The Quixotic Pastor

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Here We Go Again

I consider that often the prophetic edges of my ministry are expressed through letters to the editor of our various area newspapers.

For instance, here's a letter in one of my local papers, The Saginaw News, to which I responded:

Homosexual lobby
Editor, The News:

Had enough of ''homosexual deathstyle?'' Anyone who practices a style of living that eventually will kill them in the short or long run is living a ''deathstyle.'' This includes smokers, drug addicts and alcoholics.

I am an ex-smoker, so I know what I am talking about. I smoked off and on for 25 years and finally went cold turkey a little over a year ago and am now smoke-free.

Compared to homosexuals, smokers, alcoholics and drug addicts don't run around looking for special rights from the government to protect them. Homosexuality is not a human rights issue. It is a choice that people make to be homosexual, just as it was a choice I made to smoke, and a choice people make to drink to excess or abuse drugs.

Alcoholics can get help through ''Alcoholics Anonymous.'' There are numerous drug rehab and smoking cessation medications available. Many medical professionals consider alcoholism and drug addiction a disease. If these two deathstyles are considered a disease, why isn't homosexuality? Why would this deathstyle that caused the most devastating disease, AIDS, this country ever has seen be accepted as commonplace?

Today we have Hollywood glorifying homosexuality. Our schools are accepting homosexuality and teaching it as a viable alternative lifestyle, and now we have politicians proposing a protected status for a lifestyle that is killing people.

The question is, why would anyone support the deathstyle of someone they love? Do you really love them if you do? Should a moral society have to accept this or be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for opposing it? I think not. Don't be taken in by the lies and half truths perpetuated by the homosexual lobby.

Name and location omitted.

Here's my response:

Idea laughable

Editor, The News:

I read the Feb. 1 diatribe against homosexual persons with a mixture of amusement and anger.

Amusement because all of the gay and lesbian folks I know who have lived into their 60s, 70s and 80s -- many of them in long-term monogamous relationships of 20, 30, 40 years standing -- would laugh at his idea that homosexuality is more of a ''deathstyle'' than heterosexuality.
I have never met the writer, but I strongly suspect that my long-term monogamous relationship with my same-sex partner isn't any more a ''deathstyle'' than any relationship he has had or has with a significant other. Risky, unprotected sexual behaviors with multiple, unfamiliar partners or the sharing of needles is dangerous for straight people as well as gay people. I do not engage in those behaviors, and neither do most of the lesbian or gay people I know.

Anger, because the single most significant risk factor that homosexual persons face is the type of bigotry and misinformation that the writer and people who share his views espouse. According to the FBI, of the 653 hate crimes committed in Michigan in 2006, 52 were motivated by the perpetrator's perception of the victim's sexual orientation. (Of course, those are only the ones that were reported.)

Some people believe the lies, myths and stereotypes that misinformed people spread, and then feel justified in attacking those whom they perceive ''fit'' those stereotypes. Others will feel justified lobbying against the civil rights of homosexual persons, denying them employment protections and other rights that most U.S. citizens take for granted. Then, folks like the writer have the audacity to claim that gays and lesbians are seeking special rights.

Thanks for the opportunity to counter lies, myths and stereotypes.

Name and location omitted, although if you're reading this and paid attention to my profile, you know who I am.

Next, here's a counter-letter:

Political correctness?

Editor, The News:

In a Feb. 12 letter a person identifying herself as a clergy person also states she is a lesbian. She accuses some opposing her sexual preference as being liars.

Jesus tells those who judge another's speck when they themselves have a log: ''Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam (log) out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote (speck) out of thy brother's eye,'' Matthew 7:5.

What is the writer, a clergy person, preaching and teaching as being God's word? Evidently she is teaching ''political correctness,'' not God's word.

The Bible is God's infallible word and blueprint on what to teach, to believe and to live by. Jesus often quoted from the Scriptures and declared them to be the infallible word of God.

The lifestyle of homosexuality is condemned throughout Scriptures (Leviticus 18:22-24, 26, 28-29; 20:13,14-16; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Timothy 1:9-10). In listing sinful lifestyles, including homosexuality, the apostle states that such persons ''shall not enter the kingdom of God'' and adds: ''Be not deceived.''

After creating Adam, God created Eve, a woman, for the man. Of such God-ordained unions, the apostle writes: ''Marriage is honorable in (among) all, and the bed undefiled: But whoremongers and adulterers God will judge,'' Hebrews 13:4.

Thus, as taught in Scripture and in churches through the centuries, though some strayed, especially in recent years, all of us who engage in sex outside of the marriage bond and all of us who practice homosexuality need to ponder this: Does the clay, over time, become wiser than its molder and maker?

There's a couple of different tactics I'm considering for my response --when I compose it, I'll conclude it on my blog, but in the meantime, I certainly welcome your thoughts, O dear readers, all four or five of you.


  • At 9:28 AM , Blogger Tom in Ontario said...

    Being straight myself, and now knowing any homosexuals personally (at least none that are out), sometimes this kind of discussion becomes an academic exercise for me.

    I'm convinced that homosexuality is not a choice. Certainly the one man—one woman relationship is the norm. I don't know what so many straights are afraid of. The acceptance of queer relationships and unions isn't a threat to my hetero marriage. Erwin Buck writes: "We do not need to fear that men and women will cease to be attracted toward one another. Queers are in the minority. Heterosexual relationships far outnumber any alternative relational pattern. Gays do not expect that their homosexual relationships will become the social norm. Gays want a place in the sun, not the whole beach."

    The man/woman relational patter is the norm for the human family. The question is what exceptions to the norm can be tolerated.

    As to sin. What is to be regarded as sinful in the context of homosexuality? In the Lutheran tradition we are urged to ask not just what is sin but also why something is sinful. We're not called upon to obey arbitrary commands. I see the scriptures condemning the same-sex sex act but the society that wrote those scriptures knew nothing of the concept of homosexual orientation. They saw same-sex acts as a deviation from the norm and thus wrong. A Quaker statement on the topic says homosexuality itself is no more sinful than is heterosexuality. What is sinful is not homosexuality as such, but exploitation of the other person. Such exploitation is equally sinful in the case of heterosexual relationships.

    If homosexual behaviour is unacceptable, and if it's true that homosexual orientation is not a matter of personal choice, then we have a problem. The only option is to remain celibate. The scriptures deem celibacy to be an honourable option, commending celibacy but not requiring it. Even Paul knew that celibacy is possible only for those who have that special gift (1 Cor 7.7). Forcing anyone into a life of abstinence is denying the right and freedom to be who you are. Homosexuality is not a handicap about which nothing can be done. Why should only heterosexuals be permitted to fall in love, to share their life with each other, to find joy in each other? Does the gospel of Jesus Christ demand that homosexuals suffer loneliness and deprivation?

    Paul celebrated the diversity of the members of the body. Hands and eyes and feet and ears need each other for the healthy functioning of the whole. I think that pertains to the diversity of members having hetero and homosexual orientations. I think it also pertains to the diversity of convictions regarding this matter. Is it possible for people of differing sexual orientation and people of differing convictions to not only co-exist but to love one another as Christ loves them all?

  • At 7:48 AM , Blogger Tom in Ontario said...

    First sentence should have read "NOT" knowing any homosexuals personally

  • At 10:02 AM , Blogger Reverend Dona Quixote said...

    Thanks for your thoughtful commentary, Tom.

    I really appreciate the Buck quote, which I had not heard and I think is useful for explaining to people what it is that I and some others within my community want.

    As I am fairly certain you understand, this is not merely an academic exercise for me, or others like me. I wish it were not merely an academic exercise for people who are NIMBY --not in my backyard, not in the same place I am.

    I wish that the last sentence in your comment -- "Is it possible for people of differing sexual orientation and people of differing convictions to not only co-exist but to love one another as Christ loves them all?"--
    is what happens.

    Unfortunately, it isn't. The plain facts are that there are countless Christians out there in the US who feel perfectly justified in seeing to it that the ordinary civil rights
    they enjoy --state recognition of their partner/family relationships and the privileges and responsibilities associated with that recognition, employment protected from unfair discrimination and so on-- are denied to me and other people who are members of the LGBT community.

    I often wish that mainline and progressive Christians would come to realize that this is a radical injustice and begin to speak out, because this is FAR from an academic discussion. Lives are at stake here, because people who are LGBT continue to suffer violence because of who they are. The quality of life for LGBT persons is also at stake here -- for roughly the same percentage of the population that is left-handed instead of right handed.

    Also, in the US, I think this is a question of constitutionally protected religious freedom/the non-establishment of religion clause.

    Whenever someone speaks in the US of amending a constitution to [ahem] "protect" marriage [their marriages, not mine, about which they care not one iota, hardly an expression of love IMHO], they are establishing the primacy of one particular religious viewpoint over another --and that is something that should give all US citizens pause.

    Something else that I wish that US citizens would think about is that far-right conservatives in our country are stoking the fires of fear about people like me, telling out and out lies frankly [ie. "the homosexual deathstyle"] to raise money to fund their political campaigns. If fundamentalist Christians were to rise to a place of increased political power in this country ... what do you think the impact on the entire world would be?

  • At 3:43 PM , Blogger Jen said...

    I just want to cry when I read about the idiots out there who spew this stuff. Kudos to you for calmly and rationally telling him the truth. I couldn't have done it so politely. I'm so sorry there are people out there like that and that you have to deal with them.

  • At 6:35 PM , Blogger Cecilia said...

    (((rev dq))) thanks for speaking the truth in love for all of us.

    Pax, C.

  • At 3:54 AM , Blogger LutheranChik said...

    I wonder if the Saginaw News would be as willing to print a letter to the editor from a white supremacist critiquing the integration of African-American culture into the dominant culture. (I'm thinking of 50's-era complaints about "jungle music" and other encoded language.) Prolly not.

  • At 10:01 AM , Blogger Mother Laura said...

    Godde, I am so sorry that LGBT people still have to deal with so much garbage, lies, and injustice....And so impressed that you are out there taking it on with prophetic and nonviolent challenge.


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