:

    3) How does this apply to Joe Dallas? As far as I understand his story (and I have not read his full testimony in detail, so please correct me if I’m wrong on his story here), he was guilty of sexual sin while married, and so his wife had scriptural grounds to divorce him or to accept his desire to divorce. Also, even if his wife had wanted to preserve the relationship, once he became a practicing homosexual, by scriptural definition, he became an unbeliever and was then guilty of abandoning his wife, also freeing her from the necessity of preserving the marriage. She was then free to remarry. When Joe then got right with God and repented of his sins, had she not been remarried, I believe the best course for him would have been to try to reconcile with her. With her being remarried, it would be wrong for her to leave her current husband and get back together with him. Also, I do not see that the Scriptures forbid him from remarrying. (If these sins were committed before he truly knew the Lord, that would also be a factor, since we sometimes come to Him in a total mess, with many things from our past impossible to correct fully. In such cases, it seems that, in many ways, God often gives us a fresh new start.)

    First off, according to this article, Joe Dallas was a believer long before the time in question.

    Secondly, you’ve just argued that the sin of perpetual adulterous remarriage can be sanctified by salvation. And therefore have opened the door to the argument that perpetual sin itself can be sanctified by salvation.

    Since when does God sanctify the active engagement in sin (as per the adultery of remarriage) simply based on one’s acceptance of salvation?

    Again, let’s see what your “Biblical beliefs” have to say about all this:

    Mark 10:11-12: 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

    Matthew 19:9: I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

    Matthew 5:31 “It has been said, `Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

    Luke 16:18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

    Except for the Paulian unbeliever qualifier, God’s words through Himself as Jesus Christ sound pretty clear to me.

    Michael Brown says…

    Let’s just say – hypothetically – that God forgave them and gave them a brand new start, even blessing their current marriage. That is within the realm of scriptural possibility, given God’s prerogative to forgive us and wash us clean.

    Ah, and therein lies the rub of your so-called Biblical basis for morality – whatever you decide lies “within the realm of scriptural possibility.”

    And no matter what you decide is “within the realm of Scriptural possibility,” you can always attribute your own “interpretation” to be that of God’s. How convenient for you. How very, very, convenient.

    Don’t worry, I realize you’re right and I’m wrong all the time forever no matter what. So be it.

    But then, how do you get around the warning on the last page not to take your own “within the realm of Scriptural possibility” approach to the Bible?

    Revelation 22:18-19:

    18) I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19) And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

    If you’re directly contradicting God’s words through Himself as Jesus in regard to remarriage, how is that not adding or taking away words and / or meaning from God’s word – the very thing you claim is the basis of your own morality?

    Michael Brown says…

    4) You state, “The point is, as has been expressed, it’s your anti-consistency position that is at issue here, not your anti-gay position.”

    In point of fact, there is no anti-consistency here.

    I have just demonstrated that there is an inconsistent position here, AGAIN, and you have yet to prove that I am wrong.

    Worse than that however, you continue to demonstrate that you have no desire to prove that I am wrong.

    __________

    Wait wait, let me try…

    Emproph’s impression of Michael Brown’s response to this post:

    Well Patrick, if you can’t respect my deeply held moral beliefs about the Bible, I really don’t see what purpose there is in continuing this conversation with you. I’ve expressed my views, based on my understanding of the Bible and my own sincere reflection with my relationship with God, and if that’s not good enough for you, then I just don’t know what else to tell you.

    I’ve gone out of my way to respond to your concerns, many of them valid in principle, but if you can’t accept my answers, then I just don’t know how else to show you how important my deeply held religious and moral convictions are.

    But if you can ever bring yourself to talk out the issues with reasons, facts and examples instead of personal attacks about inconsistency, then I’ll be happy to continue the discussion.

    To which I would reply,

    Roller coaster ride, kitchen sink, price of milk.

  222. I finally figured out what he’s doing with the whole “if I approve of your consensual relationship, why not approve of a child’s consensual relationship with an adult?”

    This one’s a doozy.

    Now we’re all familiar with the canard: “why do gays define their core selves by their sexual behavior?” Obviously we don’t, at least not inherently anymore so than straights do.

    So the anti-gay ploy here is to keep us on the defensive by having us defend ourselves, against ourselves (i.e., what they have defined us as).

    Dr. Brown takes this simple canard – especially in regard to the “ephebophilia” card – several obfuscatory steps further.

    In regard to my example above, it would go something like this:

    I’m not saying you define yourself by your sexual behavior, I understand perfectly that you define yourself by who you love. So I’m not equating the two, I’m just asking what you would say to the person who DOES define themselves by their sexual behavior.

    First we are told that two unrelated things are not being compared as equal, then we let our guard down, then we are “asked” to defend the difference.

    In advertising terms it’s called bait and switch.

    The question of “what do you then say to this “consensual” (incest, minors, polygamy, etc.) relationship” is to fully retract the original disclaimer that the unfair comparison is not being made.

    I completely realize that you’re not insane. But what do you say to the insane person who also doesn’t think they’re insane?

    Long story short: I realize that you’re not insane, but prove that you’re not insane.

    Same with the sex-with-minors canard – under guise of “ephebophilia.”

    Examples:

    I understand the difference between adult consent and child consent, and I fully understand that you do to, so I’m not saying they’re the same, I’m just asking why you think there’s a difference between adult consent and child consent.

    I realize you don’t believe in the exploitation of minors, but what if the minor believes in the exploitation of themselves? Why isn’t this consent exactly the same as the consent between two unrelated same-gender adults?

    If I support the consensual relationship of two unrelated same gender adults, why gosh golly gee, I’d be a hypocrite to not support a minor consenting to their own exploitation by an adult.

    It appears to me that Mr. Brown’s argument is essentially that WE are arguing that consent of any kind equals consent of every kind – for no reason at all.

    A concept equally applicable to all aspects of life for everyone. What Mr. Brown is attempting to do here, in this case, is make such a universal argument out to be same-gender exclusive.

    It’s a glorified strawman argument. Take something you have no direct argument for, compare it with something bad, and then condemn them both the same.

    Except that he riddles it with obfuscation by first denying the comparison, and then asking us to defend ourselves against the comparison.

    And then ignores when this point is made by claiming persecution for his “deeply held moral beliefs.”

  223. May the Lord’s grace be poured out on you in wonderful and surprising ways in 2008.

    And on you too Michael. I also have to echo Timothy’s sentiments however, “I am no longer engaging in your culture war”!

  224. Michael Brown wrote…

    As for Abraham and Sarah, they were half-siblings, which of course colors the issue. The question is of full-siblings.

    You mean like the literal first family, Adam and Eve’s, and then again Noah’s family after the flood?

    Or did unchanging God change his mind about that “full-sibling” incest?

    Biblically speaking — in regard to what seems to be God’s unequivocal design and approval of immediate family member incest – why do you not support adult-consensual-incestuous relationships in the context of one man and one woman marriages?

  225. Blessings on you Timothy! Remember I’m always happy to interact, be it by phone, face to face, or online.

    May the Lord’s grace be poured out on you in wonderful and surprising ways in 2008.

    Michael

  226. Jag,

    Yes, I go back and forth with lots of responders because of the nature of this blog. That’s life!

    As for being frustrated now or in the future, I’m really not frustrated at all. I’m simply seeking to honor the Lord and help people. You, for obvious reasons, feel that I’m totally misguided in this, but I assure you: I’m not frustrated and my faith in God would not be in the least bit tested if same-sex marriage was legalized throughout every country in the world. So, no need to worry about that!

    I would beg to differ, however, with two of your claims: First, that the battle for same-sex marriage is analogous to the battle for civil rights in the past (or for women’s rights, etc.). An excellent, in-depth study, examining biblical and cultural arguments, is provided by Dr. William J. Webb, Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis. Also worth reading is Willard M. Swartley’s book Homosexuality: Biblical Interpretation and Moral Discernment. Interestingly, many black leaders take offense at the civil rights movement being compared to the GLBT movement (although many others, of course, do see it as a parallel).

    Second, your point about more successful cities being more tolerant is actually a mixed bag. These cities often have higher percentages of children born out of wedlock and higher percentages of murder and violent crimes, among other negative statistics. So, there is good and bad in larger cities, and the fact that homosexuality is often more tolerated or accepted actually proves nothing. As for the economic battle, I’m fully aware that corporate America is largely pro-diversity (meaning, in this case, “pro-gay”), but whether that will overcome the legion of moral and religious and societal objections to same-sex marriage remains to be seen.

    As for being patient, the Scriptures already tell me what the final outcome will be, and so even if several generations went in what I considered to be a wrong direction, I would still be confident that God’s kingdom will ultimately be established on this planet and at that time, perfect justice and righteousness will prevail. I can wait too. 🙂

    Mike

  227. Timothy,

    One more note on the article you cited in Wikipedia.

    It makes references to “vellamaria,” a rite practiced in the Balkan states in which a relationship between man is recognized. Once again, however, this is a pederastic rite, practiced especially in Albania, and it is one which precedes marriage (between a man and a woman).

    To quote directly from a Geg Albanian:

    “The lover’s feeling for the boy is pure as sunshine. It places the beloved on the same pedestal as a saint. It is the highest and most exalted passion of which the human breast is capable. The sight of a beautiful youth awakens astonishment in the lover, and opens the door of his heart to the delight which the contemplation of this loveliness affords. Love takes possession of him so completely that all his thought and feeling goes out in it. If he finds himself in the presence of the beloved, he rests absorbed in gazing on him. Absent, he thinks of nought but him. If the beloved unexpectedly appears, he falls into confusion, changes color, turns alternately pale and red. His heart beats faster and impedes his breathing. He has ears and eyes only for the beloved. He shuns touching him with the hand, kisses him only on the forehead, sings his praise in verse, a woman’s never.” (Cited by J.G. von Hahn, Albanische Studien, 1854.)

    So, not only is this not a “marriage” rite, but it is an overtly pederastic relationship. This is some of your proof?

    Michael

  228. Timothy,

    Well, this time I’m the one who must express surprise. We all know that Wikipedia entries are a mixed bag, but often they are supported by solid scholarly references. In the case at hand, the article you cited was incredibly specious in terms of supporting the sweeping claims it made.

    More importantly, aside from the unsupported statements, the primary unions that are being discussed are pederastic in nature – how ironic that you are now the one to open this can of worms! – and the article even links to the article entitled “Historical Pederastic Couples.”

    To quote some telling lines from the article, first with reference to Asia:

    “Same-gender romantic love or sexual desire has been recorded since ancient times in the entirety of the continent of Asia, right from the Middle East to South Asia to East Asia. Such desire often took the form of same-sex unions, usually between men, and often included some difference in age. . . .

    “In China, in the southern province of Fujian where male love was especially cultivated, men would marry youths in elaborate ceremonies. The marriages would last a number of years, at the end of which the elder partner would help the younger find a (female) wife and settle down to raise a family. Generally, this practice – though unusual even in China – was reflective of the value Chinese culture placed on the reciprocal relationship between benevolent elders teaching and guiding the obedient younger members of society.

    “In Japan, Shudo (?? shud? or sh?d?), the Japanese tradition of age-structured homosexuality was prevalent in samurai society from the medieval period until the end of the 19th century. Shudo, in its pedagogic, martial, and aristocratic aspects, is closely analogous to the ancient Greek tradition of pederasty.”

    Timothy, is this your support for historical same-sex unions being recognized by ancient society? Various forms of all-male pederasty?

    Here’s more from Ancient Greece, citing the same article:

    “In Hellenic Greece, the pederastic relationships between Greek men (erastes) and youths (eromenos) who had come of age were, it has been argued, analogous to marriage in several aspects.”

    And then this from Africa:

    “In Africa, among the Azande of the Congo, men would marry youths for whom they had to pay a bride-price to the father.”

    So, the very thing that I am reproached for on this blog – namely, raising the question of the “rights” of ephebophiles and others – is now the primary basis for your argument on the history of same-sex unions. Is this really the historical precedent to which you want to point? And do you realize that in doing so, you are merely echoing the NAMBLA’s of this world that feel they the gay rights movement sacrificed them on the altar of political expediency, claiming that the early gay rights movement actually celebrated what it called the rich history of man-boy love?

    Finally, I point out some of the many qualifying comments made in the article regarding attempts to parallel historic same-sex relationships with the institution of marriage: “At the same time, many of these relationships might be more clearly understood as mentoring relationships between adult men and young boys rather than an analog of marriage. . . . In ancient Rome, the Emperor Nero is reported to have married two other men on different occasions. However, they were both eunuchs and much can be read into his mental state by the fact that he made them up to look like Poppea, his deceased wife, who he was presumed to have killed by kicking her in the stomach until she miscarried bloodily. Other Roman Emperors, including Diocletian, are reported to have done the same. The marriages however did not fall under the scope of Roman law and are considered as camp. In their time they provoked amazement and contempt. . . . The Roman use of sexuality as a form of dominance, as well as a means to conquer a male enemy through rape, have been linked with the increasing intolerance of same-sex relations in Rome.”

    So, these are some of your arguments? Honestly?

    I will return to the question of “incestuous marriage” ASAP, but I would hope that the next time you seek to point out any perceived inaccuracies in my statements you provide real data that supports your views – unless you want to equate same-sex marriage today with pederastic relationships in the ancient world.

    Michael

  229. Michael –

    I have observed you go back and forth with a number of responders. My opinion is that there will always be a contingency of individuals who disagree with same-sex marriage, and I’m fine with that. You fit a pattern of oppression that we saw with those who opposed interracial marriage on biblical grounds, and who defended slavery on biblical grounds just the same. Eventually, the truth comes forward, and I am a patient woman.

    As a woman who was legally married to another woman in Canada, I can say that both history and economics are not on your side. History for the reasons I stated above, and economics because of my forthcoming paragraph.

    If America wants to stay competitive with the world market, they will aspire to attract the best and brightest…gay, immigrant, etc. We see that most of the most successful cities in the United States have cultures which tend to be tolerant to both groups, indicating an atmosphere of openness. As we narrow our laws, we will stop attracting the talent – and they will simply go elsewhere. See the books “rise of the creative class,” and “flight of the creative class,” as well as the works/studies by economist Richard Florida (straight, by the way) which support my statements.

    More than my faith in America doing the “right thing” with respect to same-sex couples, I have faith that America will do the thing that will reward it economically.

    Beware of much forthcoming frustration Mike, you are on the losing side of history on this one.

  230. Timothy,

    Thanks for the post. I’ll check the references ASAP.

    As for Abraham and Sarah, they were half-siblings, which of course colors the issue. The question is of full-siblings.

    But again, thanks for the references, which I’ll look into further.

    I’m sure you know that the biased scholarship of Boswell’s book on Same-Sex Unions in Europe has been exposed by other historians, but I will certainly check out the resources cited in the Wikipedia article. I also want to remind you of the question at hand, which is the institution of marriage where such existed, not of any other type of “union.”

    Once more, thanks for the post.

    Michael

  231. Sigh, I really don’t want to be drawn off onto the pigtrail of incest, etc.

    However, for factual accuracy, let me chime in

    My point was that the record preserved from us around the world and in many ancient cultures points to a taboo against incest, and I am not aware of any culture-sanctioned marriages for incestuous couples.

    Historical references tell us in to uncertain terms (Van den Berghe and Mesher 1980) that insestuous marriages were recognized in ancient Egypt, the Incas of Peru, and the polonesian Hawaii’ans.

    And lest we think this some practice of the immoral heathens, Genesis 12:10-20. It seems only the Muslims believe that Abraham and Sarah were not half-siblings.

    And as for same-sex unions, they’re pretty well documented. Often they were different than current marriage… but so was marriage.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_same-sex_unions

    The “never ever in history” arguments are more convincing when they are factually accurate and not easily refuted.

  232. Ken,

    I’m responding to post 75074.

    I had taken issue with your previous statement that “Civil marriages in the US have evolved in to a partnership of TWO equal partners and not equipped to handle more than that,” and I responded by saying, “False. Marriages in the US and since the dawn of civilization have been between a MALE and a FEMALE.”

    You then responded by stating that, “No, this is incorrect. In the US the one man/one woman definition isn’t even 50 years old. Because 50 years ago, in many states, civil marriage was defined as ‘one man and one woman of the same race.’ And before that it was ‘one white man and one white woman.’”

    Actually, what I wrote remains unchanged, and, in point of fact, is only supported by you. I was simply stating that in our history (and, for that matter world history), the institution of marriage only joined a male with a female (not even stating one man and one woman), not a male with a male or a female with a female. Even polygamous unions were never same-sex unions. Nothing that you wrote affects that at all. Obviously, I was not saying which males or females could marry (did I argue that our laws allowed for a male to marry his mother?) but that marriage has always and only joined parties of the opposite sex. Again, you provided further support for my statement, not less.

    You closed by stating, “You insult an entire class of people with your analogies yet complain about personal insults.” First, the purpose of my analogies is to challenge standard arguments that are used in the same-sex marriage debate (such as, “Why can’t I marry the person I love?”), since the GLBT community largely rejects that very argument in the analogies I raise. I have stated that repeatedly and yet some bloggers insist on taking every analogy I use as a personal comparison. Just re-read post 74161 which, ironically was written to you, and you will see that I have made myself perfectly clear. I wrote there: “Now, let’s think about the rights of others. (First, say out loud with me, ‘I am not comparing you to a pedophile! I am simply raising a question of ethics.’ Repeat it a few times if you actually think I’m trying to compare homosexuality and pedophilia.)”

    Second, I’m not complaining about personal insults. Really, if I was that thin-skinned or felt that this was all about my feelings, I would never have gotten into this discussion. I am simply pointing out that such invective does not enhance the dialogue and that it is also hypocritical given the alleged higher moral ground claimed by some of the posters here.

    Michael

  233. Patrick,

    Little by little now, I’m attempting to respond to some of your posts. Let me say that I really appreciate the time you have taken to answer some of my questions, and in many cases, you have put some excellent issues on the table. My schedule often gets very intense and does not afford me the luxury of engaging in extensive blogging, but I do realize how important these issues are and I certainly take seriously the viewpoints of those on this blog, even when we strenuously disagree.

    For the moment, I want to clarify one small point. You wrote:

    “Michael Brown says…

    ‘In certain times in history, and in certain parts of the world today, polygamy is practiced, but at NO TIME was marriage ever the union of two equal partners who were not of the opposite sex. And that remains the reality through the vast part of our nation until this day, as well as throughtout the vast majority of the rest of the world.’

    Absurd, unless you’re arguing that you can travel back in time and have examined every union in human history. Clearly you’re not, so it’s an argument limited by what you personally know of historical social tradition. Until you can prove you speak for history, this argument has no basis, furthermore, you’ve already established that no matter what evidence is provided you – even a proven historical majority of SSM, or polygamy, or incest – you still would not be swayed.”

    What surprised me was your comment about the absurdity of my being able to know such a thing. I was obviously referring to the historical record that’s been preserved, to anthropological and textual studies, to archeological evidence, etc. My whole field of study in grad school was examining ancient texts, and then others would build on our philological studies to draw cultural and social and historical insights, etc.

    Now, if you are challenging me on how I know about every recognized marriage in history, you’re obviously right. No one knows that, and I certainly wasn’t making that claim. My apologies if that is how my language appeared. My point was that the record preserved from us around the world and in many ancient cultures points to a taboo against incest, and I am not aware of any culture-sanctioned marriages for incestuous couples.

    If an anthropologist would like to chime in here with some data from the ancient world, I’d be happy to interact.

    So, in any case, I just wanted to clarify that point here as well as to be sure that you did accept the studies of historians and philologians and others who deal with ancient texts and cultulres.

    As for the rest of your response (just cited), I’ll be back to you!

    Dr. Brown

  234. Dr. Brown,

    You stated: “Please also read the post that follows, to Grethel.”

    I do not see a post to me; I’ll check back later when I can. I am away from home and I will not be able to respond again until after Shabbat.

    I also want to mention to you that I do not contemplate about issues like many Westernized minded people do–black vs. white. I try to examine as much info as possible. I suppose you can say that this is a “Jewish” way of thinking. Thus, you can see why I feel more comfortable within the Jewish community.

    The question you asked me is much more complicated than looking for an inconsistancy in my view of “equality.” All details must and should be considered. We also must remember seperation of church and state.

    My way of thinking is in line with the nature of the Talmud. For those who are not familiar:

    http://library.law.miami.edu/jewishlaw/jewishguide.html

    Look under “3. Law Codes” which explains.

    Shalom,

    Grethel

  235. Dr. Brown–

    A part of this discussion has somehow moved itself over to the ‘same-sex parenting’ thread. The merging starts with post 75814. It’s up to you whether you feel the need to comment there as well but I did think you’d find it enlightening. (You should be able to link to that thread by finding it in the ‘most recently commented’ on the sidebar to this page.)

  236. Timothy, I don’t demand anything of you.

    You actively engage in political efforts that have a real and material impact on my ability to live my life according to my convictions. I do not seek to impact your life at all.

    Yet you think this makes you admirable.

    Who gave me the right to?

    I couldn’t agree more.

    And no, Michael, I’m not playing the “call for “equality” from others” game. Your equating the allowing of adults to enter into relationships with each other as being the same as lowering the age of consent so that pedophiles can prey on children is insane. One is a relationship and the other is a power play. I know that you know the difference and are simply choosing to be offensive.

    You may think you’ve won some point, but I just think that you are behaving boorishly.

  237. Michael Brown said in post 75964:

    rather than recognize my deeply held spiritual and moral convictions, forged by years of prayerful meditation and study and self-examination, you simply consign me to a close-minded religious mindset.

    Frankly Michael, I believe it is you who fails to see that your “deeply held spiritual and moral convictions” are what lead to your close-minded religious mind-set.

    You have repeatedly attempted to associate homosexuality with pedophilia, despite several people explaining why it is an inappropriate and insulting comparison. Apparently, when you think of gays all you can think about are sex acts which you find disgusting. Therefore, to you gays are the same as any other groups that may engage in sex acts you find disgusting. Yet, rather than educate yourself about what it means to be gay, you simply continue with your insulting and demeaning comparisions.

  238. Grethel,

    Thanks again for your even-tempered response.

    You wrote, “Are we under the assumption that sex and love equal the same thing? Quite frankly the two are not the same thing. Our society confuses the two. Sex can be an expression of love. But, sex for sex’s sake is not ‘love.’”

    Of course, I agree with that statement, and in point of fact, I’m not telling you who you can and can’t love. Who gave me that right? In fact, I’m not telling you with whom you can or cannot have a sexual relationship. Again, who gave me the right to rule your life?

    But will I endorse a same-sex relationship (romantic and/or sexual) or vote it for to be legally recognized? Certainly not, for the many reasons stated throughout this blog.

    You wrote, “it is not up to me to determine the laws of society alone. It is up to all of us. We can present our cases to the government which represents us.”

    Once again, I concur. The problem for me, however, in terms of the environment of this blog, is that when I stand up for my moral and spiritual convictions and simply seek to do what I can as a citizen of this country to see those convictions upheld, I’m portrayed as doing something illegitimate. The interaction thus far with some of the participants has been quite telling in that regard.

    Now, let’s return to the question of pedophilia or ephebophilia. Frankly, there is nothing more horrific to me than the sexual abuse of children. As a father and grandfather, and as the friend of many large families with small children, and having worked with Christian orphanages in the Third World, I cannot imagine anyone taking advantage of a child. The thought is repulsive beyond words, and I’m glad that everyone posting on this blog shares that moral disgust. At least we agree on that!

    But to continue, you wrote, “I disagree with pedophilia and ephebophilia on more basis that just Torah–pursuing justice on behalf of those who can’t pursue justice for themselves, i.e. the stranger, orphan, and widow. Children in my view fall under this category.”

    Well said! The problem is that there are books and even scientific studies arguing for the benefits of ephebophilia – based primarily on the testimonies of the boys, not the adults, many of them years after their consensual relationships with older men. There are the NAMBLA’s of this world – and again, I assume that Timothy and Patrick and the others firmly reject the goals of NAMBLA – that consider the rest of us bigots for rejecting man-boy love.

    So why in the world do I continue to bring up this sexually deviant behavior? And why do I submit myself to the howls of protest that will surely rise whenever I raise this subject (or the subject of incest, etc.)? It is simply to challenge some of the standard lines of the GLBT community, such as: “What about our need to experience love in our lives?” or, “Why do you deny us the same rights you have?”

    I reply, “But what about the need for others (like the ephebophiles) to experience love in their lives?” You (or others) reply: “But what they’re doing is wrong.” I agree, but based on my understanding of God’s Word and His ways, what a same-sex couple does together is also wrong – and therefore the argument of “What about our need to experience love in our lives?” is certainly not compelling.

    As to the question of, “Why do you deny us the same rights you have?” I reply, “But why do you deny those rights to others, like two gay brothers who want to marry?” – and I’m told that for many reasons, they do not have that “right.” I agree, but based on my understanding of the Scriptures and on what is best for society, I do not agree that same-sex couples have the “right” to marry, and therefore the argument based on alleged “rights” alone is not compelling.

    And so we go around and around, without convincing each other, which in reality, was never my goal. My goal, instead, was to demonstrate the fallacies and inconsistencies of the “pro-gay” arguments that are used, as well as to learn what I can from the dialogue and allow my own positions to be challenged.

    Can you step back from your own involvement in the dialogue and look at the larger issues raised? I believe the attitude you have demonstrated in this posts illustrates that you can.

    Dr. Brown

  239. Emproph,

    In all seriousness, Patrick, you really do need to exercise some self-restraint in your posts here. Please show me where I have spoken against you personally or called you a liar or a false witness or dishonest or even referred to you personally as sexually deviant. Once again, I will ignore your personal diatribes, but I do appeal to you understand the issues I’m seeking to address. If you’re ready to address those, I’m happy to interact. If not, I’m sure we can both find something more productive to do.

    Please also read the post that follows, to Grethel.

    Dr. Brown

  240. Timothy,

    Well, your post got me smiling. I still can’t seem to get you or anyone else hear to respond to the call for “equality” from others. I’m ready to dialogue when you are!

    You state: “When you want to talk about what you, Michael, demand of me, Timothy, then we can talk.”

    Timothy, I don’t demand anything of you. You live your life according to your convictions and I’ll live according to mine, but even if we differ, I will not attack you personally or demean you as a person. That’s about it on my end. To repeat: I don’t demand anything of you. Who gave me the right to?

    You write: “As long as you want to dodge and dance and justify the cruelty of your goals by distraction, deflection, and appeals to some ‘activist agenda knocking at your door’, I’m not going to participate.”

    Timothy — no dodging or dancing here, and no attempt to justify anything by distraction. You really don’t seem to understand that there are two very real sides to this issue, and I’d be happy to speak with you privately, by phone, just for the sake of understanding and not trying to prove a point here on this blog.

    But as long as you continue to engage in judging me and my motivation and integrity — the very thing you excoriate me for, using Jesus’ words, no less — how can I possibly interact with you in a fruitful way?

    Michael

  241. and even if you could not change, that does not mean that we reconstruct social order (such as marriage) to accommodate you, any more than we lower the age of consent to accommodate the man whose only sexual attraction is to teenage boys.

    As opposed to the man whose only sexual attraction is to teenage girls?

    I covered this, at length. You ignored it.

    The comparison with “the man whose only sexual attraction is that of child-rape” is insulting enough. And please spare me the “that’s not what I meant routine,” OBVIOUSLY this is where that’s going.

    The comparison reduces my capacity to love as nothing more than an attraction to sex acts. If this is what you truly feel then say so, but quit insulting my intelligence by perpetually dancing around the subject.

    And the fact that you ignored everything I already said on the matter has nothing to do with homosexuality or your “moral” position. You dismissed me above and beyond that position, and given how revoltingly hypocritically insulting the comparison is, from a moral position it’s inexcusable.

    And let’s be clear on this as well before you go into another ephebophilia rant about “how is one supposed to tell the difference between one deviation and another?” — With all due respect Dr. Brown, you’re the only one here who seems to want to talk about having sex with teenage boys.

  242. Michael,

    Wow, I guess I was absolutely 100% correct when I deduced that you weren’t interested in communication but instead were trying to set me up with your quote.

    Gosh, who’d a thunk it?

    I will not be debating your nonsense about pedophilia or ephebophilia (both of which involve relationships of inequalities of power and in that way are more similar to traditional heterosexuality), my freedom to marry a woman (not legally valid, incidentally), the right to fire me for “being open about being gay” (need we discuss the reasons to champion the continuation of this right), the claims that you ascribe to me that I did not make, or even what you think is God’s will for me (an interesting conceit).

    When you want to talk about what you, Michael, demand of me, Timothy, then we can talk. As long as you want to dodge and dance and justify the cruelty of your goals by distraction, deflection, and appeals to some “activist agenda knocking at your door”, I’m not going to participate.

    So go on and line up the cannons. Rally the troops. March ahead seeking to destroy the enemy. I just choose not to engage in your Culture War.

  243. PS

    I forgot to add this statement:

    A lesbian relationship between two consenting adults is very different. Who is being harmed?

    And can a relationship be one where sex is not involved?

    Shalom,

    Grethel

  244. Dr. Brown,

    There was a point about a year or two years ago when I would more than likely would have responded differently to you. I owe a lot to my rabbi and synagogue family for helping me grow. I am not perfect but I try very carefully to treat others well including people I disagree with.

    Are we under the assumption that sex and love equal the same thing? Quite frankly the two are not the same thing. Our society confuses the two.

    Sex can be an expression of love. But, sex for sex’s sake is not “love.”

    With that said, it is not up to me to determine the laws of society alone. It is up to all of us. We can present our cases to the government which represents us.

    I disagree with pedophilia and ephebophilia on more basis that just Torah–pursuing justice on behalf of those who can’t pursue justice for themselves, i.e. the stranger, orphan, and widow. Children in my view fall under this category.

    I disagree on the basis of the knowledge of human development. A teenager’s brain is not fully developed. He or she do not have the capcity to make decisions as adults do.

    In my studies, I have had to take Child Development I and Child Development II. I studied the development of a human from the womb until adolescence.

    I don’t find it inconsistent, Dr. Brown. I would disagree with mistreatment of such a man. But, I can’t agree with his desire. The desire can cause harm to someone else–the adolescent whose brain is not fully developed.

    Understand where I am coming from?

    Shalom,

    Grethel

    Research material:

    http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a787077281~db=all~jumptype=rss

  245. Grethel,

    OK. I still have to respond to your earlier posts about same-sex parenting, but for the sake of continuity, let me respond to your response to my quote about pedophilia and ephephobilia. I do understand that your SSA has to do with a relationship with a consenting adult female, whereas pedophilia and ephephobilia have to do with relationships with minors. That is a given, and I take for granted that we all start with that assumption. But what no one has responded to yet in this blog is the question of what a GLBT person tells someone with these other orientations, orientations which for them are as “natural” and immutable (and for some, perhaps, supposedly God-given!) as your lesbianism is for you.

    Patrick (Emproph) said in a recent post to me that, “I don’t see any concern on behalf of the ‘Christian’ anti-gay industry’s part for our need to experience love in our lives.” Well, what do you (or Patrick or Timothy or Jayhuck or Ken or others) say to the person whose orientation is ephephobilia? What about their need to experience love? And, in keeping with Timothy’s “perfect world” question, what becomes of them?

    To be sure, Grethel, you have not accused me of inconsistency and hypocrisy, as have some of the others, and I appreciate that, since it allows us to focus on the issues rather than on rhetoric. But can you see that, from my point of view, it is inconsistent for you to ask me to recognize the legitimacy of your same-sex desires and actions, even though in my eyes they violate scripture and are not in the best interests or our society, while you are not willing to sanction the legitimacy of these other sexual orientations because those orientations are wrong in your sight (or in the sight of society)?

    So, please help me to understand: What do you tell the man who is only attracted to young adolescent males – and who, as far as he can remember, always felt this way and, to date, has been completely unable to change – what do you tell him about his need to experience love?

    I would deeply appreciate your honest response to this question, which is not just abstract but is as real to those people as your lesbian questions are to you.

    Thanks,

    Dr. Brown

  246. Patrick,

    Your story (in a different way) reminds me of the story of another Patrick/Patricia (Califia), and I have read his/her story with interest and with sadness.

    Now, as to your former life memories and the certainty of your of your self-identity (heterosexual female in a male body), this may surprise you, but while I reject the idea of previous lives (reincarnation, etc.), I actually ASSUME that your feelings and that of other gays and lesbians is just what you describe: You are as sure that being gay is who you are (or, in this case, being a woman in a man’s body) as I am sure that I was born (and designed by God) to be a heterosexual male.

    That’s why it is a very painful thing for me to stand against what you consider your basic human rights and to not fully affirm your personhood (at the least, you would certainly feel that I do not fully affirm your personhood). I only do this before God because of sacred spiritual and moral convictions, and the catch-22 for me is that if I want to “help” you I have now insulted you. You would say that you don’t want help; that this is who you are and that are you satisfied with your situation and that your only real problem is that people like me don’t just accept you for who you are. I am convinced that it is not God’s ideal for you to be locked up in the wrong body (if this does not accurately reflect your position, I apologize for not stating it correctly) and that He has a solution to your situation and that until that solution was worked out in your life, you could belong to Him – just as many single heterosexuals remain devoted to him, even for decades without a mate and without a sexual outlet.

    One of my friends in Charlotte is a former lesbian. From the time she became convinced that her same-sex acts were displeasing in God’s sight until the time she became totally free of those desires was about eight years, but during that time, she did not go back to her old ways. According to her own story, she had GID from her earliest childhood memories. Thankfully, her spiritual journey was not marked by abusive experiences, as is the case with others, as we know, but she told my wife and I that on several occasions, she experienced deep spiritual deliverances, the breaking off of what she referred to as demonic powers at work in her life, and that was the ultimate key to her freedom.

    Jesus said that whoever commits sin is a slave to sin, but if the Son of God sets us free, we are free forever. Is there any possibility, even one in a million, that God wants to set you free from feeling like a woman in a man’s body, and rather than having a sex change operation (not that you have said that you want to, but just in case), God could change your innermost perceptions, who you really are inside?

    In no way do I want to trivialize what you have written, and that’s why I told Timothy earlier that I have read much gay literature in order to try to get into your shoes. Just the Foreword to Jack Nichols’ book The Gay Agenda offered painful insights, let alone Jack’s passionate book itself; or reading Mike Piazza’s Holy Homosexuals, or a host of other books (including the personal stories of the Mel Whites and Steven Greenbergs), and of course watching the Abomination DVD and reading through the Advocate’s Long Road to Freedom – and on and on. (I should also mention the pro-SSM marriage books like those of Chauncey and Wolfson and Rauch, etc.)

    In point of fact, when I speak to pastors and churches about “the gay agenda,” the first thing I address is the church’s failure to have understanding and compassion – if you never read my apology to the GLBT community of Charlotte, please follow the earlier link to that, posted above – and I try to explain to them the mindset of a “typical” GLBT person (who, I’m quick to point, has no other “agenda” than just living a normal life and being accepted for who they are). It is only because an activist agenda comes knocking at my door that I take my stand against that. I am truly sorry that my words and actions strike you as a personal assault, but I hope you can understand my perspective better through this post.

    Dr. Brown (BTW, I’m trying to reply to everyone the way I’m being address, just FYI)

  247. Emproph – SSP = same-sex parenting. I can’t find it there either, so somehow, the comment is lost in cyberspace. But just to be clear, you were not banned, nor did I disallow the comment, I just can’t find it. 🙁

  248. Warren said…

    Emproph – The comment you are referring to went to the spam filter for some reason. I retrieved it but cannot seem to find it here as yet. Was it on this thread or the SSP thread?

    As far as I was aware it was on this thread. When I pressed submit it went back to the top of this thread as usual, but when I scrolled down, the comment didn’t appear at the bottom.

    What is an SSP thread?

  249. Dr. Brown, I feel it’s time.

    I realize you won’t accept this as truth, nor do I expect you to. What I do expect, however, is that you accept this truth as being as real to me as my memory of yesterday is real to me.

    Again, you can call me and those like me (in regard to this specifically) all the more delusional for considering our own memories to be real. So be it. But memories like this are not gay exclusive — not an appeal to popularity, just a recognition that my personal experience is not unique to any demographic.

    I remember having lived before. In each of my lifetimes I was either a gay male, or a heterosexual female. Again, I realize you dismiss the possibility of reincarnation being true, so please bear with me.

    When this information was revealed to me, the first thing I realized was that we “forget” our past lives by design. One look at the terror of human history (and present) provides ample evidence of the need to forget things in order to even attempt to get over them. How else to begin to forgive those who wronged us in the worst ways possible?

    The second thing I realized was the reality of life before birth, and therefore gender before birth.

    What it comes down to is this, in order for a heterosexual male such as yourself to be a “homosexual,” you would have had to have been born a female, and you would therefore be a lesbian.

    Again, again, I do not expect you to accept this as a reality. What I do expect however, is that you understand that the certitude of the same-gender attraction of homosexual persons like me, is-as-profound as if this scenario were real.

    Until you can approach the situation accepting this magnitude of our certainty about ourselves, I don’t believe it is possible for you to respect us in any pragmatically meaningful manner.

    As I said, if you were to be a “homosexual,” you would have been born a girl, and would be a lesbian.

    If you are to “put on the shoes of” a gay man, you’d have to first “put on the shoes of” a woman, and then “put on the shoes of” a woman who was born with, and grew up with a male body.

    I have proof. I am a heterosexual female with a male body. If you are to challenge this, then first you must challenge my ability to recognize memory itself.

    Again, my experience is not the point, but I feel confident in stating that those who are unequivocally same-gender attracted as I am, feel as certain about the innateness of their gender attraction as I do. LIKE YOU DO.

    Again, I’m not saying you have to accept this, but if you want to come across as being respectful, then you need to respond in a manner that demonstrates that YOU understand that we see ourselves as being THIS sure of ourselves.

    I don’t see this happening, because I don’t see any concern on behalf of the “Christian” anti-gay industry’s part for our need to experience love in our lives. (not to mention the blatant lies and hypocrisy)

    Humor us for a second, and pretend that you were born a lesbian, how would you take the words that you say?

  250. Emproph – The comment you are referring to went to the spam filter for some reason. I retrieved it but cannot seem to find it here as yet. Was it on this thread or the SSP thread?

  251. Again, I do not mean to appear insensitive or cold in stating this. I’m simply trying to respond to your factual questions in a factual matter.

    There are several other posts in which you raise further questions, and I hope to get to those soon.

    Michael

    I very much appreciate your repeated acknowledgment of previous questions and concerns and your attempts to address them regarding myself and others.

    I have serious objections to much, but my point for mentioning this now, is that before putting more extraordinary effort into a post, I want to make sure I haven’t been banned first. I lost a passionate post the other night that seemed to go through.

    So if this works, I’ll be back 🙂

  252. BTW, intolerance does swing both ways. I am aware of this.

    I have had teaching and training on how to recognize bias within myself. Why? As a teacher, I have to be able to work on developing a non-judgmental attitude toward the diversity of the families and children that I work with. Part of working on that development is examining my own self. A teacher should examine personal biases. And a teacher should try to get past the biases to develop understanding and value of diversity.

    Part of my own examination did lead to me realizing that there are families I would have difficulty working with. And I went, “Uh, oh!” I thought that I didn’t have a problem. But, I really realized I did. I thought, “What if I have to work with a family who is part of the KKK or some other group like this? What if I have to work with a fundamental Christian family, too?” Regardless of how I feel, I have to do the best I can as a professional to teach the children. I discussed what to do with my instructor/college advisor if I ever face this situation.

    Shalom,

    Grethel

  253. Dr. Brown.

    Food for thought…

    There is a difference between homosexuality and pedophilia (and ephebophilia, too). Pedophilia and ephebophilia both affect individuals under the age of 18. And that makes a distinction. There is an age of consent to consider. In NC, for example, the age of consent is 16 years-old. In some states the age of consent is 18 years-old.

    Now, I want to take something you wrote and change the wording a bit. After I do that I want you to respond to how it makes you feel. I also want you to remember that at one point in history that there were laws established which were very much in line with what I am about to write. And the people who wrote the laws believed very much that they were doing exactly what God wanted.

    My rewrite with word replacement:

    “As for your civil rights, you have the same rights I have. In point of fact, no one is giving me special protection because I am CHRISTIAN, and there is no reason to give you special protecion because you are A JEW. In fact, the more I attempt to treat you AS A PERSON rather than as a JEWISH man, the less you appreciate it. In other words, you have the same right to marry a person of the CHRISTIAN FAITH as I do, but you don’t want that right. BUT, YOU HAVE TO NOT BE JEWISH TO DO SO. You want to be treated differently as JEWISH man. You have the same right I have not to be fired from a job for failure to perform. But you want the right not to be fired because you are open about being A JEW. So everywhere I turn, you confront me with the fact that you are A JEW, and I continue to make every effort to treat you as a fellow-human being. Somehow, that is enough for you.”

    Dr. Brown, somewhere I have a book about anti-Semitism’s origins that list all the Church laws against Jews. One of the laws was that Jews could not marry Christians. The Church was very convinced that it was following what Jesus wanted.

    Please think about this. How can you as a born Jew be intolerant? {Regardless of the fact you are now a Christian) Think about that paragraph you wrote to Timothy.

    A rabbi whose published diary really made an impact on me is Rabbi Martin Siegel. In the very beginning of his published diary he asks (himself):

    “How can Jews, of all people, practice intolerance?”

    Rabbi Siegel was speaking of the Jewish community’s fear of “blacks”. And he said that fear was feeding hatred. He wrote his words on December 12, 1968.

    I think the same thing can be said of the Christian community and fear of homosexuals, at this point in time. It is feeding hatred. (And not only hatred–intolerance}

    Shalom,

    Grethel

  254. Timothy,

    I find it extraordinary that you seem to be incapable of seeing the other side of the story, and rather than recognize my deeply held spiritual and moral convictions, forged by years of prayerful meditation and study and self-examination, you simply consign me to a close-minded religious mindset. In contrast, I see where you are coming from and, if I were convinced by God’s Word that homosexuality was simply another sexual variation, on a par with heterosexuality, I would champion your cause in a heartbeat. But for obvious reasons, I cannot.

    Now, here’s the reason I pursued these specific questions: You do not grant to others what you desire for yourself. In point of fact, the prominent professor of whom I spoke, Dr. John Money, was one of the pioneer advocates of sex-change surgery. His exact quote said this: “Pedophilia and ephebophilia [referring to sexual attraction felt by an adult toward an adolescent] are no more a matter of voluntary choice than are left-handedness or color blindness. There is no known method of treatment by which they may be effectively and permanently altered, suppressed, or replaced. Punishment is useless. There is no satisfactory hypothesis, evolutionary or otherwise, as to why they exist in nature’s overall scheme of things. One must simply accept the fact that they do exist, and then, with optimum enlightenment, formulate a policy of what to do about it.”

    And that is why I raised some of these issues earlier: It was to see if you really championed the “civil rights” of those whose sexual orientation (or, sexual choices made because of that orientation) you deemed to be either immoral or harmful or illegal or inappropriate or contrary to the best interests of society. That is how I see homosexual behavior (which is a choice) and homosexual orientation, which is certainly not simply a matter of genetics but is a complex phenomenon based on both nature and nurture. Regardless of its origins, I see it as contrary to God’s ideal for you, and even if you could not change, that does not mean that we reconstruct social order (such as marriage) to accommodate you, any more than we lower the age of consent to accommodate the man whose only sexual attraction is to teenage boys.

    As for your civil rights, you have the same rights I have. In point of fact, no one is giving me special protection because I am heterosexual, and there is no reason to give you special protecion because you are gay. In fact, the more I attempt to treat you AS A PERSON rather than as a gay man, the less you appreciate it. In other words, you have the same right to marry a person of the opposite sex as I do, but you don’t want that right. You want to be treated differently as gay man. You have the same right I have not to be fired from a job for failure to perform. But you want the right not to be fired because you are open about being gay. So everywhere I turn, you confront me with the fact that you are gay, and I continue to make every effort to treat you as a fellow-human being. Somehow, that is enough for you.

    Let me also say that I appreciate the lack of vitriol in your posts, but I do find the condescending tone somewhat surprising for someone who constantly claims to be following the example of Christ. Please do consider this for your own growth and development.

    Michael

  255. It was like one of those old-time serial cliff-hangers…Tune in next week. Even though I had myself subscribed to this particular topic, I kept coming back into the site to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.

    Timothy knows that I don’t believe it’s a FACT that God “has decided that the vast overwhelming percentage of those who sincerely seek to change that attraction will never do so.” But we can save that one for another day. I’m enjoying the focussed discussion too much to risk a detour!

    Welcome back!

  256. Michael,

    Only God can judge whether you truly wish to be treated the same way that you treat gay people. And if I read Scripture correctly, that is exactly how He will treat you.

  257. Michael,

    I truly see little point in continuing conversation. Frankly, you seem unable to view gay persons in any light other than one of opposition and as I have said many times over, I have no interest in fighting with you. And, as I think your theology is flawed, I’m not much interested in being told “the truth in love”.

    Nonetheless, I will try to answer your question. I do so hesitatingly because I instinctively know that this not an attempt to communicate but rather is a Culture War weapon. And it is frustrating. But here goes:

    All parties (gay, anti-gay, casual observer) agree that same-sex attractions are not self-selected.

    Further, any close review of ex-gay efforts, therapy, ministries, etc. will illustrate that same-sex attractions are here for life. If you doubt that, I encourage you to read Jones and Yarhouse’s book and look at the statements of those deemed most “successful”.

    As to how same-sex attractions originate, there are a great many theories – none are proven conclusively. That there is some biological basis for some persons is pretty well irrefutable. However biology alone cannot yet be declared to be “the cause”. As to whether nature has an “overall scheme” or not, I have no idea.

    But, as your “prominant professor” stated, gay folks are here.

    Unlike your professor, I’m not as concerned about a proposal on how to handle “it”. I’m more concerned about people. When we oppose “homosexuality” we are freed from seeing gay people. If we take away civil liberties and rights, we can justify that we oppose “it”, not them.

  258. Michael,

    These are very good questions you ask and it is refreshing to seeing them being asked. I do understand why you are asking them and I await the answers. For me I do believe it is what we do with our same-sex attraction that is the choice we have and it is extremely important to us being able to understand what love really is.

  259. Timothy,

    Thanks for your even-spirited response. I did my best to reply to your question, based on “my” creating a “perfect world.” I’m sorry it did not line up with your criteria, but I certainly made an honest effort.

    You state that, “God in His infinite wisdom has decided that some people on this planet would be same-sex attracted.”

    Would you say that about others as well, whose sexual orientations are different than yours? Would you also say that about those whose genetic makeup apparently contributes to an unhealthy lifestyle, like obesity? Or would you work to help obese people become fit, even if most didn’t change? Isn’t this what neighbors are for? And when the doctor tells the obese person, “Unless you lose weight, your heart will fail,” does that mean that the doctor hates fat people? To the contrary, the doctor is motivated by love.

    One more question: Do you agree with this statement by a prominent professor?

    “Homosexuality is no more a matter of voluntary choice than is left-handedness or color blindness. There is no known method of treatment by which this may be effectively and permanently altered, suppressed, or replaced. Punishment is useless. There is no satisfactory hypothesis, evolutionary or otherwise, as to why this exists in nature’s overall scheme of things. One must simply accept the fact that it does exist, and then, with optimum enlightenment, formulate a policy of what to do about it.” Would that articulate your mindset?

    Please do respond to these questions, especially the last one, since there is a real purpose in my asking them.

    Also, I pray that the day will come when you can see my actions towards you are in keeping with what the Lord commands when He instructs us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Speaking the truth in love, even when it is unpopular, is what the Lord requires of us. If I was in a popularity contest, I would not tell you the truth. But I am seeking God’s favor only, and, whether you recognize it or not, trying to be a neighbor to you.

    Michael

  260. Patrick,

    I appreciate your questions about adultery, divorce, and remarriage, and I agree that they are relevant to the larger issues of sexual morality that we are discussing. For the sake of clarity, I’ll respond to your various points under several main headings.

    1) Do I believe that there is a plague of unjustified divorce and remarriage in the evangelical Church today? Without a doubt, I do, and it concerns me deeply. I have spoken out against this often through the years, both in writing and in public speaking, and I think it is a real and frightful possibility that some professing Christians today – including some leaders – are actually living in adultery in God’s sight. Just for the record, I have addressed this strongly for many years, long before gay activism was a focus for me in ministry.

    2) You correctly cite Jesus’ words in Matt 19:9, “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery” (see also Matt 5:32, here quoted in the NRSV, which I cite to give another translation of the Greek word porneia, which is translated as “marital unfaithfulness” in the NIV: “anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”) Another relevant text is 1 Cor 7:15, which speaks of a situation in which one of the marriage partners is Christian and the other is not; if the unbeliever abandons the marriage, it would appear that the believer can remarry: “But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound.”

    What do I understand these texts to say? If there are no biblical grounds for divorce and the parties choose to remarry, they are guilty of committing adultery. If there are biblical grounds for divorce, then remarriage is an option.

    To be sure, the subject of divorce and remarriage is always a hot topic among Christians, and in a few paragraphs, it is impossible to do justice to the exegetical and practical debate. For a solid discussion by one of the world’s most respected New Testament scholars, see Craig S. Keener, And Marries Another: Divorce and Remarriage in the Teaching of the New Testament.

    3) How does this apply to Joe Dallas? As far as I understand his story (and I have not read his full testimony in detail, so please correct me if I’m wrong on his story here), he was guilty of sexual sin while married, and so his wife had scriptural grounds to divorce him or to accept his desire to divorce. Also, even if his wife had wanted to preserve the relationship, once he became a practicing homosexual, by scriptural definition, he became an unbeliever and was then guilty of abandoning his wife, also freeing her from the necessity of preserving the marriage. She was then free to remarry. When Joe then got right with God and repented of his sins, had she not been remarried, I believe the best course for him would have been to try to reconcile with her. With her being remarried, it would be wrong for her to leave her current husband and get back together with him. Also, I do not see that the Scriptures forbid him from remarrying. (If these sins were committed before he truly knew the Lord, that would also be a factor, since we sometimes come to Him in a total mess, with many things from our past impossible to correct fully. In such cases, it seems that, in many ways, God often gives us a fresh new start.)

    4) You state, “The point is, as has been expressed, it’s your anti-consistency position that is at issue here, not your anti-gay position.”

    In point of fact, there is no anti-consistency here. The Scriptures only endorse heterosexual unions and marriages, consistently condemning same-sex acts and not allowing for the possibility of same-sex “marriage.” (As a biblical scholar, I can say this with authority; you, of course, are free to challenge me on that, and I expect that you will, but I will say that I am not simply spouting off second-hand interpretations here.)

    So, let’s say two Christians had some marital disputes and got divorced without biblical grounds, both remarrying (I’m speaking here of heterosexual unions). Then, some years later they were spiritually revived, feeling convicted of their sins before God and asking for forgiveness, even willing to separate if that would please Him. Let’s just say – hypothetically – that God forgave them and gave them a brand new start, even blessing their current marriage. That is within the realm of scriptural possibility, given God’s prerogative to forgive us and wash us clean. But this in no way would apply to a same-sex couple, since their union would remain sinful and/or illegitimate in God’s sight, based on the consistent testimony of Scripture.

    To give an analogy, let’s say that I stole money from you and opened a grocery store using the money I stole. Sometime later, I get spiritually awakened and come back to you with the money I stole and offer to shut down my store as an act of repentance. You forgive me and tell me to use my store to serve the community and never to steal again. That would be like the couple who divorced and remarried in sin but who now uses their relationship to glorify God and serve others, having been graciously forgiven. But if I stole money from you and used the money to start a crime ring, even if you forgave me for stealing the money and did not demand it back, you would still tell me that if I am to be right with God and with society, I would have to disband my crime ring. That would be the case of a same-sex couple: If they were married in Canada and then had a spiritual awakening, repenting of their illegitimate union, God would now require them to separate, since same-sex unions are never sanctioned by God.

    Again, I do not mean to appear insensitive or cold in stating this. I’m simply trying to respond to your factual questions in a factual matter.

    There are several other posts in which you raise further questions, and I hope to get to those soon.

    Michael

  261. Michael,

    No. You did not answer my question.

    I asked you to explain my position in the world, as you would have it. Instead you talked about yourself, your beliefs, your political activism, you witnessing.

    God in His infinite wisdom has decided that some people on this planet would be same-sex attracted. Further, He has decided that the vast overwhelming percentage of those who sincerely seek to change that attraction will never do so. That, Michael, is fact.

    I encourage you at some point (though clearly this is not going to be that point) to consider these children of God as human, as equals in God’s sight, and as deserving of a place in society. I encourage you for one brief fleeting moment to consider what you would want in their place. And, Michael, to follow the commands of Christ about how we are to treat our neighbor.

    Based on our conversations to date, I don’t think that you are currently capable of doing this. But I do have hope that some day this mindshift can take place. I do hope that the Spirit can move you to cease the Great Culture War you have been waging on those you disagree with, to lay down your weapons and make peace. And I hope you will be open to Him when He does.

  262. Timothy,

    You have asked some poignant and practical questions:

    What then are we to do? If my equality cannot exist with your freedoms, then what?

    In your perfect world [to the extent that you can create it], what would become of me?

    First, I want to reiterate that, from my perspective of faith, there will be no perfect world until Jesus returns and transforms the universe, so at best, we can be idealistic to a certain level, but we must always be realistic and pragmatic. That is to say, there will always be some differences and disagreements in this world, but the question is how we handle them, which I believe is what you are asking.

    Let me also state, however, that as a person of faith and as eyewitness to God’s transforming power even in this present, fallen world, I believe that you can have an extraordinary encounter with Jesus that would be so profound in its effects that it would change the very core of who you are, and I believe Paul spoke of this when he said, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6:9-11, ESV). I’m aware, of course, that you have a different interpretation of the two Greek words used in this passage; I’m simply answering your question from my perspective: In my “perfect” world, you would be transformed by the Lord and would like a healthy, self-affirming, and satisfied heterosexual life.

    Obviously, that still doesn’t answer the question from your perspective, one in which you would say you have no desire to change, so let me answer incrementally: Ideally, in this “perfect” world, I would not know what your sexual orientation was, since that would be a private matter. To the extent you were viewed as “different” as a child growing up, I would do my best to create an environment in which there was no name-calling or bullying, and to the extent that you chose to make your sexual orientation a public thing as an adult, I would do stand against any hatred or violence directed against you and would seek to treat you as a human being first rather than as a gay man first.

    The bottom line is that it is not my role as a believer to make others live a certain way and then to vilify them if they choose not to (or claim not to have the power to). It is, however, my role to speak the truth in love to all people, reminding them of God’s standards and urging them to turn away from all sinful acts and wrong beliefs and to turn to the Lord for mercy and forgiveness. As I have opportunity, I do this with all people: With my fellow-Jews, who do not believe in Jesus; with Muslims and Hindus and others who also do not share my faith; with countless heterosexuals living outside of faith or living in various sins of the flesh; and with the GLBT community that I meet, not discriminating against them by not sharing the same gospel message.

    Finally, to the extent that you were involved in what I would call activism – for you, fighting for what you consider to be equality, for me, your seeking to legitimize something that I consider wrong or contrary to God’s order – I would oppose that activism, be it in the school system or in the courts or in the churches or in the court of public opinion, but always trying to dialogue with you privately (for the sake of understanding and to avoid demonizing you as a person) and always addressing you with dignity and respect as a fellow creation of God, striving to address the issues and not attack you as a person. And so, if we differed, it would be in a way that could be modeled by others on different sides of the fence, hopefully producing more light than heat. And I would simply act as a Christian witness and as a citizen of a democratic society, seeking to uphold what I understand is moral and right and in the best interest of the society as a whole, but never seeking to institute a theocracy. In that respect, I concur with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King who stated that the church “is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool.” My comments here would reflect that understanding, also recognizing that at present, more than 80% of Americans identify with some form of Christianity, and also recognizing the moral and biblical principles that were involved in the founding of our country.

    Does this answer your question?

    Michael

  263. Thank you for the acknowledgments Mr. Brown, I realize you’ve got a lot on your plate with this, and if nothing else you say is consistent, I appreciate the effort. So I don’t mean to add to it until the earlier points are addressed, but I want to get these out of the way. (P.S. I’m especially looking forward to hearing about what your perfect world looks like..)

    Incest, of course, may produce impaired children. But incestuous marriage is a horrible idea for a much bigger reason than that. Imagine a society where parents and children viewed each other as potential mates. Just for a start, every child would grow up wondering whether his parents had sexual designs on him, or were “grooming” him as a future spouse. Holding open the prospect of incestuous marriage would devastate family life by, effectively, legitimizing sexual predation within it.

    Plenty more to mull on here.

    To compare consensual adult same gender relationships with the inherently increased complication of potential familial predation, again, is to make a case for moral relativism, not morality.

    I realize that you don’t accept the fact that I consider my same-gender attraction to be as equal and valid as your opposite gender attraction, but can you see how that specific example is not a fair comparison?

    I can appreciate the similarity of personal disgust involved for both, but I am convinced I was born same-gender attracted and that my homosexuality is by specific design — whether by God or not. The gender I can experience love with is out of my control.

    I understand that you reject my perception of myself in this manner unequivocally, and I accept that. I also realize you have a professional reputation to maintain with regard to what you say, but I personally need for you to find a way to express what you truly mean in a way that can be accepted on a practical and especially conversational level.

    I realize it’s not easy, but if you really think your brand of anti-gay Christianity is superior, you’re going to have to come out and say it at some point.

    Gay = incest

    Are you suggesting that some people are born attracted to-only-their-own siblings? And if they have no siblings, they have no chance for love in their lives? Is this the argument you’re making?

    Again, I realize that doesn’t make SSA ok for you. Not my intention, but if you’re going to argue the point, you need to do so in a way that’s as minimally insulting as possible if you truly want to come across as non-bigoted, and whatever else people like me are calling you these days.

    I have to say also that the “Biblical morality” part on this doesn’t bode well for your position either. Remember, this is your argument: Anti-incest = Biblical morality:

    cousincouples.com:

    Isaac married Rebekkah, his first cousin once removed. Genesis24:12-51

    Jacob married two of his cousins , Rachel & Leah. I love this story! Genesis chapters 28-29)

    Zelophehad’s five orphaned daughters were commanded by God to marry cousins. Numbers 36

    Eleazar’s daughters each married first cousins, as they were instructed. I Chronicles 23:22

    In the 18th chapter of Leviticus, the Bible provides a lengthy list of forbidden relationships. These laws are the scriptural definition of sexual impurity. Not one mention of cousins, of any degree, is made.

    Some would argue that these are all Old Testament references. That is correct. The reason for this is that the New Testament does not specifically address the rules of sexual misconduct, with the exception of fornication, other than to refer you back to the Old Testament laws.

    As far as incest is concerned, according to these verses, I’d say that God’s word points more toward the sanctioning of incestual marriage than against it.

    In addition, you’ve also got the beginning of mankind Adam and Eve incest story, and the Noah’s family flood incest story to deal with.

    Why would you say your sexual mores are based on the Bible without attempting to refute these points first?

    I’m not saying there are not ways around all this, but I am saying that if you’re going to use the Bible as “God’s” moral authority on sexual matters,” it would behoove you to dispute such matters before claiming moral authority on the “immorality” of incest – assuming you don’t want to be accused of hypocrisy, and all of its kissing cousins – judgement, bigotry and bias.

    Does this make sense to you, or do you feel that I am attacking you?

  264. Dr. Brown, you said:

    “Grethel — I have some unanswered posts with you too.”

    I understand. It’s Christmas time; I don’t expect you to answer everything. Besides, I’m busy with Christmas, too.

    I may be a Jew-by-choice, but my family didn’t convert with me.

    So…get back to the posts when you can and have a Merry Christmas!

    Shalom,

    Grethel

    BTW, Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

  265. Michael Brown said in post 74746:

    “Civil marriages in the US have evolved in to a partnership of TWO equal partners and not equipped to handle more than that.” False. Marriages in the US and since the dawn of civilization have been between a MALE and a FEMALE.

    No, this is incorrect. In the US the one man/one woman definition isn’t even 50 years old. Because 50 years ago, in many states, civil marriage was defined as “one man and one woman of the same race.” And before that it was “one white man and one white woman.” Marriage has evolved considerably over time. From an arrangement that was mostly about property rights and where the woman (or women in some cases) where little more than the property of her husband. To what we have today, where it is often based on love and equality of the spouses. Throughout history there have been many different criteria placed on marriages and many changes. Your male/female argument shows a fairly myopic view of marriage and is hardly compelling.

    Marriage is a civil right in this country. It was ruled so by the US Supreme court in Skinner v. Oklahoma. And re-affirmed in Loving v. Virginia (and a few other cases, I believe). The Loving v. Virginia made it clear that bigotry was not a rationale basis for denying couples the rights, benefits, privileges and responsibilities of marriage. Your slippery-slope arguments are the same ones used to justify bans on inter-racial marriages as well.

    Further, incest is in no way equivalent to gay relationships. Your attempts to make such comparisions only serve to highlight your ignorance on the subject.

    And, now a personal challenge for you (and others posting): Let’s see how many posts you can get through without lobbing another personal insult my way, OK?

    You insult an entire class of people with your analogies yet complain about personal insults.

  266. Just a quick reminder: I’m one person interacting with a good number of articulate and thoughtful people here (Patrick, Ken, Timothy, Jayhuck, Grethel, etc.), so I hope you can understand why I may fall behind on some posts. Also, as I mentioned, with family in town because of the holidays, my time is much more limited.

    Timothy — you have my word that I will answer your persistent and important question in my next post.

    Patrick — I have yet to reply to your questions on adultery.

    Grethel — I have some unanswered posts with you too.

    Jayhuck — ditto!

    Any other I left you — my apologies!

    Warren — see what you started here with this particular post on your blog that pulled me into your world here?

  267. Michael Brown says…

    On what basis should we not lower the age of consent or not sanction such relationships

    I really don’t know, at what legal lowering of the age of consent do you think parents would be most outraged? Do you honestly not see how that could come across as insulting?

    Are you honestly comparing the fight to garner marital rights between two consenting adults with the fight to garner the adult “right” to have a sexual relationship with your underage child? Do you even KNOW what the purpose of age of consent laws are for?

    Here’s the problem. “Age of consent laws are there to protect young people from being sexually exploited by adults*. To consider this concern to be comparable with “moral and social grounds for rejecting same-sex relationships” (#74161), demonstrates to me, only that you make no differentiation between a non-threat, and an immediate potential for threat. By asking that question, in the way that you did, you’ve just made a case for moral relativity, not morality.

    And if you call me judgmental or bigoted or biased, just remember that’s what the ephebophile calls you.

    Even if I’m not judgmental or bigoted or biased against the ephebophile? And what if I am, that still doesn’t mean that you’re not judgmental or bigoted or biased. You made it a point to characterize the desire for adult / underage relationships as being exclusively male homo-specific, I consider that to be judgmental and bigoted and biased.

    You could have just as easily used existing age of consent laws to make your point. So why not use the rampant EXISTING heterosexual failure to protect kids, so as to avoid any potential perception of judgment, bigotry, or bias on your part?

    This seems to be one of your biggest complaints, my point is, there seems to be alot you can do to improve the situation.

  268. Folks, I know everyone here is an adult, or at least I hope so. I think these conversations are very helpful in many respects. However…

    If someone does not agree with you, it does not reflect well on your position to question the intelligence of your opponent or call names. It is the roughly the equivalent of “your mom!”

    So let’s stick with facts or some theoretical foundation and refrain from the personal stuff.

  269. Michael,

    Let me explain my purpose in conversing with you. I want to find out exactly what it is that you propose be done with/to me. I want to see if there is some common ground upon which we can agree. And, in particular, I want to see if there can be peace instead of war.

    So instead of discussing anecdotes that you read about, or discussing incest or polygamy or necrophelia or whatever, I will simply ask you again:

    What then are we to do? If my equality cannot exist with your freedoms, then what?

    In your perfect world [to the extent that you can create it], what would become of me?

  270. Michael Brown says…

    In certain times in history, and in the certain parts of the world today, polygamy is practiced, but at NO TIME was marriage ever the union of two equal partners who were not of the opposite sex. And that remains the reality through the vast part of our nation until this day, as well as throughtout the vast majority of the rest of the world.

    Absurd, unless you’re arguing that you can travel back in time and have examined every union in human history. Clearly you’re not, so it’s an argument limited by what you personally know of historical social tradition. Until you can prove you speak for history, this argument has no basis, furthermore, you’ve already established that no matter what evidence is provided you – even a proven historical majority of SSM, or polygamy, or incest – you still would not be swayed.

    If you would not even be swayed by the very basis of your own argument (popularity contest / majority rules), I find it disingenuous that you would expect anyone else to be.

    It may coincide with what you believe, but it doesn’t provide a basis for it, had you acknowledged that simple fact it wouldn’t have been so offensive, if at all.

    1) If incestuous unions are wrong because of potentially severe birth defects, then anal sex is surely wrong because it has many more documented health risks than vaginal sex. (Oops! Did I say something bigoted and homophobic just now?)

    Yes, and here’s why, what’s dishonest about that (among other things) is your depiction of anal sex not only being indicative of all homo-sex, but also as a behavior exclusive to homosexuals. Heterosexuals don’t have anal sex? Lesbians do have anal sex? Gay men who don’t have anal sex still have anal sex? Forget bigoted and homophobic, that implication is downright slanderous.

    Secondly, we’re talking about those who consent to the “danger” of engaging in anal sex, not a third party innocent child who has no say in the matter of their potential lifetime birth defects. An illogical comparison at best, dishonest at worst.

    2) In incestuous unions are wrong because of the potential of producing unhealthy offspring, then same-sex unions are wrong since they do not even have the possibility of producing offspring.

    Exqueese me, I baking powder? The production of a lifetime of debilitating deformities and health problems is exactly the same as the absence of a lifetime of debilitating deformities and health problems?

    By that logical standard, all infertile unions should be invalidated. Is this something you’d like to legislate?

    3) The incestuous couple still asks you, “How does our love affect you? On what basis should you deny us our right to marry the person we each love? And what if we marry but agree not to have children? There are plenty of methods of birth control that will prevent procreation. So, if we won’t have children, will you agree that we can marry?”

    Sure, ok, get married, but first there are some social issues I’d like to work out if this is to be legally sanctioned. Which you, Dr. Brown, can take up with them, because it’s not my fight. But don’t worry, I’ll get around to humoring you.

    And, now a personal challenge for you (and others posting): Let’s see how many posts you can get through without lobbing another personal insult my way, OK?

    It really doesn’t help matters when you continue to take the initiative to unnecessarily lower the bar, as evidenced above.

  271. Michael Brown–

    I am enjoying your posts. I especially appreciated your comments in 74561. Thanks for being a reasoned and thoughtful evangelical. Sometimes we forget that such people do exist! I’m refraining from jumping into this discussion myself because you and those who are in dialogue with you are doing a pretty good job of staying focussed. I don’t want to mess with a good thing.

    Totally off the subject: Has your status as a ‘messianic Jewish person’ brought you into contact with Burt and Pam Singer? I lost contact with them years ago when they went to live in Israel. I’m hunching that they are back in the states but don’t know for sure.

  272. Mr. Brown,

    First of all, I’m not seeking your approval, so I’m not out to convince you that homosexuality is moral, or Biblically sound or anything else. I can perfectly well understand how people can think that my same-gender attraction is confusion and/or delusion on my part. So be it.

    What I would like to establish however, is the basis for your “moral” beliefs. You claim that your beliefs on morality are based on the Bible, yet at nearly every turn you’ve demonstrated otherwise.

    I can accept someone saying they are against recognizing same-gender attraction as anything other than a perversion of heterosexuality, that our love is not real, and that GLBT’s are confused, delusional, and in need of help.

    What I don’t accept however, is this exact same sentiment expressed under cloak of the “morality” of religion. That, I find to be cowardly and dishonest.

    It’s precisely because of your unwillingness to offend that is so offensive. And you’re right, the person above who says so outright is going to catch hell too, so you do lose both ways. But at least I can respect the honesty of someone who tells me to my face (and is consistent in public), that they truly believe that I’m just too stupid to realize that I’m actually attracted to the opposite gender.

    It’s not your political incorrectness that is so offensive, it’s your lack of it. And when I refer to “you,” I’m speaking of the entire anti-gay industry. There are precious few in the field, so to speak (Throckmorton being one of them, despite some reservations I have), that don’t employ some measure of deception, either overtly with false information etc., or stealthily with inherently flawed logic, obfuscation etc.

    You are the one who is making the claim that your objection to homosexuality is based on the morality of the Bible. You have not only not established this, in many places here you have confirmed the opposite.

    When confronted on your inconsistencies, instead of sufficiently rebutting the point, you complain of attack. If your logic is consistenly flawed, it’s perfectly legitimate to question your intelligence. When you use singular negative incidences as a means to depict every GLBT person as being approving of them, then it’s perfectly legitimate to question your honesty.

    You can complain about risque pride parades and whatever else you find offensive about what some gay people may be involved with, but to imply that this is indicative of me, or anyone else, without knowing that it is true of us, is to bear false witness. And I take offense to that, in the same way you don’t want to be depicted as a reconstructionist, or someone who thinks I should be put to death.

    Many of your comparisons like incest, consensual ephebophilia, and polygamy ARE worthy of being dismissed as irrelevant. If you don’t know why, then that tells me you haven’t done enough research on the subjects in regard to the issue. Which indicates to me that you are less interested in the veracity of the arguments, than you are in simply making them. Secondly, and more importantly, assuming these are all consensual relationships, the only thing that links them is social disapproval, yet you say your morality is based on the Bible, not society (in addition, the Bible condones incest and polygamy). Thirdly, you have yet to establish precisely what the “immorality” of same-gender relationships is, until this is established, how is it possible to compare one morally ambiguous situation with another morally ambiguous situation, given that you consider them all to be “morally” the same? Fourthly, since gay people obviously don’t adhere to your “moral” precepts, what sense does it make to expect us to argue those precepts in regard to other scenarios? Fifthly, slippery-slope-wise speaking, those examples aren’t an argument against gay marriage, they’re just an argument as to where it could possibly lead. Point being, if that’s how gay marriage affects yours, you’ll have to take up the issue with them (incest, ephebophilia, polygamy), not gays.

    Michael Brown says: I’m happy to press each of the three illustrative points I offered to prove that same-sex marriage would impinge on my freedoms, and I will do so if I see there is an honest exchange of ideas. There is, however, another side to the story, which is this: Even if same-sex marriage did not touch my life at all, I would still not endorse or agree with it based on God’s Word and His standards and His plan — obviously, as I understand those things before Him.

    And this is why your arguments stink. You’re arguing an unprovable moral position in the societal secular realm. You don’t feel the need to ensure that your secular arguments are valid because you are not as invested in them, because it’s not the position you’re operating from. You basically admitted as much, and it makes perfect sense, and such a position is fine — as long as you can demonstrate that you’ve made the effort to look at the situation from as may relevant points as possible. You don’t have to demonstrate them all at the time of argument, but you have to show that you’ve made the effort to understand them all, or at least that you are willing to. Just saying you’re willing to understand doesn’t cut it. Show me, don’t tell me.

    The problem here is that secular examples, comparisons and arguments, offered and defended without sufficient muster, serve only to fundamentally undermine your original “moral” position.

    It is perceived as an “ends justifies the means” position. Which makes all of your secular arguments suspect, and your sense of morality nonexistent. Because it demonstrates a wanton disregard for truth that exists.

    Moral -concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.

    If you can’t be trusted to understand the importance of verifiable truth, how can you be trusted to have put any more rigor into ensuring the accuracy of truth that cannot be verified?

    (To be continued…)

  273. Ken,

    Perhaps I have not made myself clear, but marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and therefore there is no “right” for two men or two women to marry, anymore than there is a right for any other combination of people to marry, or for a brother and sister to marry. For multiplied thousands of years of human existence, no one has questioned the nature of marriage (in terms of it being for opposite sex union only), and now, for the first time in human existence, a new concept is being put on the table, one that I believe will ultimately be in the worst interest of humanity, not the best interest. On what basis is it a “right”?

    While I find it amusing that my intelligence is being questioned in this dialogue, I have yet to hear a single solid response to the questions I’ve raised, as I have pointed out arguments used by groups whose “rights” you reject but that parallel arguments you use. The reason there can’t be a solid response is because to deny them their “rights” (come on now, doesn’t someone have the “right” to marry whoever they love?) is to deny you your “rights,” and to grant them their “rights” is to prove that redefining marriage to include same-sex unions does, in fact, open up a Pandora’s box of new meanings for marriage. You simply can’t have it both ways. (At least you admit that you could open to the possibility of polygamy if certain questions were resolved. I find that consistent with your other arguments.)

    Still, regarding polygamy, you stated, “Civil marriages in the US have evolved in to a partnership of TWO equal partners and not equipped to handle more than that.” False. Marriages in the US and since the dawn of civilization have been between a MALE and a FEMALE. In certain times in history, and in the certain parts of the world today, polygamy is practiced, but at NO TIME was marriage ever the union of two equal partners who were not of the opposite sex. And that remains the reality through the vast part of our nation until this day, as well as throughtout the vast majority of the rest of the world.

    As for the incest argument, of course I anticipated this response from the beginning but wondered if it would ever come because of the easy and obvious rejoinders: 1) If incestuous unions are wrong because of potentially severe birth defects, then anal sex is surely wrong because it has many more documented health risks than vaginal sex. (Oops! Did I say something bigoted and homophobic just now?) 2) In incestuous unions are wrong because of the potential of producing unhealthy offspring, then same-sex unions are wrong since they do not even have the possibility of producing offspring. 3) The incestuous couple still asks you, “How does our love affect you? On what basis should you deny us our right to marry the person we each love? And what if we marry but agree not to have children? There are plenty of methods of birth control that will prevent procreation. So, if we won’t have children, will you agree that we can marry?” (By the way, just for the record, I do not believe the primary reason incest was considered wrong throughout history was because of potential birth defects but rather because of other sexual and familial taboos.)

    And, now a personal challenge for you (and others posting): Let’s see how many posts you can get through without lobbing another personal insult my way, OK?

    Michael

  274. Timothy,

    1. You ask me for specifics, I give them to you, and then you’re not interested in anecdotes. I talk principles, and then I’m not specific enough. How then am I to interact constructively with you?

    2. Why in the world are you referring to Mass Resistance? I have not quoted from them a single time, and I’ve been to their website less than a half-dozen times in my life. (Note also in post 7447 that I referenced another story unrelated to David Parker in MA.) Really, Timothy, you speak as if you’re always staking out the higher moral ground and yet do not hesitate for a minute to make gratuitous assumptions about my sources of information (in point of fact, I do know how to research a story, just as I’m sure you do) and you are quite free in making personal judgments about the motives of people’s hearts, such as claiming to know that David Parker wanted a press release rather than a solution. How would you feel if I told you that you were just parroting a gay talking point about David Parker? Wouldn’t that be a personal attack on your intellectual integrity?

    3. I never said you were a liberal Democrat. However, when I quote a conservative author, I’m immediately told that my source is therefore unreliable and biased, so I happened to mention that this author was not. It looks like in this blog, I’m damned if I do and I damned if I don’t – but that won’t stop me from speaking the truth as best as I can.

    4. I formulated the answer to your question as soon as I read your blog, but I’m been in responding to some other posts, getting out some other thoughts, and thinking about exactly how I want to phrase my response, trying to navigate through the minefield of all the things that you’re not willing to interact with, as well as waiting for a chunk of time in which I’ll be able to respond to all the responses I’m expecting. 🙂

    Michael

  275. Ken,

    Frankly, if you cannot understand the distinction between incestuous relationships and same-sex ones, you are not intelligent enough to be debating this topic.

    Amen! 🙂 This is the standard conservative Christian argument though – don’t expect them to abandon it anytime soon!!! Religion and reason don’t ALWAYS go hand in hand.

  276. Michael,

    regarding your comments in post 74161, do you actually believe they justify denying an entire class of people rights?

    If I have a moral opposition to treating blacks or women as equals, does that mean it would be okay to deny them rights as well?

    also you asked:

    The same argument, of course, could be raised with regard to polygamy and the like. On what basis do you draw the line between one man and one woman, or one man and one man, or one man and two women? I know these questions are always raised, but to date I have not heard a valid answer (nor, do I recall seeing valid answers on these posts to the question of why an incestuous relationship should be forbidden).

    I responded to the polygamy argument in post 73218. As for why incest should be illegal, it is because of the significant potential for children of such unions to have severe birth defects and the abuse such relationships would likely indicate. Frankly, if you cannot understand the distinction between incestuous relationships and same-sex ones, you are not intelligent enough to be debating this topic.

  277. Michael,

    1. I am not interesting in arguing anecdotes.

    2. I did not call you dishonest. I called the MassResistence folks that you are referencing here with some regularity dishonest. These are not truthful people and you do not advance your credibility by constantly quoting from their stories.

    3. I’m not a liberal Democrat so I have no idea why a book by one would appeal to me.

    4. You have yet to answer my question, Michael

    What then are we to do? If my equality cannot exist with your freedoms, then what?

    In your perfect world [to the extent that you can create it], what would become of me?

    I am beginning to believe that this is a question that you do not want to answer.

  278. SOME REFLECTIONS AND AN OLIVE BRANCH

    I take it as very real possibility that at the end of our current thread, our differences will be greater and our divide even more pronounced. I also take it that we are posting thoughts that reflect our deepest convictions. That being said, I want to offer some reflections and continue to reach out on a personal level. (Please forgive the long post.)

    I would assume that when we stake out a position, we are open to learn from our ideological opposites but we are eager to present our viewpoints well with the hope of influencing others. In other words, we want to dialogue but we also want to prove a point. (This would apply to those who already have strong views on a given subject; others might not fit into this category.) On my part, that is certainly my approach: I want to learn from the dialogue, but I also want to get my position across and hopefully get others to see things my way.

    In terms of this specific blog (and, this particular thread), while I’m a newcomer here, I have been actively engaged in these subjects for some years now and, for the last thirty-six years, actively engaged in various forms of religious debate and dialogue. I always try to put myself into the other person’s shoes so as to see why they hold to a particular argument. Otherwise, how can I really respond to what they’re saying?

    Now, in all candor, some of the responses provided to my recent posts have baffled me. I’ve thought to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding. How could you possibly use that as an argument?” So, in keeping with my habit of many years, I stepped back from things and said to myself, “Even if I strongly disagree, and even I ultimately reject the argument, I need to understand it better. I need to get more of the perspective of the GLBT community here.” So, please let me know if I’m understanding things correctly, OK?

    In several posts, the response to my objections has been, “You can’t compare an incestuous union with a same-sex union, since the former is illegal, and gay marriages are now legal and recognized in many different places.” Or, “But just look at how society is accepting and affirming same-sex relationships. Don’t you see what’s happening?”

    Again, from my point of view, these arguments don’t impress me at all since: 1) In many places same-sex relationships are not legal; 2) many things that are legal are wrong; and 3) society accepts lots of things that are destructive. But from the viewpoint of the GLBT community, it appears that you are saying: “Come out of the Stone Age! Society is finally waking up and understanding what we have always known, namely, that there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality and that it is no better or worse than heterosexuality.” You are also assuming that all of these developments point to positive progress in the society, hence the frequent comparisons to the civil rights movement or to women’s rights movements or to anti-slavery movements of the past. That line of thinking is obvious to all of us.

    What was helpful for me to see was the underlying sense of pride and validation that would come to the GLBT community through this. In other words, “Look at how far we have come! Look at the horrific storm we have weathered. At last, we can see on the horizon the potential of a truly tolerant and understanding world in which we can live, and this gives us a sense of rightness, not to mention confidence.” Would you say that this is accurate?

    Now, to help you get into my world, understand that what see you as progress, I see as regress. I note that from 1960 to 2000, the divorce rate in America doubled, teen suicide tripled, reported violent crime when up four times, the prison population went up five times, children born out of wedlock went up six times, and people living together outside of wedlock went up seven times. During this same time period, there were other very positive developments (such as the civil rights movement) and other very negative developments (such as seeking to legitimize homosexuality). Again, I’m simply trying to give you my perspective on this.

    I see the breakdown in family values (sorry to use that clichéd phrase) and the breakdown in sexual mores as something very negative, and from my vantage point, some of the things you celebrate as positive in the GLBT community are actually negative, integrally related to these aforementioned breakdowns. Again, I’m not writing this to prove a point but simply to demonstrate how we sometimes pass each other like ships in the night. Does this make sense?

    Also, as a Jew, I represent 1/500th of the world’s population, and as a Jewish follower of Jesus, I represent perhaps 1% of the world’s Jewish population, so I tend to identify with the underdog and with the persecuted minority. I also tend to be skeptical of powerful, world religion, recognizing how power corrupts, and, in fact, in many of the places in the world where I minister, the born-again Christian population represents 1-2% of the society. (I’m fully aware that professing Christians make up about 1/3 of the world’s population and that Jews have lots of influence in America; I’m simply giving you my own life experience.) I was just in India where my dear colleague there was an untouchable growing up and he has been under many death threats from militant Hindus over the years. Some of his workers in difficult tribal regions have been badly beaten, and one night while we were preaching together in 1995 militants took over the stage with knives and razor blades in their hands. Might does not equal right!

    So, what does this have to do with our dialogue here? From your viewpoint, the fact that society is accepting GLBT values is a source of affirmation; for me, it’s a further proof of the moral weakness of our society and, to the extent that GLBT influence becomes part of the “establishment,” to that extent it’s negative, not positive – and this has to do with my skepticism about the moral rightness of the establishment. (I assume we differ on the issue of abortion, but I personally believe that Roe v. Wade was one of the great tragedies in American history – hence, for me, something being legal does not necessarily mean that it is right.)

    Now, I still plan to press transcultural and moral arguments, and, God willing, as soon as I have a long enough break (more than the unexpected few minutes I just found now), I do plan to respond to lots of specifics in previous posts with which I take issue. But perhaps we can at least understand each other better along the way. And perhaps we can continue to set a tone of respect in the midst of our differences.

    Thanks for listening!

  279. Jayhuck,

    Thanks for the friendly tone, and a blessed Christmas to you.

    Time does not permit me to respond fully to your two most recent posts, but here are a few quick thoughts: It’s certainly possible that polyamory activists or incest activists or pedophile activists are in the same boat now that gay activists were in forty years ago. Maybe one day they’ll be able to point to Fortune 500 companies that give them benefits too, etc. What then will that prove? And I remind you that lawyers for some of these other causes use the exact same reasoning and language that was used by gay activists in getting their goals legalized.

    Also, I wonder how you would have answered some of the same questions I’m asking forty years ago, when society looked at your situation very differently. And I wonder how the GLBT community in Europe would respond to the questions you quickly dismiss as applying only to Europe.

    For my part, I think it’s best to answer in universal and transcultural terms, whenever possible, since the same moral and social principles often apply across broad strata of society. In any case, I take it that your answer to the brother and sister who want the civil right to marry is, “It’s not a civil right. It’s illegal.” Does that settle it, then, for you in the great majority of America, where most states have passed laws affirming gay marriage as invalid? Can I use that same answer to you? “It’s not your civil right. It’s illegal.” Does that do it?

    And I take it that your answer to the 25 year old and the 15 year old who ask you, “How does our love impinge on your freedom?” – “It’s not legal.” Does that do it? Do you still not see how you’re using one standard to call for acceptance of your orientation (or love or desire) while rejecting that very same argument from someone with a different orientation (or love or desire)?

    Michael

  280. Timothy,

    One more note re: schools in MA:

    LEXINGTON, MA – APRIL 19, 2006. Lexington public school officials have told Rob and Robin Wirthlin that since “gay marriage is legal” they may describe homosexual relationships to their son in second grade, without notice, and that parents may not opt their child out of such discussions.

    Michael

  281. Michael,

    Once last thing – I’ve noticed a problem in trying to compare gay couples with brother and sister couples or adult and adolescent couples.

    We don’t have a majority of our Fortune 500 companies offering benefits to brother and sister couples or adult/adolescent couples – neither do we have states recognizing such relationships and bestowing benefits on them. I think you’re going to have a problem with this comparison. Granted, its one that has been used by conservatives for years, but now that more and more people and institutions are recognizing these relationships and giving them some long-deserved dignity, going forward with this comparison is going to become problematic.

  282. Michael,

    If I lived in Massachusetts, I would have definite problems with the laws as they stand. No doubt about it.

    This really didn’t answer my question.

    Regarding public schools, what if I said that public schools are for the PUBLIC – and that includes bigots and homophobes,

    Public schools are and should be a SAFE PLACE for everyone. Bigotry isn’t tolerated for any other minority and it shouldn’t be tolerated for gay people. I’m not sure what your point is here.

    As for incestuous relationships, we aren’t in Europe.

    As for gay marriage being “illegal”, well that really depends on what we mean by marriage. If marriage is truly a religious institution, there are churches all over the place performing gay marriages, even when the secular state doesn’t recognize them. I am also of the mind that those laws you mention will soon be repealed.

    And I’m sorry but I’ll repeat myself again – incestuous relationships and sex with minors is something that is illegal and I think almost everyone agrees with that. Everyone does not, however, really have a good idea about gay marriage – THAT is still being fleshed out and as more businesses recognize gay couples and more states put in laws to protect them, we are going to see more recognition by the state of these relationships.

    As for polygamy – I know straight people who are pro-polygamy.

    I haven’t considered anything you’ve written to be an attack 😉

  283. Jayhuck,

    If I lived in Massachusetts, I would have definite problems with the laws as they stand. No doubt about it.

    Regarding public schools, what if I said that public schools are for the PUBLIC – and that includes bigots and homophobes, so if you don’t like it, pull your kids out! You would say, “But being a bigot or a homophobe is wrong,” and therefore the school should not offer moral support to bigotry or homophobia ,even though it’s a public school. Obviously, I would say that the school should not lend moral support to same-sex households or to homosexual practice, since both are wrong, and it is wrong to subject my kids to such teaching.

    As to incestuous relationships being illegal, in most of Europe, incest is not illegal. Does that make it right? And how does it affect your world if a brother and sister marry? Why can’t they have the same “civil right” that you argue for? It appears to me that you can’t answer this because to answer it is to argue against your own position. Please look at all the posts dealing with this and all the quotes I’ve provided for you – in response to your challenges – and recognize the corner you’ve painted yourself into. On what basis should I recognize male-male sex as being different than brother-sister sex or adult-adolescent sex? Simply based on what is legal, not also based on what is right or moral or according to God’s design?

    Again, in most of America, gay marriages are illegal. Do you therefore accept them as wrong? Or before Lawrence vs. Texas, sodomy was illegal. Did that make it wrong?

    In point of fact, I know gay activists who argue for polygamy as well as the lowering the age of consent. Of course, I differ with them strongly, but at least they are consistent. Can you see where you are not?

    I hope that the forthright nature of my questions does not strike you as an attack. My intent is only to be clear and to the point.

    Michael

  284. Timothy (and others),

    I do not flippantly throw around illustrations, and I have followed things carefully as well, yet you refer to “dishonesty” on my part, while others made reference to a lying tongue or false witness. Again, on a personal level, I overlook insult, and this is not about my feelings (or anyone else’s feelings), but in all candor, it seems pointless to provide factual answers when they’re immediately dismissed as dishonest — simply because you have a different take on a story.

    I could just as well you accuse you (and others) of dishonesty at every point but I honestly don’t believe that. I simply recognize that you are unable to see the other side of a story, plain and simple, and if there’s an “anti-gay” slant, that’s the side you’ll take. I would be delighted if you proved me wrong by recognizing the validity of some of the illustrations I’ve used. I have not pushed them further with more evidence simply because it seemed fruitless, not because there was not more to be said. I will say this much: If you judged gay activists through the same lens through which you judge David Parker, you would turn against your own community overnight.

    As for your larger issues, I’m perfectly happy to talk about principles and realities, but when I do, I’m not specific enough for you, so I give you anecdotes and examples, and then you are quick to dismiss them.

    Here’s a bottom line for you: Many of the things you stand for have already impacted my world and infringed on my convictions (or on those of people close to me). One of my friends had an executive position at a major bank with three gay men working for him, all in good relationship. Then the company told him that he and his colleagues had to go through diversity training, which included him having to sit through classes that violated his religious beliefs and moral convictions. He quit rather than compromise.

    I’m happy to press each of the three illustrative points I offered to prove that same-sex marriage would impinge on my freedoms, and I will do so if I see there is an honest exchange of ideas. There is, however, another side to the story, which is this: Even if same-sex marriage did not touch my life at all, I would still not endorse or agree with it based on God’s Word and His standards and His plan — obviously, as I understand those things before Him.

    I will reply to the responses from Jachuck about incest, etc., in a separate post, but if I said to you, “Well, how does it affect your life if a brother and sister get married? How does that affect your freedom?” — I imagine your response would be, “But those things are wrong or illegal.” Well, I could say the same thing to you: “Well, same-sex marriage is wrong, and in most of the world and most of the country, it’s illegal.”

    Either you’ll have to accept answers like that, or you can’t use answers like that (or, in this case, Jayhuck), but you can”t have it both ways.

    One more thing: David Blankenhorn, a liberal Democrat, has articulated many of the problems that gay marriage would bring to society in his book The Future of Marriage. I would recommend that you read it if you haven’t done so already. And may I request that you not respond with an ad hoc attack on him?

    Michael

  285. Michael,

    You so very clearly illustrate the problem with arguing by anecdote.

    Illustration one – unlikely to ever impact you. Further, in California, at lease, it is currently illegal to discriminate in employment based on marital status – although I don’t know it to be true, I suspect that providing services is also illegal to discriminate on such a basis. Thus this is not remotely relevant to my marriage circumstances.

    Illustration two – to anyone who has followed the David Parker story knows that your version of the story is far from factual. He wanted to make sure that no one – no teacher, no child, no parent – could make any reference at any time to same-sex married persons. He wanted to censor the other children in the classroom from talking about their parents. The principle tried to make accomodations but Parker wasn’t interested in a solution – he wanted a press release.

    I really hate this sort of Culture War dishonesty.

    Illustration three – this has ZERO impact on your freedoms. You basically are saying that you want to be free to demand that your employer not offer insureance to other employees. That’s just crazy. None of us have that freedom.

    Please, Michael, talk about principles and realities. None of these illustrations have ANYTHING to do with YOUR freedom.

    I do, however, look forward to your answer to my questions.

  286. Michael,

    Your first point doesn’t stand – Do you recognize gay marriages as valid because its legal in Massachusetts? I mean you either have to recognize them as valid now because so many states recognize them or you don’t.

    As to your second point – many many people don’t put their kids in public school because they don’t like how the school system operates. But the point of a PUBLIC school is just that – it is for the PUBLIC, and that includes gay kids and gay parents. If you want a school to cater your YOUR personal beliefs, that is what we have parochial schools for.

    Sex with minors and incestuous relationships are illegal – being gay is NOT. You cannot use these examples to bolster your argument.

  287. Jayhuck,

    With all due respect, I believe my first point stands unaffected by your response, which in no way interacted with what I had written.

    As to my second point, that’s the whole point! That’s how my freedoms be restricted. What if I did not have the ability to put my child into a private school? The bottom line is that my life would be affected directly.

    Third, my whole point about sex with minors was to raise the issue of, “On what basis is that wrong?” I could go to another website and advocates of sex with minors would be raising the same issues you’re raising, but from their perspective. And, please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall you answering some specific, real-life questions having to do with incestuous relationships going before the courts.

    Or, to put this another way, How would recognizing an incestuous marriage restrict your freedom? If a brother married a sister, how would that affect you? On what basis would you deny that person their so-called “civil right”?

    I really don’t see how we can have a fruitful discussion about all this if these very relevant questions I’m raising are simply dismissed as irrelevant to the point. In reality, your responses to these questions would be very telling, and in fairness, I’m going to await answers to those questions (both that of incestuous relationships and the question of consenual sex with an adolescent) before responding further to this particular thread. This way I can get back to the unanswered questions to Timothy and Patrick and others.

    If I drop out for a few days, Merry Christmas to those of who celebrate the holiday.

    Michael

  288. Dr. Brown,

    First, I would now have to recognize that marriage as valid.

    That is not true. Just because someone has the same rights as you it does not follow that you would have to do anything of the sort.

    Second, I would be restricted in related moral choices that I made for my family.

    Our choices are always restricted to some degree – but you always have the option of putting your kid in a school that you know will teach them what you want them to be taught.

    Third, I would be required to finance that same-sex marriage. How so? I recognize that many companies give insurance benefits for same-sex partners, even if they are not married, but many others do not, only paying benefits to spouses.

    First, you are right that gay people ARE forced to pay for heterosexual couples. The majority of Fortune 500 companies already have same-sex benefits in place. Further, its likely that most people are paying for many things that they do not agree with, but this isn’t the point – You didn’t really answer the question about how this would impinge on your FREEDOM – you answered by stating how it might, possibly, effect you financially. The fact that we ALL pay for things we might not agree with is what is really great about this country – it serves to aid in granting equal rights for ALL.

    Just so were clear – no one here is talking about sexual relations with minors.

    No one wants to take away from your freedom to believe or live as you see fit. We are simply asking that the same rights you give to Buddhists, Muslims or others that you probably don’t agree with be extended to include gay people.

  289. I just found an interesting article discussing gay marriage and gay rights and I thought I’d share:

    http://www-tech.mit.edu/V123/N35/col35_nesm.35c.html

    I haven’t checked into info on the author and etc. But, I will when I have more time.

    I am getting ready for Shabbat, Sunday, and Monday. I do not spend the Shabbat at home. I stay closer to where my synagogue is so that I don’t have to drive so far to attend.

    And I am staying a few extra days to help my best friend with some work she needs done. So…I will not get back to the interesting discussion here until after Christmas–more than likely. I must spend Christmas with my family; it is the right thing to do.

    Shalom,

    Grethel

  290. Ken,

    Yes, things do pile up! As I just mentioned to Patrick (Emproph), I’m aware of posts I haven’t answered yet and I’m also waiting for specific responses to questions I’ve raised previously. (Sorry, but I don’t have time right now to document each one, but at some point perhaps I can.)

    Re: Catholic Charities, I’ll get more info on that ASAP and respond more fully. I would rather not give a piecemeal answer.

    You ask: “How would Timothy marrying another man impinge on your freedom? How would allowing him the same rights you have impinge on your values?”

    Obviously, the answer to that question ties in with some of the unanswered posts (although, to be candid, I have answered some of them from my perspective, and my answers are rejected, just as I reject the responses to my answers), but I will try to answer succinctly.

    I’ll respond to the second part of your question first: I do not have the right to marry anyone I want. I am already married and I cannot marry a second wife. I cannot marry my sister. If I had a brother, I could not marry him. I am only allowed by law to marry one person of the opposite sex. Period. That is what marriage is. You have the same right that I have. The fact that you are not attracted to someone of the opposite sex is not a valid reason to redefine the only understanding of marriage the human race has ever had, namely the union of a man and woman.

    Now, let’s think about the rights of others. (First, say out loud with me, “I am not comparing you to a pedophile! I am simply raising a question of ethics.” Repeat it a few times if you actually think I’m trying to compare homosexuality and pedophilia.) I have read a number of pro-pedophilia studies (or, more technically, scientific literature arguing for the acceptance of ephebophilia, referring to sexual attraction felt by an adult toward an adolescent) where today’s society is blamed for not accepting what other societies have recognized in the past (most notably some aspects of ancient Greek society). On what basis should we not lower the age of consent or not sanction such relationships – especially since the studies also argue that ephebophilia is genetic and that that man-boy love often has very positive effects on the boys? (If you have followed the platform of the new “diversity” party in the Netherlands, some of these arguments will be familiar to you.)

    Hopefully, you have moral (and possibly social) grounds for rejecting man-boy love, and so based on those moral grounds, you do not recognize the “right” of a man to have sexual relations with, say, a fourteen year old boy.

    Well, I have moral and social grounds for rejecting same-sex relationships (although, quite ironically, I am not allowed to cite the views of conservatives whose scientific studies point to negative ramifications of same-sex households, since they are conservatives!) and I therefore do not see that you have the “right” to marry another man. And if you call me judgmental or bigoted or biased, just remember that’s what the ephebophile calls you.

    The same argument, of course, could be raised with regard to polygamy and the like. On what basis do you draw the line between one man and one woman, or one man and one man, or one man and two women? I know these questions are always raised, but to date I have not heard a valid answer (nor, do I recall seeing valid answers on these posts to the question of why an incestuous relationship should be forbidden).

    Now, to the first part of your question, “How would Timothy marrying another man impinge on your freedom?” The answer is that it would impinge on my freedom in a number of ways.

    First, I would now have to recognize that marriage as valid. In other words, if I had a business that only served married couples, I would have to do business with them even though that would be a fundamental denial of my moral and religious convictions that same-sex marriages are contrary to the will of God. (You might bring up the adultery question again, which I’m about to answer for Patrick, but the fact is I do not know the background of every married couple that I do business with – in my hypothetical example – but I do know that two men are two men.) I know hotels that will only rent a room to a couple that can prove that they are married, since they do not want people coming to shack up and share a room for the night. Well, two unmarried people having sex is no worse than two married, same-sex people having sex, yet the latter would now have to be recognized by law and that hotel owner would be required to violate his deep seated moral convictions. That impinges on his freedom!

    Second, I would be restricted in related moral choices that I made for my family. In a real situation that took place in MA recently, a Christian couple requested that they be notified before same-sex material was read in the class of their six year-old son. They were informed that they had no right to make that request, since same-sex marriage is legal there!

    Third, I would be required to finance that same-sex marriage. How so? I recognize that many companies give insurance benefits for same-sex partners, even if they are not married, but many others do not, only paying benefits to spouses. Well, if Timothy marries another man and my company is required to pay for health benefits for a spouse, I am now required to pay into that, since the money that companies pay out for insurance benefits potentially affects overall income. Of course, you could reply that you have to pay for heterosexual benefits, and in the case in point here, I would not disagree. But that was not your question. Rather, you asked how same-sex marriage impinges on my freedom, and these are just a few quick responses which could easily be multiplied.

    Since I’ve been engaged in religious debates for years, I know it’s easy to have a knee jerk reaction and immediately try to refute one’s opponent rather than think through the arguments raised before responding. I don’t always succeed at that, but I do try, and I hope you will do the same.

    Michael

  291. Patrick,

    Thanks for the response. I will be getting back to all the unanswered posts ASAP. Also, I have noted a number of very specific questions I asked of the posters here which have not received responses, so I guess we’re all playing catch up in the midst of our other responsibilities.

    Just FYI, I was in India for four days of ministry last week and returned home under the weather. Right after that, Warren first contacted me re: the quotes and positions erroneously attributed to me. So, I’ve been getting my health back, keeping up a busy schedule at home, and trying to interact in a substantive way with the many good questions that are being posed. I also have family coming into town later tonight.

    So, God willing, I’ll try to get as many things answered before family arrives, but then it might be a few more days before I can get caught up. Be assured it is a not a lack of interest on my part!

    Blessings on your holidays,

    Michael

  292. Michael Brown writes…

    “Emproph,

    I certainly don’t to waste your time or mine, and I hope you won’t find this question offensive, but are you genuinely interested in hearing me out in terms of my answers and “taking me seriously”?”

    Yes.

    “I know that these are hot button issues, and so I’m not personally offended by some of your rhetoric, but I’m trying to sort out the real questions from the rhetoric, so if you really want to hear me out, just let me know, and I’ll respond to your posts ASAP.

    Michael”

    I would very much appreciate your response, and I’ll try to minimize the rhetoric.

    I would also personally appreciate a response to the issues raised in Timothy Kincaid’s post at the top, #72931.

    As far as the adultery of remarriage goes and your use of Joe Dallas as a resource is concerned:

    “May I ask, however, if the things you point to in Joe’s story took place before he was a believer? If so, I would see his sin of adultery on a par with his sin of bisexual promiscuity. He repented of both and has been living faithfully with his wife ever since. Am I mistaken?”

    According to the Bible, his second wife would be his mistress. That said, it is precisely this faithfulness to her that would be sinful and would need to be repented of.

    If your beliefs about adultery are not Biblically consistent, then how can I take you seriously when you say that your beliefs about homosexuality, or any other sin for that matter, are also based on the Bible, as opposed to just coinciding with it?

    This is what I meant by “taking you seriously.”

    -Patrick

  293. Dr. Brown,

    Jayhuck asked you some questions in post 73141 and Timothy similar ones in post 73923. You have yet to answer any of them, and I would be very interested in those answers.

    Additionally, in post 73377 you said:

    That your battle for what you call equality directly impinges on my freedoms and values?

    How would Timothy marrying another man impinge on your freedom? How would allowing him the same rights you have impinge on your values?

  294. Wow, go away for a day and things pile up.

    1st topic I want to address is the Catholic Charities issue that came up. I followed this case when it came up last year.

    Catholic Charities is a division of the Catholic Church in MA (sort of a subsidary) to that handles the churches charitable work. Including adoptions (until last year). Charities was in compliance with MA non-discrimination laws, and had actually handled adoptions for approximate 13 same-sex couples (less than 2% of the cases they handled). The bishops in MA (NOT the people running Catholic Charities directly) decided to file for an exemption from same-sex placements. I believe this was a political move on the part of the bishops. 8 members of the Catholic Charities board of directors resigned in protest over the bishops’ actions and now Catholic Charities is no longer involved in adoptions in MA.

    If you are looking for people to blame for this mess, look to the MA bishops.

    You can read the basic details here: Catholic Charities

  295. Actually, Dr. Brown, everyone actually has a bias. First thing I learned in my very first EDU college course. It is hard to recognize our biases at times. 😉 But, another thing I have learned from college experience is to use critical thinking when reading material. It makes getting facts a lot easier, spotting bias easier, and catching fallacies. 🙂

    Thanks for the direction to the same-sex parenting thread.

    I hope I answered your question about what I believe is in the best interest of a child in a way that you understand where I am coming from and why.

    And have a good weekend!

    Shabbat Shalom,

    Grethel

  296. To all,

    One quick note to clarify to everyone: I simply cited Dale’s book because of her citations of other sources. Period. And let’s also remember that many of the pro-gay studies were conducted by gay researchers. Is there no bias there?

    Anyway, let’s do our best to sort through the facts together as best as we can, which is what I think we’re all trying to do. I also noticed that Warren has started an important new blog re: same-sex parenting, so I’ll respond to the current, open-ended questions here but end the dialogue on the parenting question here after that so that all focus can go to the dedicated discussion Warren has begun.

    Michael/Dr. Brown/etc.

  297. Michael,

    I am indeed troubled by your answer.

    “But a perfect world would be a heterosexual world…”

    I realize that you are speaking theoretically of a world that is free from sickness, sin, or any imperfection. Nonetheless, I think that I can glean from your answer that this is a world that you seek to create as best you can.

    So my question still stands:

    What then are we to do? If my equality cannot exist with your freedoms, then what?

    In your perfect world [to the extent that you can create it], what would become of me?

    Please recognize that I am not speaking hypothetically. I truly want to know what you think that should be done with those, like me, who are gay?

    Because, as best I can tell, I seek to create a world in which you need not be coerced or restricted in any material or direct way. But it appears from your words that you seek to create a world in which I cannot exist.

  298. Michael,

    One simple question: Do you believe that the ideal situation for a child is to be raised by the biological mother and father (all other things being equal in terms of the quality of love and care that the parents would provide)? Or, from another angle, do you believe that there are unique things that only a mother can provide and unique things that only a father can provide, and to withhold those things from a child by the design of the relationship (that is, same-sex couples) is not in the ultimate best interest of the child?

    I realize you didn’t ask me this question, but I’d still like to respond to it.

    Believe it or not, several years ago, I would have agreed with you that a mother and a father, generally speaking, would be the best type of environment for a child. But after looking at all the new evidence and praying about this, I’ve come to the conclusion that that isn’t the case. Gay parents have proved that they can raise very healthy and well-adjusted children and as such, deserve a place at the table. Besides, there are SO many children waiting to be adopted, do you think it would be better to let these kids remain in the system or be with with a same-sex couple who would love, care for, and support them?

    I also wanted to add something regarding Dale and her research above. I agree with Jag when she said:

    “The majority of research against same-sex couples as parents tends to come from organizations like NARTH, which has…well…zero scientific credibility.

    So, overall Michael, I don’t see these groups joining in a “politically correct position,” (as you have stated) but I see them supporting the overwhelming conclusion of the research.”

  299. Dr. Brown (Sorry, I have a hard time calling you by first name. It’s a respect thing. Just like I don’t call my Rabbi by first name. 😉 }

    You said:

    ” will certainly pray for you. Thanks for sharing the need.

    One simple question: Do you believe that the ideal situation for a child is to be raised by the biological mother and father (all other things being equal in terms of the quality of love and care that the parents would provide)? Or, from another angle, do you believe that there are unique things that only a mother can provide and unique things that only a father can provide, and to withhold those things from a child by the design of the relationship (that is, same-sex couples) is not in the ultimate best interest of the child?

    This is not to say that there are not fine same-sex parents and lousy opposite-sex parents; it is to say that God made us male and female for a reason, and there is something wonderul in gender complementarity — not the least in parenting.”

    Thank you for the prayer support! 🙂 I appreciate it.

    You have hit the nail on a very complicated subject. In order to have gender complementarity in modern Westernized civilization a great deal of change will have to be made. First, you will have to take care of the issue of poverty. Why? Poverty keeps many women from taking on the “traditional” role of women because they have to work outside the home. Do you realize how much work this places on a woman when she has to do work outside of the home and then, is expected to undertake a “traditional gender complementarity” role at home? Do you realize the health issues cause by the stress?

    Psychologically many women {namely mothers} find it very stressful and damaging to their self-esteem when they try to live up to the “traditonal role.”

    You will also find that many men who are in straight marriages and/or relationship are also having to change their own roles to adapt to the needs of the family. You will find men who have to take on the role of “mother”, too.

    It is not true that returning to traditional role and traditional family values will cause positive society changes or protect society’s children. A great number of men fail in sharing household responsiblities and child care duties when the mothers are stressed from working outside the home, which is due to poverty and a rising cost of living.

    No, I do not believe that men and women have unique roles in regard to child raising. Gender does not necessarily make one a good parent and in this society, the gender roles are extremely unequal now in regard to straight families.

    Gender has nothing to do with making sure a child is cared for, feels imporant, and has love.

    Gender also has nothing to do with being there for the child, being involved in the child’s education, accepting the child for the unique person the child is, or using positive, constructive discipline techniques.

    Gender doesn’t help provide response to the child’s cues and clues in regard to needs.

    Suggested points of research:

    http://www.ncoff.gse.upenn.edu/mission.htm

    http://www.familiesandwork.org/

    http://www.childstats.gov/

  300. Michael,

    Now, regarding same-sex parenting, I recognize that we’re both suspicious of studies coming from sources that we consider biased, but the only reason I quoted O’Leary here was not to cite her words but to cite her quotes of gay activists.

    I’ve seen anti-gay activists use the words of some gay activists as if they speak for the entire gay community before – I would call this SPIN!

    I’ve been involved in serious academic research in a few fields for 25+ years, and I’m used to facts and theories being analyzed rather than people being written off because of certain associations.

    How about checking out some of the papers I referenced, or the study referenced by O’Leary?

    Because Michael she is not a scientist. I’ve seen the work of scientists, and they say that gay parents do as good a job of raising kids as straight parents. Furthermore, the studies that have been done which show this have also been replicated. THAT is a fact.

    In point of fact, my views have shifted on a number of subjects after years of intense study and, when relevant, after much prayerful reflection. In other areas, my views have only intensified with more study and prayer. But I make it my goal to read the best arguments from those that differ with my views, believing that if I’m on the side of truth, then the truth can withstand scrutiny, but if I’m on the wrong side, it will be exposed.

    I absolutely agree Michael. I do the same.

    So, my appeal remains: Let’s deal with facts and not resort to guilt by association, OK?

    I will go you one better and say let’s deal with facts from reputable scientists and look at those studies that have passed scientific muster and not with some views of religious idealogues.

  301. Ann, you really warmed my heart. What a blessing! Thank you. May God bless you.

    Note:

    I left on one very important irreducible need of children that Brazelton and Greenspan give.

    *****developmentally appropriate practices

    Shalom,

    Grethel

  302. Shalom Grethel,

    I will certainly pray for you. Thanks for sharing the need.

    One simple question: Do you believe that the ideal situation for a child is to be raised by the biological mother and father (all other things being equal in terms of the quality of love and care that the parents would provide)? Or, from another angle, do you believe that there are unique things that only a mother can provide and unique things that only a father can provide, and to withhold those things from a child by the design of the relationship (that is, same-sex couples) is not in the ultimate best interest of the child?

    This is not to say that there are not fine same-sex parents and lousy opposite-sex parents; it is to say that God made us male and female for a reason, and there is something wonderul in gender complementarity — not the least in parenting.

    Michael

  303. Jayhuck,

    First, thanks so much for the gracious words to Timothy and me. We’re all learning, and it’s good to get some positive feedback along the way.

    Now, regarding same-sex parenting, I recognize that we’re both suspicious of studies coming from sources that we consider biased, but the only reason I quoted O’Leary here was not to cite her words but to cite her quotes of gay activists.

    I’ve been involved in serious academic research in a few fields for 25+ years, and I’m used to facts and theories being analyzed rather than people being written off because of certain associations.

    How about checking out some of the papers I referenced, or the study referenced by O’Leary?

    In point of fact, my views have shifted on a number of subjects after years of intense study and, when relevant, after much prayerful reflection. In other areas, my views have only intensified with more study and prayer. But I make it my goal to read the best arguments from those that differ with my views, believing that if I’m on the side of truth, then the truth can withstand scrutiny, but if I’m on the wrong side, it will be exposed.

    So, my appeal remains: Let’s deal with facts and not resort to guilt by association, OK?

    Michael

  304. Some other interesting facts about Dale O’Leary from TheFactIs.org –

    She began intensive study of homosexuality in 1997 in her work for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. While there she assembled and reviewed thousands of articles and scores of books on the subject and she wrote a number of articles for the NARTH Bulletin. She also contributed to the NARTH brief in the Hawaii marriage case. ……

    A 1963 graduate of Smith College with a BA in history, O’Leary is married with four children and 10 grandchildren.

    Grethel,

    I’m sure you’ll be in many prayers soon! 🙂

  305. Grethel,

    It is nice to see the word “shalom” and I extend it to you in this post.

    While we might not agree about some things, we do agree about many, including the wisdom of rabbis and an affection for the Jewish religion.

    I read that you need prayer and I want you to know that your name will be said in my prayers tonight.

  306. Some other interesting facts about Dale O’Leary from FactIs.org –

    She began intensive study of homosexuality in 1997 in her work for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. While there she assembled and reviewed thousands of articles and scores of books on the subject and she wrote a number of articles for the NARTH Bulletin. She also contributed to the NARTH brief in the Hawaii marriage case. ……

    A 1963 graduate of Smith College with a BA in history, O’Leary is married with four children and 10 grandchildren.

  307. Michael,

    I think its worthwhile to note that the studies that support that gay parents raise children who are as “healthy” and well-adjusted as straight parents have been duplicated by different researchers in different countries.

    I think its also worthwhile to note that Dale is “a writer and researcher for the Catholic Medical Association.” who apparently has some ties to NARTH – although I’m not actually sure what these ties are yet. Hardly someone I would call unbiased when it comes to these matters.

  308. Dr. Brown,

    I still highly disagree with you. I did research on this very subject for a class project. The finding that I found suggest that children raised by same-sex parents do just fine as long as specific needs are met. If you read that book that I suggested you’ll learn that Brazelton and Geenspan list seven irreducible needs of children:

    *ongoing nuturing relationships with adults

    *protection (physical, safety, and regulation)

    * experiences to fit individual differences

    * set limits, structure, and expectations

    * stable & supportive communities and cultural continuity

    * protection of the future (commitment of rich, developed nations to children who live in less developed countries/ help for children in poverty)

    Same-sex parents can meet these needs.

    Here is info on a study that suggest that teems of same-sex parents are well adjusted:

    http://sexualhealth.e-healthsource.com/?p=news1&id=522343

    I can get access to Child Development that the study is published in. I just have to wait until the college library opens back up. We should have copies available or I can access it through Academic Search Premier through EBSCO.

    Many children raised in homes where there are parents of the both sexes have many issues, too. We can’t over look this fact. Why? The children’s needs are not being met.

    Also remember that there are same-sex foster parents as well as parents who chose adoption. Not all the children are biological children of one of the partners. I have a copy of “The Story of a Gay Foster Parent” which was published in the magazine Child Welfare. The article is in Vol. LXXXV # 2 March/April edition of the magazine.

    I can email you my review of the article, if you would like. I had to review the article as part of my assignment. The story is told my Dennis Patrick who a Professor at Eastern Michigan University.

    His family’s story can also be read here:

    http://www.pridesource.com/article.shtml?article=14684

    If you get a chance also take a look at this:

    http://www.familydiv.org/lovemakesafamily.php

    Shalom,

    Grethel

    PS I could use some prayer. We may not agree on things. But, I can use all the prayer I can get right now. Todah! 🙂 Stressful times, very stressful times. Money is tight and I am worried about my GF.

  309. Jag,

    Thanks so much for the detailed response. I’m familiar with most of the material but have not read all of it. I will research more as time permits.

    My understanding has been that the sample base and length of time involved in most of the studies — not to mention potential bias in the research – did not justify the positive conclusions drawn about same-sex parenting. I would also point you to the 2004 study of Stacey and Biblarz, both gay activists, in their meta-analysis of twenty previous studies. Well, Stacey and Biblarz concluded that the authors of the previous studies had overlooked the differences they had found.

    Dale O’Leary notes that, “children raised by parents with SSA showed empathy for ‘social diversity,’ [obviously, a positive for gays], were less confined by gender stereotypes, more likely to have confusion about gender identity, more likely to engage in sexual experimentation and promiscuity, and more likely to explore homosexual behavior” (One Man, One Woman, 226). O’Leary also quotes Paula Ettelbrick of the NGLTF who stated that the Stacey and Biblarz study had “’burst the bubble of one of the best kept secrets’ of the gay community – namely that the studies it had been using didn’t actually support the claims it was making” (ibid., 227).

    This confirms what I had understood to be true: There are differences in kids raised in SSA parented homes, and a number of those differences are negative and deleterious.

    Michael

  310. Michael and Timothy,

    I want to thank you both for the tones of your messages. I’ve known Timothy to be an excellent writer with a level-head and compassionate tone for some time, but I think you both give the rest of us something to aspire to when it comes to writing on these sorts of topics.

  311. Michael,

    Thanks for taking the time to check in and respond. I’ve appreciated your clarity and the tone of your responses.

  312. Emproph,

    I certainly don’t to waste your time or mine, and I hope you won’t find this question offensive, but are you genuinely interested in hearing me out in terms of my answers and “taking me seriously”?

    I know that these are hot button issues, and so I’m not personally offended by some of your rhetoric, but I’m trying to sort out the real questions from the rhetoric, so if you really want to hear me out, just let me know, and I’ll respond to your posts ASAP.

    Michael

  313. Brian,

    Thanks for your question, which is certainly a logical one to raise. The difference in the two situations is that under no circumstances would the same-sex relationship be recognized by God, even if He completely wiped the slate clean of past offenses and gave each person a brand new start.

    So, let’s say that someone was married, divorced, then living with someone out of wedlock before they came to faith in Jesus (I’m talking about heterosexual marriage and divorce), and God gave them a fresh new start. That fresh new start would require that they either separated or married, but to continue “living in sin” would not be an option.

    It’s the same thing for same-sex couples, regardless of what the state confers on them. Making a fresh new start in God would require the breaking of that same-sex relationship.

    I trust you understand that I’m not making an independent judgment on this, but I’m simply relating to you my understanding of what the Scriptures teach.

    As to the relationship with the children, that would be a more complicated issue to sort out — for obvious reasons — but I would think that a loving parent would want to continue in relationship with a child, but we must remember that in the case of a same-sex couple with kids, at best, they can only be the biological child of one of the parties, and so they are someone else’s child as well, again, potentially complicating the matter.

    No one said this was easy, but I do beleive as we do things God’s way, He works things out for the best for all involved.

    Michael

  314. Michael –

    “As for your statement about all the organizations that agree that same-sex parented homes do as well as opposite sex couples, I’m afraid that’s an example of these groups joining in together with a politically correct position, but one which cannot be supported scientifically.”

    Well…I’m not so sure about this. For example:

    As early as 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) was also exploring this issue. Dr. Ellen Perrin, led the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health at the AAP. They studied adoption by same-sex parents. Her prime task was to determine if there is a disadvantage conferred upon a child who is being raised by two men or two women, in comparison to the same child being raised by a man and woman. Perrin said: “We felt that the data were very conclusive that the answer to that question is ‘no.’ ” Thus, the AAP will support legal and legislative efforts to allow adoption by gay and lesbian couples. Perrin said: “We, meaning basically the Academy of Pediatrics , felt that the research was conclusive enough when taken in its totality to support this policy.”

    The APA also mentions literature in their statements…for example one being that the reason they draw their conclusions:

    “”Whereas the scientific literature has found no significant difference between different-sex couples and same-sex couples that justify discrimination…”;

    “Whereas scientific research has not found significant psychological or emotional differences between the children raised in different-sex versus same-sex households…”

    “Legal Benefits for Same – Sex Couples,” American Psychological Association, at: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/policy/statements.html#11

    They reference more particular studies in this statement:

    First, homosexuality is not a psychological disorder (Conger, 1975). Although exposure to prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation may cause acute distress (Mays & Cochran, 2001; Meyer, 2003), there is no reliable evidence that homosexual orientation per se impairs psychological functioning. Second, beliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fit parents have no empirical foundation (Patterson, 2000, 2004a; Perrin, 2002). Lesbian and heterosexual women have not been found to differ markedly in their approaches to child rearing (Patterson, 2000; Tasker, 1999). Members of gay and lesbian couples with children have been found to divide the work involved in childcare evenly, and to be satisfied with their relationships with their partners (Patterson, 2000, 2004a). The results of some studies suggest that lesbian mothers’ and gay fathers’ parenting skills may be superior to those of matched heterosexual parents. There is no scientific basis for concluding that lesbian mothers or gay fathers are unfit parents on the basis of their sexual orientation (Armesto, 2002; Patterson, 2000; Tasker & Golombok, 1997). On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children.

    Specific studies? Well, you can start with this one:

    Kirkpatrick, Smith, and Roy, Lesbian Mothers and their Children: A Comparative Survey, 51 Am. J. Orthopsychiatry 545, 551 (1981).

    The majority of research against same-sex couples as parents tends to come from organizations like NARTH, which has…well…zero scientific credibility.

    So, overall Michael, I don’t see these groups joining in a “politically correct position,” (as you have stated) but I see them supporting the overwhelming conclusion of the research.

    I respectfully disagree with your position on this, and hope you will take the time and really dig into the literature.

    Granted, there seems to be bias on both sides…but the studies are just overwhelming.

  315. Michael, If a man or woman became a believer after marrying a same-sex partner and starting a family with children–should that new believer leave his/her family or should she/he continue to live faithfully from there out?

  316. -ok, hopefully sans gratuitous attacks…

    Michael Brown says,

    He repented of both and has been living faithfully with his [SECOND] wife ever since. Am I mistaken?

    I’m asking you. How does one “repent” of adultery while one is still (Biblically) committing it?

    And, for the record, then, are you willing to raise the standard across the board and to acknowledge that all sexual acts outside of male-female marriage are forbidden by God and contrary to His plan?

    Do you need the Bible to confirm for you that you should be attracted to women?

    If you cannot even accept God’s Biblical definition of adultery, how is it that you feel you are in a position to require me to accept God’s Biblical definition of marriage as a standard? Especially when I am convinced I was designed this way.

    I’m not asking you to accept my assessment of myself, I’m just asking that you condemn it in a consistent manner so that I can take you seriously.

  317. Dr. Brown,

    Here is the autobiography of Joe Dallas:

    http://www.stonewallrevisited.com/pages/joe_d.html

    You stated and asked:

    “May I ask, however, if the things you point to in Joe’s story took place before he was a believer? If so, I would see his sin of adultery on a par with his sin of bisexual promiscuity. He repented of both and has been living faithfully with his wife ever since. Am I mistaken?”

    According to Joe’s autobiography, both he and his first wife were involved in ministry. After he seperated from her, he was a student minister on the M.C.C. staff. (I am not sure what or who M.C.C. is.} The autobiography say that Joe began a personal relationship with Jesus prior to meeting his first wife.

    I was curious and researched. This is what I discovered.

    Shalom and blessings,

    Grethel

  318. Emproph – Your questions and contributions have value as they are raising some good questions. However, please keep the attacks out (lying tongue, etc).

  319. I have to say that you come across as fitting the bill. At least to the extent that you have a lying tongue and a false witness.

    Michael,

    I do not believe this to be true about you.

  320. Emproph,

    Thanks for your detailed post. In point of fact, I have spoken out against rampant divorce in the Church for many years, long before I addressed the issue of homosexual acts. (And to be sure, I always preach to myself first, examining my own life and marriage.) To this day, when I speak to fellow-Christians and meet with national leaders, the issue of unjustified divorce and remarriage is always front and center.

    May I ask, however, if the things you point to in Joe’s story took place before he was a believer? If so, I would see his sin of adultery on a par with his sin of bisexual promiscuity. He repented of both and has been living faithfully with his wife ever since. Am I mistaken?

    And, for the record, then, are you willing to raise the standard across the board and to acknowledge that all sexual acts outside of male-female marriage are forbidden by God and contrary to His plan?

    Thanks for the interaction,

    Michael

  321. Also,

    Michael Brown wrote…

    Grethel,

    Well, let’s think about what you wrote here:

    1) Prov 6 lists seven sins that are an abomination (Hebrew, to`evah) in God’s sight. Interestingly, that is the same Hebrew word used to describe homosexual acts in Lev 18. So, that would indicate a moral equivalence.

    Loverly. And if Leviticus 18:22 applies, why not <a href=”http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus%2020:13&version=31″Leviticus 20:13, which commands the genocide of gay men?

    If the “abomination” of the command for genocide doesn’t count, why should the abominations listed in Proverbs 6:16-19 count?:

    16 There are six things the LORD hates,

    seven that are detestable to him:

    17 haughty eyes,

    a lying tongue,

    hands that shed innocent blood,

    18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,

    feet that are quick to rush into evil,

    19 a false witness who pours out lies

    and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

    I have to say that you come across as fitting the bill. At least to the extent that you have a lying tongue and a false witness.

    But back to killing gays:

    Brown: Absolutely not! I am not and have never been a reconstructionist or theonomist, and if we were to put practicing homosexuals to death, we would also have to put Sabbath breakers to death, among many others.

    I have been invited to become a regular conference speaker with Love Won Out, which is hardly known for calling for the death penalty for homosexual practice.

    Actually it’s right on their website:

    Leviticus 20:13, It’s also mentioned by Scott Davis in the Exodus book, God’s Grace and the Homosexual Next Door.

    For reference sake:

    Leviticus 20:13 If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

    In neither case do they take the time to denounce this Biblical must command for genocide.

    So when it comes to Exodus – and by extension, Love Won Out – being “known” for calling for the death penalty for homosexual practice is pretty much just a web page away.

    I guess I’m asking, why the surprise at being connected with such a position?

  322. Michael Brown says…

    73220

    and again, according to Scripture, I see homosexual acts as being sinful in God’s sight, similar to adultery and fornication.

    73144

    4) Jesus also said the following: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matt 5:27-29). Another teaching of his was, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality [the Greek is plural], theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” So, the Lord taught that all kinds of sexually immoral acts — which in biblical terms refer to any sexual act outside of male-female marriage — defile us.

    So according to Scripture, you “see homosexual acts as being sinful in God’s sight, similar to” remarriage — As per:

    Matthew 19:9: I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

    Mark 10: 11-12

    11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.

    12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

    Yet you list unrepentant adulterer (as per Biblical definition) Joe Dallas as one of your resources:

    4) Addressing “Gay Christianity”

    The best book on this subject is Joe Dallas, A Strong Delusion: Confronting the “Gay Christian” Movement (Harvest House, 1996). The author is a former-homosexual who was once part of a “gay Christianity.”

    Despite:

    Joe Dallas:

    –I married Brad’s secretary, Carol

    “Carol,” I calmly told her during the meal, “I really wonder if you might be happier on your own.”

    –Within two weeks, Carol was gone, and we later divorced

    –Renee and I were married

    Joe Dallas, divorced and remarried.

    A couple of preemptives,

    Forgiven?

    Matthew 19:6: 6) So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

    Clearly you don’t think man’s divorce laws trump God’s law?

    And then there’s this on the subject from Assemblies of God:

    “The Bible shows that God expects contracts to be kept even when entered into wrongly.”

    Contracts entered into for the express purpose of committing sin should be kept? Is this something you believe?

    More to the point, if you have considered a way around all that, why would you not feel the need to disclaim all this when touting Joe Dallas as a moral authority? Did it not occur to you that this might come across as flaming hypocrisy?

    The point is, as has been expressed, it’s your anti-consistency position that is at issue here, not your anti-gay position.

  323. Grethel,

    My previous co-op experience has also given me concept that family can’t always be defined as mother, father, and siblings.

    And you would be absolutely right Grethel. 🙂

  324. Jayhuck,

    Let’s not forget that there are single parent homes, too. Children who are also in the foster care system and/or adoption systems. Then, there are children who are also raised by a grandparent(s).

    In my class that covered diversity, we learned that defining what family means is very hard.

    I do suggest the text book that we used to grasp an understanding.

    The book is:

    Home, School, and Community Relations Fifth Edition by Carol Gestwicki.

    http://www.campusi.com/prod.pl?cat=book&op=buy&lang=en-us&search_country=us&shipto=us&currency=usd&zip=&nw=y&class=&use_ajax=1&pqcs=&ean=9780766863071

    My previous co-op experience has also given me concept that family can’t always be defined as mother, father, and siblings.

    Shalom,

    Grethel

  325. Warren,

    I am reasoning from experience, because it really only takes one example to refute the idea that simply having a mother and a father makes for a good household. We all know that this isn’t the case – I was just trying to make that perfectly clear. One mother + One Father does not in any way equal a healthy and supportive environment for children

    Here is one article

    Here’s another

    Here’s another

    A nice Wiki Article on LGBT Parenting

    There may be others but this is what I found in about 20 minutes online. I had heard of a few of them before.

  326. Ken,

    I’m so sorry. It appears that I missed your post about Ake Green. I will look into the question about the press and respond ASAP. I was not ignoring you.

    Dr. Brown

  327. Grethel,

    Thanks for the kind words. I’ll check out the book when I have the chance.

    Also, I don’t normally have this amount of time to blog either, so it’s understandable if you have to drop out for a moment. I might have to as well.

    Dr. Brown

  328. Jayhuck – Please find the reference you cite. I have yet to see a study that could answer the question in any general sense. I would like to know what you feel qualifies to cite in that regard.

    Also, you are reasoning from anecdote. It is an open question what the impact of arrangements which preclude a mom or a dad will be on kids generally.

  329. Shalom, Dr. Brown.

    Thanks for the discussion! And thank you for being kind with your responses. That speaks volumes! You have treated me as a person–not a lesbian who you disagree with– and that I appreciate.

    I will most certainly speak to the man who oversees this region’s PFLAG and see if he is interested in contacting you.

    In another post you said:

    “I see two mommies or two daddies as not being in the best interest of children;”

    My response back:

    As someone who has been working with children and has studied Early Childhood Education for a little over 2 years now–working on Associate degree, I disagree.

    Having a loving, nurturing home is in the best interest of children.

    I highly recommend this book:

    Brazelton, T B., and Stanley I. Greenspan. The Irreducible Needs of Children. Cambridge: Perseus, 2000.

    I am working on setting up my co-op II schedule and talking to the director about getting hired on after the co-op is over and I graduate. And I am also dealing with supporting my girlfriend through a crisis with her bipolar disorder. So, I may not be able to engage in much back and forth discussion at this time. But, I am reachable through email and via my cellphone # which I gave to Eric McCoy

    who I contacted via your website.

    Be well,

    Grethel

  330. Dr. Brown,

    As for your statement about all the organizations that agree that same-sex parented homes do as well as opposite sex couples, I’m afraid that’s an example of these groups joining in together with a politically correct position, but one which cannot be supported scientifically. See if you can find the article by Walter Schumm, EMPIRICAL AND THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES FROM SOCIAL SCIENCE ON GAY MARRIAGE AND CHILD CUSTODY ISSUES. Or check out Dale O’Leary’s new book One Man, One Woman. She has some amazing quotes from gay organizations on same-sex households.

    I’m sorry but the fact that gay parents are rearing children as well as straight parents is backed up by science. There has been a Canadian study, on in New York as well as others that show that the children of gay parents are no better and no worse than children of straight parents.

    I also wanted to ask you – do you really believe that simply having a mom and dad makes for having a good household? I know many, many people who had terribly dysfunctional families – but the families both had a mother and a father. You seem to operate under the idea that a household with both a mother and a father is the optimal environment for raising kids and this is obviously not the case. When you have two PEOPLE who love and care for a child, who are also willing to sacrifice for the child – these are the people that make good parents.

  331. Jag,

    Thanks so much for asking about what I meant about GID. I had stated that “I have no question whatsoever before God that His design and order and will is for opposite sex marriage and relationships, and to break down this order is ultimately destructive.” Then I listed many gay-related issues, one of which was GID, and since many gays believe GID should be removed from the APA’s list of disorders, I differ with that. My point was that these are not ideal conditions, conditions which are in harmony with God’s ideal.

    As for your statement about all the organizations that agree that same-sex parented homes do as well as opposite sex couples, I’m afraid that’s an example of these groups joining in together with a politically correct position, but one which cannot be supported scientifically. See if you can find the article by Walter Schumm, EMPIRICAL AND THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES FROM SOCIAL SCIENCE ON GAY MARRIAGE AND CHILD CUSTODY ISSUES. Or check out Dale O’Leary’s new book One Man, One Woman. She has some amazing quotes from gay organizations on same-sex households.

    So, I beg to differ with the assessment based on the data I’ve seen and based on the unique role played by a mom and dad in raising a child. Are there loving gay couples? Of course! Are there devoted gay parents? Without a doubt! Is this the best environment for a child to be raised? I do not believe so.

    Michael

  332. Warren,

    I know I have expanded my understanding via the conversations here and elsewhere over the last 2-3 years.

    As have I Warren – And I owe a great deal to you and your blog for that – And while I appreciate some of what Dr. Brown has to say – NOTHING he says is new. It is the same basic “love the sinner hate the sin” speech that the gay community has been pummeled with for years. I’m willing to admit its my bias, but I think what Timothy is doing is trying to change the discussion so that we don’t so much focus on the gay person as a sinner, as we do treat them as a human being worthy of respect – with the same rights and privileges as everyone else – and you don’t have to change your beliefs about homosexuality in order to give them these things.

  333. Timothy,

    Thanks for your question. My answer might trouble you deeply, and I do not mean to insult you as an individual before God, but I must be candid: In a perfect world, there would be no hatred, no war, no rape, no injustice, no greed, no drunkenness, no violence . . . . Perhaps we agree on this. In a perfect world, there would be no sickness, no mental illness, no barren wombs, no infertile males . . . . Perhaps we agree on this too. And in a perfect world, I would be a very different human being than I am!

    But a perfect world would be a heterosexual world, with all loving couples able to enter into a lifelong relationship through which they can produce the unique byproduct of that relationship in their biological children.

    If you feel hatred in this statement or utter rejection in this statement, I can understand why. But you ask me about a perfect world, and to me it is painful that you and the person you love the most cannot reproduce the extraordinary life that is the byproduct of the two of you coming together. I don’t see that as God’s ideal, nor do I see homosexual sex as conforming to how we are designed as male and female.

    However, since we are not in a perfect world, I would say that you must stand up for what you feel is right and I must do the same on my end, but always with the goal of understanding each other better, always with the goal of communicating openly with each other, always with the goal of not demonizing each other. And if one of us can reach out to the other and pull them over to their side, more power to them.

    Does that answer your question?

    Michael

  334. Jayhuck,

    I am listening to you and Timothy, but for many reasons, I do not agree with what is being said. All we can do on both sides of this divide is try to listen, correct? We may not satisfy one another in the process, however,

    Dr. Brown

  335. Unless I am mistaken, the issue with Catholic Charities is that they wanted to take state money to provide services only to heterosexuals. I don’t have any problems with Catholic Charities spending their own money as they see fit to provide such parents to orphans as they wish. But I have little sympathy with those who insist on taking public funds and then discriminate on a religious basis.

    This is one reason why I think that “faith based funding” is the worst possible thing a church would ever want to accept. Because when the rules change, as they do with every administration, you either conform your practices to the secular rules or you lose the program you built.

  336. I want to chime in and say I appreciate very much the tone and the candor of the conversation occuring on this thread.

    Jayhuck, I think we are all listening and I detect much effort to understand. It is good to express views without being jumped on so that they can be examined from a number of perspectives. I know I have expanded my understanding via the conversations here and elsewhere over the last 2-3 years.

  337. Michael –

    You stated:

    “I see GID as a genuine disorder needing help”

    I wasn’t sure how that fit in with the discussion of gays and lesbians…sometimes individuals see homosexuality as a form of gender identity issues, and I wanted to clarify to see if this is what you were relating it to. I wasn’t sure, and it’s better to ask than to assume.

    Also…you stated:

    “Look, Catholic Charities is now out of the adoption business because MA would not give them a religious exemption to not place children in same-sex parented households. Is that something you smile upon?”

    It is indeed sad that Catholic Charities couldn’t extend beyond their own world view to accurately interpret the research on same-sex couples as parents. The largest medical, pediatric, psychological, and scientific organizations support same-sex adoptions. Denying individuals the ability to adopt needs to be based on something.

  338. Michael,

    Thank you for addressing me without some appeal to some anecdote. I think that makes it easier to communicate.

    You believe that my appeal for equality infringes on your freedoms and values.

    What then are we to do? If my equality cannot exist with your freedoms, then what?

    In your perfect world, what would become of me?

  339. Ann,

    Please be encouraged – you are articulating just fine, even if it is not what others want to hear.

    I could just as easily say the same thing to Timothy! 🙂 I don’t think Dr. Brown is listening to what Timothy and some of us are trying to say.

  340. Dr Brown,

    I ask that you take a look at Timothy’s posts again as well. I think that exercise might be enlightening for you too.

  341. Timothy,

    Be assured that I’m equally frustated in my ability to reach you. 🙂

    Stil, I ask again, are you unable to see that there are two sides to this issue? That your battle for what you call equality directly impinges on my freedoms and values?

    And my reason for citing additional anecdotes in each email is because you tell me that each one previously cited is irrelevant.

    In any event, there are plenty of gay people I have interacted with in the last few years, very few of whom are activists, and they would be living proof that I seek to get to know them as people.

    As for prayer for my “healing,” let’s both pray to the heavenly Father to do what He sees is needed in each of our lives, and let’s pray that we will both be open to that. And for whatever it’s worth, take a look at all of your posts and all of mine, and please identify each derogatory or accusatory comment I made about you as an individual — I’m talking directly to Timothy Kincaid, not the GLBT community at large — and then see what you’ve said about me. Perhaps this will prove to be an enlightening exercise for you (or other readers too).

    Blessings on you,

    Michael

  342. Michael,

    Please be encouraged – you are articulating just fine, even if it is not what others want to hear.

  343. Michael,

    You are in Culture Warrior mode. Sadly I have to conclude that nothing I could possibly say can reach you.

    I could tell you that the “agenda” of the gay community is to achieve equality under law. This would not stop you from seeing as a nefarious attack on you and your values.

    I could tell you that the employee group was formed for the specific purpose of trying to display their dislike of gay fellow workers and to make their work environment unpleasant (as all the news sources agree). This would not stop you from seeing them as allies in a war on evil.

    You see gay people – what you call activists – as being a threat to you. You have walled yourself off behind a high wall of “love the sinner” and are not approachable. You have a long list of “yeah, buts” ready to lob at anyone who tries to talk to you. You fire first and ask questions later… or never.

    How can I respond? At this point I don’t even see how to reach you. How can I talk when you cannot go a single comment without ladening your speech with accusations and demonizations? With anecdote irrelevant to anything at all?

    We often wonder how could people in times of war behave heinously. We have a hard time fathoming acts of attrocities. But these are understandable from a physchological perspective – when you view the other as your enemy you no longer have to view them as like you, a human.

    And your culture war is tearing our nation apart. We are waging war on our neighbors, making ridiculous and cruel accusations, and detroying any hope of civility or finding common ground. It is in this culture that folks like Ann Coulter or Al Franken thrive. And I, for one, find it to be the antithesis of the message of Christ.

    Michael, there is no doubt in my mind, and it is clearly confirmed to anyone reading this exchange, that you are not at all interested in knowing gay people as people. You do not see any place for gay people to coexist in the world with you.

    And that is sad. Not for us, we’ll survive. The tide of history is on our side.

    I hope and pray that some day you will be able to cease your combat, stop your insinuations and accusations, quit playing martyr, and let God’s grace heal you so you can see your fellow man as another child of God.

    Timothy

  344. Regarding Robert Gagnon:

    I would recommend everyone start out reading a small article titled “Can We Talk? Homosexuality and the Christian Faith: A discussion series based on articles from the Christian Century”.

    Read the Article Here

    You will find writings by all the following authors, as well as some good criticisms of Robert Gagnon by Walter Wink.

    “To Hell with Gays?” by Walter Wink, June 5-12, 2002

    “Gays and the Bible,” by Robert A. J. Gagnon, August 14-27, 2002

    “A More Perfect Union: Reservations about Gay Marriage,” by Dennis O‚

    Brien, January 27, 2004

    “Sanctified Unions: An Argument for Gay Marriage,” by Eugene F. Rogers

    Jr., June 15, 2004

    Walter Wink also responds to criticisms leveled at him by Robert Gagnon

  345. Dr. Brown,

    Show me two gay brothers who want to get married and then we can talk.

    As I sit here typing at my computer, I’m looking at a wall of books on gay issues, the vast majority written by GLBT authors, so I’m not relying on WND and Citizen Link and other sources. I believe there is an activist agenda

    What is the gay activist agenda? Are we once again talking about having equal rights? If that is what is meant by “changing society”, and I think it is, I think most gay people would be on board with this idea.

    BUT – by changing society we don’t mean to diminish it. Just as Timothy said above, all we want is to be treated as humans, adults and people who deserve respect and the same rights as everyone else. We aren’t asking ANYONE to change their beliefs or their faith, just to give us “a place at the table”.

    By the actions of some Evangelicals I have to wonder if they get some kind of good feeling by keeping gay people subjugated . Does it make Evangelicals feel better about themselves to keep a minority they don’t approve of from having the same rights as they do? Until the playing field is level, and gay people have the same rights as their straight neighbor, I’m not sure we can be having much of a successful conversation at all.

  346. Grethel,

    Of course, all of us have certain presuppositions, and honest scholarship study does its best to work past those and engage the texts in the most objective way possible. Ultimately, God is the final Judge as to how we do.

    As for Gagnon’s book, in my view, he is remarkably objective, which is why some leading pro-gay scholars have praised his work. That’s why I recommend it.

    Dr. Brown

  347. Timothy,

    “Fairies” was used in my household in a cute way, and we sat in the home of this couple and hung out with them as if nothing was wrong. You don’t have to believe what I’m saying. (Also, to a five year old, “fairy” did not have a pejorative meaning.)

    As for the frustrating nature of this conversation — yes, I feel the same on my end. As I sit here typing at my computer, I’m looking at a wall of books on gay issues, the vast majority written by GLBT authors, so I’m not relying on WND and Citizen Link and other sources. I believe there is an activist agenda because I read the words of GLBT activists, and I can’t ignore Matt Foreman of the NGLTF when he states, ““You want to know the state of our movement on November 10, 2006? We are strong, unbowed, unbeaten, vibrant, energized and ready to kick some butt. . . . The agenda and vision that we must proudly articulate is that yes, indeed, we intend to change society.”

    I cannot ignore Mel White when he writes, “Jesus said, ‘Love your enemies.’ Love demands that we quit cooperating with those who oppress us. It is time for a campaign of relentless nonviolent resistance that will convince our adversaries to do justice at last. They have assumed that we are infinitely patient or too comfortable to call for revolution. For their sake, and for the sake of the nation, we must prove them wrong.”

    What exactly does this “revolution” mean? Is there no “agenda” behind it? Is Matt Foreman using a non-existent word? You might agree with every one of the goals — that’s not the issue; the issue is whether there are certain activist goals that directly impact my life, and the answer is yes.

    Look, Catholic Charities is now out of the adoption business because MA would not give them a religious exemption to not place children in same-sex parented households. Is that something you smile upon?

    And the very fact that you could call something referring to the “natural family” anti-gay means that the primary measure of right and wrong is based on what is right in your eyes. Justice, it would appear, only goes one way.

    And when you say that there’s very little to separate me from Fred Phelps, I can only wonder how honestly you are evaluating my words. If the failure is in how I’m communicating, I certainly apologize. If the failure is the grid through which you’re hearing things, then that’s something for you to consider.

    In any case, if our paths cross, it would be great to sit and talk face to face. And if you feel that it would be fruitful to continue this interaction and time permits, then I’m happy to do so.

    Michael

  348. Michael,

    With all due respect, this is a most frustrating conversation. You do not respond to what we say but instead you talk over us as though we had said nothing at all.

    You have started a game of “Yeah, But”.

    Yeah but what about Ake Green. We answer that as being irrelevant to your claim about your religious freedoms in America, pointing out that this was Sweden and that Green won.

    Yeah but what about the employees who wanted to put up anti-gay flyers. We point out that this is a workplace situation and that they were allowed to put up flyers that were not in opposition to other employees.

    Yeah but what about somebody who somewhere might have wanted to marry their brother…

    This is pointless. It is not conversation. It is not dialog. It is not communication.

    And you may well note that no one else is feeding back the list of horrors that “Christians” have perpetrated on gay citizens. This sort of posturing does not increase communication, it breaks it down. It’s simply plugging your ears and shouting.

    Listen to yourself. Seriously. In one sentence you say that you don’t stereotype or demonize. And in the next you do exactly that. You pride yourself that you oppose Phelps, but what you say has almost no discernable difference – or not to those hearing it. It is still untrue, a recitation of grievances that have nothing to do with any of us, and insinuation and accusation. So you don’t use the word “hate”. But Michael, that is NOT the great defining difference that you think it is.

    We are not asking you to change your faith. We are not asking you to think gay couples to be acceptable to your religion. We are not asking you to accept the determinations of those in the mental health field that homosexuality is not “a genuine disorder needing help”.

    We are asking you to stop making insinuations and accusations about some “gay activist agenda” that exists only in the minds of anti-gay activists. We are asking you to stop bringing false witness. We are asking you to stop taking what you read at CitizenLink and LifeSite and WorldNetDaily and thinking that these are truthful and accurate assessments of gay people, gay activists, gay “lifestyle”, or gay “agenda”.

    Because, Michael, they are not. And when you continue to spread this dishonesty it seeps into your soul.

    If you continue on this path I fear you are going to find yourself at some point like so many other anti-gays, willing to say anything or do anything no matter how bizzare of abhorent because fighting “the gay agenda” has replaced seeking God and truth.

    We are simply asking that you listen. I’m fearing that listening is something that you are unwilling to do.

    Timothy

    Oh, and P.S. There has never been a time in the history of this country in which the term “fairies” was ever used in a non-pejorative way. If that’s how your family derided your music teacher, they were not a “liberal” as you suppose.

  349. Dr. Brown,

    So, what about those who do not have Ph.Ds. in Near Eastern Languages and Litertures?

    The majority of Christians do not. So, what does this say? Can they not come to firm conclusions?

    As for myself, when questioning I seek those very well educated in Hebrew in order to understand or clarify Torah and/or entire Tanach. And as I discovered there are words in Biblical Hebrew that scholars are unsure of what the words actually mean.

    Why do you feel that Robert Gagnon gives a very accurate conclusion?

    I also like to use critical thinking.

    If I read over this book by Robert Gagnon, I would first ask who is this person? What are his beliefs? Why is he writing this book? What is his main point?

    What view of the world does Gagnon have?

    What data is given? What experiences are shared?

    What evidence is given? What resources does he use?

    Is his thinking justified according to what is given?

    What techniques does he use to draw his audience into his material?

    Does he use fallacies?

    1st series of questions answered:

    Robert A. J. Gagnon, associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

    2nd: What Christian view of the world does he have?

    Unsure. But is associated with, the Presbyterian Church.

    Shalom!,

    Grethel

  350. Jayhuck,

    My question about two gay brothers was not meant as a distraction but as a desire to get into a qualitative discussion of why certain unions would be acceptable and others not. Would you be kind enough to answer whethere you would sanction two gay brothers getting married? And if not, why not?

    Thanks,

    Dr. Brown

  351. Grethel,

    I’m more than aware of different opinions about what the Bible says, which is the main reason I earned a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Litertures — so as to study the Scriptures in depth on my own, without relying on anyone else’s commentary. It doesn’t make me right, but it certainly helps me come to firm conclusions.

    I would encourage you to study carefully Robert Gagnon’s book on The Bible and Homosexual Practice. It is a fine work of scholarship and very accurate in its conclusions.

    Dr. Brown

  352. Timothy,

    Believe it or not, I’ve thought through the very things you have requested here, and my conclusions remain the same. Is it possible that you could enter my world and see why that is the case?

    Let me try to explain for a moment: I grew up in a very liberal home where my organ teacher from the age of five was gay. Sometimes my family would visit him and his partner in New York City (back then they were called “fairies,” as you recall), and there was never anything considered wrong about it. As a believer in Jesus, I have been forgiven much and therefore find it easy to forgive others (or, to judge with mercy, as I have been judged with mercy). Also, the spouse of a very close friend of mine came out of homosexuality, and I accepted this person into my life like anyone else.

    But I have no question whatsoever before God that His design and order and will is for opposite sex marriage and relationships, and to break down this order is ultimately destructive. I see GID as a genuine disorder needing help; I agree with the surgeons and psychologists who say that we should treat the mind and not the member; I see two mommies or two daddies as not being in the best interest of children; and again, according to Scripture, I see homosexual acts as being sinful in God’s sight, similar to adultery and fornication. (BTW, on a practical level in terms of the family structure, the new book by Dale O’Leary, One and One Woman, is worth reading.)

    Why, then, should I want something contrary to God’s order put forth as ideal or as an alternative norm? You have your reasons for rejecting other orientations, such as necrophilia or pedophilia — we agree here! — and I have my reason for rejecting homosexual orientation as an equivalent of heterosexual orientation.

    Do I tolerate hate speech? Not for a second. Do I stand by idly when the Fred Phelps of this world proclaim their venom? God forbid! But that does not mean that I abandon my moral convictions, regardless of how those convictions appear to you.

    As for all my posting here online, remember that in this particular instance, I have been replying from the start: Warren asked me about the accuracy of comments wrongly attributed to me, then I’ve interacted with bloggers. I’m not coming in as the wise and compassionate answer man to set the record straight. I’m simply interacting with other posters here, and by God’s grace, I will continue to pursue many ministry endeavors outside of this blog, some of which include humanitarian work in countries like India (from whence I just returned), some of which include outreach to my own Jewish people, and some of which include addressing gay activism as it intersects with Christian values. Obviously, we will not be in harmoy here.

    Also, my point about pain and rejection was not to claim that all gays suffer from this, but rather to say, “When I’ve read the books that speak of these things, I can really get into those people’s shoes.”

    Lastly, for the record, I’ve interacted at some length with other gay activists, but the ongoing email, occasional lunch relationship has not happened as much as desired, although I will continue to pursue it. And on a daily basis, I interact with the GLBT community — especially while flying — so I certainly do not have some demonized view of a large and diverse group of people. My issue is with an activist agenda.

    Michael

  353. Michael Brown asked in post 73151:

    Or a bisexual man who wanted to be married to both a man and a woman?

    The same thing I would tell to a man who wanted to marry 2 women at the same time. Civil marriages in the US have evolved in to a partnership of TWO equal partners and not equipped to handle more than that. Further if he could devise an equitable, workable system to handle polygamous marriages that addresses the plethora of legal/logistic problems such marriage would create, I would be willing to consider it.

    since real life cases, quite similar to this, are being discussed in courts in America and/or Europe,

    Really, can you give me a reference for any US cases dealing with 2 brothers trying to marry? or a Bisexual man trying to marry both a man and a woman?

    As for restriction of freedom of speech in America, how about workers in California being forbidden from using the term “natural family” since it was deemed to be hate speech? To date, the ruling has been upheld by the courts.

    I’m assuming you are referring to “Good News Employee Associate v. Hicks” if not please cite the case you are referring to. This case is not about “hate speech.” It is about offensive speech (which is different) in the workplace. Nor have they been “forbidden” to use the term, “natural family.” They were told they couldn’t put up an anti-gay flyer on the bulletin board (or send similar material via e-mail).

  354. Dr. Brown,

    two gay brothers who wanted to marry. Do they have the civil right? Or a bisexual man who wanted to be married to both a man and a woman?

    These are all distractions Dr. Brown and you know it. We aren’t talking about incest or polygamy here, we’re talking about two unrelated consenting adults who love each other.

    I would like to echo Timothy’s comments. The gay community has, for years, had people talking TO IT. Of course these people claim that what they are doing is out of love, but it amounts to pity and demeaning gay people. We don’t need more people talking TO US, we need people talking WITH us. Please do “come to us with your mouth closed and your ears open”. I’ll say this again because it bares repeating: The gay community doesn’t need more of what you call “Love”.

    As for Natural Family – I’ve heard of the Natural Family Manifesto and about the courts decision in California regarding the two employees who kept putting up flyers in response to gay employees flyers. All I can say is that employers all across this country dictate to all of us what is appropriate speech and what isn’t in the workplace. This isn’t anything new Dr. Brown – its been going on for years. No one has real free speech in the workplace and they shouldn’t either. When people in this country are being taken to court or hauled to jail because they stood in the public square and talked about Natural Families then get back with me, until then don’t use the workplace as some sort of battleground for free speech – it isn’t and it never will be.

    In a San Francisco Chronicle on the subject I read: “In this case, the court said, the two employees were not punished and were allowed to submit a reworded flyer.”

  355. Michael,

    (I’m going to call you by your first name – not out of disrespect but so that we can more closely see each other as people.)

    I am gladdened that you have one gay activist acquaintance with whom you broke bread once. That is a start and many anti-gay activists never get that far. I strongly encourage you to meet more. You may become very surprised that your mental picture is not consistent with what you experience.

    But I also want to propose a notion to you that you may at first find to be bizzare or abhorent, but be patient and think about it:

    Michael, you do not have the right to construct a world in which some of the citizens are excluded. You do not have the right to eliminate gay people from schools, work, or society.

    You may think it incredible that I make such a claim. But let’s look at it by examining another minority.

    Suppose that your grandchild came to you and said, “Grandpa, my teacher said that Muslims are not evil”. Or you son said, “At my job they hired a muslim and I have to work with him. And they said that I couldn’t call him a towelhead and an infidel and tell him he’s going to hell”. Or suppose you were at a courthouse and, oh my goodness, the let the muslim couple get a marriage license.

    None of these things are likely to shock you. Because although you believe the religion of Islam is not according to God’s plan and that those who reject Christianity to keep adherence to the teachings of Mohammed are rejecting God’s sacrifice of his Son, you honor the right of all people to practice their religion as they wish. You don’t believe they should be reviled in the workplace or that schools should say they are evil. You respect protections that keep others from targeting them and treating them poorly.

    I challenge you to treat gay people at least as you would Muslims.

    And ask yourself if these gay activists that are threatening you want anything other than what you would ask for. This activist agenda that is coming your way, is there anything on it that you would be willing to trade to their position. Would you give up what you want these activists to forego?

    Though it may be hard to fathom, these activists are human. And American. And very very much like you. There are no “activists” and “non-activists” when it comes to gay people. You can’t say that you have compassion for non-activists when by activist you mean all gay people who believe in equality — which is pretty much all of us.

    Now I know that you consider yourself to oppose homophobia and stereotypes. But, Michael, you immediately followed that claim with… a stereotype.

    I have read so much gay literature that I can feel the pain and rejection and misunderstanding as if I were in your shoes (to an extent, of course).

    It may well suit you to think of me a in pain and feeling rejection and misunderstood. It becomes easier to pity me… and, of course, not see me as a real person.

    I’m not in pain. I don’t feel rejected. I live in Los Angeles where frankly no one cares if I’m gay – including the Christian folk I run into. My work, my friends, my church, the places I eat and shop. No rejection. No pain.

    I challenge you, Michael, not to come to us with your words of wisdom, or to tell us we can’t be Christian and gay, or your compassionate convictions. We aren’t looking for someone to speak “the truth” at us.

    Come to us with your mouth closed and your ears open. Come to us to learn.

    Because what you believe to be true about gay people seems to be very far from what we know to be true.

  356. “And since we know that ancient Hebrew culture frowned on homosexual acts, do you think it’s inconsistent to quote the words of the Hebrew prophets to defend GLBT relationships today?”

    Considering what I just shared from the EcoRebbe, can we be so sure that homosexual relationships as we understand them today was condemned? The passage you refer to is very unclear, Dr. Brown. And it is right in the middle of a section talking about pagan temple rituals. A pagan temple ritual us hardly anything like a committed relationship between two people who love each other.

    I also believe and know that any Christian or Jewish GLBT would agree that marrying a sibling is not kosher, doesn’t matter straight or gay.

    🙂

    Shalom!

  357. Dr. Brown,

    I have a Strong’s but I cannot find “homosexuality” listed in the condordance.

    There are others who do not share your view about the Hebrew text. The best explaination that I have found online is from the EcoRebbe, Rabbi Gershon Caudill.

    Here is his sharing:

    HOMOSEXUALITY & THE HEBREW BIBLE:

    http://home.earthlink.net/~ecorebbe/id18.html

    I have not mastered Hebrew, yet. My college studies come first–Early Childhood Education with concentration in Special Education Associate degree.

    I use memorization when I am offering communial prayer. But, my Rabbi is very well educated in Biblical Hebrew as well as other Jewish studies. He holds Bachelor of Hebrew Letters, a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters, and a Doctor of Divinity. And he has over 25 years experience as a rabbi.

    My Rabbi has also shared this very same view about the Hebrew Bible with me and others. As a matter of fact, he has spoken at a Love Welcomes All conference on this very subject. This is how I knew I could trust him to be the first one to tell that I am “gay.” He helped me find PFLAG because I needed support.

    The question is would your belief keep me from marrying the woman that I love? To raise a family? And would your belief keep me from being here for her now because she really needs a good support system through a life crisis? {She’s has bipolar disorder. And I have Christians also helping me cope and are giving me support.}

    And would your belief system keep you from helping someone like me who has never told their blood family about being gay after the family is told? {There are Christians who are here now for me whenever I am ready to tell my family; my synagogue family already knows.}

    BTW, I have done research on children raised by GLBT for college studies. The research was done with a Pentecostal Evangelical classmate. She was opposed to the research topic but by the end realized that GLBTs can raise healthy, whole children.

    Ah, but what did Jesus also teach about judging others and loving enemies? And how did Jesus speak to the Samaritan women? Did he call her names? Did he use stereotypes, prejudice, or bias?

    Shalom u’ beracha,

    Grethel

    PS I will speak to my friend as soon as possible. I do not have his email address. But, I should see him on Sunday when I visit the church community that my GF and I associate with.

  358. Jayhuck,

    So I can understand what you mean by civil rights and respond clearly, could you let me know what you would tell two gay brothers who wanted to marry. Do they have the civil right? Or a bisexual man who wanted to be married to both a man and a woman? I’m not being facetious, since real life cases, quite similar to this, are being discussed in courts in America and/or Europe, and I’m curious to see how far you would extend “civil rights.”

    As for restriction of freedom of speech in America, how about workers in California being forbidden from using the term “natural family” since it was deemed to be hate speech? To date, the ruling has been upheld by the courts.

    I look forward to your responses.

    Dr. Brown

  359. Shalom Grethel,

    Of course I would gladly be questioned by those who differ and would welcome an equal time setting where others would share. I can be contacted through my website, as you did earlier.

    Dr. Brown

  360. Dr. Brown,

    As for oppressing the stranger, in God’s sight and according to what is taught in His Word, am I oppressing you if I do not believe in same-sex marriages? What if two gay brothers wanted to marry and you frowned on that. Would you be guilty of oppressing them? And since we know that ancient Hebrew culture frowned on homosexual acts, do you think it’s inconsistent to quote the words of the Hebrew prophets to defend GLBT relationships today?

    This is not about brothers marrying each other Dr. Brown. Those kinds of arguments are merely meant to distract from the debate at hand, which involves two unrelated consenting adults of the same sex who love each other and want to get married.

    I think its valid to ask WHY some of the ancient Hebrews frowned on homosexual acts, what those particular people and acts were that they frowned on, and if any of that actually says anything about two homosexual people in a committed relationship today. There are many, many things in the Bible that we no longer adhere to today.

    Absolutely, and that’s why I seek to speak the truth to you, even if you reject it, since I would want someone to speak the truth to me regardless of whether it was politically correct or not.

    I can assure you, the gay community will continue speaking the Truth to you, even though you reject it 🙂

  361. Grethel,

    Well, let’s think about what you wrote here:

    1) Prov 6 lists seven sins that are an abomination (Hebrew, to`evah) in God’s sight. Interestingly, that is the same Hebrew word used to describe homosexual acts in Lev 18. So, that would indicate a moral equivalence.

    2) I agree that the sins listed in Prov 6 are heinous, but that does not mean that sins not listed there are not heinous. Do I accept pedophilia because it is not listed in Prov 6?

    3) Jesus exposed the sin of the Samaritan woman at the well by calling for her husband (she was not married but was living in sin); to the woman caught in adultery he said, “I do not condemn you, now go and sin no more” — not “Go and sin some more.”

    4) Jesus also said the following: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matt 5:27-29). Another teaching of his was, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality [the Greek is plural], theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” So, the Lord taught that all kinds of sexually immoral acts — which in biblical terms refer to any sexual act outside of male-female marriage — defile us.

    I’m just quoting his words, words that I seek to live by — and words which apply to all kinds of sinful behaviors and not just sexual sins.

    As for oppressing the stranger, in God’s sight and according to what is taught in His Word, am I oppressing you if I do not believe in same-sex marriages? What if two gay brothers wanted to marry and you frowned on that. Would you be guilty of oppressing them? And since we know that ancient Hebrew culture frowned on homosexual acts, do you think it’s inconsistent to quote the words of the Hebrew prophets to defend GLBT relationships today?

    Having said this, I am not invading your private life; I am not attacking you as an individual created by God; and I actually spend a good amount of time helping Christians develop a compassionate hearts towards the GLBT community. But true love does not compromise moral convictions, and that’s where we have our divide.

    Do I believe in loving my neighbor as myself? Absolutely, and that’s why I seek to speak the truth to you, even if you reject it, since I would want someone to speak the truth to me regardless of whether it was politically correct or not.

    Shalom!

    Dr. Brown

  362. Warren said in post 73052:

    Ken – You are going to need to document your claims.

    Most of my information comes from Brian Murphy one of the 2007 riders who spoke at Carnegie Mellon University last October (whom I’ve e-mailed and asked to respond here). However, from the news release you cited (emphasis added):

    Their mission: to open a dialogue about the painful consequences of discrimination and the religion-based prejudice that sustains it.

    In the next paragraph Haven Herrin states:

    “Our goal is to foster a conversation about LGBT people and faith. While such conversations are often marked by politics and divisiveness, we bring open minds and hearts to academic settings, where we hope for a genuine exchange of ideas.”

    Now as I have stated and the press release points out, on campuses where the administration planned to block them from talking to the students, Equality riders have (did) use alternative means to get their message to the students, staff and faculty.

    You also asked (post 73056):

    The riders went to place where they disagreed with the school’s policies and said essentially, you are wrong and we are here to tell you so. Why else would they go?

    Because gay students at those schools asked for there help in dealing with homophobia on campus.

  363. Dr. Brown,

    Will I stand against gay activism? Certainly. Will I do everything in my power to reach out to the larger gay community in love? By God’s grace, yes.

    I’m curious what you mean by this? Do you mean that you will prevent gay people from having the same rights as you – that you will prevent gay people from marrying the person they love? Do you mean you will seek to keep gay people being treated as second-class citizens? Do you mean that you will seek to keep gay kids from being protected from bullying and harassment in schools? Because if this is what you mean by reaching out to the gay community in “love”, I can tell you, the community doesn’t need more of that kind of love.

  364. Dr. Brown.

    Let me speak to the PFLAG regional director who is a friend of mine. Would you be willing to have those of different view question you? And would you be willing to have others also share who have a different view?

    How may he contact you?

    Shalom,

    Grethel

  365. Dr. Brown,

    I’m not defending his sermon in every detail, just the issue of the lack of freedom of speech behind his pulpit. I believe he also spoke with some compassion for individuals as well — not that that would offset the other language — but I don’t think any balancing statements he made were quoted widely by the media.

    I would hope not because the only person who defended his sermon in every detail was Fred Phelps. Fred, in the article I posted above, apparently praised this preacher for his words.

    AND, let’s not forget two very important things that Timothy pointed out: This didn’t happen in America and the man was acquitted.

    If this man wants to use the word “perverts” and “compassion” in the same sentence, that is fine, but my guess and hope is most of the world would stop listening. I didn’t hear any sort of compassion in his words.

  366. We just want to live. We are the strangers among you. And God did say, “Justice, justice shall you pursue.” Do not oppress the stranger. Is this not what God wants? What do the Prophets say?

    There are six things recorded in Proverbs that God hates and seven that are detestable. None of these, Dr. Brown, are homosexuality.

    Dr. Brown, if you are a follower of Jesus than you should know about how Jesus spoke to the Samaratian woman at the well, about his teaching of the good samaritian, about his teaching of the greatest commandment, and about his actions toward the woman caught in adultery. Right?

    All of these show a different picture of Jesus that you have stated to me in regard to his teachings about homosexuality, sexual immorality, and etc.

    Shalom,

    Grethel

  367. Our institution was informed by the Equality Ride that we were on their route. It was up to the university to decide how to respond to the fact that ER would be coming to the campus to protest what they believed were anti-gay policies. Also, the ER folks were nonviolent protesters interested in media coverage of the event, which is understandable given their stated purposes. They were also open to discussion of the issues in informal venues.

  368. Hello all…

    I was asked by someone involved with this discussion to add a personal perspective to the Equality Ride.

    As a personal note: I have been a Christian for many years and the Soulforce Equality Ride was–perhaps surprisingly–the only LGBT group I have ever been involved with. For me, activism/advocacy was never that big of a deal.

    My decision to go on the Equality Ride was not to change a school’s policy–I was already attending, and about to graduate from, a college that took no issue with my orientation. I didn’t set out to force churches, or even individuals, to change their beliefs. In all honesty, the school policy of Northwest Nazarene or the personal belief of Jane Student won’t effect my life very much.

    I do know, however, that it took me many years to wrestle with the messages I received from my church growing up. Messages that said being gay–something I had no control over–was sinful. Messages that lumped me–15 year old me–in with criminals. I almost lost God. And going to a secular institution, too many of my friends had.

    I went on Equality Ride ultimately to be a voice to gay and transgender students across the country who were questioning their worth before God. And in every city, I met them.

    The routes for the ride were chosen by the Soulforce young adult leaders based on a combination of outreach from students and community members, prior communication with the school, and feedback from the administrations on the ride. Some schools responded positively, some schools responded neutrally, some schools responded negatively. Be that as it may.

    I joined the ride in January and spent the intervening six weeks working with administrators (who were thankfully very cooperative) at Pepperdine to plan activities. These activities included worship services, presentations by Pepperdine faculty and pastors, presentations by Equality Riders, lunch and dinner discussions, class visits, and even a trip to an LA museum.

    Does the official policy at Pepperdine look any different after our two days there? No. Was it a productive day for all parties involved? Absolutely. I took away so much from my interactions on that campus and that was only one stop!

    Unfortunately, not all administrations were as cooperative as Pepperdine and I remember the frustration my friends went through as admins passed them around from one department to another, took messages that went unreturned, or flatly said “Don’t even try talking to us again.” Nonetheless, they planned meet-and-greets at local coffee shops, community centers and churches. There were dinners, frisbee games, Bible studies and discussion groups.

    It is easy to dismiss the Equality Ride as a “protest” but “protracted discussion” is really a more accurate description. I had more conversations–not arguments–in those two months than I ever imagined possible.

    Warren asks:

    The riders went to place where they disagreed with the school’s policies and said essentially, you are wrong and we are here to tell you so. Why else would they go?

    For me, it was never to say “you are wrong.” It was to ask, “What do you believe?” because the schools, and individuals all differ in their approaches to Scipture and their positions on homosexuality. It was to ask “What would it look like to be a gay student here?” It was to brainstorm ways to create safe spaces. It was to be a catalyst for discussion within the school. It was to engage in a sought after dialogue.

    I believe, if I may be so bold as to speak for my fellow riders, that we go because something has gone terribly wrong in our society. Parents are kicking their children on to the streets. Youth are killing themselves. And all of this is thought to be ordained by God.

    I would hope that most pastors would agree that abandoning your child is not what God wants and would counsel a gay or transgender youth to not commit suicide, but we cannot escape these grim realities. And so the Equality Ride offers a new approach. Instead of talking points, and soundbites, and political strategy, and coordinated lobbying the Equality Ride proposes talking with instead of talking at.

    Often administrators who, even though at the end of the day they were still anti-gay, said that they were blessed by our presence because it got them talking about something which is not talked about enough and got them thinking about things they don’t often think about. I’m not sure how many “minds were changed” on any given day but I know that countless conversations were started where before there was only silence, misunderstanding, and judgement.

    The results are much easer to articulate for schools which allowed us on to campus–while still maintaining their positions–but what about the schools that simply said “No. We don’t value this discussion and we don’t value the perspective you bring to the table.” Why go anyway?

    For me, it was because this conversation was too important not to have. Because in all likelihood there is a gay student on that campus who is watching as his school refuses to even *speak to* “those types of people” and she is wondering what that means about her.

    In my two months on Equality Ride, we never once set out to “protest” a school’s policy. When a school, like Wisconsin Lutheran, for instance, refused to allow us to come on to campus, we did go anyway. When administrators asked us to leave, 6 young adults stayed to continue conversations with students that had congregated. Two separate groups of over 30 students each were in the middle of discussions when police arrived and countless more were looking on. Before I left the campus a student hugged me with tears in her eyes and said “I wish it didn’t have to come to this.” Her professor, with whom I was also speaking said “I don’t understand why they are arresting your friends, I don’t see what purpose this is serving.” I admit, I asked myself the same question.

    Shouting matches aren’t solving any problems and they are tearing families, communities, churches, and this country a part. I want to have dialogue, I want to seek reconciliation–whatever that might look like–and many, many other people desire that as well.

    Yes, the Equality Riders sometimes faced arrest. Yes, they were sometimes met by bull-horning toting protesters. Yes, the buses were vandalized. I don’t believe that any of us ever set out to protest. We set out to have conversations–to share our stories, to learn about other stories, to dialogue on faith, to create community–and we were relentless in that pursuit because it is so so necessary.

    I saw great value in my conversations–even, perhaps especially, conversations with individuals coming from a completely different perspective than my own. I feel blessed by the positive feedback administrators gave us along the way and I’m hopefully that administrators in the future will continue to see the value of including the voices of LGBT individuals in the discussion of LGBT issues.

    That was long and probably rather rambly. I hope it clarified the intentions of the ride and gave a bit of an insight into what happens on the road.

    Blessings,

    Brian

  369. Jayhuck,

    We agree, then, that the arrest was wrong, which was my point. Far less inflammatory speech in different countries — including America — has been punished by the law.

    Thanks also for pulling out some of the most inflammatory quotes. I need to check the original text again, however, since the edition I have says, e.g., “Sexual abnormalities are a deep cancerous tumor in the entire society. The Lord knows that sexually twisted people will rape the animals. Not even animals can avoid the fiery passion of man’s sexual lust. Even this [bestiality], some will pursue. For many years, I have heard stories like these from people when I sat and listened as a volunteer telephone counselor. This wasn’t just one incident where people told of the animal [sexual] relations they had had — which had given them satisfaction. So it is abundantly clear that God is not writing a book of fairy tales for people to think of these things. He writes it with the thought in mind that people will act this way when they abandon God. Because of these sins, the land will vomit out its inhabitants.”

    So, he was referring to a number of sexual sins spoken against in Leviticus 18, which include incest, bestiality, male homosexual acts, among a couple of others. Again, I’ll check the accuracy of each of the quotes, just for the record.

    I’m not defending his sermon in every detail, just the issue of the lack of freedom of speech behind his pulpit. I believe he also spoke with some compassion for individuals as well — not that that would offset the other language — but I don’t think any balancing statements he made were quoted widely by the media.

    Dr. Brown

  370. Timothy,

    I do think our dialogue here is generating more light than heat, so thanks for sticking with it.

    So that you can understand where I’m coming from, my issue is with an activist agenda that is coming my way, whether I like it or not. That’s why I raise my voice. When it affects what my grandkids could be taught in school, or what my students have to deal with in the place of business, or what the courts impose on a society, I’ll get involved.

    But my heart is totally with you in terms of caring for individuals, not demonizing a whole community, reaching out to individuals. Here in Charlotte, I reached out to a key gay leader and had lunch with him a couple of times and stay in e-contact with him; I reached out to others but they declined to get back in touch with me; I speak against homophobia to pastors and help them to get past stereotypes of gays and lesbians; I have read so much gay literature that I can feel the pain and rejection and misunderstanding as if I were in your shoes (to an extent, of course).

    I know that you certainly can’t reconcile what I’m saying here with my activism, but perhaps as you watch my work more closely you can also hear my heart.

    One reason that I held the forum at our church on “Can you be gay and Christian?” was to break down walls and remove the stigma of interacting with the GLBT community, also sending the message clearly that “We don’t hate you!”

    Will I stand against gay activism? Certainly. Will I do everything in my power to reach out to the larger gay community in love? By God’s grace, yes.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to interact.

    Dr. Brown

  371. Grethel,

    If I was invited to give a presentation at any of the places you mentioned, I would do it in heartbeat, schedule permitting. So, let me know if there’s an invitation for me to present my views in an open setting, and I’ll see what we can work out.

    Dr. Brown

  372. Dr. Brown

    I really can’t answer to Sweden and its laws on offensive language. I live in the United States and delight in our nation’s First Amendment. That some gay group in Sweden has Swedish values doesn’t much surprise me; nor should it you.

    But rather than iterating a list of every grievance that has been enacted on Christians by gays somewhere in the world, and vice verse (and let me assure you my list would be much much MUCH longer and much more horrific), let’s get back to our basic point.

    Can you agree not to smear gay people based on what someone somewhere in the anti-gay industry has told you? Can you agree not to use singular incidents on a foreign continent as some evidence of American gay attitutes? Can you try and genuinely get to know gay people as people, and not as some enemy to be destroyed?

    Really, Dr. Brown, we’re human. And, just like you, we don’t want to be lied about. Or insinuated about. Or accused of wanting to restrict your religion based on some event in Europe (which, incidentally Green prevailed). Or accused, really, of anything.

    The world doesn’t need to be warned about how evil we are or how we want to destroy society or what horrid secret nasty things we do. Those claims are not true and, frankly, as more people get to know us they don’t reflect well on those who make them.

    I think if you stepped back from the cannon and tried to get to know us, you might find that gay people are exactly like you. We have the same goals, desires, need, and dreams. We have the same faith, patriotism, loyalites, and values.

    We don’t hate Christians; many of us are Christians. We don’t hate heterosexuals; they are our families and friends. We don’t want to destroy marriage, we want to join it. We don’t want to silence others; we want our voices to be heard.

    We have much much more in agreement than in disagreement.

  373. From the EqRide website:

    Homophobia is globally pervasive, and no community or school escapes its reach. In 2006, during the inaugural Equality Ride, participants traveled to nineteen schools and engaged students, faculty, and administrators in conversation about the damaging effects of homophobic doctrine, the false notion that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identities are sick and sinful.

    The riders went to place where they disagreed with the school’s policies and said essentially, you are wrong and we are here to tell you so. Why else would they go?

  374. Regarding Ake Green, from the Washington Post article Jayhuck referenced (thanks, said me the trouble of looking it up :)):

    With these words, which the local newspaper published at his request, Green ran afoul of Sweden’s strict laws against hate speech.

    the last paragraph says he had invited the press to attend that sermon. So it seems to me he was deliberately trying to get arrested in order to challenge the law. Why is it you didn’t think this aspect needed to be mentioned in your recounting of Green’s case Dr. Brown?

  375. Ken – You are going to need to document your claims. They run counter to everything I have known about this effort, including some early discussion with two of the riders. Here is the news release for the 2007 ride. In 2006, they went on to campuses which did not want them there and were arrested. Civil disobedience was part of the plan as they were based on the freedom rides as TImothy said.

    The ERiders had discussions in advance with