Posts Tagged ‘same-sex marriage’

Deeper Waters 10/5/2013 Robert Gagnon

October 3, 2013

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Dr. Gagnon will be my guest and is an informed speaker on this area, having written the book “The Bible and Homosexual Practice.” This is one of the most thorough works if not the most thorough (And certainly the most thorough I’ve read) on the matter of what the Bible has to say about homosexuality.

Gagnon doesn’t even begin with Scripture but rather begins with the ancient society that the people of the Bible lived in. How was homosexuality viewed in their culture? What did the other societies do in relation to homosexuals or even to simple accusations of homosexuality? How did Israel behave in comparison to them?

Then, there’s the looking at the biblical texts and even texts that some people would think at the start have nothing to do with homosexuality. Does the story of Noah being shamed by his son have anything to do with homosexuality? It just might.

Of course, there is then time spent on accounts like Sodom and Gomorrah and looking at any argument against that being about homosexuality that can be found. Certainly, Gagnon takes us through the arguments of the holiness code in Leviticus and argues why it should be treated as a prohibition and explains why eating shellfish would not fall in the same category.

What about the writings of Jews outside of the Bible? Gagnon also looks at the positions of Philo and Josephus for instance to see what they say. Now some could say “Well Jesus never says anything about it?” According to Gagnon, Jesus in fact does say something about it and we’ll be definitely looking at that this Saturday.

Then we come to the NT and especially the passage in Romans 1. Is this a condemnation by Paul of homosexual behavior? Is it true that Paul knows nothing about loving and committed homosexual relationships? Do modern studies on sexual orientation change anything that Paul has said?

For those who want more, Gagnon also looks at modern discussion on the topic and even scientific studies on the matter. We’ll be discussing what the implications are of accepting the redefinition of marriage and why it is so important that we win this battle today.

I urge everyone to listen in and please be willing to call in and ask your questions, though I’m suspecting that some that champion tolerance in calling in might reveal themselves to be people who are in fact only tolerant of that which already agrees with them. In other words, intolerant. If you want to call in, the number is 714-242-5180. The time is 3-5 PM EST.

The link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Note: This blog entry is largely a copy of what I had back in August when unfortunately we had to reschedule so if some of you are getting a sense of Deja Vu this time, there’s a reason. The information he has is still just as relevant so please be listening.

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/28/2013: Ex-Homosexuals

September 27, 2013

What’s coming up on the Deeper Waters Podcast on 9/28/2013? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

We’ve all heard something about the debate on marriage today and when it comes to the topic of homosexuality, we’ve been told that homosexuality is something immutable. It’s not a choice. It’s something that you’re born with and you just don’t change that! There is no such thing as an ex-homosexual.

Well if that’s the case, then my three guests on this week’s episode don’t exist.

My guests are Greg Quinlan, Douglas McIntyre, and Grace Harley. All three are Christians today and all three were at one time practicing homosexuals. All three have stories of how their change came about and want to speak about the way that people like them are ignored and if not that, in fact persecuted by those on the other side.

If what you hear on Saturday is true, then it is a strong argument against the idea that homosexuality is immutable. If there is just one case otherwise, then the claim is shown to be false. This is not to say that the change would not be difficult for some and in fact, it might be the case that some just don’t pull it off, but such is the same if anyone is addicted to anything or has a strong desire towards something. These three say they have done it and that there are several several others out there that you just don’t hear about.

They’ll tell us about what we should be doing in the debate on marriage today. We want to win this battle of course, but there’s a right way to fight and a wrong way to fight. If you want to fight the right way, why not learn from those who have been there?

Also, how does the church treat homosexuals and what can be done? While my guests definitely don’t go in for the Fred Phelps technique at all, they do see problems with the way the church goes about in its normal witness to homosexuals. This includes a stigma that many Christians have against homosexuals. How is it that the church should treat a homosexual man, woman, or even couple that shows up in their presence?

And what about the family situation? How should people respond to questions of homosexuality in their family? Are there steps that a mother and a father can take to instill proper ideas of sexuality within their children?

It is my hope that with a show like this, you listeners and myself as well will better learn how to respond in this debate and know that we are not alone. If anyone asks for evidence that homosexuality is not immutable then, we can just point them to the testimony of my three guests.

I hope you’ll be planning to join in this Saturday from 3-5 PM EST on Blog Talk Radio. The call in number if you want to ask a question of my guests is 714-242-5180. Make sure they’re questions. No angry diatribes wanted.

The link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

General Mills Vs. Boston

July 21, 2012

What does a cereal company have to do with the capital of Massachusetts? Find out on Deeper Waters.

We’re taking a break from our look at the law to discuss a hot topic going on today. Not too long ago, some companies like General Mills came out in favor of homosexual marriage and this caused an outcry from several Christians and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) leading to a boycott of General Mills and other companies.

Immediately, the blogosphere was ablaze with the imbecility supposedly of Christians doing something like this. Even on the Failblog one would see entries asking about how many other things would be boycotted because of the position of General Mills. Obviously, Christians were just dumb for doing what they did.

The reality of this situation is that Christians who want to do this are simply living according to their principles. Most people who believe in tolerance would agree that it would be wrong to force someone to do something that they deem to be immoral. Of course, if they say otherwise, one wonders what kind of tolerance they have when they believe they should force their opinions on others.

Enter Chick-Fil-A. Chick-Fil-A is known to be a company built on Christian principles. You will not find a Chick-Fil-A open on a Sunday. Chick-Fil-A has also been accused of being in support of traditional marriage. Before going on, let’s take a look at the way the debate is framed.

Chick-Fil-A is said to be in opposition of marriage equality. If you oppose homosexual marriage, you oppose said equality. This is fallacious however as it assumes that the opponents are people who oppose equality and we see equality as a good quality to have. Who would want to oppose it?

Now when I meet someone who claims an inequality, I ask how my marriage rights differ from someone who is homosexual. This is the response I get.

“You have the right to marry the person you love!”

Well, not necessarily.

Before some of you might start panicking, let me assure you I have not made a statement that says anything about the love I have for my Mrs. I have made a statement rather about the rights that I have. Let’s see what my rights are as a heterosexual.

I can marry someone of the opposite sex.
I can marry someone who is of age.
I cannot marry a close relative.
I must marry a human.
I cannot marry more than one person.

As it stands, the person I love falls into that criteria.

Here are the rights of a homosexual.

They can marry someone of the opposite sex.
They can marry someone who is of age.
They cannot marry a close relative.
They must marry a human.
They cannot marry more than one person.

Looking at the lists, the rights are identical. Now the homosexual community says that they are not allowed to marry the person they love, which is someone of the same sex. I agree. They cannot. The reality is that I cannot marry someone of the same sex either and I cannot force a change just by saying “I love them!” If I claimed to love my mother sexually, it does not mean that I should therefore have the right to marry her.

So the idea of marriage equality is just wrong. There is a different right that is desired. At this point however, we can just ask why we should not change any of the other rights. It could be that we will be told no one is campaigning for those rights now. So what if they are? What do we do then? By what criteria do we not grant them those rights that allows for homosexuals to marry someone of the same sex?

Anyway, to get back to where we were, some who think Chick-Fil-A has taken a wrong stance have also decided that they want to boycott Chick-Fil-A. Upfront, I think that is just fine. That is what their moral belief is and they have the right to act according to that belief. If they think Chick-Fil-A deserves to be condemned in this endeavor, then by all means let them speak with their pocketbook. We can speak about the rightfulness or wrongfulness of such a position, but we cannot say the action of a personal boycott is automatically wrong.

Now recently, Dan Cathy, president of Chick-Fil-A has come out with a statement in regard to their stance of being for traditional marriage and has said that they are guilty as charged. I find it interesting in this that someone who believes in traditional marriage is meant to automatically be seen as a bigot. He is not speaking out against something so much as he is speaking for something.

Now because of this, a different factor has entered the equation. Thomas Menino, the mayor of Boston, is moving to block Chick-Fil-A from opening a restaurant in Boston. Now when NOM went against General Mills, it was a personal boycott. Right now, Menino is doing a political action to make his case.

What do I not expect to see happen? I do not expect that the people who mocked Christians for their boycott will go after Menino for not just boycotting but actively blocking the business of Chick-Fil-A. A look at Twitchy shows that there are comments that have this. (For those who don’t know, Twitchy is a service that shows comments on Twitter in response to various news items)

Instead, what we are seeing is that Menino is proudly standing up for those who are being discriminated against. This is in fact Menino’s reason. He does not want a business that discriminates in his city. The problem is Menino is confusing persons with behaviors and in fact, his position is dehumanizing.

You are not a behavior walking around. You are a person. You are a person who happens to do whatever behaviors might be discussed. Menino’s actions instead define persons by their behaviors. It claims that persons must perform with such and such a behavior and they cannot avoid otherwise. With regard to homosexuality, a person must perform sex in a homosexual manner and they cannot do otherwise.

Now we could write endlessly about whether someone can change from homosexuality to heterosexuality. I’ve read of enough stories of that happening that I think they can, but let us suppose for the sake of argument that they cannot. Does it follow that a person who is homosexual must partake then of homosexual sex? No more than a person who is heterosexual must partake of heterosexual sex, unless you want to make the case be that heterosexual people have self-control and homosexual ones don’t.

Can that be difficult? Of course, but would someone deny that it is also difficult for a heterosexual person to not engage in heterosexual sex outside of parameters they believe that it is permissible, such as within marriage? (If anyone does not think it possible, I can tell them my wife and I were virgins until our wedding night) Sexual temptation is difficult for most anyone.

Now if someone does not eat, that someone will starve. If someone does not breathe, they will suffocate. If someone does not drink, they will dehydrate. There are things we have to do individually to survive. Sexual behavior is not like that. You will not find an autopsy anywhere that lists cause of death as “Did not have sex.”

Now of course, as a whole, the species must engage in sexual intercourse to survive, but we are quite fortunate that it seems that most men and women don’t really need encouragement to get together and make babies. We don’t see any reason to think the human race will soon die out due to a lack of babies coming, although abortion might make us wonder in the future.

And to be even more specific, no one needs to engage in homosexual sex in order for the species to survive. If no one ever had homosexual sex, the species would still get along just fine. It is something like this that makes me wonder why it is that so many atheists want to rush to defend homosexuality? One would think that from an evolutionary perspective, it doesn’t do much to bring about the fitness of the species.

At any rate, we can think of terms that describe our behavior like vegetarian or homosexual or baseball player or anything like that. We would not want any of those to be our whole identity. Behavior is an aspect of persons but not a definer of persons.

Hence, Menino’s position is really dehumanizing as it makes homosexuals be identified by their behavior. If saying marriage should not be changed is discriminatory, then what is anyone to say about people who are homosexual as well and want marriage to stay the same?

Furthermore, for all his talk about discrimination, Menino’s position is discriminatory. He has set up which businesses he will allow in his city, those who agree with him, and has set up which ones he will not allow, those who do not agree with him.

Of course, he could be right in his position, but let us not make the mistake of saying that he is not discriminating. In fact, he is also discriminating against a population, something he says he is against. He is discriminating against the population that believes marriage should stay what it is and that we should act to protect it.

Now we often hear from the homosexual community about how we should be tolerant and open of other opinions. Apparently, that means people who believe in traditional marriage should be open to being wrong, but people who are for homosexual marriage do not have to be open to being wrong. Tolerance in this case is never a two-way street. Will we see tolerance coming from the other side? Doubtful. This decision will be celebrated while at the same time the decision to boycott General Mills will be mocked.

Ironically, it is the marriage side that is practicing true tolerance. We are saying General Mills has every right to say what they think is true. Meanwhile, we have every right to not buy their products if we choose. Menino on the other hand is saying that not only is Chick-Fil-A wrong, he will not have a discussion with them. He is just going to block them and use the force of his political power to not let anyone in his city enjoy their products.

Ah. The loving tolerance once again that is being expressed. But what do we know? We’re just bigots who need to be more tolerant.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Dimming Of Ebright

May 25, 2012

Does Ebright have a bright idea? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Over at Red Letter Christians, Ian Ebright has written an article entitled “Anti-Gay Marriage Legislation is an Example of an Overextended Church in Decline.” (Link at the end)

It’s pretty bad for me when right in the title I notice a problem.

Why am I categorized as anti-gay marriage? In reality, I am pro-marriage. It is another group wanting to come and change what marriage is. It is my policy in defense of my position to say that they are wrong. The opposition needs to show that what they are wanting is what marriage is, that it is good, and that they should be allowed to have it.

Why is it that sticking up for marriage is being seen right at the start as a negative position? Since our writer is a Christian, when Jesus is asked about divorce by the Pharisees, would it have been proper to say in the newspapers of the time “Anti-divorce teaching is overextending the bounds of Torah.”?

The first sentence already has the conspiracy going. The church is no longer content with governing itself. Now, it wants to use the tools of the government to order lives of consenting adults.

Tools of the government. You know, tools like free elections where people are allowed to vote and choose for themselves. These are people we’d normally call “consenting adults.” Meanwhile, in states like Iowa, the legislation has been passed by the courts without the vote of the people in fact forcing the beliefs of the courts on the populace.

Sounds like someone has their facts backwards.

Note also that the marriage side is not saying to storm into the bedrooms of homosexuals and punish them for Sodomy. They are free to do what they want to do. All we are saying is we will not recognize it as marriage.

Not to mention, why does consenting adults make it right? If consenting adults want to commit incest, will we say that they can get married? Consenting adults have threesomes often. Consenting adults divorce for dumb reasons. Consenting adults engage in polygamy.

Let’s also not forget that when the German cannibal Armin Meiwes wanted a specific victim to eat, he asked for a consenting adult. Everything was agreed upon! Somehow, I don’t think it was seen as a moral act just because it was between two consenting adults.

The writer then writes about all the freedom the church has. Why yes. The church has glorious freedom. True, we can speak, but notice some problems.

A worker who shares the gospel at his workplace could lose his job.

A preacher can get in trouble with the government for speaking on a political issue.

A student who prays at a school event like a graduation or a football game can face the wrath of the ACLU.

Christians in the media such as in sitcoms and movies are usually portrayed as ignorant and superstitious while the homosexuals are the laughable and enjoyable characters.

People at stores at Christmastime can be told to say to customers “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

Yet if you speak out saying you don’t think homosexuals should marry, you are a bigot, a homophobe, intolerant, and those are just listing some of the things I can put on a blog that are decent!

The writer then goes on to say the church is not content with ministry but wants to rule on private affairs.

Sorry to disappoint, but marriage is not a private affair.

When my wife and I got married, it was an incredibly public affair. We had a minister, her family, my family, and several good friends. (Including my best man who is going to be writing an excellent blog on this as well at RayadoRiver.wordpress.com.) While in Charlotte, we had someone fly in all the way from California for this event and our vows were done before God and man. That was a public affair.

When we are out in public, people know we are married. I am holding her hand we both wear our wedding rings. We can kiss each other in public and I can hold open doors for her and call her my Princess in public as well as refer to us as Mr. and Mrs. Peters.

That is public.

Now when we got married, what went on in the bedroom was indeed private. It is still private. This is the area that the church is not intruding upon. What we are wanting to protect is the public sphere, the sphere of marriage that is seen by all.

Furthermore, even the private aspect has a public demonstration. Let us suppose one day that Mrs. Peters and I have a child. Knowing that we are a faithful couple, that will be testimony to the world that we do have a sexual relationship. Every person you see today, you see because at one point, two people engaged in sexual activity together.

The idea then that Ebright is wanting to get out is exactly opposite of what he says.

Ebright now says the church and nation are getting weaker and more divided.

For the weaker aspect, I’d like to see some evidence. In what way are we weaker? Is our economy worse because we do not have this? Is our national defense worse? How are we weaker?

As for division, this assumes the church is the cause of the division. Note that where people have voted, they have always voted for marriage. It seems the dissenting opinion would be the one causing the division, but not so in the world of Ebright.

Furthermore, if there is division, it could be for a good reason. It could be some people think the purpose of marriage is something worth standing up for. Some people are realizing the church’s usual mechanism of “RETREAT!” which Ebright wants us to use again, doesn’t really work so well.

Amazingly is this sentence from Ebright.

“In a crusade for a more wholesome culture, we have injected pride, arrogance, hostility, and vitriol.”

Obviously, the more loving approach would be to tell people they’re intolerant and bigoted homophobes. Go look at some blogs sometime to see how the homosexual community and those who side with them can often speak of those who are for marriage. Desires of violence and death are quite common. When anyone has said the same to the homosexual community, the defenders of marriage have been quick to condemn such talk.

Ebright is once again on the opposite end.

Next is this paragraph:

“I have heard gay marriage argued against with the example of Nazi Germany, by people asking “where was the church then?” They say genocide is what happens when we fail to act on our morals as a church. I find it troubling that this is even considered a valid comparison to the GLBT community’s wish to marry. One is force, the other is consensual. Force turns sex into rape and employment into slavery. This is why the church is universally applauded when it combats sex trafficking, and esteems people otherwise harmed, neglected or left behind, because in those moments the church is elevating the individual rather than trying to restrict it.”

I have looked over and over this paragraph. It still makes no sense. I asked Rayadoriver their thoughts on it seeing as that blogger is much better in English than I and the thinking on it was mutual. This whole paragraph is a train wreck. I’m also not sure about who is making this comparison. I’ve read several blogs and have not seen it.

Ebright goes on to say that this is a form of consumerism in the church trying to make the culture look like it.

You know, all those Christians out there picketing to make Sunday church attendance mandatory and saying that one is not a citizen unless they’re a Christian. Oh wait. We’re not doing that. We’re not forcing Christianity on anyone. What we are doing is making a stake for our position and leaving it to the people to vote.

Why does Ebright have a problem with this? It’s as if he wants us to just lie down and do nothing. Just capitulate to the culture. Do not I as a Christian have a right to speak my beliefs in public and if I think they are good beliefs, to tell others why they should adopt them as well and live accordingly?

Does Ebright think the way of Christ is a good way worth sharing with the culture?

Ebright then compares being against SSM to the idea of being against tattoos, alcohol, and cursing.

Never mind that homosexuality is something condemned in both testaments and that marriage is a public affair affecting all of society whereas the most you could get a case for with the others is alcohol consumption which we already have laws regarding as well. Perhaps Ebright thinks that if that opinion is something Christians would encourage that we should get rid of it then.

He next speaks about the fight against pornography. That fight was lost, but the church was not silenced. Maybe it was better to just lose the battle.

Sure. Maybe it was better. We can just look at all the homes damaged by pornography, all the marriages split apart, the dehumanization of women, the lack of men being able to be men, the idolization of sex, etc. as just collateral damage. Sure. Those kinds of things happened, but the church can still minister!

The church has always been ministering and until Jesus returns, it will continue to do so. The church is meant to be salt and light in the world, but for people like Ebright, it would be best if we put ourselves under a bush, the very activity that Christ condemned.

Ebright then says:

“When you look at Christ, do you see Him forcing teaching or standards of living on everyone? He taught people to seek- as Rev. Earl F. Palmer said so correctly- seek is a freedom word. That means ministry is intended to grant people the dignity of choice as well as our patience. These ideas can be held along with the charge to go and make disciples.”

I am not sure which NT Ebright is reading. The gospel of Mark early on has Jesus calling people to repent. That term actually means that he is telling them to abandon their way of life and follow him. Jesus was a revolutionary, but he was not a military revolutionary. He was not planning a revolution against Rome. If anything, it was against the corrupt vision of His day.

Jesus was not meek and mild. Meek and mild teachers do not get crucified. People that do not stand up to the culture are ignored by the culture. Jesus regularly challenged the Pharisees on their own turf. True, He did not “force” his way, but Israel and America are not identical. Jesus certainly taught His way and encouraged others to follow, the action I’m suggesting we do and Ebright is suggesting we don’t do.

Let’s also not forget this little event on Passover week that involved a temple and making a whip. If any statement was revolutionary, it was that. This is quite likely the big event that got Jesus crucified and it was also a Messianic claim on His part.

Ebright then says that it’s time to stop forcing others to eat their vegetables. Force seems to be a favorite word. Unfortunately, force is never shown. It’s just asserted.

He also says homosexual marriage will not hurt your marriage any more than a neighbor having an affair. Let’s see how this logic works.

“Stop the fight against abortion! Abortion won’t harm your child!”

“Worry not about the neighbor abusing their child. It won’t hurt your child!”

Is this really the way Ebright wants followers of Christ to think? “If it will not hurt you, don’t worry about it.” Here I thought the biblical way was to esteem others as better than myself. It seems Ebright’s thinking is “Look out for number one.”

Ebright then has this quote.

““You’ve confused a war on your religion with not always getting everything you want. It’s called being part of a society. Not everything goes your way.” -Jon Stewart”

Excellent source right there. I’m convinced. Yes. Part of society is not everything goes your way. Correct. That’s because we live in a free civilization where we can vote and encourage people to vote our way. Let’s keep in mind that when Prop 8 was accepted, those opposed try to take the results of a free election to the courts. Meanwhile, when it was acceptable for a time in Maine, the people did a different tactic whereby they went around and got signatures, which was the state-approved way of handling a disagreement.

Yes. You won’t always get what you want and believe it or not, because you want your relationship to be called marriage, that does not mean the government should do that for you.

Ebright then ends with how we should be living more Christlike (You know, the guy who stood up to culture and got crucified” and that good biblical advice is to take care of your own family. (Is Ebright saying that he wants to impress on us his idea that we should take care of our own family? By his standards, is he not forcing this belief on us?) This is then being salt and light.

No. It is not. It is saying the Kingdom of God has no say on the kingdom of man.

As I check, there is nothing also in the piece about what the purpose of marriage is. There is nothing in the piece about what constitutes a family. There is nothing in the piece about the best environment in which to raise children. None of this is there. Now someone could say we’re wrong about all of those, but it seems Ebright is not even familiar with why a number of us are fighting this battle to begin with.

So this would mean Ebright is also wanting us to listen to him without him listening to us.

People like Ebright will continue to weaken the church in America and make it more and more irrelevant as has happened in England. Those who believe that the way of Christ has something to say to challenge the world will go out with that message. Ebright does not have to come along. After all, we do not believe in force.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The article can be found here