Required Listening: "You don't follow the Bible! You're a liar!"

Comments

1
Staggering, if only to illuminate the utter inability of the caller (and no doubt those like him) to hear the very valid points Signorile was making. When Signorile details some of the ridiculous things that have since been dispensed with by the modern church (no shellfish, no women as slaves), and the caller says, "but that's in the old testament," how can any "Christian" not know that the rather nebulous condemnation of homosexuality in the bible is also in the old testament? Also amazing that the caller seemed to think that politeness=acceptance. "Well, yes, I think you'll burn in the fires of hell, but I've said it real nice, haven't I?"
2
God, I hope so. The world is improved when religions decide to ignore more of their holy books.
3
So. When that tipping point arrives where it's no longer possible to believe anything in the Bible, what happens to belief in god?
4
people can learn real, applicable life lessons from Aesop's Fables without believing that ants and grasshoppers actually talk to each other. some day we'll be able to believe in Jesus' message of love and forgiveness without caring whether or not he actually walked the earth with magic powers.
5
@3 I wish the bible were written the way the grandfather in The Princess Bride movie describes his retelling of The Princess Bride story as "the good parts version," because the original was too long and boring in places. I've often thought if someone could come up with a "good parts version" of every holy book, and include the positive things about paganism as well, we might have a good blueprint, you know, "be nice to other people, be good to the earth, don't kill people," that sort of thing.
6
Also, as the resident theologian commenter, I would add that the pro-slavery, (unambiguously) anti-gay, anti-shellfish, kill-naughty-kids stuff is in the Old Testament.

Christians generally believe the Old Testament law to be superseded by two-part commandment of Christ (love God, and love your neighbor as yourself).

And modern Jewry has a rich Rabbinical tradition that has constantly expanded and updated their understanding of Old Testament law to keep it meaningful and relevant in modern society.

To say that the Bible condemns modern, loving gay relationships fundamentally misunderstands how Jewish and Christian theologians (even the conservative ones) have approached scripture over thousands of years.
7
bravo. i'm tired of hearing these "polite" and "nice" people explaining why it's not their fault, not accepting any responsibility whatsoever. blaming the bullies just isn't going to cut it (although they're in for a shit storm too). signorile did a beautiful job of pointing out the necessity of getting to the root of this hate - a hate that is utterly, utterly unnecessary. children are extremely sensitive human beings, still trying to understand the world around them and their place in it, and will be the first to collapse under the weight of unnecessary hate and violence, if not provided with the love and support that they deserve.
8
Funny that you have to be commanded to love god. He devotes fully 3 of the 10 commandments to it: "You must love me. I mean it! Seriously, love me or I'll kill you!!" Are religious believers all suffering from some kind of Stockholm Syndrome?
9
@6 "To say that the Bible condemns modern, loving gay relationships fundamentally misunderstands how Jewish and Christian theologians (even the conservative ones) have approached scripture over thousands of years."

So, I'm thinking it's possible some of your people didn't get that particular memo.
10
I cannot say with absolute certainty that God(s) don't exist, (Just like I cannot say absolutely that there are no magical fairies. The evidence doesn't support the existence of either.) but I can say with 100% confidence that the Bible is a man made mythology, with errors, contradictions, and just plain silly notions. It is an ancient mythology, with no more validity than Egyptian, Greek, or Native American mythologies. Throughout history, the Bible has been reinterpreted so that religious leaders could better sell it to the the people of any given era. As church attendance, and revenues decline, it's only a matter of time before it is once again it is repackaged so that people of this era can find it more palatable.
11
What is really frustrating is that, in reality, there IS no anti-gay stuff in the Bible. Certainly not in the New Testament, which is the only part of the Bible that is "Christian." And certainly not in the Bible when read in its original language. What REALLY needs to be understood by Christians is that Jesus (the person whose teachings Jesus follows) said absolutely NOTHING about homosexuality and, in fact, commanded his followers to love one another.
12
This caller's rationalizations and condescension are important, because I think both are foundational to organized religion. They reveal the mental loopholes that most of those of religious faith must create in order to explain away the contradictions and inconsistencies that underpin religious faith.

I think the out-and-out hateful bigots are the exception because they are not bothered by the inhumanity betrayed in their literal and absolutist interpretations of holy books. However, those bigots can and will do their worst because the ordinary folks in their midst lack the emotional courage to challenge the overt bigots because doing so threatens too much of the religious belief system itself. To me, callers like this are much more pervasive and difficult to handle because of the psychological need they have to not think critically about their belief systems--instead they explain it away, ignore the contradictions and justify their contempt and fear as merely "helping" those who they see as lesser than themselves. Never underestimate how easily a person can psychologically narrate their own hostility toward others as beneficent to said others as a means to reconcile their conscience with a rigid belief system.
13
I agree with everything Michelangelo is saying here, but why does he have to be such a jerk about it. His abrasive, interrupting approach to this caller makes him look like an asshole and doesn't help his point at all. If pro-gay individuals stoop to the same scurrilous level of discourse, how are we any better than the anti-gay side? I realize he is angry, and rightly so. We should all be pissed-off at the current tragedies taking place among GLBT youth. However, use the same rude, dismissive tone is not going to change anyone's mind.
14
Of course I meant to say "the person whose teaching CHRISTIANS follow).
15
From the New Testament:

1 Peter 2:18

18Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.


Also, Why would a perfect God need to change his perfect rules? Wouldn't a divine being had gotten them right the first time?
16
MS is a bad ass. If you don't have Sirius, you're missing out!
17
When the caller finally drops his cover of politeness all he can do is scream "IT'S IN THE BIBLE!". So he doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but he's still forced to condemn people and tell them that they're going to hell.
Which of course has nothing to do with encouraging young people to kill themselves.
Just out of curiosity, are there many reported cases of young women/ girls committing suicide due to homophobia?
18
Signorile did a nice job taking down the caller, but I think his central argument is flawed.

He basically argues that if it weren't for Christianity (or religion in general), homophobia would not exist.

I disagree.

The core of all bigotry is that humans have a tendency to dislike other people who are different, whether that difference is skin color or religion or sexual orientation or tribe. Religion fans the flames of this bigotry, but it does not create the bigotry. Even if religion didn't exist at all, there would still be some bigotry inherent in people. It would probably be a LOT less, but it would still be there.

I think it is completely valid to blame christianists for fanning the flames of homophobia, and they must share part of the blame for the suicides of gay kids. But just like racism hasn't disappeared once churches stopped preaching the merits of slavery, homophobia won't disappear if churches stop calling gays sinners.
19
11, Actually there is anti gay stuff in both the Old & New Testaments

Romans 1

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.


Again, it's a mythology, and such passages will soon be ignored, just as the scriptures commanding woman to be silent in church are ignored now.
20
Oh Dan! thank you for this! It is absolutely amazing the blindness that christians willingly choose to participate in!

When I was attending pentocostal schools, my basketball teacher said we should send all the gays to South Dakota.... Knowing full well my TERMINALLY ILL Sister was a lesbian.
21
@5: That's what humanism is.
23
@19 -- the passage from Romans you discuss talks about people who are abandoning what is NATURAL for something that is UNNATURAL. For gay men, what is NATURAL is to have "relations" with each other. What this passage is discussing (or at least this is one interpretations Biblical scholars have come up with) is the danger of individuals pursuing a path that is unnatural to their being. GAY men who pursue relationships with other men are behaving NATURALLY, and therefore, are not condemned.
24
@19:

And that really is the point people like Signorile have been making all along: yes, there are passages in the Bible that, given the inherent degradation of meaning over multiple transliterations, identify specific acts as "abominations against God". But contemporary Christians, regardless of their denomination, have developed a sort of ranking system (e.g. eating shellfish not-so-much-an-abomination as homosexuality) where in fact originally no such distinctions existed.

An abomination is an abomination; there are no lesser or greater abominations, and those who believe in Yahweh/Jehovah have never been given the right to select which abominations they will avoid and which they may partake of without invoking His wrath.

Some may argue that Yeshua essentially represents a big "do over", negating the harsher proscriptions from the Old Testament and replacing them with a more humane, more enlightened paradigm in the New Testament. But if that is in fact the case, then why haven't contemporary Christians thrown ALL the OT abominations in the metaphysical trash bin? Why have they only chosen to ignore MOST of them, while continuing to vehemently enforce a literal handful of others? Where did they get that right to choose? Certainly NOT from their God, and certainly not from any statements attributed to Yeshua.

Based on this, what other argument can be made, except to point out to them that they cling to these last few proscriptions, not out of any sense of fealty to their God or to Jesus, but simply because their religion offers them friendly cover for their own inherent bigotry and homophobia?
25
@21 Yes, but I'd like a little moon/goddess appreciation thrown in, to keep things exciting...

@22 And what Signorile is saying is that preachers telling people that homosexuality is "going against religion" is precisely why these kids are getting thrown into lockers. The fact that a certain number of followers manage to restrain themselves from doing physical violence is beside the point.

Thanks for linking to this guy, I hadn't heard of him, but just discovered he's on XM98, in addition to the Sirius channel. Read his bio, sounds like a very cool guy, except that he and his partner.........own a pitbull :(
26
@24 -- exactly. Perfectly and beautifully said.
27
Um, 23, The quoted scripture specifically calls homosexuality an unnatural perversion.

And to be clear, I'm not saying that what the Bible says is right. As I said earlier, it's a man made mythology. And just as we Christians currently ignore the New and Old passages that say that a slave must be subversion to his master, even if that master is harsh, they will soon ignore the anti gay passages.
28
Um, 27, I'm speaking directly to what you wrote. Nowhere in what you wrote (in #19) does the word "homosexuality" even appear. So that passage of which you speak most certainly does NOT call homosexuality a perversion. That is your INTERPRETATION based on something that has been translated and re-interpreted hundreds of times before it you read it and quoted it. To be clear, when I speak of the Bible, I am speaking of the original document written in Aramaic.

As #6 so eloquently stated, "To say that the Bible condemns modern, loving gay relationships fundamentally misunderstands how Jewish and Christian theologians (even the conservative ones) have approached scripture over thousands of years."
29
Comte, I'm not disagreeing with Mr. Signorile. Christians not only ignore most of the Old Testament, they ignore much of the New Testament as well. Christians pick and choose, and the selection process usually consists of, "What can I use in the Bible to condemn others?", while at the same time making excuses for why don't don't follow the parts of the Bible with which they don't agree. (I'm reminded of a movie scene where a girl throws a Bible at another, and screams, "I am FILLED with Christ's love!")

Also in my previous post, the "We Christians" is a typo. Obviously I'm not a Christian. I started to type "we ignore", but realized that I ignore the entire Bible, and tried to edit it to "Christians ignore". but neglected to delete the "we". Sorry for any confusion that may have caused.
30
28, your playing silly word games, it may not specifically use the word "homosexuality", but it does say:

In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men,

It condemns homosexuality, and says gays deserve death, just as does the Old Testament.
31
Christians are supposed to follow the word of christ.
Namely stop being a materialistic asshole, treat everyone with respect, and give your life over to helping the less fortunate.

Try all I might, I missed the part about America being a blessed nation, support for invading other countries, hating gay people, hating muslim people, and not helping poor people out with realistic health care and education schemes which seem to be the hallmarks of american christianity....

If your life isn't about this stuff you are not a christian.
32
@28 "Oddly, no term existed for "homosexuality" in ancient Greece - there were only a variety of expressions referring to specific homosexual roles. Experts find this baffling, as the old Greek culture regarded male/male love in the highest regard. According to several linguists, the word "homosexual" was not coined until 1869 by the Hungarian physician Karoly Maria Benkert."

Pretty hard for the word "homosexuality" to appear anywhere in the bible, I'd say, given it's a relatively modern term. And as I said to @6 in reference to what he wrote, if a handful of intelligent theologians have chosen to ignore the obviously ridiculous portions of the bible over the years, well, that's great, but that message has not filtered down to 99% of the other religious leaders out there.
33
30, you're not paying attention. Reread #23. What is being condemned is people straying from their natural path and engaging in relations that are unnatural FOR THEM. And, of course, it's ALL "word games," of which you are also playing when you conclude this passage condemns homosexuality (a word that the ancient Greeks had no word for, by the way).
34
Um, 19/27, no it doesn't. It says that God punished a particular group of people for their sins by giving them over to degraded passions.

That's like saying that because God struck someone blind, that all blind people are sinners and God hates them. Even if you believe that in the particular stated case there was a sin, it doesn't follow that it extends to all loving, responsible gay people. Read the actual passage, not what you have been told it means.

The Sodom story points out that gang rape by straight men is bad. Um, yeah. And even then, that's not what Sodom was punished for. But more to the point, God didn't condemn Sodom because the nice boys next door invited Lot to brunch, or the rather butch ladies down the block offered to help him with some home repairs between softball games.

And so on. The. Book. Doesn't. Say. What. You. Think. It. Does.

And of course, even if it did, that shouldn't have a damn thing to do with civil law.
35
33, No, it calls men having sex men unnatural, and a perversion. Nowhere does it say it's a perversion unless the men like it. Stop with the intellectual dishonesty.
36
Homosexuals want to force their interpretation of the Bible on the rest of society.
And enshrine their version of the Bible in law.
The whole point of Freedom of Religion is that No One; not the state, not the Pope, not Dan Savage; No One can tell anybody else what to believe or how to interpret the Bible.

and yeah, Signorile is a first rate asshole.....
37
34, I know the Bible inside and out. You're spinning it to make it say what you wish it said, just as Christians have done pretty much from the beginning. The Bible is anti gay, but soon people will ignore those parts, like they ignore the obvious errors in geology, and astronomy. The Bible is a silly ancient mythology, written by an ancient people who thought the Sun moved over a flat Earth.
38
When the argument gets to "My understanding of the Bible is truer than yours..." then you have lost the argument.

Doesn't matter if it is a fundy in a doublewide or an asshole radio host.
39
and, yeah, easy to see why Dan likes this asshole
40
@ 36 - I'm gay, and I don't want anyone to enshrine ANY interpretation of the bible (or any other so-called holy book) in law. I want the law to be about preserving human rights, equality and justice for all.

Considering all the contradictory nonsense that the bible contains (that's not my interpretation, just read it and you'll see), I'd say that those principles are in direct opposition to the bible... except a few bits in the gospels, which most christians are rather happy to ignore.
41
@ 13 - His interruptive approach is simply due to his being a radio host. Remember that WE are watching him, but most of his audience is only listening to him, and a rule of radio broadcasting is that you don't want silence, repetition or hesitation on the air (coz that's boring and people will switch to another channel). So Signorile, like every other phone-in show host, is obliged to cut in anytime he can so as to avoid these situations.

His abrasive approach is "justified" by him being Signorile. He's the dude who made outing popular, remember?
42
@32 - It may not give you much comfort, but there are more than a handful of theologians who don't give those parts of the Bible much credence in the modern world. There are whole denominations who, at the very least, preach tolerance, and some that preach acceptance.

It was a long time coming (the fight took almost 30 years), but my own denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, affirmed LGBT pastors in "publically accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-sex relationships" in 2009, and affirmed the right of congregations to call such pastors. In fact, a bunch of these pastors were moved back on to the regular roster of ordained leaders in recent months (you can read a sermon from one of those liturgies here if you are interested - it's very moving. http://sarcasticlutheran.typepad.com/sar…). The next step will be writing the rites of blessing for same-sex unions.

Serious biblical scholars, who aren't from literalist schools, pretty much all acknowledge that, first and foremost, a lot of the stuff in the Bible was written to particular communities at particular times. For example, when shellfish goes bad, it kills people quickly. The best way to avoid that kind of death is to avoid shellfish. In modern times, with refrigeration and quicker means of transport, the danger isn't as acute, so the prohibition doesn't apply.

In the case of the passage from Romans quoted above, there was a lot going on. First of all, Paul genuine believed that Jesus's return was immanent, like in his lifetime. He saw sex in general as irrelevant and encouraged chastity for all (I don't have my Bible with me, and I suck at remembering chapters and verses, so I can't give you citations because I don't have my notes). He thought that anything that was impure was evil. In the passage quoted above (which is somewhat taken out of context - this admonishment begings in Romans 1:18), Paul also calls out wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious towards parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless."

But Paul also goes on to call out those who pass judgment on others and hypocrites in Romans 2:1-3. That is part of the context of that whole message. It's not up to humanity to judge - that is reserved for God alone.

This whole rambling mess is just to show that context matters - both in terms of the audience the writer is speaking to, and terms of understanding the writer's intent. Oh, and I got most of my biblical training from the Catholics. Their actions may not always show it, but that is how they approach the Bible.

Oh and on an only slightly related note, @31 makes a really good point. Look for Shane Claiborne sometime. He comes from a more conservative viewpoint than I do, but he says a lot about the things @31 talks about.
43
42, Yes the Bible does recommend chastity for all, but is also recognizes that most people cannot accept celibacy. The Bible makes allowances for sex only within marriage. (another thing that most Christians ignore these days) There are no such allowance for homosexuals, and the Bible doesn't say that opposite married folks who have sex deserve death, as it does for gay folks. .

No matter how you want to spin it, the Bible is virulently anti gay. Again it's only a matter of time before that message is largely ignored as are the parts that say women should never wear gold, or braid their hair.
44
@42 You're definitely right, there are churches/denominations/congregations that are either tolerant or accepting. And that there were valid reasons for prohibiting the consumption of shellfish-no argument there. The problem is that, as much as I wish it weren't true, those churches/congregations are definitely in the minority. If tolerant Christians who ignored the appalling parts of the bible and simply tried to be better people by being nice to their neighbours and volunteering in homeless shelters were the norm, then we wouldn't be having this debate. The problem is that they aren't the norm, people like the radio caller are the norm, polite, god-fearing, "hate the sin not the sinner" Christians. I have read some wonderful books by Christians (Tom Harpur, Karen Armstrong), and if they were the strong voice out there, if they, and people like them, were representative of the average Christian, then it would be a very different different world.

PS Signorile seems to be focusing on gay teen suicides today, the show just started (mountain time), it's on from 2-6pm ET.
45
32: experts do not find the absence of a word for "homosexuality" in ancient cultures "baffling" at all. There was no word for "heterosexuality" either, because sex was not thought of in terms of identity but in terms of behaviours. Male-male love and sex in ancient Greece was known as paederastia, which referred to a specific type of paedagogical relationship between an older and a younger man, and which didn't preclude sex with women for either partner.
46
sam2300, the passage in question was written by Paul (and in Greek, not Aramaic; only a few portions of the OT are written in Aramaic and the rest is in Hebrew) and he was pretty firm in other passages about how he felt about sexuality in general--be celibate, and if you absolutely can't manage that, get married. Paul gives biblical scholars plenty of material, and there are a lot of ways of looking at what he wrote. Most agree that his work is imperfectly understood, in large part because he was writing 50 years or so after Jesus died and Christianity was still an underground religion, practice of which was punished harshly. Scholars continue to theorize about how his writings fit into this context, but... the argument that he was arguing in favor of homosexual behavior for gays so that they might be true to themselves is wishful thinking. The Bible has a lot of translations, and some are translated from translations of translations, but Paul's dickishness on the subject of homosexuality does not disappear when you go back to the original Greek (also, yes, he spoke Greek, but there is no indication that he shared their thoughts on homosexuality; he came from a society that saw it as an abomination). However, the Gospels say nothing about homosexuality, and Jesus never shuts up about love and acceptance, but there is anti-gay rhetoric in the NT. Paul was emphasizing the OT list of abominations, and Christians should be able to take the word of one dude who was not ever said to be a prophet as less important than the Gospels, and choose to honor the love and acceptance crap. This is definitely an illustration of why it's problematic to be so literal about something so eclectic as the Bible. Sure, there's anti-gay rhetoric in there, but that's unsurprising. At the time, it was frowned upon (except in Greece, yes). It's stupid and cruel to apply those standards today, and there's absolutely no excuse for it. But it's futile to look for explicitly PRO-gay rhetoric in the NT.
47
@44 - You'll get no argument from me on the point "If tolerant Christians who ignored the appalling parts of the bible and simply tried to be better people by being nice to their neighbours and volunteering in homeless shelters were the norm, then we wouldn't be having this debate."

Things are changing though. When my synod, which encompasses South Louisiana and Southeast Texas, voted on the resolution to allow partnered LGBT clergy, it passed with well more than the 66% required for it to pass. Granted, part of that was the fact that the largest congregations are in Houston and New Orleans (though the only big congregation in NO was not in favor), but in order for it to pass with such a majority, a lot of people from tiny little towns in Texas had to vote for it, too.

Times are changing. All I can say from the perspective of a follower of Jesus who tries to be inclusive, non-judgmental, and not hypocritical (though I'm sure I fail miserably at all of those sometimes), is that I for one will continue to speak out against hatred and bigotry in the Christian community. It has no place.
48
Even though it's an anonymous comment, @46 is worth reading.
49
I don't feel like getting into an argument about this on SLOG, because it's not a good forum for it... but I REALLY want to encourage Rob in Baltimore to do much more study of the Bible if he's interested.

The Scripture really doesn't say what you seem to think it says. The Old Testament is written in Hebrew and Aramaic. One needs to understand those languages and a little something about the history and culture at the time to really debate the meanings of some of the passages.

There are many learned scholars over thousands of years who have debated and debated the significance of one or two words at a time. And -- whether or not it's Divine Word -- each word is there for a specific reason.

So, yes, when people like the caller above say "it's in the Bible" or you say that it "clearly" is speaking about homosexuality... you're simply missing the point.
50
49, I've had more Bible study than anyone should ever have. I know what the Bible says. People trying to spin, the parts of the Bible that call for gay people to be killed as something else are just reinterpreting it to fit with today's changing attitudes toward gay people. It's nothing new. The Bible specifically says that a woman should never hold authority or teach men. Yet, that is by and large ignored now. The Bible is anti-gay, pro-slavery, and says that women are to be treated as property, not people. It's a silly old book of fables, that most Christians don't really know or follow.
51
49: it's claims like that that demonstrate how utterly irrelevant it is to try to debate people on the basis of scripture. Because ultimately, scripture doesn't matter. Not just because everybody interprets it in the ways that best suit them, but because scripture itself is colossally irrelevant to human life. The Bible, like every so-called 'holy' book, is a work of fiction that can have no more impact on the way a rational human being lives their life than Pippi Longstocking does. By trying to argue people on scripture you only lend it undeserved credibility, when the simple truth is this: your chosen interpretation of an ancient book of questionable provenance and morality and clear untruth, and the idiotic superstitions based on those interpretations that you claim as your "faith," don't matter one iota in the real world, and they don't deserve respect or deference.
52
@10- Exactly.
53
@50: You're a twit. The Old Testament is nothing if not ambiguous and reliant on interpretation. There is nothing in the Old Testament that condemns homosexual orientation; the proscription is against lying with mankind "as with womankind". One can interpret this as condemning desperation-sex between straight guys (and there's plenty of evidence to support this interpretation), or one can interpret it as calling for Teh Ghey to be killed.
If you claim you "know what the Bible says", you are fooling yourself, and should look into commentary on the interpretations more.
54
I only listened to half of the clip. I will say though that the main thing that impressed me was how the host was a thorough dick towards the caller and how the caller kept his composure. To think that the host came off better than the caller here requires a healthy dose of vicarious wish fulfillment.

The basic argument Signorile makes here "you think I am going to hell because I am gay, therefore you treat me like shit and inspire others to treat me like shit" is unmitigated bunk. Christians think that most people are going to hell. They think that everyone who is not Christian is going hell. Right off the bat that means that 3/4 of the world is going to hell, and there are lots of ways for the 1/4 to qualify. The fact that a Christian thinks you are going to hell doesn't make you special. It just means you are in the majority.

Just because there are a number of people who have a special interest in gays going to hell doesn't mean that everyone who thinks they are going to hell are going to be as dicklike about it. The nature of the Christian faith requires you to accept that most of your friends are going to hell. Most Christians are able to accept that and still maintain "outside" friendships.

Heck, my parents and sister think I am going to hell. That doesn't mean they hate me or want me to have a bad life or unequal rights. I would venture to say that they in fact love me.

Mature Christians accept that there is a difference between what God demands and what humane society demands. They are able to accept that equal rights on earth should extend to lots of groups of people that are going to hell later. For many modern Christians this is the meaning of both "Render onto Caesar that which is Caesar's" and "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." This is why coming out is an effective tool. Most Christians are able to accept the gays they know personally and this extends to gays they don't know. Don't confuse this acceptance with an abandonment of their religious faith. It is an acceptance of the fact that while God has the right to judge you, they do not.

It is important to distinguish between the Westboro Baptist Church types and run of the mill Christians who accept Christian theology. Both groups think you are going to hell. The difference is that the first group is going to actively oppose your rights and the second is available to come around to your side in terms of earthly rights. Some of them are already on your side. If however, you demand that they abandon their religion in order to be an acceptable ally in your fight for equal rights, you will not only lose those potential allies, you will look like a dick while you are doing it.

I say all this as an atheist pro-gay marriage anti-DADT liberal. Being a dick like Signorile was in this clip may be fun, but it is neither persuasive nor productive. In the end, being a dick just makes you a dick.
55
I have to say, I have nothing but contempt for religious types who fan the flames of hate and preach they're holier than thou message of power seeking and fear mongering. That said, this radio guy is a douche. Even if I stipulate to agreeing with every point he made to this caller, I really don't think this is how you participate in a conversation with those followers who consider the possibility that the other side (that's LGBT-ers and their supporters for those following along) might have a point. I wouldn't trot this one out the next time you want to show how reasonable you all are...just sayin'.
56
53, You're being intellectually dishonest, and are playing word games. It says:

54, Leviticus 20:13

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.


Nowhere does it say, "but, if the men are gay, it's okay."

Again, it's a silly ancient rule from a book of myths and superstitions, but it's not ambiguous at all.
57
"If you belonged to a political party or a social club that was tied to as much bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, violence, and sheer ignorance as religion is, you'd resign in protest. To do otherwise is to be an enabler, a mafia wife..."

Bill Maher, "Religulous"
58
@56: You're taking the closedminded approach of seeing only one interpretation of one translation as valid.
I point to the phrase (in your translation) "as one lies with a woman". This implies some substitution in which one man emasculates another by forcing him into a woman's role (in bed). This obviously does not apply to homosexuals, as gays don't care about women in terms of sex. Without the gender substitution, there'd be no sin by that rule. If it was meant to ban any same-sex relations, your translation would omit the phrase "as one lies with a woman".

And if you think that the Old Testament isn't ambiguous, you obviously haven't ever looked at a Tanakh in Hebrew. A great deal of words, we must make guesses to translate, as their original meaning is not understood. Due to the fact that consonant words can often be vocalized several different ways, many phrases contain double meanings. And any translation necessarily carries the bias of the translator. Don't play with me; I will end you.
59
I'm with Rob in Baltimore- you can do mental back-flips into teacups all you want, but the tone and tenor of the Bible (old & new testaments) is decidedly anti-gay. Best to take those passages as written, than try to justify how they're *not* against the MM butt sex.
Second, this all boils down to folks believing that GLBT folks *choose* to be the way we are. The people in the world who accept us are those who know that none of us chose to be attracted to the same sex. Those who don't are those who refuse to acknowledge all forms of evidence, empirical or anecdotal, and believe we wake up every day thinking "I'm going to sin today and love my partner- yay!".
To win over a hater, all one needs to do is make them realize that no one 'chooses' what sex turns them on.
60
58, there is absolutely no scripture to support what you are claiming. The Bible doesn't make an exception for people who are gay. That is you trying to spin it into something it's not, just as people have spun the Bible to allow women to speak in church, when it says they must remain silent.
61
@59-60: You are basing these views on translations of the Old Testament, I assume?
In other words, you're letting someone else do the interpretation for you. I know Christianity doesn't put a whole lot of importance on independent thought, but in Judaism, we're encouraged to read the Tanakh for ourselves and draw our own conclusions.
62
I'm with you, Reverse Polarity @18. The super-nerds, the kids who never reach puberty, the kids who are slightly disabled, extremely socially-awkward, etc. All those kids are bullied as well. And it's not because of religion. It's because bullies are looking for weakness and when they find it, they exploit it. Anyone who is different is fair game. If religions across the board were accepting of homosexuality, bullying of gay kids might be less intense, but it certainly wouldn't go away. They would still be a target. Religion is not the absolute end-all be-all source of homophobia.
63
@58: I think I love you. Or at least with the idea of ending someone by absolutely schooling them in Biblical Hebrew.
64
Urf. Why do they even give me the chance to edit my comment so it agrees with itself grammatically if I'm not going to use it?
65
In some way I hate to weigh in on this, but I am. If we consider the Bible that is found in the pew in a large portion of churches in the US, and read it without supporting notes (NIV is a commonly used version) it reads as anti-gay. This is what one finds if one reads the NIV, which can be bought inexpensively at Costco. Rob in Baltimore and OutInBumF are correct, IF we remain there. Now if we go beyond the NIV and we start to read the Bible in its original ancient language, THEN we find the differences that venomlash and Sheryl refer to. To me study of the Bible is fascinating, but I'm guessing that a large portion of Christians in the US don't read other translations, don't read commentaries, etc. and they are reading that NIV Bible that sits in the pew and on their desk at home. And, they are listening to the teachings of who their pastors who put their own spin on the NIV version. So, we can go around and around about this, because both sides have a point. From the NIV as it is written Rob and others are correct, but as those who delve farther into the Tanakh and into the interpolations, textual expansions, and the "cultural-linguistic traditions" of ancient Mediterranean Jewish, Greek, and Roman we find that things are murky and that venomlash and others are more correct, that the NIV has "mistakes" especially with regard to the OT and there are words in the Pauline letters that are found nowhere else but in those "official" letters (Don't get me started on the fact that no original manuscripts of any of the Pauline letters exist, none of them are identical either).

In short, my point is that you aren't talking about the same things. And, both points have truth. Not to mention, you all are on the same side.

Anyway, it is fascinating to follow. I love this stuff.
66
@4 - best thing on Slog today. Thank you.
67
@65 Well said! It's an excellent point; I'm annoyed for not thinking of it myself.
68
@65 -- Thanks for weighing in. Your comments were much appreciated. In fact, that is why I was so specific when I mentioned what I mean when I used the phrase "the Bible."
70
67 & 68,

Thank you. My post is riddled with typos in @ 65, I'm amazed that I got my point across. That will teach me to post from home when I'm under the influence of both antibiotics and pain medicine.

Take care.
71
*sarcasm*:

God doesn't change. It's written in the bible, so it must be so. ... Wait, that shellfish stuff is in the OLD Testament. God changed his mind about that.
*eye roll*

Anyone want to do a fact check and see where all the anti-gay bullshit is in the Bible? Because it seemed to me when I read it that most of was in the OLD Testament. And year, there is a clear message there that you men shouldn't have sex with other men (don't think it said anything about lesbians though). Do Christians not read their own bibles? Everything anti-gay in the New Testament is largely open to interpretation.

Anyway, arguing with religious people never gets anywhere. They have their beliefs that are largely based on what their church tells them to believe (and not usually on what the bible actually says). And the only thing that can get them to change their mind is an appeal to humanity. Treating people with respect doesn't prevent suicide. Treating people with KINDNESS does. And that was really Jesus's main message!! Poor guy is probably rolling in his grave when he sees what a mockery the Christians have made of his message (metaphorically speaking anyway ... since I don't actually believe in that kind of thing.)
72
61

Handy.

Since your God hasn't spoken to you for 2500 years.
73
This part of the New Testament should be ignored:
"Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
And yes, it's pretty much literally "homosexuals," translated from a Greek word coined by Paul from the root words of "having intercourse with" and "men." Hard to squirrel your way out of that.

Of course, Jesus told his followers they should cut their hands off rather than masturbate. There's a lotta crap in there. Christians must repudiate this nonsense, just as Muslims must repudiate the Verse of the Sword and Mohammed's last words, Hindus shouldn't burn wives on the funeral pyre with their dead husbands, blah blah blah. Basically everyone should carefully consider before following the edicts of pre-modern cultures.
74
@ 49 - I think its time I say this: Dingo, you're my idol in religious matters (and I can adore you without guilt coz I don't believe in Moses).
75
One thing I'm surprised hasn't come up so far is whether religious intolerance is necessary for homophobia. In this culture, perhaps... but I couldn't help but think of the inhospitable conditions gays face in China under the anti-religious Communist government or those faced in the old Soviet Union. This suggests to me that homophobia does not require divine justification.
76
@17: That "It's in the bible!" that you heard at 7:45 was clearly a soundbyte. As was "God might not be there" at 8:25. I assume those are being thrown in by whoever you hear laughing off-camera at 7:35.

I don't think I've ever listened to his show, but his name sounds familiar, and I had a higher regard for him than he deserves in this clip. I assume he'd had a hard day or something, but his interview style sounds like Sean Hannity: invite them on the show, and don't let them utter more than two words before you cut them off and start accusing and accosting them. I think his points are all valid, but I think he was being way too mean to this caller. I can't imagine this is productive, but then neither is logical discourse, I guess.
77
Knat - I am glad I was not the only one who thought of right wing radio host styles while watching that clip.
78
@73: what the hell does "repudiate" mean? I'm sorry, it just pisses me off when people with otherwise valid points use words made up by obvious morons because said morons couldn't think of the word they actually meant; it's like when my dad says "irregardless" when he really just means "regardless". "Repudiate" is especially bad because it's been absorbed by people who don't think Sarah Palin is a moron, as a statement of, "take THAT, liberal, ivory-tower elite with your media stylebooks and your dictionaries! You don't get to tell us what is and isn't a word!"
79
To Canuck @5--"I've often thought if someone could come up with a "good parts version" of every holy book, and include the positive things about paganism as well, we might have a good blueprint,"

Someone has. Thomas Jefferson to be specific.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_B…
80
In my eye, the caller in this video, and his "moderate" Christian peers who deliver their hatred with such a spoonful of sugar, are much more dangerous, and common, than the extremist "god hates fags" types.

81
Kim, I live in Portland, too.

Will you marry me?
82
@69 About 20% of Jews keep kosher. I'm still amazed how startled some goys are when they learn we don't all eschew pork. As though all Christians have the same level of observance, or as if there's no difference between the different branches of Christianity.
83
@73: At the risk of coming off as a "liberal, ivory-tower elite," I would like to point out that dictionaries are online now. And clearly, so are you.
84
@VENOMLASH: You keep saying there's a debate and Rob isn't right. Write it out or post a link or something, because you haven't offered any proof and Rob has quoted scripture that seems irrefutable. Show us the refutation.
85
@ 78 - According to Webster's, the first known use of repudiate was in 1545. It's a very fine word of Latin origin that's been part of your language for more than four centuries.

"Irregardless", on the other hand, isn't. I have a feeling you have a lot more in common with your father (and Sarah Palin) then you'd like to admit, coz you're the one who sounds proud of her ignorance here.
86
@84: ...are you shitting me?
"Rob has quoted scripture that seems irrefutable"
Rob is quoting A TRANSLATION of scripture. My point is that the Pentateuch is written in a very old form of Hebrew, and many phrases are extremely ambiguous. Pick up a Hebrew & English copy of the Tanakh and see how many footnotes the English pages have pointing out ambiguities or alternate translations. But here, feast your eyes on this alternate translation of Leviticus 20:13.
"And a man who will lie down with a male in beds of a woman, both of them have made an abomination; dying they will die. Their blood is on them." (http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bi…)
Archaic Hebrew is NOT simple. You can shut your ignorant mouth now.
87
I have never been happier to be a pagan.
88
@82 - little known fact - bacon is kosher when you eat it in a restaurant.
My mother taught me that.
89
Ya know the Bible actually has a couple of very applicable verses here. You may recognize them.

When they were going to stone a woman for adultry Jesus said let he who is without sin cast the first stone and they all hung their heads and walked away.

So to modernize that a bit, Jesus said to them I saw what u did dere, and I know none of u r really any better.

Second, I could look it up, but hey, why don't some of you so-called Christians look it up for us? There is a verse that says you know how you rank sins as some worse and some not so much? Yeah, God doesn't see it that way. Now what have you all got to say about not treating your women like slaves, eating shellfish and pork, and all that other? Not to mention what you did that day when you thought no one saw you.
90
Ya know the Bible actually has a couple of very applicable verses here. You may recognize them.

When they were going to stone a woman for adultry Jesus said let he who is without sin cast the first stone and they all hung their heads and walked away.

So to modernize that a bit, Jesus said to them I saw what u did dere, and I know none of u r really any better.

Second, I could look it up, but hey, why don't some of you so-called Christians look it up for us? There is a verse that says you know how you rank sins as some worse and some not so much? Yeah, God doesn't see it that way. Now what have you all got to say about not treating your women like slaves, eating shellfish and pork, and all that other? Not to mention what you did that day when you thought no one saw you.
91
Well, I guess the reinterpretation and repackaging of the Bible so that folks can rationalize the crazy in the scriptures with current social values continues, as it always has. It's only ambiguous to folks who are doing this.
92
Don't forget Jude 7!
93
@91: Well, it's entirely unambiguous to you, seeing as you somehow can pick out the one true meaning of an incredibly tricky text.
There's a reason that it's better to read a book in the original language, rather than the translation.
94
Religion is the problem, not the solution.
95
Gentlemen (specifically Rob, Dwight, and venomlash),

You all realize that the Christian Old Testament IS NOT the Tanakh. The Tanakh Does Not equal the Old Testament. Right? They are not the same thing. Despite the fact that Jewish born converts to what became known as Christianity borrowed from the Tanakh to create the Old Testament. And, that those Jewish born converts and Roman born converts historicized parts of the Tanakh as means of presenting Jesus of Nazareth as fulfilling prophecies for the compiled letters that make up the New Testament. The Tanakh is like a native heirloom apple tree. The other, the Old Testament, is a genetically modified apple tree created from the native heirloom. They're both apple trees, but they aren't identical. They are not the same thing. Not the same things.

Now, it is your choice if you wish to keep circling. You both are right, in my opinion. I wager that Rob is correct with regard to the majority of individuals who read the Christian Bible, as I have met very few who question it as it appears on the page and if they do it is because they are struggling with their personal ability to comply with it as it is written on the page. Venomlash is correct as well, for most Christian scholars agree that when the Old Testament is traced back to its native heirloom roots, the Tanakh, those black and white passages become ambiguous and murky. The problem is most Christians, at least many that I personally know, don't want to struggle with ancient Hebrew or ancient Greek and THEY DON'T want to discover that a long held cherished belief is wrong. They want to be told what to believe, and they want to believe that they have been and always will be correct in what they believe. Critical thinking is not a valued trait, in most churches that I personally have attended, compliance and conformity is.

Just sayin', but you can feel free to ignore me.
96
Found in the New Testament:

Ephesians 5; "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord... wives should submit to their husbands in everything. "

And also

Ephesians 6 "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ."

Please don't say "Oh, but that's only in the old testament", like us heathens have never met the google...
97
Kim @95,
beautiful post, as usual.
I'd add that while i'm not learned enough to know for sure if the Bible condemns homosexuality or not, I fully agree with Rob from Baltimore that it doesnt really matter. Bible openly supports a lot of things that already been send to the history's dust bin, like slavery, oppression of women, genocides of whole nations, polygamy, etc. Next thing to be disposed( God be our helper!)is homophobia and denial of rights to gay people.

We, as faithful(vs. merely religious) Christians, know what exactly faith is.It's not hating other people, but loving them. And taking Bible - the book written and composed by fallen humans- literally, instead of critically, is not faith either :)
98
I understand that most homophobia and heterosexism IS rooted in religious beliefs today HOWEVER I have actually encountered even within otherwise liberal and left circles homophobic and heterosexist atheists. Even one individual who had a degree in biology who claimed homosexuality to be unnatural and who wasn't speaking of Catholic "natural law" theology. I gave him a copy of Joan Roughgarden's "Evolution's Rainbow; Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People". Joan Roughgarden teaches biology at Stanford and I have found her work to be a perfect remedy to heterosexism and homophobia as well as transphobia/gender congruentism among people who study biology whose education completely overlooked this area of inquiry!

http://books.google.com/books?id=6O9Wj8E…