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May 29th, 2007

Faith…And Good Faith.

Of all the moral positions the anti abortionists generally take, the easiest one to discern the honesty of is the argument from the sanctity of life.  Life, they aver, begins at conception, thereby making abortion murder.  Fine.  You can always tell the folks who argue this position in good faith, from the ones who don’t, because they’re the ones who also have a passionate concern for the welfare of children After they’re born.  When you see someone babbling about the killing of innocent babies on the one hand, while supporting public policies that take food out of the mouths of living children, and which put healthcare beyond the reach of their families, then you know you’re dealing with a fraud.  They don’t give a good goddamn about innocent children.  Their motives are elsewhere, and the dishonesty of their rhetoric is enough to give you a pretty good clue where that elsewhere probably is.

It’s the same with religious arguments over homosexuality, and the rights of homosexuals.  Scanning Google News this morning, I came across this news article in The Age (Australia), concerning the current hostilities in the Anglican church over homosexuality.  Whenever someone starts pontificating about the tensions in various religious sects over homosexuality, you know they’re not really willing to look the beast in the eye when you see them starting from a premise of good faith on everyone’s part…

Not only is it divisive, it seems almost impossible to resolve because the opposing camps believe so strongly that they are right, that conscience demands they take the stand they do, and that they speak for God.

Er…no.  But it’s true that some folks expect you to accept their declarations of their faith and devotion to God at face value.  That needs to stop.

Those Christians who say homosexual acts are always wrong – and it is the act, not the orientation, they condemn, though gays don’t think this is a very meaningful distinction – do so because the Bible says so.

Here’s the problem with this: how often do you see these people who are standing pat on the bible’s anti-gay verses, living their own lives by the rest of it as well?  Just as you can tell who the frauds are in the abortion arguments by a passionate devotion to the right to life that begins at conception and ends at birth, you can tell who the frauds are in an argument over homosexuality, by an absolute devotion to the word of God that begins with all the biblical proscriptions against homosexuality, and comes to an abrupt halt wherever the bible starts telling heterosexuals what to do with Their genitals.

And then there is that ninth commandment.  You know…the one about not bearing false witness against your neighbors.  Who is the biggest consumer of junk science about homosexuality besides the religious right?  How often are religious right groups caught distorting the research of scientists and scholars about sexual orientation?  Over at Box Turtle Bulletin, Jim Burroway maintains a list of groups using Paul Cameron’s junk science.  Note the number of religious groups on it.  Back during the summer of 2005, when the Ex-Gay ministry Love In Action was being protested for forcing gay teens into their reparative therapy program, The Queer Action Coalition noticed that a number of negative claims about homosexuality on their website linked to a group calling itself the International Organization of Heterosexual Rights…an anti-gay hate group whose facts on homosexuality were utterly devoid of any scientific basis.  When challenged by QAC on their citing a hate group, LIA simply removed the links to the International Organization of Heterosexual Rights…but not their statistics.  What kind of piety is it, that holds Leviticus 18:22 is the absolute word of God, and the ninth commandment as optional?

It isn’t the people of faith who are the problem here.  The problem is the people of bad faith.  We can’t have honest discussions about homosexuality, and the rights of homosexuals in this country, until we start demanding that the people of bad faith either come clean about what they really believe, or step aside and shut the fuck up.  Because all they’re doing…deliberately doing…is poisoning the well for the rest of us.  Shoving them aside until they’re ready to start speaking their mind instead of trying to incite and manipulate and short circuit the political conversation is the first order of business. 

You think the bible is crystal clear about homosexuality do you?  Fine.  But you think that divorce should be legal?  Had a divorce yourself have you?  Oh…two?  On your third wife now are you?  But the bible is clear about homosexuality you say?  No compromise with what God has condemned is it?  Well…okay…until you’re ready to have an honest discussion about this, just shut the fuck up while the grownups talk among themselves. 

[Edited a tad…] 

One Response to “Faith…And Good Faith.”

  1. Tavdy Says:

    Luke 18 vs. 10-14

    To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

    “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

    “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    IMO the root cause of racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism and a host of other social ills is a desire to be better than others. Jesus called it “pride” – and it’s exactly what he condemned in that parable.

    There’s nothing quite so fun as hitting someone over the head with their own weapon.

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