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Homosexual rights downfall of churches?
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Sigurd Volsung
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:51 am    Post subject: Homosexual rights downfall of churches? Reply with quote

Will the idea of gay marriage be the downfall of churches? Both the Mormon and Lutheran churches are feeling pressure from within as members either take anti-gay stances as in the case of the Lutheran church, or pro-gay stances in the Mormon church. Being Pagan my opinion is that I wouldn't mind seeing churches fall in chaos as pro-gay individuals decide that homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090822/ap_on_re/us_lutherans_gays

http://www.witn.com/home/headlines/53309252.html

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Benleopard
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ouch, very touchy subject. XP
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aryeon
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing if you look at it the right way.
then the gay and lesbians are not the one`s who will be the bringers of chaos in the churches but the stiff and righed churche people them self .

because a closed mind will never se the truth of love that is out there.

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The Silver Coyote
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found it interesting that one of the opponents of the ELCA's new policy (of allowing gay people "in committed relationships [to serve] as clergy") seemed to be bothered most by this:
Quote:
This will cause an ever greater loss in members and finances.


On the flip side, I found Atali Staffler's take on the pro-Prop. 8 stance of the LDS church quite refreshing:
Quote:
I encourage them to promote the values they believe in and to defend their religious principles in advertisements, but civil rights have nothing to do with religious principles


Personally, I feel that as long as any so called Christian church preaches a doctrine of hatred, segregationism, exclusionism, or any other dogma or policy that promotes an "us versus them" attitude, then that church has missed the point of Christ's teachings and isn't really a church at all. It's just a group of like-minded individuals who are trying to promote their own beliefs and political agendas as "normal."

I guess that's human nature, to try and seperate, persecute, and minimize the minority. In the USA's history various races, cultures, and genders have been victim to this. Ask any adult woman of the 1920s, any black man or woman of the 1960s, any Mexican man or woman of today about what it's like to live in the shadows and be officially ignored, or worse.

Of course the homosexual community is, and has long been, a member of this set of disenfranchised individuals. They're just as human as their detractors, and according to their detractors own Bibles were created by the same God, that same Bible that instructs them not to sit in judgment on their fellows.

I don't understand where the problem is, why so many people are allowing themselves to be taught to hate. <shrugs> It's a mystery to me, why all these folks can't think for themselves and make up their own minds. It's all right not to like something or someone or some group of people, but it's wrong to force your personal views on society and the law.

SC

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Aslaug
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Silver Coyote wrote:
Personally, I feel that as long as any so called Christian church preaches a doctrine of hatred, segregationism, exclusionism, or any other dogma or policy that promotes an "us versus them" attitude, then that church has missed the point of Christ's teachings and isn't really a church at all. It's just a group of like-minded individuals who are trying to promote their own beliefs and political agendas as "normal."


Gods bless you SC ... that was probably the nicest, most eloquent way of putting it I've seen from anyone in a long time.

Thank you very much.

Love of Freedom, Freedom to Love
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Aslaug
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Regan wrote:
Quote:
From John 8:7 -So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.


But as SC says there are many "Christians" that just love to "cast stones".

Does this mean then that they consider themselves to be without sin? If so then they are perfect and their own Bible teaches that only God is perfect. Therefore it follows that if they can cast stones, being without sin and perfect, they are equal to God. We know what their Bible says about that belief. The above quote is from the King James Version.


Funnily enough, I used that -exact- line of reasoning in Transitions I, Mike. Oh, and the venerable King James' Bible always was and remains to this day, a political tool. Trust me, I read extensively on that topic when I wrote my thesis. King James I needed a political weapon to rally people around certain disenfranchised groups in society ... witches in particular. The whole "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live"-line should actually have been translated more along the lines of "thou shalt not suffer a poisoner of wells to live".

Not surprisingly, poisoning wells was one of the main accusations leveled against people in last great slew of witch-trials in Europe during the 17th century.
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Rabbit
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's one of the problem with claiming to have an immutable eternal, handed-down-from-God rulebook. If circumstances change, the book cannot. I figger one of three things will happen.

A) Like "keeping kosher" for Jews, the Biblical passages in question will simply be ignored or "reinterpreted". One more logical loophole won't matter a hill of bean's worth to the faithful.

B) The churches will schism over the issue, and time will tell which of the two configurations prove the most durable/survivable.

C) Christianity will simply accelerate its long, slow decline into irrelevance.

Actually, I suspect that _all three_ of the above will happen, now that I think about it. The big question is, will our mostly simple-minded society be able to survive without a common basic belief-system? (None have managed that little trick yet in the long run, that I know of. The common man _needs_ spirituality just as much as he requires food and water. And the flavor of said spirituality defines/reflects the shape and basic rules of their society and gives it meaning, making it a _very_ sensitive subject. This is why, on the surface at least, religion is so often perceived as the cause of wars.) If the West _can't_ survive without a basic common belief-system, then Islam may well yet come to inherit the Earth. Note that it's expanding almost as fast as Christianity fails, and most rapidly in those regions where Christianity is today at its weakest. Look at where the Churches are closing, and watch the Mosques go up in their place.

On another subject, the role of spirituality in the destiny of Man is one of the themes of "The First Book of Lapism", my latest. I _like_ thinking about this stuff! =:)
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The Silver Coyote
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<smiles>

Just because I don't talk as much as I used to, Filly, doesn't mean I don't have something to say.

I tend to agree with Rabbit's observations. Around me here in the OC, churches have been fracturing and breaking apart over this very issue for years, and the possibly sad result is that Christianity is becoming less and less relevant in my part of 21st century America. I have mixed feelings about this.

As for his observation about whether or not society can survive without a belief system, I will posit this opinion, based on almost fifty years of personal observation. Please, folks, this is my opinion, not a statement of fact, nor is it a statement of how I desire things to be.

I think that today, here and now around my small part of the world, Christian faiths have become something to lean upon and seek support from for those who are either too poorly educated or too poorly motivated to think things out for themselves. When they wake up one day, deep in debt and losing their homes, saddled with children who neither respect nor even listen to them, working at jobs they don't enjoy ... the "easy out" is to blame God: "It is His will." Or "I am being tested." Or whatever.

It is far easier for these folks to go to church and be told they're loved, be told that the shortcomings of their lives are because of the unwashed around them (be they homosexuals, Jews, Nazis, witches, politicians, Mormons, radical Islamists, fundamentalist Christians, or any other subsection of America that this particular "church" finds objectionable), to be told that if they'll only behave in the proscribed manner then everything will eventually be all right, that God will smile upon them, and they will win.

Christianity in America seems to moving away from what Christ taught, and seems to be focusing more on being told how to vote, who to approve of, who not to approve of, what to do with your money, how to raise your children, what kind of job to have, and other mundane things that most folks, paying attention and using their own brains, ought to be able to figure out for themselves. Perhaps there is something to why Christ constantly referred to us as sheep and himself the shepherd. Sometimes we, as a species, act a lot like sheep, waiting to be told what to do or think next.

As I recall from my history (knowledge which pales in comparison to that of our Filly, I freely admit), some of the greatest tyrants, dictators, and despots in our global history have utilized faith as a powerful weapon with which to direct nations and bend them to their particular evil ends.

Wouldn't we all be a little bit better off if we thought and did for ourselves, and took full responsibility for our thoughts and actions?

My two cents worth.

... OK, maybe five cents worth ...

SC

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South_Munjoy
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rabbit wrote:
That's one of the problem with claiming to have an immutable eternal, handed-down-from-God rulebook. If circumstances change, the book cannot. I figger one of three things will happen.

A) Like "keeping kosher" for Jews, the Biblical passages in question will simply be ignored or "reinterpreted". One more logical loophole won't matter a hill of bean's worth to the faithful.

B) The churches will schism over the issue, and time will tell which of the two configurations prove the most durable/survivable.

C) Christianity will simply accelerate its long, slow decline into irrelevance.


All three of these are in the process of happening. I don't know about Lapism, but I'd like to say that the 'Revelation Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster's Previously Hidden Truth' is quite intriguing, as are scriptural renderings of 'Bob', and 'Bob's' competition, The Principia Dischordia.
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Sigurd Volsung
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just remember if you're a Discordian you can always be a Pope but you can't be a Prophet or the religion will lose its nonprofit status.

One church that seems to be having a large rise in this time in membership is the Unitarians who have been preaching equality since the late 1800's when they ordained their first female minister and a few in I believe the 60's ordained an openly gay minister, none of the followers even batted an eyelash. On a couple of occasions I have been to a Unitarian service and have found it both uplifting and memorable because they preached about understanding humanity not about a God who's motives we couldn't even hope to understand.

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Alexi
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again, this community amazes me.

This has to be the most honest and adult discussion on religion and homosexuality that I have ever come across. This very topic has come up on a pagan message board I frequent a number of times. It never gets very far before it deteriorates into mindless ranting and petty arguing.

Again, my fellow furs, you humble me with your maturity.

Having said this, I will add my two cents. I speak only for myself as both a pagan priest and a bisexual.

First, I agree with SC. What is written in the Bible (which is taught to be the very word of almighty God) is NOT what is being taught, preached or spoken in the vast majority of today's "christian" churches. And that's really sad. If you look at what Christianity is based on, it's actually very loving and wonderfully nurturing religion. But if you look at that and then at what is called Christianity now... Well it's not pretty. The words of Christ have been twisted and perverted in ways that would have been considered heresy a hundred years ago.

As to the other half of the topic I say this:

I took an oath. I swore to protect against all enemies, both foreign AND domestic. I promised to defend the freedoms of all those who are under my countries flag. That includes the Gays, Bi's and Lesbians. I'm out here everyday with my fellow brother s and sisters fighting, killing and, if it comes down to it, dying so that everyone back home can enjoy the best freedoms that we can offer. Show me the man or woman who think they have the right to deny a fellow American the rights I bleed to pay for. I dare any one of those people to look one of us in the eyes and try to justify their actions.

I know that, personally, I wouldn't let them breath to finish the explanation.

And I very much believe in m the rule of harming none unless no option is left.

But this is just my opinion.

Thank you.
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PrincessB
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Alexi for being mature enough to state:
Quote:
is NOT what is being taught, preached or spoken in the vast majority of today's "christian" churches.
Anyone can sit at their computer and lump all christians into one mold, thereby being the very closed minded thinking that they are eager to accuse christians of. It's really sadly comical how so many non-religious are eager to scream and whine about how all christians are "closed minded and preach hate and I hope their churches all fall" but in doing so are themselves being closed minded and filled with hate.

I have never hidden the way I feel on the subject of homosexuality, and I'll state it again. I do not feel that same sex relationships are what God originally wanted but I also firmly believe in the part of the Bible that says "Judge not, least ye be judged". Therefore whether same sex relationships are acceptable or not it is not my job to condemn you. If there is a God (just because I believe there is does not make it so, no one knows everything) then it is Him that you have to answer to. Since no one knows everything it may be that same sex is alright and you have no problems, if it is not alright then it is you who has to deal with that when the time comes. It's one of those "A, B conversations, so C you later" type things.
My church teaches "hate the sin, but love the sinner". We all do things wrong whether we mean to or not, that does not make us bad. Your child tries underage drinking, doesn't mean you can't love them anymore. Your spouse doesn't take out the trash like you asked, doesn't mean you can't love them anymore. I do not encourage same sex relationships, doesn't mean I can't still be friends with someone who takes part in it. I've had bi, gay or lesbian friends for a very long time, most of them know my thinking but also know I don't condemn or hate them.

Back when I was in 7th grade it was still fairly "not done" to admit to having any interest in the same sex (now days many teens have the "jump on board" thing going on and it's cool to be a bi teen girl, back then it was still "you come out, you have leprosy"). I had three best friends; two girls, one guy. I and another girl were "straight", the guy was gay and the other girl was lesbian. I didn't care their orientation. Much of the kids our age guessed their different interests and thereby they were slightly out-casted and to be friends with them I was not as accepted, but I really didn't care, good people are good people no matter what their life is like.

For some churches, yeah something like homosexuality could be a potential thorn in their paw, but for others, not so much. I've known christians who stated that Harry Potter was evil and anyone who read it was friends with the devil and/or going to hell. One even stated that being in the same room as me and another guy talking about HP meant she would go to hell. It's a pretty safe bet that if she were confronted by a homosexual attending her church she would likely run from the church so fast it would look like one of those cartoons with the spinning legs.
However, with most christians I associate with often, something like closed minded or stone throwing would not go over well. I once had a Sabbath School class that was being taught by the father of a friend of mine. Early in the week the friend sent me one of those "HP is evil devil worship" emails that were popular at the time. I replied that everything in the email was lies, I know because I've read all the books. That Saturday at church her dad started angrily lecturing about the evils of HP, I asked "have you read any of the books?" and was met with screaming "NO, I'd never read that filth!" I said "If you've not read it then you can't speak on it, you can't pretend to know all just because of a few things that were told to you" Suffice to say that the mixture of his closed mindedness and his screaming at me (while I kept calm and never talked over him) caused the majority of the class to leave and attend a different Sabbath School class until he stepped down and someone else took over. It didn't harm the church, we just went to another class, nor was it acceptable by the majority of those in attendance.

Yeah, it's long Smile It just always amuses me when non-christians whine about christians, claiming that they are closed minded and preach hate but to lump all christians together is to be the very thing they are accusing christians of. It's like how often those that scream "no drama" tend to be the ones who create the most drama. Some christians ARE closed minded and encourage hate. Some furries like having sex with animals, does that mean that ALL furries are into it? No, so one would think that as members of a group that outsiders often like to try to shove into a single mold, non-christians here would shy away from doing to others the very thing they dislike being done to them.
Thank you to those few who have the knowledge and foresight to acknowledge that while yes some (and sadly enough, a large number) of christians don't follow the Bible well, not all can be shoved into one mold.

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Alexi
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you PrincessB for so eloquently reminding use that Christians are good people and that it is their radical minority thatare the trouble makers. You are a credit to your faith.

Again. This community astounds me. I keep expecting to see the usual stuff i see on so many other boards. Yet I do not. It's a wholesome breath of air for me.
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Teric
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PrincessB wrote:
We all do things wrong whether we mean to or not, that does not make us bad. Your child tries underage drinking, doesn't mean you can't love them anymore. Your spouse doesn't take out the trash like you asked, doesn't mean you can't love them anymore. I do not encourage same sex relationships, doesn't mean I can't still be friends with someone who takes part in it. I've had bi, gay or lesbian friends for a very long time, most of them know my thinking but also know I don't condemn or hate them.


Thank you, PrincessB. I agree with that very much.

I also am very good friends with a number of folks who are homosexual, and there is no condemnation nor hate in our relationship. I bear no ill will whatsoever toward them, nor they toward me. They understand that I do not agree with nor encourage the homosexual lifestyle, and we agree to disagree on that point. Our friendship is valuable enough to us that we do not allow this issue to drive us apart.

For those of you who don't know, I am a Mormon. I do not make any excuses for being who I am, nor for what I believe. And, much like PrincessB stated above, I also firmly believe that I have no authority to pass judgement nor condemnation on those who are homosexual.

As taught in the scriptures, God is the Father of us all, Christians and non-Christians, gay and straight alike. As a fellow child of God, I believe that all of us have a right to be treated with dignity and respect.

I do not hate anyone. I hope that my previous behavior on this forum has demonstrated this. I also hope, as PrincessB does, that just because I am a Christian and I don't agree with homosexuality, that you don't lump me or her or any of the number of Christians on this forum among those who choose to use their religion as a weapon.

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Aslaug
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These are mighty dangerous waters, Cap'n Ahab ...

Thing is, being a member of the LGBT-community myself, I don't think anyone who spent five minutes getting to know me can be in doubt of my stance on these issues.

I believe no one has a right to judge, much as PrincessB and Teric have already pointed out. I also believe that consentual relationships between two adult human beings cannot be wrong. And most of all, I maintain that sexuality is inborn, not a choice.

Why would anyone ... anyone ... willingly subject themselves to scorn, ridicule, hatred, violence or even death if they could just choose to be a different way? They wouldn't. That's the simple, logical answer.

So long as no one harms or hurts another person in the course of their relationship, I don't believe any just, loving, kind divine entity or entities would condemn it.

And the opposite is true, then I don't need such an entity or such entities anyway.

Furthermore, I find the whole concept of "sin" to be very hard to grasp. Even though my studies have given me extensive insight into what it means in a purely intellectual sense, I find it very, very difficult to grasp the idea emotionally and mentally. I suppose one has to actually be a member of a religion in which such a concept exists to "get" it, and that is probably why I have such a hard time coming to terms with "love the sinner but hate the sin" and similar things.

I know what it's meant to say ... I can read it and I know that it's MEANT to be a way of saying "to each their own" ... but for someone who lives with a set of religious beliefs devoid of the concept of "sin" it looks patronizing or even condescending.

I know it's not meant to be (and I remind myself all the time) but what I'm trying to get at is actually ... how to put this ... I think it is the same kind of feeling for those who feel that way, as it is for me to say "love can't be wrong when it happens between two adults who agree on it". It's such an ingrained, integral part of a person's emotional and mental landscape that while we can share these feelings and thoughts, we will NEVER be able to see eye-to-eye on it or meet half-way.

It's like standing on either side of the Grand Canyon with a beebee-gun and a roll of yarn and planning to shoot across the great divide to walk the string as a tightrope, using two matches to keep your balance.

It's completely impossible ...

I hope some of this makes a little sense to SOME people. It's very hard to explain. It's also such an extremely explosive topic ...

Ah nevermind ...
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