Posts Tagged ‘gay marriage’

A Biblical Same-sex Love Story..

July 29, 2015

The definition of marriage has changed many times throughout the ages. No one holds a monopoly on the word itself. I can certainly share Scripture however, detailing an instance where two men joined their souls together in love, becoming one flesh via a sacred union and covenants sworn before God.

The following is the love story of David and Jonathan, who were bisexual, and which thousands of Christian congregations and many denominations now use as a model for same-sex love and commitment between two men.

(Since this particular translation had to be as detailed and comprehensive as possible to withstand the disbelief of those who will attempt to deny its truth… it’s fairly long… so it’s intended only for those who have the comprehension level, interest, or patience, to read it) (‘Strong’ refers to Strong’s lexicon which is used by theologians around the world for accurate Hebrew translations.. ‘OT’ of course refers to Old Testament, ‘NKJV’ stands for New King James Version and ‘NRSV’ refers to New Revised Standard Version’)

In the early material on David (1 Sam 16-17), three times the narrator calls attention to David’s beauty – more times in the Bible than in any other case. First, the prophet Samuel notes that David “was ruddy [admoni, Strong #132], and had beautiful eyes [yapheh ‘ayinim, #3303, #5869], and was handsome [to behold, tob ro’i, #2896, #7210].” (16:12, NRSV) Then, when a young court servant recommends David to Saul, he describes him (among other things) as “a handsome [to’ar, #8389] person” (16:18, NKJV). Finally, the giant notes that David, his opponent, was “a youth, ruddy [admoni] and good-looking [yapheh mar’eh, #3303, #4758]” (17:42, NKJV).

Here, the common language used throughout the OT to describe beauty is found again, including yapheh and tob (“beautiful, handsome” in both cases), along with to’ar and mar’eh (“[in] figure or shape”). However, new words in the David descriptions include ro’i (#7210, “a … sight [to behold]) and admoni and ‘ayinim, translated as “ruddy” and “eyes” respectively in the NRSV.

Jonathan’s intense love and attraction to David: Not surprisingly, after making such an emphasis about David’s good looks, the reader begins to find responses to this in the text. For example, in 1 Sam 18:1 we read, “Now when he [David] had finished speaking to Saul, the soul [nephesh] of Jonathan was knit to the soul [nephesh] of David, and Jonathan loved [aheb, #157] him as his own soul [nephesh].” Then (v. 3), “Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he [Jonathan] loved [ahaba, #160] him as his own soul.” Later, when the two make a second covenant, we are told (20:17) that “Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he [Jonathan] loved [ahaba, #160] him; for he loved [ahaba, #160] him as he loved [aheb, #157] his own soul.” (NKJV, underlining added) In addition to this, we are told in 19:1 that Jonathan “delighted [kaphes, #2654] greatly” in David” (NKJV).

So, in response to three references to David’s beauty, there appear three references describing Jonathan’s love for him – two of them twice using the verb “love” and the third using the related verb “delights [in].” Strong’s lexicon notes that the aheb (#157) means “to have affection for (sexually or otherwise),” along with the related terms oheb (#159) and ahaba (#160), the last a feminine form. The male and female forms of “love” (verb and noun) appear to be used interchangeably in Scripture, e.g. in Song of Songs 2:4-5, the beloved [girl] says, “He [King Solomon] brought me to the banqueting house, and his intention toward me was love [#160]. Sustain me with raisins, refresh me with apples; for I am faint with love [#160].” (NRSV)

The Bible records three spiritual unions that Jonathan and David made together. The first covenant was made very shortly after they met. In 1 Sam 18:3-4 (NRSV), we read: “Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul [NIV: ‘as himself,’ nephesh]. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor [NIV, REB: ‘tunic’], and even his sword and his bow and his belt.” The preceding verses relate how after David had finished speaking with Saul, “the soul [nephesh] of Jonathan was bound [qashar] to the soul [nephesh] of David, and Jonathan loved [aheb] him as his own soul” (v. 1); and after this, Saul would not let David return home (v. 2). The emphasis here clearly is on the intense love Jonathan felt for David, expressed through the combined and repeated use of “loved,” “bound [to]” (this used only once), and nephesh, which indicates the extent of Jonathan’s love (as compelling as the love and interest one has toward oneself).

Jonathan’s intense attraction to David appears in the narrative like a bolt out of the blue: spontaneous, intense, and earth-shattering for him. He expresses this love then by the giving to David all of the clothes he was wearing and all of the weapons he was carrying, the significance of which represented the entire “giving away [of] one’s own self,”.. i.e. the giving of his whole heart and self to David.

The second covenant was made near the end of their time together in Gibeah and is recorded in 1 Sam 20:16-17 (NRSV): “Thus Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, ‘May the Lord seek out the enemies of David.’ Jonathan made David swear again, by his love for him; for he loved him as he loved his own life.” (1 Sam 20:16-17, NRSV)

20:42 (NRSV) records, “Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord will be between me and you, and between my descendents and your descendents, forever.’” The repetition of aheb/ahaba (“love/loved”) and of nephesh (“as [much as] his own life”) in 20:17 is a very clear emphasis on this pact having strongly homoeroticized elements as well as political elements.

The third covenant was probably made several years later and is noted in 1 Sam 23:18 (NRSV): “Then the two of them made a covenant before the Lord…” the pact made in 23:18 is not merely “a simple extension or re-confirmation of the [earlier] pact” described in 1 Sam 20, for the later pact looks deeper into the future and “lays down the work distribution and relationship which is the center of everything.” The third pact is understood as a “fresh, bilateral covenant defining their new relationship.” In fact, each of the three pacts, while containing a common core of expressed love and commitment, seems to differ from what was pledged before, and so advances in content and adds detail to their relationship.

Just as three times our attention is directed to David’s beauty (16:12,18; 17:42), so also three times we are told that Jonathan “loved” David (18:1,3; 20:17). Even though there are different forms of the word ‘love’ in Hebrew, the exact same Hebrew word aheb (“loved/fallen in love”), used in 18:1 referring to Jonathan, appears also in 18:20 referring to the princess Michal, where it has been rendered as “Michal had fallen in love with David”, or “…fell in love with David” Such a reading is bolstered by 19:1 which relates how Jonathan continued to take “great delight [kaphes] in David” (NRSV), since kaphes almost always appears in OT passages concerned with sexual desire and erotic love.

This interpretation is further bolstered by comparing the Jonathan and David relationship to that of Shechem and Dinah in Gen 34, where the Hevite prince falls madly in love with Jacob’s daughter (underexpressed in the Hebrew, as usual, with “was drawn to,” v. 3, NRSV). Here we have exactly the same language as appears in 1 Sam 18:1,3 and 19:1, used in Hebrew to describe erotic passion which has led to sexual union – including “loved” (aheb), “heart” (nephesh) and “delighted [in]” (kephes) (34:3,8,19, NRSV), as well as the idea of “longs [for]” (kasaph, v. 8; J. Green: “bound [to]”), although 1 Sam 18:1 uses a different verb for this (qashar).

In 1 Sam 18, Jonathan and David lived together in the capital city a number of months, perhaps up to a year, as David masters the arts of sword and bow (Jonathan at his side), gains real-life experience on the battlefield, and leads Israel’s army to many glorious victories (18:16,27,30; 9:8). However, in chs. 19-20 time rapidly speeds up. As Saul’s jealousy and rage toward David intensify, he hides his murderous attempts from Jonathan, while David’s life becomes one of terror, trying to keep one step ahead of Saul and his henchmen.

Then, at a New Moon festival celebrated at court, Saul asked Jonathan why David was absent; and the prince explained that David had asked leave to join his family for an annual sacrifice in Bethlehem (20:6,27-29). “Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan. He said to him, ‘You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen [bachar] the son of Jesse to your own shame [bosheth], and to the shame [bosheth] of your mother’s nakedness [‘erwa]? For as long as the son of Jesse lives upon the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.’” (1 Sam 20:30-31, NRSV). Then the enraged king hurled his spear straight at Jonathan, who jumped and fled in anger from the king’s table, realizing, at last, what a dangerous and deadly position David was in related to his father.

Although the first part of Saul’s insult has usually been translated like “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman!” (18:30a, NRSV, cf. NIV, NRSV), the Hebrew is quite vulgar and would be more accurately rendered as, “You son of a slu.!” or “You son of a bi…!” Interestingly, Lucian’s version of the Greek Septuagint adds gunaikotraphe (“effeminate man”) here (Driver), an idea which Chrysostom reiterates (ca. 400).

Then, the second part of this insult reads, “Do I not know that you have chosen [bachar] the son of Jesse to your own shame [bosheth]…” (18:30b, NRSV). Instead of the verb bachar (Strong, #977) in the Hebrew, meaning “to choose.”

The importance of the third part of this insult, which reads “…and to the shame [bosheth] of your mother’s nakedness [‘erwa]” (18:30c, NRSV), cannot be denied. This final phrase is loaded, in fact, with sexual terminology, including ‘erwa (“nakedness”), most often used in the OT to refer to the genitals and the repeated bosheth (“shame”), which is almost always used in a sexual context.

One really has to ask, what was Jonathan doing – nakedly, sexually and shamefully (to his father at least) – to receive such an insult as this? In fact, the language throughout 20:30 is so extremely sexually-charged it goes well beyond rationality to believe that we are not meant to interpret it in sexual ways.

So, we ask, was this merely deep friendship or a romantic relationship? In Exhibit A, upon their first meeting, Jonathan is said to have loved David as his own soul and to have given him his most precious possessions. Jonathan’s father uses language of sex and shame when he decries Jonathan and David’s relationship in a fit of rage. We see Jonathan and David’s passionate, tearful goodbye, and Jonathan reminding David of the eternal covenant they have made to each other — a covenant David still honors years later, even though honoring it is politically incorrect. But if you are still not convinced this was a romantic relationship, there is one more piece of biblical evidence — the smoking gun, so to speak. The story has one more passionate chapter.

In the first chapter of 2 Samuel, the author tells us that after Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle, David tore his clothes and fasted, a sign of deep mourning. He wept and wrote a song, which he ordered all the people of Judah to sing. In that song, he included these words:

“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!
In life and in death they were not divided;
they were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.
How the mighty have fallen in the midst of battle!
Jonathan lies slain upon your high places.
I am distressed for you my brother Jonathan;
Greatly beloved were you to me;
your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.”
(2 Samuel 1:23, 26-27, emphasis added)

Here it is in black and white. David states the love he shared with Jonathan was greater than what he had experienced with women. Have you ever heard a heterosexual man say he loved his male friend more than his wife? This goes well beyond deep friendship between two heterosexual men.

In this story, we have a direct biblical answer to our question: Can two people of the same sex live in a loving, committed relationship with God’s favor? The answer is “yes,” because Jonathan and David did, and the Bible celebrates their relationship.

For those who will bend over backwards in an attempt to say it was only a ‘friendship’, I’d like them to share how many well-known examples they can provide of heterosexual male ‘friends’ who upon meeting each other for the first time, has one making a declaration of love for the other one, making 3 sacred covenants of ‘love’, devotion and spiritual union with each other over the course of time… disrobing completely and giving their clothes, weapons, and heart to their friend in the form of a covenant… having the father of one friend insult his son in an explicitly sexual manner over their relationship, and while also having one friend state that his love for him “surpasses the love he has for any woman.”

By that reasoning… there should be hundreds of similar detailed, explicit, and well-known heterosexual examples readily available for someone to contribute… except, there aren’t any.

Source: http://epistle.us/hbarticles/jondave6.html

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To Fundamentalist Christians: Why can the following Bible verses be ignored while others cannot?

February 1, 2015

I would like to first state clearly that I personally believe that women should have the right to be in leadership and pastoral positions within the Faith, and that I do not believe people who have divorced will be going to Hell.  I am merely pointing out the gross moral and religious hypocrisy perpetrated by those who use a few Bible verses to reject and condemn gay people to Hell..

Matthew 7 – “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

The Christians who repeatedly use their measure and judgment to attack, condemn, persecute, and reject gay people with are now being measured and judged by their same standards, and are found to have fallen far short, and are shown to be full of religious hypocrisy. They have been found to be exactly as the people in Matthew 23:28 describe them.

Since such people took it upon themselves to judge and measure others in clear defiance of what the Bible teaches ‘not’ to do, they have thus brought the same judgment back upon themselves as the Bible says will happen in such situations.

Now, here are my questions to every Christian who repeatedly commits the sin listed above:

Where in the Bible does it say it’s okay to repeatedly and unrepentantly ignore and disobey the teachings from Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 as most Christians do today?

Where in the Bible does it say it’s okay to repeatedly and unrepentantly ignore and disobey the 7th Commandment, as defined by Luke 16:18 as most Christians do today?

Why is it that almost all churches openly welcome into their congregations the following people who have committed the following unrepentant sin (as defined by Biblical Scripture), while rejecting and condemning ‘unrepentant’ homosexuals? Unrepentant, because so many keep divorcing and re-marrying with no rejection or negative consequences by their congregations, such as is done to homosexual people.

Is there a place in the Bible where it says you can ignore the sin of people repeatedly committing adultery as defined by the Bible below, but the same people and churches who ignore that sin can repeatedly attack, condemn, and reject gay people for their perceived sins? For some strange reason, no one is able to answer these questions…. unless of course, it is because they are practicing utter religious hypocrisy.

Exodus 20:14 (One of the 10 Commandments)

“You shall not commit adultery.”

Luke 16:18

“Any man who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”

1 Corinthians 6:9

Do you not know that unrighteous men will not inherit the kingdom of God? Cherish no delusion here. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor any who are guilty of unnatural crime.”

So many Christians try to rationalize this away, but it is clear that if one uses literal interpretation it then means that a Chrisitan can neither divorce someone if the spouse has not committed adultery, nor marry someone who is divorced without becoming an adulterer themselves.

There is an exception to the rule, however. If a spouse commits adultery, divorce is permissible.

On the same token, the Bible also says that anyone who obtains a divorce and marries another is an adulterer. Remember that 83% of this country identifies as Christian yet we have a 50% divorce rate for first marriages, a 67% divorce rate for 2nd marriages, and a 73% divorce rate for 3rd marriages and beyond..

A majority of divorces are a result of irreconcilable differences, not adultery,which shows that such Christians are again practicing selective morality. How many Christians are working on a second, third or fourth marriage?

On the following subject of religious hypocrisy and double-standards, I’m completely aware that for most modern-day churches the following teachings are completely inconvenient and most might say, not applicable to an enlightened, modern society. Still…. why is it that almost all Churches do not obey the following New Testament teachings, and ignore them? Where in the Bible does it say it’s okay to ignore these commands?

1 Corinthians 14:34-35

“Women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.…”

1 Timothy 2:11-12

“A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.”

It quite clearly says that an adulterer cannot enter the Kingdom of God, and yet the majority of modern day congregations are all adulterers by the Bible’s clear definition, and the majority of modern day congregations allow their women members to speak anytime they wish to in church, even though the Bible clearly says in the New Testament that that’s forbidden. So… Please educate me on why the examples of sin, commandments, and teachings listed above can be ignored, while the sin of homosexual love and desire, cannot be.

Why do most congregations accept and welcome into their churches, people who are living in open adultery every day as defined by the following verse, while they reject gay people?  The verse is exceptionally clear in its definition.

Luke 16:18

Any man who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adulteryand the man who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”

A perfect example of the Christian moral gross hypocrisy daily committed by conservative leaders who regularly attack the dignity, and basic human and constitutional rights of homosexuals while repeatedly ignoring the sins they and their followers commit themselves such as the sin of adultery is Newt Gingrich:  

A former Southern Baptist, Gingrich converted to Catholicism in 2009 and has become a champion of conservative Catholic doctrine ever since. After losing the Republican presidential primary in 2012, he has become a champion of “religious freedoms,” which he says are being eroded by the secular state. The former front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, unloaded a detailed explanation of why he believes same-sex marriage is eroding American families and why “don’t ask, don’t tell” would have been his policy as president, while even floating a theory that U.S. military commanders were lying about whether they support its repeal.

However, the marriage rate in Massachusetts has stayed basically the same, while the divorce rate has plummeted to amongst the lowest in the nation after being the first state to legalize same-sex marriage 11 years ago, so it actually ‘strengthened’ the institution of marriage rather than weakened it.  And years later, we now can see that the repeal of DADT did nothing to weaken our military.

On top of all that, Gingrich says people choose to be gay, like priests choose to be celibate, which is patently false.

As part of his appeal to social conservatives, Gingrich  announced that he agreed to anti-gay pledges from the Iowa Family Leader and the National Organization for Marriage, which both committed him to a backing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. In the NOM pledge, Gingrich also promised to use his power as president to investigate those who support marriage equality for alleged harassment of groups like NOM.

Prominent Atlanta-based pastor and Religious Right figure Richard Lee said the nation’s evangelicals needed to support Gingrich.

Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Christian oriented Liberty University, supported him for president as well.

And yet, Newt Gingrich has divorced twice and been married three times, living in open adultery. His two previous marriages ended in divorce after he had affairs with younger women and when his wives were seriously ill.

And so again I ask: Why do most congregations who condemn and reject gay people who wish to marry each other, accept and welcome into their churches, people who are living in open adultery every day as defined by the following verse?  The verse is exceptionally clear in its definition.

Without an explicit directive from God to exclude and condemn homosexuals, the Christian community’s treatment of gay persons is in clear violation of what Jesus and the New Testament writers pointedly identified as one-half of God’s most important commandment: to love one’s neighbor as one’s self.

Heterosexual Christians are being unbiblical by using the clobber passages as justification for applying absolute standards of morality to homosexual “sins” that they themselves are not tempted to commit, while at the same time accepting for themselves a standard of relative morality for those sins listed in the exact same clobber passages that they do routinely commit.

It sounds like adulterers get an extremely convenient free pass from sin and can continue to divorce and re-marry any amount of times they wish, even though the Bible clearly says that adulterers cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Strangely enough, you don’t see the teachings on adultery leading to people being beaten, imprisoned, or murdered over, and yet we can see that happening all around the world over the ‘teachings’ they spread about homosexuality.

Some people constantly say that it is not them, but only ‘God’ or ‘the Bible’ which is the one judging gay people over how they were born, but it is not God down here speaking through a burning bush to us.. rejecting, condemning, and making other people feel like dirt or worthless, but ‘they’ themselves who are doing that, while exhorting others to do the same sinful and hateful thing; thus taking the place of God in doing so.

We can see that happening on a much more violent level today in Islam by the ISIS and Al-Qaeda fanatics… who seem to believe that they are ‘Allah’ or ‘God’ themselves on this Earth, and taking it upon themselves to brutalize, condemn, reject, judge, and in many cases kill the perceived ‘sinners’ in the name of their God, ignoring all teachings to not take the place of God in judgment, and all teachings of love and acceptance toward our fellow human souls we share this Earth with.

Thus began the shameful Christian Inquisition of our past… from precisely such misguided and hypocritical people.  

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Today’s modern Pharisees..

January 31, 2015

Many Christians today are guilty of being just like the Pharisees, using scripture as a weapon to persecute and reject others over how God created them and who they love, while ignoring every teaching and command that is inconvenient for them to follow. The following teachings that they ignore every day while thinking they are condemning those who disagree or who question their actions to hell, highlights their moral hypocrisy quite well.

Matthew 5:43-48

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you only love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

Romans 13:9

For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

James 2:14-17

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

1 Corinthians 13:1-2

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not show love to others, I am merely a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not show love to others, I am nothing.…

Matthew 22:36-40

“Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?” He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second most important commandment is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

Matthew 23-4

“They (the Pharisees both ancient and modern) crush other people with unbearable religious demands and yet themselves never lift a finger to ease the burden.”

Matthew 18:21-22

“Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven!”

Matthew 23:13

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.”

Matthew 23: 15

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!”

1 Timothy 4:1-4

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.” For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude.

We can see that happening today from people whose consciences have been totally seared away, and who have no care or feeling whatsoever as to the spiritual and emotional pain and torment they cause gay people with their prejudice and rejection, many times to the point of suicide, or the teachings they spread that today are being used as justification to beat, imprison, and murder gay people in Uganda and many other places around the world. We can see such people today with unholy zeal attempting to forbid marriage to gay people as well, just as was prophesied while they reject instead of receiving with gratitude the unique way that God created gay people.

It is truly horrific and goes against all teachings of Christ to Love and accept one another as God created us, but the demons are surely delighted by so much hatred, persecution, and murder engendered through their false and hateful teachings.

For Christians who reject gays: Bible verses of love, hospitality, and the love story of two martyrs..

January 30, 2015

Do others find these teachings, verses, and love story as beautiful as I do?  I hope so.   

Matthew 5:43-48

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you only love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

Romans 13:9

For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

James 2:14-17

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

1 Corinthians 13:1-2

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not show love to others, I am merely a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not show love to others, I am nothing.…

1 Peter 4:8-9

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Hebrews 13:1-2

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

1 John 4:19-21

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Matthew 25:40

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Romans 15:7

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Matthew 25:35

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

Leviticus 19:33-34

When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Exodus 23:9

You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 22:21

You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

Romans 12:13

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Leviticus 25:35

If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you.

Deuteronomy 10:19

Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 10:18

He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

1 John 4:11

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 Corinthians 13:13

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Proverbs 10:12

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Mark 12:28-31

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

1 John 4:7-8

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Ruth 1:16-17

But Ruth said, (to Naomi) “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. “Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”

2 Samuel 1:26

I am heartbroken over you, my brother Jonathan. You were my great delight. Your love was more wonderful to me than the love of women.

The story of the martyrs Sergius and Bacchus. (died c. 303, Resafe, Syria; feast day October 7), among the earliest and most celebrated Christian martyrs, originally commemorated in the Eastern and Western churches:

The saints’ story is told in the Greek text known as The Passion of Sergius and Bacchus.

Sergius and Bacchus were Roman citizens and high-ranking officers of the Roman Army, but their covert Christianity was discovered when they attempted to avoid accompanying a Roman official into a pagan temple with the rest of his bodyguard. After they persisted in refusing to sacrifice to Jupiter in Galerius’ company, they were publicly humiliated by being chained, dressed in female attire and paraded around town. Galerius then sent them to Barbalissos in Mesopotamia to be tried by Antiochus, the military commander there and an old friend of Sergius. Antiochus could not convince them to give up their faith, however, and Bacchus was beaten to death.

The next day Bacchus’ spirit appeared to Sergius and encouraged him to remain strong so they could be together forever

Over the next days, Sergius was also brutally tortured and finally executed at Resafa (known in Roman times as Sergiopolis), where his death was marked by miraculous happenings.

Sergius and Bacchus were very popular throughout Late Antiquity, and churches in their honor were built in several cities, including Constantinople and Rome. The love between the two is strongly emphasized in their hagiographies and traditions, making them one of the most famous examples of paired saints.

Considerable posthumous homage has been paid the martyrs. In 431 Alexander, metropolitan of Hierapolis, restored the church over Sergius’ grave, and shortly afterward Risafe became a bishopric. The Byzantine emperor Justinian I changed the name of Risafe to Sergiopolis, making it an archdiocese, and in honour of Sergius he had churches built at Constantinople (now Istanbul) and at Acre in Palestine.

The church at Resafe became famous in the East as a major pilgrimage site. Sergius and Bacchus were designated protectors of the Byzantine army, and numerous Eastern sanctuaries and churches were subsequently dedicated to them. Their veneration is old, and a mass ascribed to Pope St. Gelasius I is assigned to them. Christian desert nomads regard Sergius as their patron saint.

The most beautiful thing to me are the words that Bacchus’ spirit said to Serge:

 (Translated from the Greek “Passio antiquior SS. Sergii et Bacchi Graece nunc primum edita,” AB 14, 373-395. This text is the Greek original of the Latin passion beginning “Imperante Maximiano tyranne, multus error hominum genus possederat,” printed in the Acta sanctorum, October 7, 865-79, and is more ancient than the more common account of “Metaphrastes.”)

Meanwhile the blessed Serge, deeply depressed and heartsick over the loss of Bacchus, wept and cried out,

No longer, brother and fellow soldier, will we chant together, ‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!’ You have been unyoked from me and gone up to heaven, leaving me alone on earth, bereft [literally, “made single”], without comfort.”

After he uttered these things, the same night the blessed Bacchus suddenly appeared to him with a face as radiant as an angel’s, wearing an officer’s uniform, and spoke to him.

Why do you grieve and mourn, brother? If I have been taken from you in body, I am still with you in the bond of union, chanting and reciting, ‘I will run the way of your commandments, which have enlarged my heart.’ Hurry then, yourself, brother, through beautiful and perfect confession to pursue and obtain me, when finishing the course, For the crown of justice for me is being with you.”

At daybreak when he rose he related to those who were with him how he had seen the blessed Bacchus in the night and in what sort of garb.

sergiusandbacchus sergiusandbacchus2 sergiusandbacchus3 sergiusandbacchus4 sergiusandbacchus5 sergiusdavidjonathan 

Homosexuality doesn’t destroy civilization; religious extremists do..

January 29, 2015

Homosexuality does not destroy Civilization; religious fanatics do and did:

Homosexuality flourished and was tolerated for over 1,300 years within the Greek culture, and for almost 900 years of Roman culture without causing any ‘downfall’ of civilization as some people today claim will happen if gay couples are allowed to marry each other, and without God burning all the thousands of cities and towns who practiced it into ash.

Yet, within a little over 100 years after a few bishops gained political dominance in Rome through the ear of an emperor, the entire civilization collapsednot from the barbarians or economic woes, but instead after they had forbade freedom of religion under pain of death, freedom of thought under pain of death, shut down the Olympics, all athletic events, the theaters, the gymnasiums, and schools of learning.

Knowledge of how to create realistic artwork and sculpture was lost, scientific knowledge and civil engineering withered and died. They basically killed civic culture and classical civilization. The public libraries were either closed or abandoned since within only 2 generations the majority of the people had lost the ability to read.. after all, you were told the world was going to end at any moment, and that you only needed to know what your bishop or priest told you to believe; you were told that interest in secular subjects was no longer advisable.

At the time of the sack of Rome in 410 AD there were eleven immense aqueducts feeding 1212 public fountains, 11 imperial ‘thermae’ and 926 public baths. When the Goths finally cut the aqueducts in 537 AD, there were perhaps only 100 fountains still working and there were no civil engineers left in the Western half of the empire capable of even repairing them, so they were left to crumble into time.

THE DESTRUCTION OF FREE THOUGHT, SECULAR KNOWLEDGE, AND FREEDOM OF RELIGION:

“In the person whose mind is sound there is no need to learn letters.” -St Anthony

“It should be enough for you to know that there is a good shepherd who gave his soul for his sheep … How big God is, what His limits are, and of what essence … such questions are dangerous … they shall be taken care of with silence.” – St Basil

“Let us Christians prefer the simplicity of our faith to the demonstrations of human reason … For to spend much time on research about the essence of things would not serve the edification of the Church.” – St Basil.

“Other writers of history recorded the fighting of wars waged for the sake of children and country and other possessions. But our narrative of the government of God will record in ineffaceable letters the most peaceful wars waged in behalf of the peace of the soul.”

-Eusebius of Caesarea (Christian theologian from 260-340)

It will sometimes be necessary to use falsehood for the benefit of those who need such a mode of treatment.”

-Eusebius of Nicomedia (Christian emperor Constantine’s overseer of church doctrine and history, 342) 

For great is the value of deceit, provided it be not introduced with a mischievous intention. In fact action of this kind ought not to be called deceit, but rather a kind of good management, cleverness and skill, capable of finding out ways where resources fail, and making up for the defects of the mindAnd often it is necessary to deceive, and to do the greatest benefits by means of this device, whereas he who has gone by a straight course has done great mischief to the person whom he has not deceived.”

-Treatise on the Priesthood, book 1, John Chrysostom (4th century theologian and bishop to emperor Constantine)

“All writings whatever which Porphyry or anyone else has written against the Christian religion, in the possession of whomsoever they shall be found, shall be committed to the fire.” – Emperor Theodosius

“It is necessary that the privileges which are bestowed for the cultivation of religion should be given only to followers of the Catholic faith. We desire that heretics and schismatics be not only kept from these privileges, but be subjected to various fines.” – Codex Theodosianus, XVI.5. 1.

“We command that all those proved to be devoting themselves to sacrificing or worshiping images be subject to the penalty of death.” – Codex Theodosianus, XVI.10.6

“What purpose does knowledge serve – for as to knowledge of natural causes, what blessing is there for me if I should know where the Nile rises, or whatever else under the heavens the ‘scientists’ rave about?”

-Thus wrote Lucius Lactantius (Freeman, p322), the first Latin ‘theologian’ and propagandist for Constantine. Appointed tutor to the emperor’s son Crispus –a job he lost when Constantine had his son executed for adultery with his stepmother – and yet, Lactantius recorded that Constantine was “a model of Christian virtue and holiness” (De Mortibus Persecutorum).

“Whatever privileges have been allowed under ancient law to priests, ministers, prefects and hierophants of the pagan cults, whether known by these or other names, are to be entirely abolished, nor should they pride themselves on being protected by any privilege, since their profession is known to be condemned by law.” – Codex Theodosianus, XVI.10.14

“The ability and right of making wills shall be taken from those who turn from Christians to pagans, and the testament of such an one, if he made any, shall be abrogated after his death.”— Codex Theodosianus, XVI.7.1.

“It is decreed that in all places and all cities the [pagan] temples should be closed at once, and after a general warning, the opportunity of sinning be taken from the wicked. We decree also that we shall cease from making sacrifices. And if anyone has committed such a crime, let him be stricken with the avenging sword. And we decree that the property of the one executed shall be claimed by the city, and that rulers of the provinces be punished in the same way, if they neglect to punish such crimes.”– Codex Theodosianus, XVI.10.4.

“Black robed Christian monks hasten to attack the temples with sticks and stones and bars of iron, and in some cases, disdaining these, with hands and feet. Then utter desolation follows, with the stripping of roofs, demolition of walls, the tearing down of statues and the overthrow of altars, and the priests must either keep quiet or die. After demolishing one, they scurry to another, and to a third, and trophy is piled on trophy, in contravention of the law. Such outrages occur even in the cities, but they are most common in the countryside …”

– Letter from Libanius pleading for restoration of civil order to Emperor Theodosius I, 386 C.E.

“Let all temples in the countryside be demolished without disturbance or upheaval. With their overthrow and removal, all material basis for superstition will be destroyed.” — Codex Theodosianus, XVI.10.16

“No one shall consult a soothsayer, astrologer or diviner. The perverse pronouncements of augurs and seers must fall silent. … The universal curiosity about divination must be silent forever. Whosoever refuses obedience to this command shall suffer the penalty of death and be laid low by the avenging sword.” — Codex Theodosianus, IX.16.4

MANDATORY WORSHIP: ESTABLISHMENT OFTHE LORDS DAY

“On the Lord’s day, which is the first day of the week, on Christmas, and on the days of Epiphany, Easter, and Pentecost, inasmuch as then the [white] garments [of Christians] symbolizing the light of heavenly cleansing bear witness to the new light of holy baptism, at the time also of the suffering of the apostles, the example for all Christians, the pleasures of the theaters and games are to be kept from the people in all cities, and all the thoughts of Christians and believers are to be occupied with the worship of God. And if any are kept from that worship through the madness of Jewish impiety or the error and insanity of foolish paganism, let them know that there is one time for prayer and another for pleasure. And lest anyone should think he is compelled by the honor due to our person, as if by the greater necessity of his imperial office, or that unless he attempted to hold the games in contempt of the religious prohibition, he might offend our serenity in showing less than the usual devotion toward us; let no one doubt that our clemency is revered in the highest degree by humankind when the worship of the whole world is paid to the might and goodness of God. Theodosius Augustus and Caesar Valentinian.”

– Codex Theodosianus, XV. 5.1

The murder of Hypatia (/haɪˈpeɪʃə/ hy-pay-shə; Greek: πατία Hypatía) (born c. AD 350 – 370; died 415)  She was a mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher in Egypt. She was the head of the Neoplatonic school at Alexandria, where she taught mathematics, philosophy and astronomy. She was the daughter of the mathematician Theon Alexandricus (c. 335 – c. 405). She was educated at Athens. Around AD 400, she became head of the Platonist school at Alexandria, where she imparted the knowledge of Plato and Aristotle to students, including pagans, Christians, and foreigners. Hypatia was murdered by a Christian mob after being accused of exacerbating a conflict between two prominent figures in Alexandria: the governor Orestes and the Bishop of Alexandria.

The Church feared the intellectual teachings of Hypatia and hated her, and this was the result. She had many loves, but never married, her devotion being to intellectual inquiry and the dissemination of truth based on reason; she was outspoken to a fault in an anti-intellectual society which, when she was 21, much to her devastation, they burned the great Alexandria Library to the ground.

And then, in 415, she was pulled from her chariot by the Christian mob led by Cyril, the Patriarch of Alexandria. She was dragged into a church. She was stripped naked. Then she was flayed alive with abalone shells and pottery shards, until her flesh hung in tethers from exposed bones, and her blood soaked remains were thrown to the flames.

The murder of Hypatia marked the end of Classical antiquity and effectively marked the downfall of Alexandrian intellectual life.

The ancient world had been a relatively tolerant place in the world of religion. There were occasional bursts of persecution of this or that sect but as a rule many religions existed side by side. During the years 342 CE to 390 CE all this changed when Christianity established itself as the only religion in the Roman Empire and launched an all out campaign of religious terror against all other beliefs. Even though Christians had suffered from persecution from time to time, this does not justify what they did upon coming to political dominance, and had gained the ear of an emperor, whose word was law.

It was not until the Roman world was forcibly converted, and succumbed to an unforgiving and dictatorship-like form of Christianity (completely unlike the earlier peaceful and loving form of Christianity), that we began to embark upon the Dark Ages.

FOR THE FIRST 300 YEARS OF CHRISTIANITY, HOMOSEXUALS WERE WELCOMED INTO THE CHURCH AND COULD MARRY:

On December 16, 342 AD, the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans, under advice from their bishops, issued the following edict.. a law specifically outlawing marriages between men, which had previously been legal and allowed, which reads as follows:

When a man marries in the manner of a woman, a woman about to renounce men, what does he wish, when sex has lost its significance; when the crime is one which it is not profitable to know; when Venus is changed into another form; when love is sought and not found? We order the statutes to arise, the laws to be armed with an avenging sword, that those infamous persons who are now, or who hereafter may be guilty, shall be subjected to exquisite punishment.”

(Theodosian Code 9.7.3)

Then, 48 years later, Christian emperors Theodosius and Arcadius on Aug 6, 390, under the advice of their bishops, issued the following edict.. an edict that would begin an evil persecution towards gay people that would last well over 1,500 years:

“All persons who have the shameful custom of condemning a man’s body, acting the part of a woman’s to the sufferance of alien sex (for they appear not to be different from women), shall expiate a crime of this kind by being burned to death in the public sight of the people.”

-Codex Theodosius IX. Vii. 6

The first speech in Classical history praising male-male relationships is that of Phaedrus. The Phaedrus (/ˈfiːdrəs/; Greek: Φαδρος), written by Plato, is a dialogue between Plato’s mainprotagonist, Socrates, and Phaedrus, an interlocutor in several dialogues. (The Phaedrus was composed around 370 BC, around the same time as Plato’s Republic and Symposium.) Phaedrus cites as the ultimate in love and commitment the maxim that “love will make men dare to die for their beloved; and women as well as men.”‘ He goes on to provide as one example of this sacred commitment Alcestis’ willingness to die for her husband Admetus, and as another Achilles’ willingness to die for his lover Patroclus.

Pausanias next spoke, delivering an impassioned defense of companionate same-sex relationships:

“Those who are inspired by this love turn to the male, and delight in him who is the more valiant and intelligent nature; any one may recognize the pure enthusiasts in the very character of their attachments. For they love not boys, but intelligent beings whose reason is beginning to be developed, much about the time at which their beards begin to grow. And in choosing them as companions, they mean to be faithful to them, and to pass their whole life with them, and be with them ..”

The consensus among modern historians is that republican Rome, like classical Greece, was tolerant of same-sex relationships. Moreover, the Romans accorded some same-sex unions the legal or cultural status of marriages. To take one early example, Cicero, the great Roman lawyer and orator, persuaded Curio the Elder to honor the debts that Curio’s son had incurred on behalf of Antonius, to whom the son was, in Cicero’s words, “united in a stable and permanent marriage, just as if he had given him a matron’s stola.” (“Te a meretricio quaestu abduxit et, tamquam stolam dedisset, in matrimonio stabili et certo collocavit.”) The stola was garb distinctively reserved for a married Roman woman.

Cicero’s legalistic advice shows that same-sex relationships were not only socially accepted among Roman society, but that they also potentially carried with them legal obligations and consequences, and hence were marriages as we understand the term. Records describing Roman social customs during the imperial period survive in far greater number, at least in part because many, if not most, of the emperors enjoyed well-documented relationships, some of them legally sanctioned marriages-with other men. The evidence suggests that during the same general time frame when companionate long-term marriages were being institutionalized for different-sex couples, they were likewise becoming more common for same-sex couples, who were entering into relationships akin to those discussed in Plato’s Symposium.

By the time of the early Empire the stereotyped roles of [sexually active] “lover” and [sexually passive] “beloved” no longer seem to be the only model for homosexual lovers, and even emperors had publicly acknowledged male husbands or lovers. Many homosexual relationships were permanent and exclusive. Among the lower classes informal unions like that of Giton and Encolpius may have predominated, but marriages between males or between females were legal and familiar among the upper classes…. By the time of the early Empire references to gay marriages are commonplace. The biographer of Elagabalus maintains that after the emperor’s marriage to an athlete from Smyrna, any male who wished to advance at the imperial court either had to have a husband or pretend that he did.

Martial and Juvenal both mention same-sex public marriage ceremonies involving the families, dowries, and legal niceties. It is clear that not only aristocrats were involved: a cornet player is mentioned by Juvenal. Martial points out that both men involved in one ceremony were thoroughly masculine (“The bearded Callistratus married the rugged Afer”) and that the marriage took place under the same law that regulated marriage between men and women. Nero married two men in succession, both in public ceremonies with the ritual appropriate to legal marriage. At least one of these unions was recognized by Greeks and Romans, and the spouse was accorded the honors of an empress …. One of the men, Sporus, accompanied Nero to public functions, where the emperor would embrace him affectionately. He remained with Nero throughout his reign and stood by him as he died.

Same-sex unions were noted in popular Roman culture and literature as well. The novel Babylonica, an early version of the pulp romance, had a subplot involving the passion of Egypt’s Queen Berenice for the beautiful Mesopotamia, who was snatched from her. After one of the Queen’s servants rescued Mesopotamia from her abductors, “‘Berenice married Mesopotamia, and there was war between [the abductor] and Berenice on her account.’ ” Of even greater renown, the Emperor Hadrian’s love for Antinous attained the status of legend, acclaimed for generations in sculpture, architecture, painting, coins, and literature.

The popularity of Hadrian and Antinous as a couple, may have been due in some part to the prevalence of same-sex couples in popular romantic literature of the time. Everywhere in the fiction of the Empire-from lyric poetry to popular novels-gay couples and their love appear on a completely equal footing with their heterosexual counterparts.

For those who constantly attack gays as being somehow subhuman, here’s some history for them that shows very differently: The very foundation of Democracy itself, in the birthplace of Western Civilization itself.. was started by two males who were in love with each other.

The association of homosexuals with democracy and the military was intense and widespread, extending from Harmodius and Aristogeiton, a pair of lovers who founded Democracy by overthrowing the last tyrant of Athens, to the noted generals Pelopidas and Epanminondas, to the great military genius Alexander the Great and his male lover Hephaestion.

Of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, no less acute a mind than Plato’s observed that: “Our own tyrants learned this lesson through bitter experience, when the love between Aristogiton and Harmodius grew so strong that it shattered their power. Wherever, therefore, it has been alluded to be shameful to be involved in sexual relationships with men, this is due to evil on the part of the rulers, and to cowardice in the part of the governed.”

For hundreds of years, larger-than-life statues of these founders of Democracy towered above Athens, as impossible to disconnect with the city as the Statue of Liberty is impossible for us to disconnect with New York.. and young male lovers from England to Egypt, and across the entire Classical world would journey there to pledge their faith and love to each other, underneath those statues.

Gorgidas, the leader of Thebes created the Sacred Band, composed of 300 men, who were all paired lovers. They were known as the ‘sacred band’ because as Plutarch later explained, “even Plato calls the lover a friend inspired of God.”

Philip of Macedon and Plutarch recounted how the greatest heroes in the Greek’s own history were all known to prefer other males rather than women: Meleager, Achilles, Aristomenes, Cimon, Epaminondas, Asopichus, and Caphisodorus.

Aristophanes said that “..males who prefer other males are the finest men because they have the most manly nature. Their behavior is due to daring, manliness, and virility, since they are quick to welcome their like.”

Plato and numerous other classical authors attested to the military value of armies made up of lovers. When Epaminondas fell in battle at Mantineia, his lover died beside him. One of the most formidable and feared Theban warriors of the early Classical Era was Kaphisodoros, who was part of the Sacred Band.

Here, then are textual references for long-term (in some cases life-long) homosexual relationships in the Greek texts.

Orestes and Pylades, -Orestes is the hero of the Oresteia cycle. He and Pylades were bywords for faithful and life-long love in Greek culture. -see Lucian (2nd C. CE): Amores or Affairs of the Heart, #48

Damon and Pythias -Pythagorean initiates -see Valerius Maximus: De Amicitiae Vinculo

Aristogeiton and Harmodius -credited with overthrowing tyranny in Athens. -see Thucydides, Peloponnesian War, Book 6

Pausanias and Agathon -Agathon was an Athenian dramatist (c. 450-400 BCE).It was in his house that the Dinner Party of Plato’s Symposium takes place. -see Plato: Symposium 193C, Aristophanes: Thesmophoriazusae

Philolaus and Diocles -Philolaus was a lawgiver at Thebes, Diocles an Olympic Athlete -see Aristotle, Politics 1274A

Epaminondas and Pelopidas -Epaminondas (c.418-362 BCE) led Thebes in its greatest days in the fourth century. At the battle of Mantinea (385 BCE) he saved the life of his life-long friend Pelopidas -see Plutarch: Life of Pelopidas

Members of the Sacred Band of Thebes -see Plutarch: Life of Pelopidas

Alexander the Great and Hephasteion -Atheaneus, The Deinosophists Bk 13

I post this so that Christians who desire to persecute or condemn gay people over the way they are born can see the errors of their way on this, and to realize that we as Christians have a lot to atone for all the violence and murder done in Christ’s name to homosexual people over the past 1600 years.

For the first 300 years of Christianity, gay people were not persecuted, but instead were welcomed as brothers and sisters in Christ… but as soon as Christianity in the early 300’s gained political dominance, look how quickly and brutally things changed when a few bishops with sexual hangups and desire for power, gained the ear of the emperors, whose word was law.. this is why our Founding Fathers wisely chose to separate Church and State:

305-306 – Council of Elvira (now Granada, Spain). This council was representative of the Western European Church and among other things, it barred homosexuals the right to Communion.

314 – Council of Ancyra (now Ankara, Turkey). This council was representative of the Eastern European Church and it excluded the Sacraments for 15 years to unmarried men under the age of 20 who were caught in homosexual acts, and excluded the man for life if he was married and over the age of 50.

342 – Under advice from their bishops, the first law against same-sex marriage was promulgated by the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans.

390 – Under advice from their bishops, Christian emperors Valentinian II, Theodosius I and Arcadius declared homosexual sex to be illegal and those who were guilty of it were condemned to be burned alive in front of the public.

498 – In spite of the laws against homosexuality, the Christian emperors continued to collect taxes on male prostitutes until the reign of Anastasius I, who finally abolishes the tax.

529 – The Christian emperor Justinian I (527–565) made homosexuals a public scapegoat for problems such as “famines,earthquakes, and pestilences.”

589 – The Visigothic kingdom in Spain, is converted from Arianism to Catholicism. This conversion leads to a revision of the law to conform to those of Catholic countries. These revisions include provisions for the persecution of gays and Jews.

693 – In Iberia, Visigothic ruler Egica of Hispania and Septimania, demanded that a Church council confront the occurrence of homosexuality in the Kingdom. The Sixteenth Council of Toledo issued a statement in response, which was adopted by Egica, stating that homosexual acts be punished by castration, exclusion from Communion, hair shearing, one hundred stripes of the lash, and banishment into exile.

1120 – Baldwin II of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, convenes the Council of Nablus to address the vices within the Kingdom. The Council calls for the burning of individuals who perpetually commit homosexual acts.

1179 – The Third Lateran Council of Rome issues a decree for the excommunication of homosexuals.

1232 – Pope Gregory IX starts the Inquisition in the Italian City-States. Some cities called for banishment and/or amputation as punishments for 1st- and 2nd-offending homosexuals and burning for the 3rd or habitual offenders.

1260 – In France, first-offending homosexuals lost their testicles, second offenders lost their member, and third offenders were burned. Women caught in same-sex acts could be mutilated and executed as well.

1265 – Thomas Aquinas argues that homosexuality is second only to murder in the ranking of sins.

1283 – The French Civil Code dictated that convicted homosexuals should not only be burned but also that their property would be forfeited.

1370s – Jan van Aersdone and Willem Case were two men executed in Antwerp at this time. The charge against them was same gender intercourse. Aersdone and Case stand out because records of their names have survived.

1432 – In Florence the first organization specifically intended to prosecute homosexuality is established, the “Night Officials”, which over the next 70 years arrest about 10,000 men and youths.

1451 – Pope Nicholas V enables the papal Inquisition to persecute men who practice homosexuality.

1475 – In Peru, a chronicle written under the Capac Yupanqui government describes the persecution of homosexuals with public burnings and destruction of homes (a practice usually reserved for conquered tribes).

1483 – The Spanish Inquisition begins. Homosexuals were stoned, castrated, and burned. Between 1540 and 1700, more than 1,600 people were prosecuted for homosexuality.

1532 – Holy Roman Empire makes homosexuality punishable by death.

1533 – King Henry VIII passes the Buggery Act 1533 making anal intercourse punishable by death throughout England.

1620 – Brandenburg-Prussia criminalizes homosexuality, making it punishable by death.

1721 – Catherina Margaretha Linck is executed for lesbianism in Germany.

1836 – The last known execution for homosexuality in Great Britain. James Pratt and John Smith are hanged at Newgate prison, London after being caught together in private lodgings.

1895 – The trial of Oscar Wilde results in his being prosecuted under the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 for “gross indecency” for having sex with other males, and is sentenced to two years hard labor in prison, ruining his health.

1903 – In New York on 21 February 1903, New York police conducted the first United States recorded raid on a gay bathhouse, the Ariston Hotel Baths. 26 men were arrested and 12 brought to trial on sodomy charges; 7 men received sentences ranging from 4 to 20 years in prison.

1945 – Upon the liberation of Nazi concentration camps by Allied forces, those who were interned for homosexuality, and who miraculously survived.. are not freed, but required to serve out the full term of their sentences under Paragraph 175.

1954 – June 7th –Mathematical computer genius and WW2 hero Alan Turing commits suicide by cyanide poisoning, 18 months after being given a choice between two years in prison or libido-reducing hormone treatment for a year as a punishment for homosexuality.

TrueChristianity is at long last returning to its original and loving self of the first 300 years of its existence, before bishops, priests, and fanatics tried to control the spiritual life of others with Jesus or their God, and we are freeing ourselves from the religious fanatics that in our recent past, were no better than ISIS or the Taliban in their zeal to use their holy book to torment and condemn others, and who if ever in power would destroy our civilization just as surely as they did in the past.

One need only look at Syria and other places where a holy book is used as a weapon, and where only ‘one’ narrow form of a religion is allowed. This is why the majority of American citizens, more and more Christians, and the enlightened world now recognize gay people as being just how God created them, and are just as worthy of human love, marriage, and respect for their unions, just as heterosexuals are.

Same-sex marriage is nothing new, and the places below weren’t destroyed by barbarians, but rather were abandoned to time after the reason for using them was destroyed by people who had forced their extreme religious views and rejection of science, the arts, and sports upon all others at the point of a sword. 

Fayum Portrait of Two Brothers theater3 theater2 the_theater_ruins_of_thermessus_antalya theaterpinara romancitylibya2 theater4 hippodromeatkibyra stadiumaphrodisias parionodeon theater6 sabrathatheater 

A snapshot of blind hatred, and the great divide within the U.S..

January 7, 2009

An invitation to your thoughts on homosexuality..
Nov 18, 2008 | 4:22 PM
Category: News
Featured On: MyFoxMilwaukee

This is a printed copy of a 2-day conversation I had with a number of people on a public Fox News blog forum concerning equal rights for homosexuals. I decided to go into the den of the proverbial beast and blanket as many Fox sites as I could. It appears there exactly as you see it here. Although their comments are sometimes humorous in their simplicity, some are extremely violent as well. I believe this snapshot of a conversation shows the long road ahead we have to eradicating these type of typical misinformed beliefs about gay people. Their statements are in bold, and mine are in normal type-face and blue. My screen name is ‘aaglaas’. Since I like to believe that all human beings, no matter how indoctrinated by a certain form of religion, or geographically isolated they might be, still retain the ability to use their mind and their reasoning, I am posting this. I need to notify you that this is a VERY long post by the way. If you lack the mental capacity and cannot take the time to read anything you’d like to refute, then don’t take the time to make a comment that is probably already addressed in this post. Just ignore it and go on to easier reading. I invite any comments you might care to give, but only after reading the entirety of it which includes both historical, and biblical points to consider. Thank you and have a great day.

Aaglaas, the last time I read the constitution, it was very evident that our nation has been, from the very beginning, founded on CHRISTIAN principles. If you look at our legal system, our laws are in fact, based on the Dreaded 10 Commandments. Morality has always been the strong suit, if not of our elected officials, at the very least, the majority of our unelected population. You can read in both Leviticus (old testement for you non-readers), and in the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, that the practice of homosexuality is an abomination to our God. My point is this…. we have for too many displays of immorality in front of our young people now, with throwing flamer in front of them too. Excersize your christian principles…..Love the person, but HATE the action. I prove my po int…….we are now the “hateful” ones according to Democrats. Yes, I am proud to be “hateful” too…….I hate the sin, as does God. I just wish I could hate all sin like he does. I`m human and still sin in different areas. The difference? I know it is sin and repent and try again to do right. I don`t go in the streets protesting for my right to enjoy sin. You guys just want to drop your drawers and make all of us see your sinful behavior and try to take away our right to own guns. You are abnormal and sinful.

Your reading of our Constitution is incorrect. The Founding Fathers were not blindly religious men, and they fought hard to erect, in Thomas Jefferson’s words, “..a wall of separation between church and state.” John Adams opined that if they were not restrained by legal measures, Puritans (the Christian fundamentalists of their day) would “whip and crop, and pillory and roast.”

The historical epoch had afforded these men ample opportunity to observe the corruption to which established priesthoods were liable, and as Jefferson wrote ” ..the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time.

The argument here is that you can believe that that is a sin because your own church or faith tells you so, but what you cannot do, is force that religious view on someone who does not view themselves as a ‘sin’. That’s why our country is special as in it guarantees in the totality of our Constitution the right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” as originally stated in the Declaration of Independence. My particular pursuit of happiness would have been to grow up in a country where I didn’t have to go to some special area of a major city that might be hours away from where a person lives, just to be able to safely meet someone with the same feelings as myself. Does that sound like ‘equality’ to you?

Try for even a few seconds to imagine some stranger trying to separate you from your wife or girlfriend because in their religious views, your relationship is a sin…. hopefully you would rise up and demand justice if that were tried upon you. You are not my God, your religious views are not my own, and the White House, and this country’s laws, are not a white church, and a bible. Governments and countries that have tried to enforce one religion are contrary to our American values and ethics.

Let me make this as clear as possible. Unless you view the fact of you being able to first openly meet, then date, then marry, share a life with your wife, have a sexual relationship as well, and all the other integral human needs of having that essential relationship in your life as a ‘right’… then you take it for granted. The only way to understand is for you to try to imagine that ‘right’ being denied or taken away from you. It’s inconceivable I know. But, let’s say in some alternate universe that were done, and the utter anguish, rage, and bewilderment you would feel over another human or group of humans trying to deny you that. You’re talking about apples and oranges man. This isn’t about ‘dropping drawers’ or owning a gun, or something that a ‘majority vote’ even should have the right to vote on.

You are supporting the notion that this most integral need to have a ‘mate’ same-gender or not, can be ‘allowed’ or ‘taken-away’ by a group of citizens who find it a ‘sin’ based on their own personal religious beliefs. You have stated that you do not have a degree or are a student of history. You’ve seen enough of my posts to hopefully know that I’m not a bull-shitter and I tell you this: the ‘abnormality’ on this subject is the current time-period, and the last 1600 years or so. The ‘normal’ view of this subject, based upon the entire scope of human history, which has been my passion and area of study, is that this is something entirely natural. The ‘ancients’ would have been puzzled to the point of bewilderment at the thought that this is something that can legislatively be denied a group of humans.

Nov 8, 2008 | 11:00 AM
Aaglaas, for those of you who keep comparing this homosexual rights issue to the civil rights movement concerning blacks you need to find a new platform. First of all the civil rights movement was made on the behalf of all persons oppressed, women, blacks, hispanics and any other minority groups who were being blocked from reaching their full potential. You guys want special rights, not equal rights! This putting together homosexuals and blacks and bring up the topic of civil rights is used as a platform by homosexuals and people who support their lifestyle. I don·t want homosexuals to start marrying which will affect all normal marriages. It’s agains God’s law.

Me getting married to another guy or anybody else getting married to the same gender doesn’t affect you at all except for your own personal ignorance and hatreds. Unless you spend your time peeping in people’s windows, or having some listening device so you can hear if the neighbors are engaging in a ‘God-approved’ style of sex… this doesn’t affect you at all!! Do you worry endlessly about your heterosexual married neighbors, and how their marriage affects your own? Of course not. This affects ME… this affects anyone like me… this doesn’t affect you. You cannot say ‘choose a better platform other than the Black civil issue in the past’… they were beaten, they were killed, they were arrested.

Your party was on the wrong side of history then, and gave the same arguments you’re giving now, and your party is once again on the evil and wrong side of history on this issue, using the same old religious arguments to validate your own hatred and prejudices against other American citizens… the election has shown that, and I only try to enlighten you so that your grandchildren will not be ashamed that you allowed your life this time period, to be on that wrong side… that hateful side…. Your party hasn’t been on the right side of history on social issues, since the Civil War. The Republican Party today has fallen away from its former greatness.

It would be interesting for the ones mentioning that every society that embraced homosexuality has fallen to list their examples. I’d like their list of those ‘societies’, how they fell, and how it related at all to homosexuality. I have a strong feeling they might mention Greeks or Romans (or more likely the Sodom story), but not really be able to say more. As to ‘special rights’… The day I can walk into any courthouse in any state and legally get married to the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, then I will need no ‘special rights’. They probably aren’t even aware that this is a moral issue the major churches are grappling with, with more and more realizing they have been wrong. Don’t mention Leviticus unless you’re willing to kill any shellfish eaters, or wearers of mixed-fiber clothes. A very few passages before the one you’re mentioning, lists those as ‘abominations’ in the eyes of ‘God’ as well, and the penalty is death. I’m starting my weekend now. Have a great one people, even the hateful and misguided ones. 🙂

aaglaas, taking scripture out of context is the answer. LOL With past societies it is from the spiritual level they were allowed to fall in the natural. Man sins and God will bring consequences. What may appear to stem from a natural source totally unrelated to the sin is usually caused by that very sin. One example is the sins of the fathers being passed down to the children and a few more generations after that. Sin isn`t just isolated to the original sinner many times. In ancient times when something bad would befall a person the first question asked many times would be, what did his father or grandfather do? The tower of Babel shows us what happens when humans try to go past God’s law.. Please take a good bible study course before you attempt to dissect and argue scripture with well known propaganda. Do you think you’re a Christian or something?

No, I no longer call myself a Christian, although I have always had, and have, a deeply spiritual life. How could I align myself with a religion that tells me that what I was born, is an abomination or a sin? Your particular religious beliefs cannot be forced upon other American citizens. There are many religions with no concept of ‘sin’, and as the freedom to practice whatever religion is best suited to your nature is enshrined in the Constitution, you do not have the right to use your concept of sin to deny my human rights… the right to join with a partner being foremost amongst them. Mentioning the tower of Babel, some Old Testament law, or anything else from the Bible holds no weight over me, because it’s just one religion out of many. If I started using Vedic scripture to dictate how you should live your life, I’m sure you would resist, so don’t try to do the same to me or anyone else with your particular religion.

Since you have a very dim grasp of human history, I’m including some knowledge for you concerning homosexuality among the original Native Americans and the Japanese, and some famous life-long partners from Greece and China. I could go with a list of almost every human civilization but that would be too much for you to absorb. It goes on and on. You have no idea of history because all you know is what your pastor has told you, and the poor fare offered in public high-schools prior to university. I doubt you’ll take the time to read this, but here are many examples proving that you are the ones misled about the normalcy of homosexuality:

NATIVE AMERICANS:

Gay traditions were prevalent in most American Indian tribes. There are reports of both women and men living in same-sex marriages, of women who dressed and acted as men and men who acted and dressed as women. The European chroniclers who first came across such behavior and customs described them in terms that belonged to their own world. So American Indian homosexual men were called ‘berdaches’ – French for ‘slave-boys’, used to refer to passive male homosexuals. The name stuck – although its servile connotations were quite inappropriate in the Native American context where berdaches were accorded considerable social prestige. Indeed, gay transvestites were often the shamans or healers of the tribe. Sometimes they had specific religious duties. Among the Crow Indians, for example, the tree that was used in the Sun Dance ceremony would be cut down by homosexual men. Berdaches were regarded as having special intellectual, artistic and spiritual qualities.

They were also reputed to be hard workers. Their ability to combine female and male qualities often put them into the role of mediators between the sexes. When asked ‘when you die … what will you be in the spirit land? A man or a woman?’, one Sioux ‘berdache’ naturally replied ‘both’. It appears to have been fairly easy for women in North American Indian societies to take traditionally male roles and live as men. Girls in the Yukon who declined marriage and child-bearing would dress as men and take part in hunting expeditions, reported Edward Carpenter in the late nineteenth century. This was also true of Sioux women who became warriors and married women. In the Kaska Indian families of Canada, parents would raise one of their daughters to become a warrior. Her sexual experiences would be with other women. Indeed, if there was sexual contact with a man it would ruin the lesbian’s luck with game. But it was not all hunting and war-making. The Kutrenai Indians of the Plateau speak of a woman who left the tribe for a year and married a white man. When she returned she had changed her name to ‘Gone to the Spirits’ and from then on behaved ‘as a man’. She went on to achieve fame not only as a hunter and warrior, but also as a shaman, healer, prophet and guide.

The distinction between homosexual and heterosexual was not always clear or constant. Friendship rather than identity could determine the course of events. As women spent most of their time with women and men with men they were often emotionally closer to members of their own sex than to members of the opposite sex. A nineteenth-century army officer, who studied Indian customs closely, reported on male pairs, saying: ‘They really seem to fall in love with men and I have known this affectionate interest to live for years.’ The union of two men was often publicly recognized in a ‘friendship dance’. Historian Walter M Williams argues that these friendships were not necessarily homosexual, but that for all males who felt erotic attraction to other men, these relationships provided a natural avenue for same-sex behavior. He cites a report from the 1920s saying that for the Yumas: ‘Casual secret homosexuality among both men and women is well known. This is not considered objectionable.’

GREEKS:

Here, then are textual references for long-term (in some cases life-long) homosexual relationships in the Greek texts.

Orestes and Pylades, -Orestes is the hero of the Oresteia cycle. He and Pylades were bywords for faithful and life-long love in Greek culture. see Lucian (2nd C. CE): Amores or Affairs of the Heart, #48
Damon and Pythias -Pythagorean initiates -see Valerius Maximus: De Amicitiae Vinculo
Aristogeiton and Harmodius -credited with overthrowing tyranny in Athens. -see Thucydides, Peloponnesian War, Book 6
Pausanias and Agathon -Agathon was an Athenian dramatist (c. 450-400 BCE). He was famous as an “effeminate” homosexual. It was in his house that the Dinner Party of Plato’s Symposium takes place. -see Plato: Symposium 193C, Aristophanes: Thesmophoriazusae
Philolaus and Diocles -Philolaus was a lawgiver at Thebes, Diocles an Olympic Athlete -see Aristotle, Politics 1274A
Epaminondas and Pelopidas -Epaminondas (c.418-362 BCE) led Thebes in its greatest days in the fourth century. At the battle of Mantinea (385 BCE) he saved the life of his life-long friend Pelopidas -see Plutarch: Life of Pelopidas
Members of the Sacred Band of Thebes, -one of the classical world’s most feared professional armies, composed entirely of male couples sworn to each other.. -see Plutarch: Life of Pelopidas
Alexander the Great and Hephasteion -Atheaneus, The Deinosophists Bk 13

CHINESE:

The names of the emperors, with their acknowledged favorites were recorded in the official histories of the period by Sima Qian and Ban Gu.

The Ten Han Emperors (with “favorites”)

Emperor Gao r.206-195BCE and Jiru
Emperor Hui r.194-188BCE and Hongru
Emperor Wen r.179-141BCE and Deng Tong, and Zhao Tan, and Beigong Bozi
Emperor Jing r.156-141BCE and Zho Ren
Emperor Wu r.140-87BCE and Han Yan, and Han Yue, and Li Yannian
Emperor Zhao r.86-74BCE and Jin Shang
Emperor Xuan r.73-49BCE and Zhang Pengzu
Emperor Yuan r.48-33BCE and Hong Gong, and Shi Xian
Emperor Cheng r.32-7BCE and Zhang Fang, and Chunyu Zhang
Emperor Ai r.6BCE-1CE and Dong Xian

Following emperors from later periods also had open homosexual relationships:

Pei Kai 237-291
Yu Xin 513-581 and Wang Shao
Zhang Hanbian c.265-420 and Zhou Xiaoshi
Emperor Jianwen c.550
Emperor Xizong r. 874-889 and Zhang Langgou
Emperor Wuzong r.1506-1522
Emperor Shenzong r.1573-1620
Emperor Xizong r.1621-1628
Emperor Pu Yi – the last Qing [Manchu] emperor

JAPAN, SAMURAI TRADITION:

A well-known example of samurai ‘bonding’ is Oda Nobunaga, one of Japan’s most revered and powerful daimyo. He was killed in an ambush in 1582, along with his teenaged lover, Mori Panmaru. This is but one example in a long history of same-sex relationships between daimyo and their “beloved retainers”. (Leupp, 42) The love of the shogun has been referred to as “martial homosexuality” (Leupp, 27), developing out of relationships of fealty between warriors and their younger page-boys. Often, these lord-vassal relationships were valued above those between men and women, since dandoshi or ‘male bonding’ extended to the loyalty of the sword-bearer, who would fight–and even die–for his lord.

During this period, the Chinese characters (ai – love) and (chu – loyalty/fealty) were nearly interchangeable. (Tanaka et al) In exchange for loyalty, the younger partners received education and military training. There is some evidence that the younger partner in these relationships assumed a ‘feminine appearance’–a possible precursor to the adrogyny of the later Tokugawa period. Furthermore, the importance of same-sex relationships may have flourished, in part, due to the lack of female influence in the battlefield. Nevertheless, many of the lord-vassal relationships among the samurai were highly valued, and exhibited strong commitments and bonds between the men. Furthermore, they built on a long history of same-sex traditions that existed in monastic communities.

MONASTIC LOVE:

“By the time of increased samurai ascendancy from the thirteenth century, there was already a well-established homoerotic tradition in Japanese monasteries in which boys, not women, were constructed as fitting objects for adult male desire, a tradition which was well suited to the masculine ideals of an increasingly militaristic society.”(Jnanavira) Even before its adoption by the samurai, male-male love was a common practice in the Buddhist monasteries. Sexual relationships between a monk and his acolyte were widespread. These acolytes or ‘boy-lovers’ were also known as chigo, and a collection of stories known as chigo monogatari (“acolyte stories”) details many of these relationships.

“Though the Buddhist code of discipline prohibited monks from any sexual activity, many monks felt that this did not apply to same-sex relationships. This inspired art and literature centered on the young male ideal and the love which sprang between monks and youths.” Although chastity among monks is one of the precepts of Buddhism, in Heian era Japan this came to be understood as sex with women. Sex between monks and their acolytes came to be viewed as the ‘beautiful way’ (bido), and the idea developed that homosexuality was “a reasonable and forgivable compromise between heterosexual involvements and complete sexual abstinence” (Leupp 35). Because Japanese
Buddhism often focused on the intentions or outcomes of acts, rather than the acts themselves, same-sex involvements could be identified as a way of communicating with the Buddha.

The prevalence of monk-acolyte relationships in monastic communities, particularly in the Buddhist centers of Mt. Koya and Mt. Hiei, is said to have originated with the monk Kukai (774-835), also known as Kobo Daishi, who brought back Buddhist teachings from his travels in China to found the Shingon sect. Folk tales accrediting Kukai with the beginnings of shudo or ‘The Way of the Young’ did not emerge until the 11th century, but Kukai’s insistence on celibacy makes such assumptions questionable. However, the fact that China itself had a long history of revered same-sex relationships suggests that such beliefs may have been imported from the mainland. At the same time, as Buddhism blended with the existing Japanese indigenous beliefs, so did the acceptance of homosexuality. (“Kukai) So, although those are probably too many examples for you to take in, it just goes to show you that your limited understanding of homosexuality throughout human history is extremely flawed, not to mention skewed. It’s your very recent view of it as a ‘sin’ that is the abnormality, the norm is quite apparent to anyone who knows history.

Nov 10, 2008 | 1:11 PM
aaglaas…so all of these ‘societies’ are in existence and flourishing today? you are right i do not know my history well…and correct me if i’m wrong…but aren’t these societies with the indigenous people almost non existent today? if in fact they are…i believe former_detroit was correct in her statement that all homosexual embracing societies fall. i don’t believe that just because something has been around for a long time, makes it right…Satan for example.

The only degradation or fall of those cultures, which aside from the Greek and Roman ones, all exist today, is from Western cultures forcing their morals, military might, or colonization upon them. Homosexuality itself had and has nothing to do with it. Your argument has no foundation or basis in fact. Again…. your concept of ‘Satan’ and/or religious beliefs are yours to hold in your personal life, not to inflict or force upon other American citizens who have different religious beliefs than yours. This is not Iran or Saudi Arabia where the government is a theocracy and can inflict harm or force to make people conform to a religious doctrine. If you attempt to do so, you are as bad as they are.

Another strong point: Those civilizations flourished for thousands of years with homosexuality being either an honored part, or well-accepted part of humanity, and in the Native Americans’ case, for tens of thousands of years. This country is barely over 200 years old. The case that homosexuality brings down a civilization holds no weight at all. You might mock the knowledge of history, but you cannot rationalize the comparison of our fledgling civilization’s current view on this topic to ones that lasted so many thousands of years without having a problem over it.

Nov 10, 2008 | 1:56 PM
well i don’t know where setting guidelines if you will, is inflicting harm. no one is talking about killing or maiming homosexuals here. i just don’t want a ‘sin’ to be embraced as being normal. and you are right that it is my religous beliefs which leads me to the conclusion that the act of homosexual sex is a sin…but without such beliefs and morals…where do you draw the line? Who decides what is right and just? You? Me? No One?

Again… ‘normal’ ?? I’ve just given you a small slice of the majority of human history showing you that homosexuality is completely ‘normal’, but to religious fanatics such as you, it’s as if you don’t even see what is before your very eyes. You are perceiving an entirely natural variant of humanity as a ‘sin’… ‘You’ or some church does not get to decide what is right or wrong for American citizens.

If you haven’t noticed, this hold-over from the Christian past of burning people at the stake for being ‘heretics’, or killing them for daring to translate the Bible into English, or saying the world isn’t flat, or all the other injustices that have been perpetrated upon certain groups of people for perceived ‘sin’ and in the name of Christianity has been cast aside by most modern nations in Europe, Canada, and two very enlightened states, that I must point out were two of the founding entities of this great nation. I believe the spirit of true liberty flourishes naturally on that harsh but beautiful coastline..

Christians of your type were against woman being able to vote, and were against blacks being given true equality. You can see that educated and fair-minded people here in this country have realized that stigmatizing homosexuals, and their right to share in the full benefits of life-partnership is morally wrong, and goes against our Constitution. You can think it’s a sin all you want, but since it is not a sin to people who do not believe as you do, and as to what our Constitution says, our right to live our lives as openly as you do will be protected in the future. You are on the wrong side of history if you keep clinging to the old hatreds that Christianity has fostered. The election has shown that most Americans are ready to move forward into an enlightened society, and not one where one religious group gets to meddle in the private lives of others.

I don’t see Christians marching to oppress murderers, thieves, adulterers, shell-fish eaters, people who wear polyester and cotton clothing…. all the multitudes of ‘sins’ listed in the Bible, it’s okay for your children to see that all around them, and yet this one ‘sin’ is the one you pick out of all of them to scare each other over. Question where that fear comes from on this one particular issue. Most likely you are afraid of facing the empathy you will find inside you.

Nov 10, 2008 | 2:58 PM
Aaglaas, you still haven’t addressed the question (neither has detroitlover)…where do you draw the line? who gets to decide what behavior is acceptable? you? me? no one? the government? who? what kind of society do you have without laws?

I, and Americans who want our country to be true freedom and justice for all, will draw the line at religious extremists attempting to interfere with mine, or anyone else’s human rights to openly find, love, and spend our lives with a mate, with the same legal benefits and honor accorded towards a heterosexual couple. Since there is nothing abnormal about it, or sinful, that is where the line will be drawn. It will be the same as allowing blacks to have full equality, women to vote, and reason and education to speak openly without a particular religion’s attempts to suppress it, and after that legislation has been passed, it will take another couple decades before the hate and irrationality that you spout, to be erased, and the younger generation to accept all natural variants of humanity as equal.

I have addressed the question, but you didn’t see it. Hopefully this is so glaringly clear and simple that you can finally ‘get it’. The laws will be the exact same in nature as the Civil Rights act of 1964, except for that they will be specifically addressing homosexuals’ rights to full equality in all aspects of life as you get to enjoy so unthinkingly.

Nov 10, 2008 | 5:32 PM
well aaglaas…i don’t know why you accuse me of being hateful…i haven’t called you names…I only have a different opinion than you…Proposal 8 was defeated…so I guess I and America have drawn the line…and for now you’ll jusst have to deal with it.

Your kind has been on the wrong side of social issues every single time. People like you have been prominent in the Inquisition, in beating down blacks, in suppressing women… some character flaw inside you can’t stand the notion of someone who doesn’t share your particular beliefs of religion or sin as being looked-upon as a fully equal human being. You can’t just live your life, practice your religion in private, and allow others to live their lives without endlessly worrying about how they love or have sex with each other. You are not God, you are not Jesus, you are not the only religion in the world. You do not have the right to interfere with my life, or any person’s like me.

You will not get it, since you’ve already been brainwashed from an early age in a virulent form of Christianity, and all the past examples of people like you oppressing people like me in the name of your religion flies in one ear and out the other. I don’t worry about it. I and anyone like me have had to put up with people like you every day of our lives. You can see when states, judiciaries, and entire countries are finally agreeing with what I’m saying, that you are again on the losing side of history. It’s only because people like you in the 50’s and 60’s were forced through legislation to respect Americans that were a different color or gender, that you cannot act that way today, because that hate has been greatly eradicated by the passage of time, and children growing up here being taught that it is wrong to hate someone of a different color. It will be the same with legislation being enacted now and in the near future.

Even your Republican governor of that state is speaking out against the passage of Proposition 8, and you can rest assured that with our new Democratic Party in power, these type of legislations that deny equal rights to all Americans will be struck down, and on a Federal level. I’m not worried in the slightest. The time of your party and attempting to mix your extreme form of religion with government has ended.

Nov 10, 2008 | 6:14 PM
you are right aaglaas….Jesus said there would be a great falling away before his return…

You’ve fallen away from Christ’s message long ago..

Since you keep bringing up Scripture, and ignore historical facts, here’s something you might actually listen to… I have never found anyone, in print or in person, who follows through on the argument that all the laws in the Bible should be observed. By this, I do not mean that people fail, from human weakness, to observe the commands in their own life. Rather, I refer to the universal practice of rejecting some laws while insisting on others. Those who argue that homosexual proof texts must, without question be obeyed, will, often in the same argument, wave away other legal texts.

Proof-texting is common, and done by all political persuasions. The conservatives are easiest to skewer. Leviticus 18:22 says “you shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination,” and Leviticus 20:13 says “if a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.” Yet, almost no conservatives favor enforcing the punishment, why? Where in the Bible does it say the punishment is not applicable? Leviticus 18:19 says “You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness” and we all agree this is unimportant now, but where is the warrant for saying that verse 19 is irrelevant and verse 22 is God’s holy word, tampered with at risk of condemnation?

Where are the literalists thundering about obeying God’s holy word at the church’s ignoring the ·clear word· on treatment for leprosy (Lev. 14) or shaving the edges of beards (Lev. 21:5)? One verse certainly implies that a fetus is not a person (Ex. 21:22, in imposing a reduced punishment for causing a miscarriage), yet it has not stopped those who oppose abortion.

Even more amazing is Proverbs 11:1: “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but an accurate weight is his delight.” Why does the word “abomination” mean in Leviticus a situation on which our whole faith stands or falls, but when the same Hebrew word appears in Proverbs it is “politics” or “social action” and therefore to be waved away? This is all the more significant as there are more verses in the Old Testament devoted to false weights than there are verses devoted to homosexuality.

Various figures in the Old Testament are allowed moral practices that would not be considered acceptable by those opposed to homosexuality: multiple wives, aggressive military campaigns, and slaves. Strangely, no one seems to think there is any problem with rejecting these practices, yet they are in the “law book” of scripture. Conservatives tend to advocate strict application of the rules on homosexuality, but do not tend to feel that way about ·economic· texts that command tithing (Deuteronomy 14:22) or the forgiveness of debts (Deuteronomy 15:1) Flogging when done by followers of Islam many consider to be primitive or ungodly, yet it is commanded for certain offenses by Deuteronomy 25:1-3.

Nor is your selective application limited to the Old Testament. What opponent of homosexuality considers Matthew 5:39 (” do not resist an evildoer”) normative, either for personal conduct or for a nation’s foreign policy? Sodom, Gomorrah and Sodomites: The assertion is often made that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is primarily about homosexuality (as opposed to gang rape or inhospitality which is what the story actually refers to). We ·’all know’· that it is about homosexuality, except that the Bible doesn’t seem to know this. When the story is referenced later in the Bible, the focus is not on homosexuality but usually using the fate of the city as a warning of the ultimate punishment God can inflict. Still more compelling is the point that if the attackers are homosexual, then the tactic of offering them a woman will not likely be effective. Yet, because Sodom, in modern usage, is considered a synonym for homosexuality, it is common to assume these verses condemn homosexuality.

Here are the literal meanings of some translated words:

Certain words about prohibited sexual behavior do not always literally mean what they are assumed to mean. Examples would include the words often translated as ‘fornication’ and ‘Sodomite.’ ‘Fornication,(ponhro,j,) then and now apparently means ‘sexual immorality.’ We tend to assume that ‘sexual immorality’ means what our society has traditionally condemned, but there is no explicit definition of this word in the Bible that would show it includes homosexuality. The word translated (especially in older English Bible versions) as ‘Sodomites’ (avrsenokoi/tai, lit, ‘soft man’) is not a reference to Sodom at all. The underlying word likely refers to a type of homosexual behavior, perhaps specifically the man who is penetrated by another male, but the word is not a Greek form for ‘Sodom.’ If you had asked someone in Biblical times what a ‘Sodomite’ was, they simply would have said, -someone who lives in Sodom.

Since most of you will use the argument that ‘God’ and ‘Scripture’ is against me to try to negate what I’m trying to share with you, here are some scriptures on which those Christians who find it so easy to hate can dwell upon instead to truly follow Christianity’s message. If you can’t follow these as well, you are not a ‘Christian’….you would be a ‘hypocrite’….

Here you go:

Isaiah 56. God·s welcome of foreigners and eunuchs into God’s ‘house of prayer for all peoples.’
Book of Ruth and 1 Samuel 18 through 2 Samuel 1. A modeling for same-gender couples in the love relationship heralded in scripture in the stories of Ruth and Naomi (Ruth) and Jonathan and David (Samuel).
Micah 6:8. The emphasis of justice in the prophets: “God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Leviticus 19:18 and Luke 10:25-28. As other rabbis of his time would have, Jesus blended Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (·Love God·) and Leviticus 19:18 (“Love your neighbor as yourself” -note this comes between Leviticus 18 and 20!) in Matthew 22:34-40 as one of the greatest commandments, and the lens through which to interpret all of the law and the prophets. To confirm this was a common pairing, see Luke 10:25-28, in which Jesus solicits the same conclusion from an expert in religious law.
John 9. Jesus dissociates a human condition from a sinful cause when he declares a man was not born blind because of his sin or that of his parents, but so that the glory of God may be made manifest.
John 4. Jesus reveals his messianic identity to the outcast Samaritan woman at the well who had had five husbands and was living with a man unmarried. She becomes the first evangelist, bringing others from her village to meet Jesus.
Luke 10:25-37. The parable of the Good Samaritan, in which the most hated person to Jesus’ listeners ·loved his neighbor as himself· in helping a victim of robbers…what a priest and a lay priest failed to do.
Acts 10 and 11. The full welcome of uncircumcised Gentiles into the church, whose lifestyles were repugnant to the Jews. Galatians 5:1, etc. The many letters of Paul that assert freedom from law and custom in Christ, such as Galatians 5:1, “For freedom Christ has set us free.”
1 John 4:16. “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” What follows repeats the theme emphasized throughout scripture to not be afraid, ‘There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.’ We love because God commands us to.

I do not call myself a Christian because of the reason stated before and because of all the people who call themselves Christians, and instead practice hate that I’ve encountered in my life, but wanted to see if you practice what you preach. I not only invite you, but truly welcome you to bring at least the biblical portion of my post, to your pastor or priest because I do not believe he or she could refute them.

The reason major churches are splitting apart right now over this issue, is because you cannot support your point any longer using Scripture on this, than self-professed Christians in the past who were ultimately unable to use scripture to justify slavery, racism, torture of heretics, or burning at the stake to civilized and rational-minded people any longer.

midevil Nov 13, 2008 | 1:10 AM
Aaglaas, there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality that a sharp knife, a flat stump, a hammer and two nails, some fuel and a match wouldn’t correct. Just for insurance, a gun with 1 bullet to ease the transistion after the fire, the cut, and the bleeding.

Chuck_U_Farley Nov 14, 2008 | 9:39 PM
aaglaas, what needs to be done with homosexuals is just like you would do with diseased livestock propagating maladies within the herd. Put’em all in a pile and burn’em.

mechany144 Nov 16, 2008 | 9:46 PM
My friend, I served this country for 30 years. In that time I learned one great truth. I serve all. I do not make a judgement in what another person believes or does. If someone does, it weakens us all. I am in no position to judge another. I have done some things that I am not comfortable with. Killing tops all that. To condemn a person for the Love in their lives? That is just not me. To protect a person? That is me. I may not agree with you. But, I would die for you to be what you are. Or, to have the right to be who you are.
That, my friend, is the soldiers creed.


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