Monday, August 06, 2012

When Your God Hates F*gs

This, this is why I sometimes consider leaving Christianity all together. (The points addressed here are from Jesus Needs New PR, aka Matthew Paul Turner. The responses are from JP Moreland. Both are in response to Chick-fil-A Day of Support organized by professional hater Mike Huckabee)

[Regarding the Chick-fil-A Day] People felt hate and we ignored that. At the end of the day, regardless of whether or not your Christian understanding of scripture harbors hate or not, a large group of people felt hated..  
Regarding his point about people feeling hate, this is the other side's issue, not ours, and to be quite honest, they may need to search more deeply within themselves if they, in fact, felt hated.  Very few went to CFA with hate; they were angry about the other side's hate, but they were not hateful. Matthew confused hate with the hard virtues of confrontation of moral evil and standing for what is right, and he confuses real hate with the feeling of hate.  The feeling of hate was not the protester's fault; it was a projection of the other side onto the protesters and probably reveals a need to be more discerning about those who disagree with you and not to react emotionally.  Such an emotional reaction is often narcissistic (I and my feelings of acceptance are all that matter; the issue, and people’s right to disagree with me are not the issue)....

Because, Moreland, when marginalized people feel hatred directed at them, there is often some validity to it - whether or not you feel that is the case. It is not the victim's job to turn off their Abuse Meters just because you say you're not directing abuse at them.

 How can you even know, love and care for people without truth and knowing “issues (alleged truths) about people and how they think?  One of the most loving things one can do to someone is to stand up against their harmful behavior.
It takes all sorts of mental gymnastics to think that standing against LGBTQ people isn't standing against LGBTQ people.

We [prove we don't hate gay people] by warmly inviting them to attend church, to receive love and healing and so forth.
It takes a sort of fortitude to conclude that LGBTQ people or their allies would ever want to step foot in a church that demeans and ridicules them. Or that those same people are supposed to feel loved when their request to be treated as equal human is scoffed at by those who claim to love them.

Or that anybody wants or would benefit from whatever kind of "healing" they're offering.

My favorite version of this meme, as envisioned by a friend of mine,, Terry R.
I'll close out the quotes with this right here:

[H]ow about loving the CFA people and all those on their side?  Don't they need love, mercy and support?  Yes they do, and people chose to express that love and respect
Wednesday.  That was a very Christian thing to do.

Did he mean the employees at CfA? The hourly wage earners? The people who get by with fast-food wages and were constantly told, on that fateful Wednesday, "Thank God. I stand with your company against the gays!" The homosexual ones who were subjected to that kind of "support" all day long. Or the ones who are barely getting by while conservative American Evangelicals like Moreland politically fight any notion of fair wages and accessible health care for the working poor?

Or does he mean, by "CFA people," the family owners of the company? Because that's who the CfA Day people were supporting. With a few, outlying exceptions (the wad who started yelling at employees, or the people who spray painted a franchise were being ignorant and hurtful. But they were roundly denounced by most LGBTQ activists anyway...) the employees were not being targeted by protesters and boycotters - at least not directly. The family company was. Was it really "a very Christian thing to do" to support the corporation? Did they need to know that they were getting Christian love that day? Was that what Jesus meant by comforting those who mourn?

It makes sense that Moreland is a "distinguished" professor of philosophy in that he doesn't have to make his profession relevant to the real world - just make up a system, a different world that makes sense within its own cloistered system, and apply it on top of this one. In his ontological world, God is a hateful monster, but He can be a monster and yet love those He's being monstrous to. Those the Monster God hates can and should (must!) accept the fact that Monster God is a loving God because the Monster God is the true arbiter of love and truth.Therefore, what Monster God - as represented by Moreland and his co-priests - says is Real and True and Good.

And if you can't accept that Monster God and his Monster Priests absolutely love you while they're telling you what a horrible person you are for being different and wanting to be respected as a human being, well, that's your problem.

All these accolades, however, don't, in the least, mean that Moreland is a distinguished person, or even a distinguished scholar or teacher, really. Nor a distinguished follower of Christ. But the fact that he has so much pull and claims a mantle at Christian schools like Biola or Liberty and even a fellowship at something called the Wiberforce Forum* says that there is serious, fundamental problem with Christian scholarship.

That a man like this has any influence over today's pastors, that he is part of their training process, that what he does in any sense passes for real-world scholarship is a fundamental problem and speaks to a fundamental disorder within the American Christian church. I can testify with story after story after story about how, exactly, pastors who follow the Monster God that Moreland speaks on behalf of are the real threat to the traditional family.

Or any other family.

*William Wilberforce. Yes. THE William Wilberforce. While most American Evangelicals were busy arguing that slavery is a good force from God and that Africans were designed to be subservient to white male leadership, Wilberforce was a leader in a movement to shame the English into abolishing slavery in their territories. Contemporary conservative Evangelicals like to claim Wilberforce's legacy, though he was every bit the radical that, say, Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison were for their times, but without the colorful language that could condemn much of what conservative Evangelicals like Moreland stand for...


  1. Love it. Speaking truth here.

  2. You have provided an article that will surely spark a debate. But I respect your opinions, as we are all entitled to say what's on our minds.

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  3. Thank you for your insights on this issue. I also was motivated by JP Moreland to respond to his views on this subject. He used his blog as a bully pulpit and refused to publish my comment. In a criticsm, I also identified his ilk as "cloistered", and took note of your arrival at the same conclusion. A professor who won't allow his ideas to be challeneged does his students a disservice. I think he's a schmuck. Here are my comments that he refused to acknowledge, let alone allow his readers to see:

    Point #1 Response:
    " to confront strongly their harmful, immoral behavior"

    I challenge you to show any evidence that gay marriage in any way harms your marriage. I submit that traditional marriage and gay marriage can coexist in our society, and are not in any way mutually exclusive.

    I also challenge you to show any evidence of its immorality without using Scripture. If we are a country of religious freedoms, our laws should not reflect the biased opinion of one religion, but tolerate all religions (which is, by definition, religious freedom.) The church is free to implement moral standards within its community, but it is not free to impose those morals on others who do not follow its religious precepts. Otherwise those who would try to legislate their morality are, by definition, supportive of a theocracy, not a country of religious freedom.

    Point #2 Response:

    "Regarding his point about people feeling hate, this is the other side's issue, not ours..."

    Your candid response here that shows Christian callousness is refreshingly honest, but atypical of your ilk. Most Christians veil their insensitivity to others' feelings with empty platitudes. I commend you for being so open and honest about your disregard for the feelings of people to whom you purport to wish to reach out.

    “The feeling of hate was not the protester's fault; it was a projection of the other side onto the protesters…”

    An action that, by its nature, so unilaterally unites so many people in a common response is more than a mere faulty perception. Millions of people are hurt by supporters of traditional marriage, and to write off that many people as simply not having the capacity to understand your true intentions is to give yourself a pass that you do not deserve. If you were addressing the opinion of a small faction, or a splinter group, you could perhaps get away with this argument. But, when the perception of bigotry, hatred, and discrimination is so universal and on such a grand scale, you do not have such license to be so readily dismissive of the effects of Christian’s choices.

    1. Your candid response here that shows Christian callousness is refreshingly honest, but atypical of your ilk. Most Christians veil their insensitivity to others' feelings with empty platitudes.


  4. Point #3 Response:

    “One of the most loving things one can do to someone is to stand up against their harmful behavior.”

    Here is a more common Christian platitude that flows in the same vein as “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin”. I find these two concepts to, in fact, be mutually exclusive. The more you do of one, the less you do of the other. I’ve never met one gay person who walked away from a conversation such as this saying, “He clearly thinks that it is immoral for me to marry my partner, but I don’t care. I could just tell that he is motivated by just how darned much he loves me!” It doesn’t happen. Ever. This empty platitude sounds great and helps a Christian to feel better about his judgment of other people, but in truth and application is quite empty and meaningless.

    A Christian who subscribes to this concept is simply excusing his hurtfulness with a lie that—if everyone tells to each other—becomes much more believable. The truth: Homosexual marriage is not harmful to traditional marriage in any way, and no one is suggesting the loss of freedom of people to have a traditional marriage if that is what their beliefs and morals dictate. You would hide behind the guise that you are standing up for morality, but the truth is that your religious freedoms and rights to practice it have not been threatened at all. You are merely using this as a straw man to hide your attempt to prevent other people from having their religious freedom to do as they believe for themselves.

    Point #4 Response:

    “…that we should not stand up against abortion, human trafficking, violations of free speech and political coercion against CFA”

    First of all, unless there was some civil/legal action taken against CFA’s owner or the company, there was no violation of free speech. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from public reaction. It means that the government will not prevent you from saying what you want. The government did not do that. Free speech is just a smoke screen to hide the true motives: Anti-gay rallying behind a Christian business owner who “stood up for them”.

    Second, and more importantly: Christ did not demonstrate social protest, rallying, boycotting, or other actions on a mass scale to “expand his kingdom”. There is no Christian precedent that tells you to regulate the actions of the people you are trying to reach by making it illegal. Besides, even if successful, legislating your morality upon others does not address the issues of the heart. Christ repeatedly demonstrated that he addressed sin with one-on-one, personal interaction, and dealt with heart issues on a personal level. External issues radiate from heart changes and beliefs. To think you can get to someone’s heart by artificially regulating their actions is silly, quite frankly. Do you really think that, by preventing gay marriage, you will then prevent homosexual activity? Of course not. Regulating external behavior is a legalism that is likened to the Pharisees, not to Christ’s actions. So, each Christian should decide for himself if he wishes to be like Christ and address the heart issues of sinners on an individual basis, or be like the Pharisees and concern himself with external behaviors, laws, and where he buys his chicken sandwiches. Piously external.

  5. Point #5 Response:

    “…the point was to stand up against a cultural evil (the attempt to silence free speech, use political coercion to accomplish this) and to stand for the views expressed by the owner of CFA.”

    I’ve already elaborated on these points, so I won’t repeat myself. In short: This wasn’t a freedom of speech issue, and Christ never demonstrated social action as a means for spreading Christianity. He did the opposite—meeting individuals where there were, and getting to the source of sin, someone’s heart. If Christ would have spent all of his time in synagogues using the Pharisee’s legalistic and pious methodologies, I could condone modern-day legislation against gay marriage as Christ like. As Christ did nothing to demonstrate such actions of external behavior regulation, I do not condone it.

    In short: You do not support religious freedom, unless you define that as the freedom for everyone to practice your religion. Another very popular advocate for government-sponsored and legislated religious theocracy: Sharia Law Islamism.

    The challenge, therefore, is to prove that legislating your religion’s moral choices is in any way different from Sharia law being imposed on all the citizens of a Muslim country. If you truly believe in religious freedom, then our laws must allow for other people to live according to their own moral edicts. Gay marriage is not harmful to the proponents of traditional marriage, so there can be no justification for imposing laws to prevent gay marriage, except to admit that you seek a religious theocracy, precisely the government that America was fleeing in England when it was founded.


    Footnote: I am well aware that a couple of rogue mayors have made public statements against CFA about not being welcome in their communities. I stand with CFA supporters that this is wrong. For the most part, I think it is just bluster and pandering to their constituents, and would never actually see fruition of blocking a business from operating in their city. But it was wrong, nonetheless. However, these are a couple of small examples that do not reflect the overall position of the national discourse on this subject.

  6. -->"when marginalized people feel hatred directed at them, there is often some validity to it - whether or not you feel that is the case. It is not the victim's job to turn off their Abuse Meters just because you say you're not directing abuse at them."

    Amen to that. The pat Christian argument that they really do love gays stinks of discrimination or abuse. Both love and discrimination are best defined by how the other party perceives your actions (not merely by your own logic). If Christians truly want to love gays they need to consider what kind of behavior would have any hope of being perceived like love from the point of view of the LGBT person. I totally agree that taking away their rights and inviting them to church in the name of Jesus is a sham.

    Like I said several times elsewhere: God loves gays. So do I. It's not complicated! How hard is it for Christians to just declare that they love someone. Without all the conditions?

    (Brad Duncan @ GraceEmerges)

  7. "We [prove we don't hate gay people] by warmly inviting them to attend church, to receive love and healing and so forth."
    In other words:
    "I TOLD them they could come get un-gayed! How's that not love?!"

    So similar to the whole, "we'll feed them but they have to attend services" way of "ministry". Gross.

  8. The freakin' comments are better than the blog!

    sooo jealous. ;)


Be kind. Rewind.