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Calif. Supreme Court Rules Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Thursday, May 15, 2008 • 12:14 pm


The entire ruling is here, in a 172-page PDF document (469kb). We’ve archived it on our server as well.

In Lockyer v. City and County of San Francisco (2004) 33 Cal.4th 1055 (Lockyer), this court concluded that public officials of the City and County of San Francisco acted unlawfully by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the absence of a judicial determination that the California statutes limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman are unconstitutional. Our decision in Lockyer emphasized, however, that the substantive question of the constitutional validity of the California marriage statutes was not before this court in that proceeding, and that our decision was not intended to reflect any view on that issue. (Id. at p. 1069; see also id. at p. 1125 (conc. opn. of Moreno, J.); id. at pp. 1132-1133 (conc. & dis. opn. of Kennard, J.); id. at p. 1133 (conc. & dis. opn. of Werdegar, J.).) The present proceeding, involving the consolidated appeal of six cases that were litigated in the superior court and the Court of Appeal in the wake of this court’s decision in Lockyer, squarely presents the substantive constitutional question that was not addressed in Lockyer. In considering this question, we note at the outset that the constitutional issue before us differs in a significant respect from the constitutional issue that has been addressed by a number of other state supreme courts and intermediate appellate courts that recently have had occasion, in interpreting the applicable provisions of their respective state constitutions, to determine the validity of statutory provisions or common law rules limiting marriage to a union of a man and a woman. (See, e.g., Conaway v. Deane (Md. 2007) 932 A.2d 571; Goodridge v. Dept. of Pub. Health (Mass. 2003) 798 N.E.2d 941; Lewis v. Harris (N.J. 2006) 908 A.2d 196; Hernandez v. Robles (N.Y. 2006) 855 N.E.2d 1; Baker v. State (Vt. 1999) 744 A.2d 864; Andersen v. King County (Wn. 2006) 138 P.3d 963; Standhardt v. Superior Court (Ariz.Ct.App. 2003) 77 P.3d 451; Morrison v. Sadler (Ind.Ct.App. 2005) 821 N.E.2d 15.) These courts, often by a one-vote margin (see, post, pp. 114-115, fn. 70), have ruled upon the validity of statutory schemes that contrast with that of California, which in recent years has enacted comprehensive domestic partnership legislation under which a same-sex couple may enter into a legal relationship that affords the couple virtually all of the same substantive legal benefits and privileges, and imposes upon the couple virtually all of the same legal obligations and duties, that California law affords to and imposes upon a married couple.2 Past California cases explain that the constitutional validity of a challenged statute or statutes must be evaluated by taking into consideration all of the relevant statutory provisions that bear upon how the state treats the affected persons with regard to the subject at issue. (See, e.g., Brown v. Merlo (1973) 8 Cal.3d 855, 862.) Accordingly, the legal issue we must resolve is not whether it would be constitutionally permissible under the California Constitution for the state to limit marriage only to opposite-sex couples while denying same-sex couples any opportunity to enter into an official relationship with all or virtually all of the same substantive attributes, but rather whether our state Constitution prohibits the state from establishing a statutory scheme in which both opposite-sex and same-sex couples are granted the right to enter into an officially recognized family relationship that affords all of the significant legal rights and obligations traditionally associated under state law with the institution of marriage, but under which the union of an opposite-sex couple is officially designated a “marriage” whereas the union of a same-sex couple is officially designated a “domestic partnership.” The question we must address is whether, under these circumstances, the failure to designate the official relationship of same-sex couples as marriage violates the California Constitution.3 It also is important to understand at the outset that our task in this proceeding is not to decide whether we believe, as a matter of policy, that the officially recognized relationship of a same-sex couple should be designated a marriage rather than a domestic partnership (or some other term), but instead only to determine whether the difference in the official names of the relationships violates the California Constitution. We are aware, of course, that very strongly held differences of opinion exist on the matter of policy, with those persons who support the inclusion of same-sex unions within the definition of marriage maintaining that it is unfair to same-sex couples and potentially detrimental to the fiscal interests of the state and its economic institutions to reserve the designation of marriage solely for opposite-sex couples, and others asserting that it is vitally important to preserve the long-standing and traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, even as the state extends comparable rights and responsibilities to committed same-sex couples. Whatever our views as individuals with regard to this question as a matter of policy, we recognize as judges and as a court our responsibility to limit our consideration of the question to a determination of the constitutional validity of the current legislative provisions.

As explained hereafter, the determination whether the current California statutory scheme relating to marriage and to registered domestic partnership is constitutionally valid implicates a number of distinct and significant issues under the California Constitution.

First, we must determine the nature and scope of the “right to marry” - a right that past cases establish as one of the fundamental constitutional rights embodied in the California Constitution. Although, as an historical matter, civil marriage and the rights associated with it traditionally have been afforded only to opposite-sex couples, this court’s landmark decision 60 years ago in Perez v. Sharp (1948) 32 Cal.2d 7114 - which found that California’s statutory provisions prohibiting interracial marriages were inconsistent with the fundamental constitutional right to marry, notwithstanding the circumstance that statutory prohibitions on interracial marriage had existed since the founding of the state - makes clear that history alone is not invariably an appropriate guide for determining the meaning and scope of this fundamental constitutional guarantee. The decision in Perez, although rendered by a deeply divided court, is a judicial opinion whose legitimacy and constitutional soundness are by now universally recognized.

As discussed below, upon review of the numerous California decisions that have examined the underlying bases and significance of the constitutional right to marry (and that illuminate why this right has been recognized as one of the basic, inalienable civil rights guaranteed to an individual by the California Constitution), we conclude that, under this state’s Constitution, the constitutionally based right to marry properly must be understood to encompass the core set of basic substantive legal rights and attributes traditionally associated with marriage that are so integral to an individual’s liberty and personal autonomy that they may not be eliminated or abrogated by the Legislature or by the electorate through the statutory initiative process. These core substantive rights include, most fundamentally, the opportunity of an individual to establish - with the person with whom the individual has chosen to share his or her life - an officially recognized and protected family possessing mutual rights and responsibilities and entitled to the same respect and dignity accorded a union traditionally designated as marriage. As past cases establish, the substantive right of two adults who share a loving relationship to join together to establish an officially recognized family of their own - and, if the couple chooses, to raise children within that family - constitutes a vitally important attribute of the fundamental interest in liberty and personal autonomy that the California Constitution secures to all persons for the benefit of both the individual and society.

Furthermore, in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation - like a person’s race or gender - does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples.5

In defending the constitutionality of the current statutory scheme, the Attorney General of California maintains that even if the constitutional right to marry under the California Constitution applies to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples, this right should not be understood as requiring the Legislature to designate a couple’s official family relationship by the term “marriage,” as opposed to some other nomenclature. The Attorney General, observing that fundamental constitutional rights generally are defined by substance rather than by form, reasons that so long as the state affords a couple all of the constitutionally protected substantive incidents of marriage, the state does not violate the couple’s constitutional right to marry simply by assigning their official relationship a name other than marriage. Because the Attorney General maintains that California’s current domestic partnership legislation affords samesex couples all of the core substantive rights that plausibly may be guaranteed to an individual or couple as elements of the fundamental state constitutional right to marry, the Attorney General concludes that the current California statutory scheme relating to marriage and domestic partnership does not violate the fundamental constitutional right to marry embodied in the California Constitution.

We need not decide in this case whether the name “marriage” is invariably a core element of the state constitutional right to marry so that the state would violate a couple’s constitutional right even if - perhaps in order to emphasize and clarify that this civil institution is distinct from the religious institution of marriage - the state were to assign a name other than marriage as the official designation of the formal family relationship for all couples. Under the current statutes, the state has not revised the name of the official family relationship for all couples, but rather has drawn a distinction between the name for the official family relationship of opposite-sex couples (marriage) and that for same-sex couples (domestic partnership). One of the core elements of the right to establish an officially recognized family that is embodied in the California constitutional right to marry is a couple’s right to have their family relationship accorded dignity and respect equal to that accorded other officially recognized families, and assigning a different designation for the family relationship of same-sex couples while reserving the historic designation of “marriage” exclusively for opposite-sex couples poses at least a serious risk of denying the family relationship of same-sex couples such equal dignity and respect. We therefore conclude that although the provisions of the current domestic partnership legislation afford same-sex couples most of the substantive elements embodied in the constitutional right to marry, the current California statutes nonetheless must be viewed as potentially impinging upon a same-sex couple’s constitutional right to marry under the California Constitution.

Furthermore, the circumstance that the current California statutes assign a different name for the official family relationship of same-sex couples as contrasted with the name for the official family relationship of opposite-sex couples raises constitutional concerns not only under the state constitutional right to marry, but also under the state constitutional equal protection clause. In analyzing the validity of this differential treatment under the latter clause, we first must determine which standard of review should be applied to the statutory classification here at issue. Although in most instances the deferential “rational basis” standard of review is applicable in determining whether different treatment accorded by a statutory provision violates the state equal protection clause, a more exacting and rigorous standard of review - “strict scrutiny” - is applied when the distinction drawn by a statute rests upon a so-called “suspect classification” or impinges upon a fundamental right. As we shall explain, although we do not agree with the claim advanced by the parties challenging the validity of the current statutory scheme6 that the applicable statutes properly should be viewed as an instance of discrimination on the basis of the suspect characteristic of sex or gender and should be subjected to strict scrutiny on that ground, we conclude that strict scrutiny nonetheless is applicable here because (1) the statutes in question properly must be understood as classifying or discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, a characteristic that we conclude represents - like gender, race, and religion -a constitutionally suspect basis upon which to impose differential treatment, and (2) the differential treatment at issue impinges upon a same-sex couple’s fundamental interest in having their family relationship accorded the same respect and dignity enjoyed by an opposite-sex couple.

Under the strict scrutiny standard, unlike the rational basis standard, in order to demonstrate the constitutional validity of a challenged statutory classification the state must establish (1) that the state interest intended to be served by the differential treatment not only is a constitutionally legitimate interest, but is a compelling state interest, and (2) that the differential treatment not only is reasonably related to but is necessary to serve that compelling state interest. Applying this standard to the statutory classification here at issue, we conclude that the purpose underlying differential treatment of opposite-sex and same-sex couples embodied in California’s current marriage statutes - the interest in retaining the traditional and well-established definition of marriage - cannot properly be viewed as a compelling state interest for purposes of the equal protection clause, or as necessary to serve such an interest.

A number of factors lead us to this conclusion. First, the exclusion of same-sex couples from the designation of marriage clearly is not necessary in order to afford full protection to all of the rights and benefits that currently are enjoyed by married opposite-sex couples; permitting same-sex couples access to the designation of marriage will not deprive opposite-sex couples of any rights and will not alter the legal framework of the institution of marriage, because same-sex couples who choose to marry will be subject to the same obligations and duties that currently are imposed on married opposite-sex couples. Second, retaining the traditional definition of marriage and affording same-sex couples only a separate and differently named family relationship will, as a realistic matter, impose appreciable harm on same-sex couples and their children, because denying such couples access to the familiar and highly favored designation of marriage is likely to cast doubt on whether the official family relationship of same-sex couples enjoys dignity equal to that of opposite-sex couples. Third, because of the widespread disparagement that gay individuals historically have faced, it is all the more probable that excluding same-sex couples from the legal institution of marriage is likely to be viewed as reflecting an official view that their committed relationships are of lesser stature than the comparable relationships of opposite-sex couples. Finally, retaining the designation of marriage exclusively for opposite sex couples and providing only a separate and distinct designation for same-sex couples may well have the effect of perpetuating a more general premise - now emphatically rejected by this state - that gay individuals and same-sex couples are in some respects “second-class citizens” who may, under the law, be treated differently from, and less favorably than, heterosexual individuals or opposite-sex couples. Under these circumstances, we cannot find that retention of the traditional definition of marriage constitutes a compelling state interest. Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional.


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Comments:

damned (in the theologically correct use of that term) nonsense.
-RedHatRob

[1] Posted by RedHatRob on 05-15-2008 at 12:18 PM • top

Judicial activism trumps the stated will of The People, once again.

Hopefully, not for very long:

Conservative religious organizations have submitted more than 1.1 million signatures for an initiative that would amend the state Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage. If at least 694,354 signatures are found to be valid, a tally that is due by mid-June, the measure would go on the November ballot

[2] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 05-15-2008 at 12:19 PM • top

Cue Integrity spasms of joy in 3… 2… 1…

[3] Posted by Greg Griffith on 05-15-2008 at 12:23 PM • top

Dear Greg:

“Cue Integrity spasms of joy…”

What an image!

[4] Posted by FrVan on 05-15-2008 at 12:24 PM • top

In other words, “We don’t care about the kids.”

[5] Posted by Doug Taylor-Weiss on 05-15-2008 at 12:28 PM • top

Birth control -> Divorce -> Abortion -> Gay Marriage -> ?

[6] Posted by Paul B on 05-15-2008 at 12:35 PM • top

On Fox right now, Napolitano is saying that the ruling means anyone who performs marriages in California must perform gay marriages now. If that’s true, it will be - to say the least - very interesting to watch how this plays with Christian churches, especially the Roman Catholic archdioceses, and the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

[7] Posted by Greg Griffith on 05-15-2008 at 12:36 PM • top

I am sickened at this. Is there any chance of getting this decison reversed?

[8] Posted by TLDillon on 05-15-2008 at 12:40 PM • top

Quote: As past cases establish, the substantive right of two adults who share a loving relationship to join together to establish an officially recognized family of their own - and, if the couple chooses, to raise children within that family - constitutes a vitally important attribute of the fundamental interest in liberty and personal autonomy that the California Constitution secures to all persons for the benefit of both the individual and society. Unquote

And so the children are the least part of this equation, the needs of the individual being first, and California’s sick society being second.

Maybe San Andreas can resolve this fault once and for all.

[9] Posted by Runes on 05-15-2008 at 12:42 PM • top

Um, Greg: did you mean Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin #1 (the “real one” which should technically be under the control of the Standing Committee as its ecclesial authority); Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin #2 (The puppet “diocese” created by 815 and theoretically under +Lamb) or the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin under +Schofield and ++Venables?

My guess: 
—Episcopal Diocese #1 is to caught up in other matters to respond to this ruling.
—Episcopal Diocese #2 will applaud this ruling vigorously
—The Anglican Diocese will speak out forcefully against it and work to oppose it.

[10] Posted by The_Elves on 05-15-2008 at 12:46 PM • top

I am quickly becoming disgusted with California! There’s gotta be a better place to live out one’s life than here in the Sun-Baked liberal state!

[11] Posted by TLDillon on 05-15-2008 at 12:47 PM • top

This is a nightmare for Barrack Obama.  If the ballot initiative goes to a vote, as is likely, it will bring out many social conservatives who might otherwise stay at home.  Without this nightmare he probably could have assumed an easy victory in California.  He will be FORCED to take a stand, though, and can’t risk alienating his base on the left. This suddenly will make Hillary look even more electable (imagine how this will play in Kentucky, coming up, for example).  The best thing Hillary could do now is say that she supports domestic partnerships, but thinks the court got it wrong with respect to marriage, and leave Obama hanging out there.

[12] Posted by RomeAnglican on 05-15-2008 at 12:48 PM • top

Justice Corrigan’s dissent deserves some quoting, to balance out what the majority (4 out of 7) says:

  In my view, Californians should allow our gay and lesbian neighbors to call their unions marriages. But I, and this court, must acknowledge that a majority of Californians hold a different view, and have explicitly said so by their vote. This court can overrule a vote of the people only if the Constitution compels us to do so. Here, the Constitution does not. Therefore, I must dissent.
  It is important to be clear. Under California law, domestic partners have “virtually all of the same substantive legal benefits and privileges” available to traditional spouses. (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 45.) I believe the Constitution requires this as a matter of equal protection. However, the single question in this case is whether domestic partners have a constitutional right to the name of “marriage.”[Fn. 1 omitted.]
  Proposition 22 was enacted only eight years ago. By a substantial majority the people voted to recognize, as “marriage,” only those unions between a man and a woman. (Fam. Code, § 308.5.) The majority concludes that the voters’ decision to retain the traditional definition of marriage is unconstitutional. I disagree.
  The majority correctly notes that it is not for this court to set social policy based on our individual views. Rather, this is a question of constitutional law. (Maj. opn., ante, at pp. 4-5, 109.) I also agree with the majority that we must consider both the statutes defining marriage and the domestic partnership statutes.(Id. at pp. 3, 46-47.) The California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003 (DPA), and other recent legislative changes, represent a dramatic and fundamental transformation of the rights of gay and lesbian Californians. It is a remarkable achievement of the legislative process that the law now expressly recognizes that domestic partners have the same substantive rights and obligations as spouses.
    . . .
Without foundation, the majority claims that to hold the domestic partnership laws constitutional would be a statement “that it is permissible, under the law, for society to treat gay individuals and same-sex couples differently from, and less favorably than, heterosexual individuals and opposite-sex couples.” (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 118.) This is simply not so. The majority’s narrow and inaccurate assertions are just the opposite of what the Legislature intended. To make its case
for a constitutional violation, the majority distorts and diminishes the historic achievements of the DPA, and the efforts of those who worked so diligently to pass it into law.
  . . .
What is unique about this case is that plaintiffs seek both to join the institution of marriage and at the same time to alter its definition. The majority maintains that plaintiffs are not attempting to change the existing institution of marriage. (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 53.) This claim is irreconcilable with the majority’s declaration that “[f]rom the beginning of California statehood, the legal institution of civil marriage has been understood to refer to a relationship between a man and a woman.” (Id. at p. 23, fn. omitted.) The people are entitled to preserve this traditional understanding in the terminology of the law, recognizing that same-sex and opposite-sex unions are different. What they are not entitled to do is treat them differently under the law.
  The distinction between substance and nomenclature makes this case different from other civil rights cases. The definition of the rights to education, to vote, to pursue an office or occupation, and the other celebrated civil rights vindicated by the courts, were not altered by extending them to all races and both genders. The institution of marriage was not fundamentally changed by removing the racial restrictions that formerly encumbered it. Plaintiffs, however, seek to change the definition of the marital relationship, as it has consistently been understood, into something quite new. They could certainly accomplish such a redefinition through the initiative process. As a voter, I might agree. But that change is for the people to adopt, not for judges to dictate.
  . . .
The voters who passed Proposition 22 not long ago decided to keep the meaning of marriage as it has always been understood in California. The majority
improperly infringes on the prerogative of the voters by overriding their decision. It does that which it acknowledges it should not do: it redefines marriage because it believes marriage should be redefined. (See maj. opn., ante, at pp. 4-5, 109.) It justifies its decision by finding a constitutional infirmity where none exists.
Plaintiffs are free to take their case to the people, to let them vote on whether they are now ready to accept such a redefinition. Californians have legalized domestic partnership, but decided not to call it “marriage.” Four votes on this court should not disturb the balance reached by the democratic process, a balance that is still being tested in the political arena. . . .
    . . .
  The principle of judicial restraint is a covenant between judges and the people from whom their power derives. It protects the people against judicial overreaching. It is no answer to say that judges can break the covenant so long as they are enlightened or well-meaning.
  The process of reform and familiarization should go forward in the legislative sphere and in society at large. We are in the midst of a major social change. Societies seldom make such changes smoothly. For some the process is frustratingly slow. For others it is jarringly fast. In a democracy, the people should be given a fair chance to set the pace of change without judicial interference. That is the way democracies work. Ideas are proposed, debated, tested. Often new ideas are initially resisted, only to be ultimately embraced. But when ideas are imposed, opposition hardens and progress may be hampered.
  We should allow the significant achievements embodied in the domestic partnership statutes to continue to take root. If there is to be a new understanding of the meaning of marriage in California, it should develop among the people of our state and find its expression at the ballot box.

Some, indeed much, of this has relevance to the way things are proceeding in the Anglican Communion.

[13] Posted by Chancellor on 05-15-2008 at 12:51 PM • top

When will the term Men or Women be ruled Unconstitutional?

Or hate speech?

[14] Posted by MasterServer on 05-15-2008 at 12:55 PM • top

#14 Masterserver,
That will be next….just stay tuned!

[15] Posted by TLDillon on 05-15-2008 at 12:57 PM • top

Greg said,

“On Fox right now, Napolitano is saying that the ruling means anyone who performs marriages in California must perform gay marriages now. If that’s true, it will be - to say the least - very interesting to watch how this plays with Christian churches, especially the Roman Catholic archdioceses, and the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.”

I hope there’s not a problem.  Any civil or religious “marriage celebrant” can refuse to officiate at any ceremony, can’t they?

[16] Posted by Paul B on 05-15-2008 at 12:57 PM • top

Greg, the following is from page 4 of the press release

Consequently, the majority opinion holds that the marriage statutes are unconstitutional.

The opinion also explains:  “[A]ffording same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the designation of marriage will not impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official, or any other person; no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.”

[17] Posted by Ed McNeill on 05-15-2008 at 12:59 PM • top

As I understand it, an initiative has received sufficient signatures and is awaiting official approval for the November ballot (meaning that it is almost certain to be on it).  The initiative sponsors were expecting this Court decision.

My concern is whether this initiative will pass in the Fall.  As I understand it, an initiative to amend the state constitution would need 50% + 1.  I am not confident that this will happen.  You will have the state Democratic party, the media and the governor all opposing this initiative.

The nightmare scenario is that the initiative fails.  That would be the first instance of a state voting to accept homosexual “marriage”.  That would be a huge propaganda victory for the homosexual “marriage” proponents, and I believe it would lead to the adoption of homosexual “marriage” in most blue states within 5 years.  The U.S. would then be divided and the new fight would be forcing the red states to accept homosexual “marriages” performed in the blue states.

I would hope that folks across the nation realize this danger and give whatever aid they can to the Protect Marriage initiatives here in California.  This is a national battle, people.  California is merely the site of the current battle.

[18] Posted by jamesw on 05-15-2008 at 01:00 PM • top

This was a state case—is it possible for it to go before the US Supreme Court?

I keep thinking of the story attributed to Abraham Lincoln, in which he is engaged in a debate with someone and asks the other person, “If we call the tail of a dog a leg, how many legs does a dog have?” The other person replies, “Five.”  Lincoln then says, “No, four.  It doesn’t matter what you call the tail, it is still a tail.  Only the legs are legs.”

Through propaganda and legal manipulation, one can twist the law into saying that same-sex couples can be married.  But reality is still reality.  Same-sex “marriage” is not marriage, and it will not give the joys of marriage to those who seek them by calling their relationship marriage.  It may take a generation or three for the truth that only those of the opposite sex can truly be married, but in the long run, God’s design of opposite sex marriage will be seen to be the only real marriage.  There will be, however, much pain in the meantime as reality asserts itself.

[19] Posted by AnglicanXn on 05-15-2008 at 01:02 PM • top

Well, I believe that most couples are required to go through a counseling period and then submit a request from the bishop to gain permission to marry in his jusrisdiction/diocese! I have heard of men and women turned down for a host of reasons…..This may become more and more the case in this instance that denial to marry for one reason or another may ensue. After all those heterosexuals who have been denied by a Roman Catholic bishop or even an Epsicopal or Anglican bishop simply went somewhere else and no one sought suit against the diocesan bishop in a hetrosexual relationship…but this may not be the case with those “good ol’solid inclusive chrstians on the liberal revisionist left.”

[20] Posted by TLDillon on 05-15-2008 at 01:06 PM • top

Yes, #19.  He made us in his image, as male and female, FOR each other.  Not to separate ourselves because of common gender bias.

A kid has a father, and a kid deserves to have a father whether Mommy likes boys or not. 

Gender bias has won the day in California.

[21] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 05-15-2008 at 01:09 PM • top

“[A]ffording same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the designation of marriage will not impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official, or any other person; no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.”

This is patently false: there have already been countless cases, in Canada, the U.K., the Netherlands and elsewhere, of churches and Christian individuals being forced to hire, work for, or otherwise accommodate the GLBT political activists.  Their religious beliefs are invariably given short shrift.

The judges can’t possibly be unaware of this fact. They are lying through their teeth.

[22] Posted by st. anonymous on 05-15-2008 at 01:11 PM • top

Cue: the Four Horsemen.

Basser

[23] Posted by Basser on 05-15-2008 at 01:12 PM • top

“Hey!” they say, “We let blacks and whites marry 60 years ago on constitutional grounds. What’s the diff?”

Faultless logic.
Stellar.
The Rabbit.

[24] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 05-15-2008 at 01:13 PM • top

Voice of Reason: “God made us ALL in his image, not just heterosexuals.”

Gen. 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Gen 2:22-24, “And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said,
  ‘This at last is bone of my bones
  and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
  because she was taken out of Man.’
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

The only union that reflects the image of God and the relationship of Christ and his Church is heterosexual marriage.

[25] Posted by AnglicanXn on 05-15-2008 at 01:13 PM • top

The bottom line is, things are going to get very tough for Christians within our lifetimes.  It’s not too early to start thinking about how each of us would react to the penalties that could be imposed on believers who stand for the Gospel - and to start praying to our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ that we might be strengthened for the time of trial.

[26] Posted by Phil on 05-15-2008 at 01:20 PM • top

Nothing to read here. Just subscribing to thread for now. sorry…

[27] Posted by sandiegoanglicans.com on 05-15-2008 at 01:21 PM • top

Those of you in Nevada…don’t sell your property.  You’ll be ocean-front (hopefully soon) when California slides into the ocean…

[28] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 05-15-2008 at 01:24 PM • top

I just don’t understand why the commenter’s here are so surprised and upset..we Episcopalians evidently think its find to be a gay bishop and a “june bride”....California is, afterall a liberal state; certainly in no way pretending to be a Christian organization

[29] Posted by ewart-touzot on 05-15-2008 at 01:25 PM • top

Legal?  In California?  What difference does it make when ECUSA allows/promotes it anyway? As a matter of the orthodox church, we see it as not just illegal but also sinful. Does our view change because 4 civil judges in California say that this sin now is legal?

[30] Posted by stevenanderson on 05-15-2008 at 01:27 PM • top

I suspect that for gays and lesbians in life-long, committed relationships, this ruling will enable them to bring their love for each other to the same legal and civil status as those of us in life-long, committed relationships with our spouses, absent the euphemisms and pretensions. We all recognize the value to society of life-long, committed relationships among opposite-gender couples; what’s the objection for extending this to gays and lesbians?

If marriage must by definition be exclusively for partners of opposite gender, what’s the justification? If your answer falls back on “we’ve always done it that way” or “the bible tells me so,” then think about the medical profession before and after the discovery of the causes of infection. Tradition never included hand-washing or other antiseptic methods, nor is there any scriptural basis for sterlizing instruments or latex gloves. Yet who among us hasn’t benefited from these innovations? We know them by their fruits.

[31] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 01:28 PM • top

The State of California may “recognize gay marriage,” but our Church and our diocese won’t!  Those gays who choose to get “married” are living in sin.

[32] Posted by Cennydd on 05-15-2008 at 01:30 PM • top

#20 No it can’t go to the US Supreme Court because it was decided strictly on State Const. grounds.  For that matter, it is not persuasive precedent for any other state b/c every state is entitled to interpret its own constitution.

FWIW: Maybe the state should just get out of the marriage business entirely.  This issue can be short circuited: everyone can apply for a domestic partnership, if you want to get married, see your priest.

[33] Posted by talithajd on 05-15-2008 at 01:33 PM • top

#27.  Phil, you don’t know now right you are.  The AX is at the Root and it will be very unpleasant.

Basser

[34] Posted by Basser on 05-15-2008 at 01:33 PM • top

Justice Corrigan in his dissent wrote,

“The voters who passed Proposition 22 not long ago decided to keep the meaning of marriage as it has always been understood in California. The majority improperly infringes on the prerogative of the voters by overriding their decision. It does that which it acknowledges it should not do: it redefines marriage because it believes marriage should be redefined. (See maj. opn., ante, at pp. 4-5, 109.) It justifies its decision by finding a constitutional infirmity where none exists.

“Plaintiffs are free to take their case to the people, to let them vote on whether they are now ready to accept such a redefinition. Californians have legalized domestic partnership, but decided not to call it “marriage.” Four votes on this court should not disturb the balance reached by the democratic process, a balance that is still being tested in the political arena. . . . “

Would we say now that the Supreme Court’s decision of 1948 that declared unconstitutional the State’s restriction of interracial marriages should not have been so ruled because the people by majority did not support interracial marriages?  I suspect that if given the chance back in 1948, a majority of Californians (as would be the case in most every state) would have voted to retain the restriction of marriage to only those of the same race.  The Court in 1948 was also an “activist court,” but no one now would argue that their ruling was wrong.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with same-sex marriage, there needs to be consistency in the way the issue is dealt with historically, socially, and legally.  For the secular State court, sectarian belief and assertion of what must be cannot be a significant factor in their decisions.  If it were to be, whose sectarian beliefs would be listened to and whose sectarian beliefs would be elevated as “official” State policy.  As a Christian in a country with a republican form of government, I want the courts to be blind to sectarian considerations as much as possible, but without restriction on a sectarian group’s ability to practice their religion as they see fit.

[35] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-15-2008 at 01:33 PM • top

Sigh…  The Tyranny of a miniscule, petulant minority.

[36] Posted by aterry on 05-15-2008 at 01:35 PM • top

I won’t delve into the whys and wherefors of gays and lesbians living in lifelong committed relationships, Pfalz prophet.  I will simply ask who among us has benefited from the STDs resulting from so many of these “relationships?”  The answer is NONE OF US. 

I needn’t go into the effects of those STDs; anyone with Internet access can do that.  The point I am trying to make is this:  So many of those folks have denied that the issue doesn’t affect them, but gay health statistics state otherwise.

[37] Posted by Cennydd on 05-15-2008 at 01:38 PM • top

#29 midwestnorwegian\,
Not nice! Some of us here in California who are very opposed to this and are orthodox conserative believers and who have first handedly experienced an earthquake and lost much in the past earthquakes here i.e. homes, family members, livelyhoods, etc…and are survivors are not amused at your comment! I would never wish or even think that it would be a good thing! Shame on you!

[38] Posted by TLDillon on 05-15-2008 at 01:42 PM • top

Phil is, of course, right.  Christians in the USA had better wake up to what is happening in Canada and Europe.  We will truly become increasingly counter-cultural.  Don’t doubt that the velvet-gloved “inclusive” “progressive” dictatorship is coming.

Bob - the problem is that the courts have become unable to distinguish between political and constitutional issues.  The whole “living document” theory towards the constitution has stripped the constitution of its real meaning, in that the constitution has become tied to what the “progressive elite” now says it means.  In other words, any injustice to which the “progressive elite” is blind will not be remedied by the constitution.

[39] Posted by jamesw on 05-15-2008 at 01:43 PM • top

If “love” knows no bounds then why are polygamy and prostitution illegal.  And who set the age of consent at 18.  I mean who says so?

I truly think the only way to get anyone’s attention would be to start pushing for legality in all of these relationships.  I mean push for it.  Doing one at a time sets up an imbecilic debate.  Do it all at once.  Hit the courts with one case after another with every sexual relationship possible.  I mean it.  Otherwise your children will be dealing with explaining beastiality to your grandchildren.  Send money right now to defend the polygamist cult in Texas.  Make poligamy legal.  Maybe, just maybe, if all these issues and their ultimate outcomes are on display all at once it will give even judges pause.  Overload the machine!  Demonstrating absurdity with the absurd.  It would work, but who has the heart to do it?

[40] Posted by nette on 05-15-2008 at 01:45 PM • top

This is California, anyone surprised.

[41] Posted by The Templar on 05-15-2008 at 01:51 PM • top

And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.

Violating the clear teaching of scripture cannot have a good outcome. His justice cannot sleep for ever.

-RedHatRob

[42] Posted by RedHatRob on 05-15-2008 at 01:52 PM • top

Dear Four Judges,
I wish to marry my goat.
Any problem with that?
Shalom,
Intercessor
PS…Don’t tell my wife..it will be a surprise!

[43] Posted by Intercessor on 05-15-2008 at 01:54 PM • top

At first glance this is a very strange decision. It seems to say that BECAUSE Calif has domestic partnerships it cannot go halfway; gay marriage must be allowed. The Court seems to imply that without DPs, it might have ruled the other way. This seems parallel to the reasoning in Good Samaritan cases; bystanders normally have no duty to go to the aid of someone, but once they do, they must perform to a certain level.

jamesw (#17), I think you are incorrect about the Governator; he was clear in his earlier veto message that this is an issue he wants decided by the people. I suspect he will say, “Let the people vote”, without advocating one side.

What makes this decision so weak is its necessary and critical finding that gay is a suspect classification, invoking the higher review standard of strict scrutiny. While in some cases those classifications are chosen (e.g. religion), the more common cases involve immutable classifications (e.g. race, color, national origin, gender). The Court seems to accept immutable here, falling victim to a conclusion perpetuated by a highly-effective lobby, but one that is increasing called into question or even disproven by science.

Once I read all 178 pages, it is possible some of my thoughts may shift. But based on the summary, that seems unlikely.

[44] Posted by Bill Matz on 05-15-2008 at 01:55 PM • top

And, to continue your logic, Pfalz prophet #32, neither do those reasons constrain the State from ramming legal incest or polyamory down society’s throat.

Unfortunately for you and Bob G+, the thing you can never escape is that we’re talking about behavior, not skin color, and the State circumscribes our behavior in all kinds of ways.  Yes, even in the bedroom, as the law infringes on our economic liberty by prohibiting consenting adults from contracting for sex, prohibits consenting brothers and sisters from sleeping together and prohibits a collection of three men and two women from being recognized as a “marriage.”  For now, that is; who’s to say where Episcopalianism will be in ten years, or five, if we’re unlucky.

[45] Posted by Phil on 05-15-2008 at 01:55 PM • top

Well, then I guess it’s time to really put the pressure on the governor and legislature to ensure that only those who can prove that they are in favor of taking the state out of the marriage business are appointed to the Supreme Court.  In the meantime, the people can always write a proposition banning gay “marriage” and petition to place it on the ballot for another vote.

This isn’t a “done deal” by any means!

[46] Posted by Cennydd on 05-15-2008 at 01:55 PM • top

talithajd #34 has it right:
Maybe the state should just get out of the marriage business entirely.  This issue can be short circuited: everyone can apply for a domestic partnership, if you want to get married, see your priest.

The only fair solution to this is the libertarian one. The state should have nothing to say about who marries who. It was only a matter of time before each successive pressure group wanted the “priveledges and rights” of marriage. Marriage is a spiritual and religous concept. It should not be a legal one.

I’m imagining a check-off form upon which are listed the “rights” which one wishes to grant to his/her/its partners, friends, pets, whatever. The state could put a time limit on it so that you could renew it every year or with some other increment of time. That way you wouldn’t even have to get a “divorce”.

Of course, God’s church would not recognize such “marriages”. They would just be legal contracts. In fact, in this system, you could be married in the eyes of God and the church, but not the state. I have no problem with that.

Since we won’t get this to happen, we probably do need a Federal constitutional amendment to protect us from the actions of states like CA, assuming the the ballot doesn’t pass.

[47] Posted by Capn Jack Sparrow on 05-15-2008 at 01:57 PM • top

Birth control -> Divorce -> Abortion -> Gay Marriage -> ?

The next step would be polygamy. If two men can marry each other, why not three men?

[48] Posted by Roland on 05-15-2008 at 01:57 PM • top

Aterry, you may have missed my term “committed”. STDs arise from uncommitted relationships, the adolescent behaviors of those who have not grown into adulthood, not the committed variety to which I referred. BTW, just in case you overlooked it, STD’s are not the exclusive province of gays and lesbians.

Why not engage those around you who are into life-long, committed relationships, gay or straight? Learn about their “why’s” and “therefore’s” (yes, I changed your term). Discover, maybe they’re human too, maybe even as moral as you and I! Change your world-view? D’oh!

[49] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 01:58 PM • top

Pfalz:  The state has no interest at all in supporting and recognizing sexual friendships…and that is what the CSC has defined marriage as.  The state only has an interest in supporting a family that has a social purpose.  Only heterosexual marriages are capable of bringing children into the world and raising them.

Under the new CSC definition of marriage, a marriage is a stable sexual friendship which may be able to obtain children to raise them.  The procreating of children is now - by definition - not part of marriage.  Under the traditional definition of marriage - the married couple brought children into the world and raised them.  Under the CSC defintion - the married couple can obtain children from….where????....and raise them.

The “from where?” is critical.  Yes, I know all about infertile couples who have to adopt.  But this did not change the NORM of heterosexual marriage - i.e. if all parts were in prime working order, what could happen.  But under the new definition of marriage, the NORM of procreating has been severed.  Children now - BY DEFINITION - come from something outside of marriage or outside the definition of marriage.

Now here is something else to ponder.  The CSC has severed procreation from marriage, yet still tried to maintain the facade that child-rearing is part of marriage, and claimed that the notion of “equality” between same-sex and hetrosexual couples demanded this ruling.  Tease that out folks.  Who will have the “right” to raise children?  Where will those children come from?  Who will soon be demanding - on the basis of “equality” - government support or sanction for them to acquire children.  The end result is obvious - children will become the next “product” for wealthy homosexual couples to purchase.  It won’t happen right away, but the trend has already started, and if you mix in the effects of poverty into this, and the fact that homosexuals are typically wealthy.

I am convinced that this fad will die out.  Heck, Western society will fall too eventually.  But it might take a long time - maybe 20-50 years.  And how much societal damage will be caused by this?

[50] Posted by jamesw on 05-15-2008 at 01:58 PM • top

I just want to make a point about the attitude of minority vs. majority in light of aterry’s post above (#37).

There is such a thing as the “tyranny of the majority,” and our legal system and government are responsible for protecting the minority from such tyranny.  Historically, we see how the majority regarded and treated women, Roman Catholics, blacks, etc., during various times in our history.  Heck, the original intent of our constitution in guaranteeing the vote was related primarily to white, land owning males, and few else.  We can find plenty of examples when the government failed in its responsibilities to protect minority groups from the majority (Trail of Tears, for example).

If we really want to demand that a vote by the majority can determine equal protection under the law or the rights and freedoms of a minority group, there will certainly come a time when votes will be taken concerning the new minority called Christian.  Will we say, then, that a vote by the majority should always hold sway?

There will be a time when general society no longer repudiates homosexuals.  Then, the majority will vote to allow marriages and who knows what else.  Will we then say nothing because we believe in the will of the majority?  We have to be consistent!

If we do not defend the rights of all people to engage in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, and if we demand one segment of the population can be discriminated against because the majority thinks it is alright to do so, then we are saying that at some point it will be okay with us when it is our turn to be discriminated against.  Who, then, will be our defenders and advocates against the anti-Christian votes of the majority?

[51] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-15-2008 at 01:59 PM • top

Roland:  The Attorney-General in British Columbia, Canada (where gay marriage was rammed through by the courts) has expressed doubt that the anti-polygamy laws would be held to be constitutional now.  This consideration is apparently playing a big part in making a decision to prosecute the polygamous group in B.C.

Make no doubt about it, polygamous marriage and incestuous marriage will quickly follow gay marriage.  It may take 5 years or so, but there is no convincing legal reason not to allow polygamous or incestuous marriage if you allow gay marriage (given that the governing principle is now “marry whoever you want, the government cannot limit you in any way”).

[52] Posted by jamesw on 05-15-2008 at 02:04 PM • top

This decision will mean that more children, not less, will grow up never knowing their mother or their father, according to the gender bias of their remaining natural parent.

You’d think the court would give a hoot, but instead it has stamped the state seal of approval on gender bias, and told kids that “two moms” is no different than “Mom and Dad”.

Sick.

[53] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 05-15-2008 at 02:07 PM • top

#19, you said that “same-sex marriage is not marriage, and it will not give the joys of marriage to those who seek them…” and “only God’s design of opposite sex marriage…will be the only true marriage.”

‘Scuse me, but how the heck do you know what joys others receive? Did God die and leave you in charge, or did He leave only you the keys to his plans for us? Does the Holy Spirit need your permission to grant happiness and fulfillment to others? With all due respect to you as a child of God, your post is a total crock. Who the almighty Heck are you to claim what God’s design for us is?

May I, with the greatest respect for you as a human being, suggest you come off your high horse and listen to a few others who are equal to you in the sight of the Almighty.

[54] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 02:08 PM • top

Cennydd (#38), you wrote: “I will simply ask who among us has benefited from the STDs resulting from so many of these “relationships?” The answer is NONE OF US. “

Recent estimates show that an incredibly high rate of women on college campuses have Chlamydia, a prevalent STD.  The same question you asked can be asked concerning how many of us have benefited by heterosexual STD’s.  Of course we haven’t, but can we please be CONSISTENT.  Should we outlaw heterosexual college student relationships or the Greek system because they stupidly get themselves infected with STD’s at an astronomically high rate compared to the rest of society?  I know I’m on a consistency kick, but come on.

[55] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-15-2008 at 02:10 PM • top

Bill:  The Governator has announced recently that he will oppose the marriage initiative.  He repeated his opposition today in response to the decision, saying “Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling.”

[56] Posted by jamesw on 05-15-2008 at 02:12 PM • top

Pfalz says, “Scuse me, but how the heck do you know what joys others receive? Did God die and leave you in charge, or did He leave only you the keys to his plans for us?”

Sorry I wasn’t clearer about the source—the plans are accessible to all, in Scripture.

I am not saying that there is no joy in same-sex relationships—but I am saying that such relationships cannot achieve what God’s plan for marriage will bring.  There are, of course, many heterosexual marriages that are horror stories, and there are many same-sex relationships with fine qualities and much happiness.  But over time, God’s design, as described in Scripture, will be seen to be what is best for society, and for individuals within it.

[57] Posted by AnglicanXn on 05-15-2008 at 02:14 PM • top

Second class marriages are now legal in california.

The court can say that “two moms” or “two dads” are just the same as “Mother and Father”, but only the willfully blind actually believe that.  Separate isn’t equal—how could it be?

[58] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 05-15-2008 at 02:14 PM • top

#21, I don’t know what you mean by “gender bias”, is that a euphemism for gay or lesbian? Haven’t you caught up to the research, that sexuality is not chosen?

I agree our Creator made us in His image, but I don’t conclude from that passage that he made us all hetero. In fact, in Matthew 19, Jesus even acknowledges that there are people who don’t propagate the species from birth. But even Christ wouldn’t judge those who didn’t bear children.

[59] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 02:16 PM • top

Well, California just tipped their divorce rate into overdrive.  Pretty soon, we will have to hear the whining of all the divorcing gays who are devastated because there are still heterosexual marriages somewhere.I propose we now consider civil “marriage” to mean anything from bestiality to flatulence and reserve “matrimony” for what we are talking about within the Church.  We lost the word ‘gay’ - now we have lost the word ‘marriage’.  Language changes.  But Lincoln is right that a tail isn’t a leg, without quite a bit of surgery, anyway.  It would make for a rather limp-wristed dog but I can foresee the next Disney movie ... BrokeTail Mountain.  Gives a new meaning to “southpaw”.

[60] Posted by monologistos on 05-15-2008 at 02:16 PM • top

Come, Jesus, Come!!!

From what I’m reading, and from what’s being allowed to happen in our world today, all I can say is that Jesus’ return won’t be soon enough.

Here’s the Scripture that gives me the only hope I have.

Matthew 21 “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 22 “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

God will indeed cut our days short, before mankind succeeds in totally destroying itself.

May He deliver me!

[61] Posted by Mugsie1 on 05-15-2008 at 02:16 PM • top

Bob G+ #52 re: “Who, then, will be our defenders and advocates against the anti-Christian votes of the majority?”

Not you, apparently, since an anti-Christian vote just got taken, and you’re defending it.

[62] Posted by Phil on 05-15-2008 at 02:18 PM • top

If we do not defend the rights of all people to engage in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, and if we demand one segment of the population can be discriminated against because the majority thinks it is alright to do so, then we are saying that at some point it will be okay with us when it is our turn to be discriminated against.  Who, then, will be our defenders and advocates against the anti-Christian votes of the majority?

You’re not talking about discrimination here, BobG+. You’re talking about rewriting human social order. This is occurring in a state where homosexuals are, to all intents and purposes, equal to everybody else, on a level playing field. What is this in aid of other than allowing them to take for themselves a name that was never intended to describe any relationship but that of a man and a woman in a life commitment. I am single. I can’t claim for myself the title of “married.” Widows can’t claim to be married. Siblings sharing a house can’t claim to be married. This issue, in California, is not about rights. It’s about bringing additional meaningless to the English language. Bravo.

And when Christians look to the future majority for equality before the law, I won’t expect help from your direction.

[63] Posted by oscewicee on 05-15-2008 at 02:23 PM • top

Cennydd, “The State of California may “recognize gay marriage,” but our Church and our diocese won’t!  Those gays who choose to get “married” are living in sin.”

Nice use of irony.

[64] Posted by Gray Wolf on 05-15-2008 at 02:24 PM • top

What is amazing about this decision is that 6 of the 7 justices on the California Supreme Court were appointed by Republicans.

[65] Posted by Gray Wolf on 05-15-2008 at 02:26 PM • top

Phil (#46), The debate about make makes someone homosexual or heterosexual is still open.  But, no, what the court dealt with is not “only about behavior.”  We all know that a person can be celibate all his or her life, but that does not mean s/he is not homosexual or heterosexual.  Men in prison have sex with each other, but they are not homosexuals (for the most part).  They are heterosexuals engaging in small-sex sex (and violently so).  Homosexuals who have sex with an opposite-sex person does not make them a heterosexual.  It’s not just about behavior, and more and more people are seeing it this way (thus my comment about whether those opposed to homosexuality or gay-marriage really want to peg their hopes on a vote by the majority).

[66] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-15-2008 at 02:27 PM • top

Who the almighty Heck are you to claim what God’s design for us is?


So sorry, didn’t realize that was your exclusive prerogative.

[67] Posted by st. anonymous on 05-15-2008 at 02:27 PM • top

If marriage must by definition be exclusively for partners of opposite gender, what’s the justification? If your answer falls back on “we’ve always done it that way” or “the bible tells me so,” then think about the medical profession before and after the discovery of the causes of infection. Tradition never included hand-washing or other antiseptic methods, nor is there any scriptural basis for sterlizing instruments or latex gloves. Yet who among us hasn’t benefited from these innovations? We know them by their fruits.

Pfalz prophet:  Your’re comparing <s>apples and oranges</s> strawberries and watermelons.

[68] Posted by Piedmont on 05-15-2008 at 02:28 PM • top

Pfalz, I chose mine—you can choose yours.  Haven’t you caught up with the research?  Sexuality is mutable.

Just because you think boys are yucky is a piss poor reason to tell a kid he’s got no father, just an extra mom.

[69] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 05-15-2008 at 02:30 PM • top

We all know that a person can be celibate all his or her life, but that does not mean s/he is not homosexual or heterosexual.

But *behaviour* is what the law has regulated. As it regulates all sorts of behaviours.

[70] Posted by oscewicee on 05-15-2008 at 02:30 PM • top

#68, It was God who said what his design is for us. We just read it in the Bible.

[71] Posted by Mugsie1 on 05-15-2008 at 02:30 PM • top

“We want less liberal verbiage and more respect for the deep liberty of man. Man’s liberty is respected only when he is regarded as the corporeal envelope of a soul capable of damnation or of salvation. Only when he is thus regarded can his liberty be said to be truly respected, and still more so if that liberty is combined, as we demand, in a system of authority, hierarchy and order.”

José Antonio On Human Liberty

[72] Posted by Wally on 05-15-2008 at 02:31 PM • top

JamesW, you clearly have access to God’s plan for marriage and I do not. Would you please link to it so I can share in his Glorious Revelation that doesn’t include a gay or lesbian relationship.

In all fairness—and I’m hoping you will read this as in that vein—God’s design is well described in Matthew 7: by their fruits you will know them. From my long-standing relationships in the performing arts, I have met many gays and lesbians, most of whom are in long-term, monogamous relationships, and I can witness to all those good trees bearing good fruit. And I connect that to Jesus’ lecture about being the vine and we the branches. So I would repeat to you God’s insistent query to Saul on the road to Damascus: why, by your judgementalism toward gays, are you persecuting Jesus?

[73] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 02:31 PM • top

“We, who have already borne on the road to Paradise the lives of the best among us, want a difficult, erect, implacable Paradise; a Paradise where one can never rest and which has, beside the threshold of the gates, angels with swords.”

José Antonio Primo de Rivera

[74] Posted by Wally on 05-15-2008 at 02:34 PM • top

#69, Dr. Satinover is connected with conversion therapy. The medical and mental health consensus in the United States is that there is no scientifically adequate research showing that that conversion therapies are effective or safe, and there is some evidence that they are potentially harmful.

Your scurrilous conclusion is evidence of your own biases, unworthy of you and inappropriate for me to comment on.

[75] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 02:37 PM • top

#76, likewise.

[76] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 05-15-2008 at 02:39 PM • top

Bob G+, #69, ‘scuse me, did I make a claim to exclusive access? Try to read more slowly and carefully.

[77] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 02:39 PM • top

Bob G+, I erroneously attributed a statement by St. Anonymous to you. My apologies.

[78] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 02:41 PM • top

Um, Pfalz, I’d suggest you read more carefully and slowly. Check #69.

[79] Posted by oscewicee on 05-15-2008 at 02:41 PM • top

Pfalz - hmmm…I don’t see anywhere in any of my comments where I even come close to declaring that I know of “God’s plan” for marriage.  I thought my arguments were for the good of the children.

But since you asked for God’s view, I think you can look here:

Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Genesis 2:20-24: “But for Adam no suitable helper was found.  So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.  Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

Matthew 19: 4-6: ““Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”“

Romans 1: 24-27: “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.  They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.  Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

Seems to me that God is fairly clear on the matter.  Marriage=man+woman.  Sin=man+man or woman+woman.

[80] Posted by jamesw on 05-15-2008 at 02:42 PM • top

Anybody remember what happened to the Jews when they ignored the prohets and failed to keep the covenan, they ended up in Babylon. All nation states eventually fail, usually from internal rot.

[81] Posted by Baruch on 05-15-2008 at 02:43 PM • top

jamesw, Correct, just saw the announcement after I had posted. But it is inconsistent with his prior position.

What will be interesting is the response. In Canada, after legalization of gay marriage, there was a deafening silence on the way to the altar.

As the initiative will likely be on the November ballot, there could be a very interesting effect on the presidential race on the same ballot.

[82] Posted by Bill Matz on 05-15-2008 at 02:45 PM • top

That it should come to this!  The fact that a state supreme court could make such a ruling, or that such a ruling could even be called for is a sure sign of the degeneracy of America.  A healthy society does not have enough deviants in its midst to generate such a debate.

The rot runs deep and the nation will pay in blood later for the liberty lost today.  When the Romans abolished the requirement that only land owners could serve in the legions it was the beginning of the end.

How many of you have served?

[83] Posted by Wally on 05-15-2008 at 02:45 PM • top

Phil, this is not an “anti-Christian” vote.  It may be a vote that is contrary to the will of God (or not), but it is not “anti-Christian” in a socio-political sense.

There are no Christians that will be forced to do anything or believe any differently.  Will there be challenges by people against Christians who will not marry same-sex couples? Yes, but the Christians will defend themselves against the lawsuits.  Will society in general come to favor same-sex marriage against Christians who oppose such marriages?  Yes, in time. Christianity has always been counter-cultural, and it always will be.

I may not agree with what some people say or do, but I will defend their right to say or do (all within reason - no shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater or the sexual exploitation of kids, etc.).  Too many Christians don’t realize that we will be judged and treated by the same standard we judge or treat others.  WE will be the minority at some point, and if we refuse to defend the rights of other groups, who will defend us when they come for us?

[84] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-15-2008 at 02:48 PM • top

#56 BobG+

Recent estimates show that an incredibly high rate of women on college campuses have Chlamydia, a prevalent STD.  The same question you asked can be asked concerning how many of us have benefited by heterosexual STD’s.  Of course we haven’t, but can we please be CONSISTENT.  Should we outlaw heterosexual college student relationships or the Greek system because they stupidly get themselves infected with STD’s at an astronomically high rate compared to the rest of society?  I know I’m on a consistency kick, but come on.

The “incredibly high” incidence of STD’s among women on college campuses is also the result of abandoning a biblical sexual morality.

It is precisely consistent to state that God ordained and intended sex to be a part of a marriage relationship between a man and a woman - and (for our good) proscribed sex outside of marriage.
-RedHatRob

[85] Posted by RedHatRob on 05-15-2008 at 02:52 PM • top

Bill:  I think in Canada there was the initial media frenzy trying to make it appear that there were tons of homosexual couples waiting to marry.  But in the end, very few did.  And in the most recent Canadian census, I think it showed a much smaller number of homosexual couples then was expected, leading many gay activists to invent reasons for the low number.

This is all about politics and ideology, and has little to do with justice.

[86] Posted by jamesw on 05-15-2008 at 02:55 PM • top

It has the potential to become anti-Christian in any number of ways, particularly in regulating adoption agencies run by religious groups. Witness what happened in Massachusetts to the Roman Catholic Church.

[87] Posted by Adam 12 on 05-15-2008 at 02:55 PM • top

Just curious, Wally, what made you decide to quote from the leader of the Spanish Falange, Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, and what message were you meaning to convey?

[88] Posted by Violent Papist on 05-15-2008 at 02:56 PM • top

In other words, Bob G+ #85, as you explain in your second paragraph, it’s an anti-Christian vote.

Are prostitution, or consensual incest, or polyamory “within reason” for you, Bob?  According to your logic, they should be.

[89] Posted by Phil on 05-15-2008 at 02:59 PM • top

In the end, it will be the adopted children, or children needing adoption, who are hurt the most.

Give money to the Episcopal Church, and you are funding advocacy for this position.

[90] Posted by Going Home on 05-15-2008 at 03:00 PM • top

#85 “we will be the minority at some point….”

Christians are already the minority, or haven’t you noticed?  (that was retorical)

[91] Posted by nette on 05-15-2008 at 03:02 PM • top

There are no Christians that will be forced to do anything or believe any differently.

Do you sincerely believe that? I think it’s a naive statement.

[92] Posted by oscewicee on 05-15-2008 at 03:03 PM • top

#84 Wally “A healthy society does not have enough deviants in its midst to generate such a debate.”

I understand there are no “deviants” in Iran. Is that what you are talking about.

[93] Posted by Gray Wolf on 05-15-2008 at 03:03 PM • top

#50 writes, “Why not engage those around you who are into life-long, committed relationships, gay or straight? Learn about their “why’s” and “therefore’s” (yes, I changed your term). Discover, maybe they’re human too, maybe even as moral as you and I! Change your world-view? D’oh!”

Here’s a fine example (2 webpages) of what might well end up being a life-long, committed same-sex relationship. It’s not for those with weak stomachs.

http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/growingu.html
http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/2grooms.html

Their story is indeed beautiful. They met outside a YMCA restroom, they “married” in a 1974 “wedding ceremony” in which groom read to groom the Solemnization of Matrimony from the BCP 1928 in front of a red candle. As they exchanged vows, one feels certain that God was indeed present, hanging on to every word. Taking notes.

They’re perfectly normal people, just like you and me, except for that one little thing. Right?

On one level, it’s hard to understand why two men who say that they are truly in love could intentionally defile each other. But, this series of distorted testimonies clearly indicates how the devil can work to keep two presumably intelligent persons from realizing how each has spiritually destroyed the other. Therefore I can only feel sadness for the choices that they have made, and utter sorrow that they would instruct others that their choices (as so clearly reflected in these 2 webpages) are in any way Holy.

[94] Posted by Ralph on 05-15-2008 at 03:05 PM • top

On October 29, 2007 the Vatican beatified 498 victims of the communist/leftist coalition that terrorized Spain before and during the civil war for Spain’s soul.  The next chapter of the war that antichrist waged against the saints of God under the guise of Communism in Spain is beginning here.

Believe me, you have no constitutional rights unless the government allows it.

[95] Posted by Wally on 05-15-2008 at 03:05 PM • top

Days like today and decisions like this really make me understand what Jesus meant when he cautioned us against being too much in the world.  It really appears to me as a faith-strengthening event.  I run to the robe and hide there at the bottom of the cross.  Lord have mercy.

[96] Posted by GoodMissMurphy on 05-15-2008 at 03:09 PM • top

Tell me, Wally, are you saying that it is justifiable to violently overthrow the state government of California, a la Primo de Rivera?

[97] Posted by Violent Papist on 05-15-2008 at 03:10 PM • top

oscewicee (#64) - Women’s suffrage and their ability to own property rewrote the social order and was at the time probably opposed by the majority.  Plenty of sermons arguments were made by upstanding Christians that it was against Scripture and God’s will for women to vote.  Should we not have given women the right to vote or the ability to own property because back then by doing so the courts and governments rewrote the existing social order? 

On February 12th in Oxnard, California, 8th grader Larry asked his friend Brandon to be his valentine. Brandon killed him.  What are we teaching our kids?  This may be an isolated incident, but it is indicative of our attitudes towards people who are homosexual.

And it it helps, I am philosophically a Conservative and theologically far more traditional than the majority in the Episcopal Church, so when you write, “I won’t expect help from your direction,” you must mean from the Conservative direction.  Besides, as I have said, I will defend your right to believe as you do because I would hope that you would defend my right to belief.  That is what guarantees all of our rights over time against the tyranny of the majority.

[98] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-15-2008 at 03:10 PM • top

Disgusting… Repulsive… The gay movement invades and forces it’s will on society and the Church. Two men having anal sex with feces is vile. The Episcopal Church has a bishop that expresses his passion that way!!! Marriage was ordained by God as a man and a woman for procreation. It is just wonderful how these designed body parts fit.
The left coast is left; liberal and so secular.  Come Lord Jesus in this time of tumult.

[99] Posted by Tom Dennis on 05-15-2008 at 03:10 PM • top

The ceremony beatifying the victims of the Communist murderers was criticized by those who took part in or supported the murders, especially in the current Spanish government. The current Socialist government in Spain was part of the “Red Front” that approved of and actually helped carry out many of the murders. The Roman Catholic Church was targeted by the Red assassins in particular as the Church was a major obstacle to the Marxist world they desperately wanted to build. The current Socialist government continues that same policy by legalizing homosexual marriage and allowing homosexual couples to adopt children with the full knowledge and approval that such children adopted will be raised as deviants.

[100] Posted by Wally on 05-15-2008 at 03:12 PM • top

The National Block, a smaller coalition of monarchists and Fascists led by Jose Calvo Sotelo, who had sought the army’s cooperation in restoring Alfonso XIII, assumed CEDA’s role. Calvo Sotelo was murdered in July 1936, supposedly in retaliation for the killing of an officer of the Communist dominated Urban Police (later known as the Assault Guards) by Fascists. Calvo Sotelo’s death was a signal to the army to act on the failure of the civilian government to restrain the lawless,i.e. revolutionary activities of Stalinist Communists, Trotskyite Communists, Anarchists, and assorted liberals. The army issued a pronunciamiento. A coup was expected,

[101] Posted by Wally on 05-15-2008 at 03:14 PM • top

On November 18, 1936, José Antonio wrote, “Condemned to death yesterday, I pray God that if He does not still spare me from coming to that last trial, He may preserve in me up to the end the seemly submission with which I contemplate it, and that in judging my soul He may apply to it not the measure of my merits but that of His infinite Mercy.’’ Two days later on November 20th, José Antonio was placed up against a wall, and with Prayer on his lips and forgiveness for the enemies about to execute him, he was murdered.

[102] Posted by Wally on 05-15-2008 at 03:17 PM • top

Bob G+,
Just seeking clarification here.
In #85 you state :

There are no Christians that will be forced to do anything or believe any differently.

Then you say :

. . . who will defend us when they come for us?

If Christians will not be forced to do/believe anything will you kindly explain what they WILL do when they come for us?

[103] Posted by Tom Cain on 05-15-2008 at 03:20 PM • top

PS- This will be a full-employment decision for family lawyers, as all the details get sorted out.

[104] Posted by Bill Matz on 05-15-2008 at 03:22 PM • top

JamesW, #80, thanks, good synopsis, but you left out Deuteronomy. Why? Too much shrimp cocktail? Sorry, that was snarky. You and I could have fun over a cup of coffee.

Genesis 1:27. OK, so?
Genesis 2:20. Where’s the exclusivity? There should be exclusivity if lesbian and gay relationships are proscribed. If you delve into the source of this scripture, in pre-biblical texts, you’ll find references to non-exclusivity.
Matthew 19. OK, good coverage of 90-95% of relationships. Still, no exclusivity, and no recognition that God just may have made us both straight and gay. But I understand, at the point in history when this was written, there was no recognition that sexuality might vary due to genetic or gestational factors.
Romans 1. Really good example, JamesW. If you read Romans 1-3 you find Paul’s flock in Rome to be a mix of Jews and Greeks, aka Gentiles, each declaring their superiority over the other. Paul argued here that they should not be judgemental toward each other. How ironic that you should use this letter to judge one group of Christians against another!

OK, James, try these on for size:
Matthew 7. Read the whole chapter. Read v. 1-5 personally. Read v. 9-11 as though your closest friend were gay or lesbian and helped you when you were in need. Read v. 12 as a gay person and imagine how it feels to be judged by others. Read v. 15-20 and think about the contributions of the whole community of saints, straight and gay, who have worked to bring God’s kingdom to earth. Think about Luke 11:34-35, esp. vis-a-vis Matthew 7:1-5. But most importantly, read and pray over John 15:12 and John 16:13.
Jesus fought against the religious establishment of his day, against the rules and customs that were insensitive to the people. What is the religious establishment today, and what “rules” do they hand down that continue to oppress and marginalize those around us? “And still our wrongs do weave us now | New thorns to pierce that steady brow | And robe of sorrow ‘round Thee.”

[105] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 03:22 PM • top

RedHatRob [#86] I agree with you that those who generally acquire STD’s are acting contrary to their best interests (God’s will for them), but when an incredibly high rate of STD’s prevalent among a minority of gay men is used as an excuse to try to deny equal treatment under law to all gay men (the majority of whom do not have STD’s) or to demean an entire class of people, I can’t agree.

[106] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-15-2008 at 03:26 PM • top

Bob G+, homosexuals (well, homosexual men) have had the right to vote longer than women, ditto the right to own property. We all should be equal before the law. I believe that. I believe in domestic partnership rights and whatever is needed to ensure that gays are not discriminated against legally. But “marriage” is not about legal rights. It is not an entitlement. If you were as orthodox as you appear to claim, you would know that. 

And if you think that having allowed homosexuals to marry would have saved Larry’s life ... then I stand by “naive.” Civil rights legislation was enacted how many years ago, but racism is still painfully with us. Laws don’t end the kind of actions that took Larry’s life. Nor can you legislate away the kind of parents Larry’s killer probably had. But in a mistaken belief that changing marriage laws has any connection to that, how much damage will be done to our society? You don’t know, because you can’t see where it will end anymore than the rest of us can. But this one is a victory for chaos. Congratulations.

[107] Posted by oscewicee on 05-15-2008 at 03:30 PM • top

Obviously, Pfalz prophet, the “religious establishment” you have in mind is the Church.  The only problem is, the rules you want us to overturn are Jesus’ rules, not man’s, which is kind of a big difference between then and now.  Of course, if you’re the typical Episcopalian that thinks Jesus was just a really cool man to begin with, maybe this isn’t a problem for you.

[108] Posted by Phil on 05-15-2008 at 03:31 PM • top

#106, like Old Nick, you know Scripture better than I. Show us one example of a same-sex marriage in all of Scripture. For that matter, show us one positive example of a same-sex “encounter” in all of Scripture. We’re waiting.

[109] Posted by Ralph on 05-15-2008 at 03:33 PM • top

re #106 Pfalz:

You and can save James and yourself a lot of time. See: [url=http://www.robgagnon.net/]http://www.robgagnon.net/ [/url]

Even those who advocate for gay marriage have conceded that there is no scriptural support for it.

-RedHatRob

[110] Posted by RedHatRob on 05-15-2008 at 03:36 PM • top

Ralph, #95, why do you judge your fellow Christians so? I understand it may be difficult for you to understand how two men could love each other, but why do you conclude from your admitted lack of understanding that such love is defilement? And what is the basis for your claim that their testimonites are “distorted”? Do you know either of these persons? What evidence do you have to indicate that spiritual destruction has occurred?

Look at the videos again, without judgement. Is there happiness? Are they not witnessing the joy they see and feel and believe? Why do you attribute this to the devil and your own feelings and beliefs to God? Couldn’t it be the other way ‘round?

Why do you feel pain when you see joy in others? Why?

[111] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 03:37 PM • top

Phil, #108, Jesus only left us one rule, and he put it up there at the same level as a commandment. John 15:12, “love one another as I have loved you.”

Now, you tell me what it is I propose overturning.

[112] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 03:41 PM • top

If the Roman Catholic Church did not exist our right to religious freedom would be trampled underfoot.

Their steadfast refusal to ordain women based on sound theology versus the ideology of feminism is the shield that protects all Christian groups that hold to the all male apostolic ministry.  With the power and prestige of the papacy the Federal courts would have already intervened to secure the “civil rights” of women wanting to be ordained.  The same thing applies to homosexual “marriage.”
In fact, this is the same issue of authority, not discrimination.

[113] Posted by Wally on 05-15-2008 at 03:42 PM • top

RedHat, Matthew 7:15. That man has serious issues.

[114] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 03:43 PM • top

For a Christian canon law trumps civil law.

[115] Posted by Wally on 05-15-2008 at 03:44 PM • top

re #115 Pfalz:

Matthew 7:15 is not a hunk of garlic, and those opposed to gay marriage are not vampires.

You dismiss Gagnon with the comment that “that man has issues.”

arrogant, adhominem, and illogical. and not very persuasive.

You guys can do what you like… just don’t insult our intelligence by pretending it’s scriptural or Christian.
-RedHatRob

[116] Posted by RedHatRob on 05-15-2008 at 03:48 PM • top

Phil (#90), you wrote, “Are prostitution, or consensual incest, or polyamory “within reason” for you, Bob?  According to your logic, they should be.”

As a Christian, desiring to love God with all my heart, mind, and soul, I can’t support prostitution because for me to hire a prostitute would be a very unloving thing to do.  I would be using a person for my own gratification.  Sex in this instance is not at all an expression of love and caring, but profoundly selfish.  Jesus said to love my neighbor as myself.  I don’t want to be used in such a way.

Incest is rarely “consensual.”  Considering siblings, the likelihood of physical deformities of their offspring is so great that it is a irresponsible and unreasonable (again, unloving) thing to do, IMHO.

Well, considering polyamory, like I wrote above, as a Christian to be promiscuous is to use other people for my own end, to treat them as objects, and I consider that a violation of one of Jesus’ great commandments.  If we want to talk about polygamy (marriage), well I only find one prescription against polygamy in Scripture and that restriction is applied to bishops.  We can argue against it, but there really isn’t much to support our position within Scripture.  (I’m reading II Samuel right now and David has just taken to himself multiple concubines and additional wives.)

I would advocate the reasonableness of all this and that all people take upon themselves this same attitude (Jesus’ two great commandments), but I know they won’t.

[117] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-15-2008 at 03:52 PM • top

Before you declare that a person who actually has the temerity to disagree with your obvious rightness has “issues,” Pfalzie, I’d give Matthew 15:19 if I were you.

[118] Posted by Christopher Johnson on 05-15-2008 at 03:57 PM • top

#49
Regarding your request for engaging, learning the whys and wherefores, etc.  I am sure many see the orthodox as naive, ignorant, living in a 1950’s Leave-it-to-Beaver world.  But here’s the thing, as far as I am concerned.  I am entering my 7th decade now.  My views have become enormously more orthodox and conservative as I have aged and it is due to the many friends I have loved and sometimes lost over the years who were mired in a broken lifestyle.  I saw the dysfunction and I saw where it ended up and I lived through the pain with many of them.  I have been part of the art/music field since the early ‘70’s and not living on a farm in Kansas.  I am convinced now by experience that “that way lies heartbreak” and it is not because these folks don’t have this “right” or that.  Broken is broken and no amount of verbiage is going to fix it.  This is a life that puts walls up between people, and worse, between God and sinners.  Not one of my personal sins is of lesser magnitude than homosexuality.  I have some doozies I am burdened with.  But I am not attempting to convince my church (worldwide, no less) to bless and accept my sins and indeed, to even celebrate them.  God bless.

[119] Posted by GoodMissMurphy on 05-15-2008 at 04:00 PM • top

Get ready for persecution,I am. America is over with, the American people are so polarized that there is no hope,no redemption, we are eventually gonna have ourselves a civil war.

[120] Posted by Anglo-Catholic-Jihadi on 05-15-2008 at 04:01 PM • top

Ralph, #109, did you forget about the deeply homoerotic relationship between David and Jonathan, son of Saul? Can you find another relationship in scripture that is as intense? And look at the positives: David saves Saul’s life, and Jonathan saves David’s!
Wait no more! But also look in the NT at the pairing of the women. All platonic? I wonder.

[121] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 04:01 PM • top

My friends, go ahead and make a party off these crumbs.  Have a good time!  Enjoy yourselves.

The end is surely coming, Antichrist is coming, perhaps already here!  Man has fallen from grace and lives outside of Paradise.  Maybe you can’t see that your clothes that you think are so fine are but filthy rags, the “homes” you are so proud of and bestow so much labour on are dung heaps compared to the splendor you left behind in your Father’s house.

The same for your tawdry physical relationships superficially based on looks and sexual performance and devoid of any true divine love and lacking in divine dignity.

Go ahead, take what you wish and relish it.  At the great and terrible day of the Lord it will be ashes in your mouth and send shudders of shame through your being.

[122] Posted by Wally on 05-15-2008 at 04:02 PM • top

Remember the New Coke vs. Coke Classic crisis back in the late 80’s early 90’s?  (“Enjoy” this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke )

Today, the Supreme Court of California is forcing its consumers not to “re-define” marriage but to create new words for different kinds of marriages: perhaps “New Marriage” and “Marriage Classic.”

No doubt, this is a huge setback today, but #61 above is correct about a leg not being a tail even if you call it one.  It’s nothing but pure hubris by the courts.  The strong cynical side of me agrees w/ the slippery slope folks about where this is headed next, but another side takes great comfort in that coke story and others like it.

Just like with “new coke” in the 90’s, I’ll stick with the “classic” version, thank you very much, until it’s simply called “coke” again and the sugary substitute for “the real thing” is taken off the shelves.

From wikipedia:

New Coke was the unofficial name of the sweeter formulation introduced in 1985 by The Coca-Cola Company to replace its flagship soft drink, Coca-Cola or Coke. Properly speaking, it had no separate name of its own, but was simply known as “the new taste of Coca-Cola”, until 1992 when it was renamed Coca-Cola II.

Public reaction to the change was devastating, and the new cola quickly entered the pantheon of major marketing flops. The subsequent reintroduction of Coke’s original formula led to a significant gain in sales.

[123] Posted by sandiegoanglicans.com on 05-15-2008 at 04:03 PM • top

BobG+, America’s continued “reasonableness” about sex has led to the morass we are in now - kids without fathers, kids who don’t know who their fathers are, kids whose siblings have different parents, kids who are at the mercy of their mom’s latest boyfriend, kids who are merely an annoying result of sex, kids who can be killed at will to avoid that nuisance, provided you act quickly enough (and the time range has grown). And that’s just from being “reasonable” about heterosexual sex and relationships.

Phil, if you missed it, that’s a big OK on polygamy from “conservative” BobG+

[124] Posted by oscewicee on 05-15-2008 at 04:05 PM • top

Oh, CJ, I never claimed to be “right”, only to offer examples that counter the prevailing unexamined myths that swirl around here. Matthew 15:19 is connected to Matthew 15:11, don’t you agree? That pseudo professor has no support in his community, and they are a tough bunch to go up against in a peer review. I stand by my reference, and my comment.

[125] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 04:07 PM • top

#123, Wally. Thanks! It’s reassuring to see I’m not the only one who is totally disgusted by what our world has come to, and what’s being said on this thread.

The Bible is quite clear on the fate of those who chose not to follow Jesus. Let’s steer clear of this evil and pray for deliverance.

Come, Jesus, Come!

[126] Posted by Mugsie1 on 05-15-2008 at 04:07 PM • top

Dear Pfalz:
  Is your name pronounced “false?” Kidding. The relationship between David and Jonathan does not seem homoerotic to me. It seems a close relationship between two young men, loving, deep, but not sexual.

[127] Posted by FrVan on 05-15-2008 at 04:08 PM • top

California dream’in… what God has approved and joined together the states cannot bless, nor can they undo. However, I will have to think about how to address this with an 8 year old who just told me that men kiss men like a mommy and a daddy.

[128] Posted by Festivus on 05-15-2008 at 04:12 PM • top

My sons asked me about that just the other day. they are 7 and 10. I told them it was shameful to even talk about it.

[129] Posted by FrVan on 05-15-2008 at 04:17 PM • top

I can just hear the hordes beginning to chant “hey hey, ho ho”. No doubt the “country bishop” will be making a visit to the Left Coast to join in the festivities.

[130] Posted by RMBruton on 05-15-2008 at 04:18 PM • top

Wait a minute. Maybe we got it wrong. Perhaps, “Calif. Supreme Court Rules Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional,” means that all marriages have to be happy?

[131] Posted by FrVan on 05-15-2008 at 04:19 PM • top

Father Van, thank you. grin I needed that.

[132] Posted by oscewicee on 05-15-2008 at 04:21 PM • top

“Get ready for persecution,I am. America is over with, the American people are so polarized that there is no hope,no redemption, we are eventually gonna have ourselves a civil war.
[121] Posted by Anglo-Catholic-Jihadi”

That’s right, and the pretense that the Left will not resort to violence to enforce their social revolution is put to the lie by the bloody history of the left.

Of the nearly 600 martyrs beatified by the Pope late last year who were victims of Red terror squads in the Spanish Civil War two were bishops and hundreds were priests and religious.  The so called Popular Front Republican government allowed and encouraged the various Marxists militias to attack the Church openly and to execute people by firing squad for opposing the social revolution, which also included the feminist and homosexual elements of Spanish society.

[133] Posted by Wally on 05-15-2008 at 04:21 PM • top

Dear Wally:
  Please calm down. God is in control. Things do look bad. But don’t worry, global warming will probably get us first. If not, the price of gas will be to high for anyone to drive to the courthouse for their marriage licences. Now, don’t you feel better?

[134] Posted by FrVan on 05-15-2008 at 04:25 PM • top

My Good Miss Murphy,
Sin isn’t the issue, is it. The issue is whether the love of two gays or lesbians for each other can be as holy and as nourishing as the love of a straight couple. It doesn’t matter if you believe it to be untrue nor if I believe it to be true. Read Jesus’ indirect answer to the messengers’ question from John the Baptist in Matthew 11: “Go and tell John what you hear and see.”

Look around us. Living among us are countless gay and lesbian couples living happy, productive lives, raising children, paying taxes, attending church, living out the Gospel just as we do. To repeat, good trees don’t produce bad fruit. The Supreme Court of the State of California ruled that they should enjoy the same benefits as straight couples. And now they shall. That fulfills God’s charge in Micah, which is to “do justice and love kindness”.

[135] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 04:26 PM • top

Ralph, #109, did you forget about the deeply homoerotic relationship between David and Jonathan, son of Saul?

Not that tired old canard again.  Memo to revisionists: David and Jonathan were not gay.  Ruth and Naomi were not gay.  The centurion and his slave were not gay.  Christ and the beloved Apostle were not gay. Paul was not a self-loathing gay.  There is simply not an atom of evidence for any of the above. 

The men of Sodom who threatened the emissaries of God were, however, indisputably gay—funny how revisionists never seem to mention the one scriptural reference that’s backed by incontrovertible textual evidence…

[136] Posted by st. anonymous on 05-15-2008 at 04:27 PM • top

Dear Father,

This is no laughing matter.  We are in serious trouble.  God indeed is in charge.  Jesus said “woe unto those who live in those times.”

I appreciate a joke as well as the next guy, but now is not the time for humor, unless it is gallows humor.

[137] Posted by Wally on 05-15-2008 at 04:30 PM • top

Certainly does.  And I stand by mine.  Calling someone a “pseudo professor” or creating retroactive homosexuals on the basis of no evidence whatsoever are outstanding examples of false witness and slander.

[138] Posted by Christopher Johnson on 05-15-2008 at 04:31 PM • top

Wally, I understand, really I do. I feel that there is nothing Satan and his minions hate more than to be ridiculed. And you may be correct, I may be the court jester with a specialty in “gallows humor.” sorry if I offended. God Bless us all.

[139] Posted by FrVan on 05-15-2008 at 04:35 PM • top

FrVan, thanks for your observation, but even Saul saw it for what it was, and it, uh, angered him quite a bit. See 1 Sam 20:17, :30; :41-42; 23:15-18. But look at the poem in 2 Sam 25-26, “...your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.”

For scripture, that’s pretty clear, at least to me.

[140] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 04:40 PM • top

As a native California who has been a Virginian for the last 34 years, people ask me if I miss the Left Coast.

When I hear of things like this CA Supreme Court decision, it confirms as brilliant my decision to stay back East!

[141] Posted by GrandpaDino on 05-15-2008 at 04:41 PM • top

Wally - You do need to take it a little easy - God still is in charge.  The Bible warns us that stuff like this will happen.  And it will get worse, perhaps for a time, and then will get better again, perhaps for a time.  We are in a post-Christendom world.  This court decision is just one more example of that.  We need to maintain our perspective.  We need to still live in what is increasingly becoming a pagan world, deceived by the spirit of the Antichrist (not suggesting this is a specific person, but rather a concept that has been around since Day One).  Throughout the world, Christians are murdered for their faith.  Kids are starving.  Whether one subscribes to Al Gore’s theory on Global Warming or not, the environment is being treated shabbily.  Poverty is widespread.  Satan is busy deceiving foolish people, and causing as much damage as he can.  But God is still in charge, and He gave us a sense of humor to help us get through these times.

[142] Posted by jamesw on 05-15-2008 at 04:41 PM • top

“The issue is whether the love of two gays or lesbians for each other can be as holy and as nourishing as the love of a straight couple.”

If God is love, and all love comes from God, and God tell us that for two men or two women to be joined together is wrong, than acts of Homosexuality are not love.

[143] Posted by FrVan on 05-15-2008 at 04:42 PM • top

Pfalz - ah, no, that doesn’t mean what you think.  Have you never watched films such as Saving Private Ryan or Flag of our Fathers?  Males can bond very closely and develop an interpersonal love and loyalty that is unbreakable - indeed “surpassing the love of women” (which would have been regarded as “weaker” love) - WITHOUT it being sexual.  Goodness gracious, you need to get those lavender colored glasses off, dude.

[144] Posted by jamesw on 05-15-2008 at 04:44 PM • top

st. anonymous, thank you for your impeccable hermeneutic. Now if we could get someone who actually has some credentials here to back up your opinions…

Not that I have any credentials, either, but I do read. A lot.

[145] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 04:45 PM • top

Uncle Dino - if the California marriage initiative fails this fall, then don’t think you will escape this nonsense on the East Coast.  You can bet that most of the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic will fall very quickly.

[146] Posted by jamesw on 05-15-2008 at 04:46 PM • top

If God is love, and all love comes from God, and God tell us that for two men or two women to be joined together is wrong, than acts of Homosexuality are not love.

Wonderfully put, FrVan #144, and so true.

[147] Posted by Mugsie1 on 05-15-2008 at 04:46 PM • top

Well, it was a fun day, trying to blow out the light bulbs. Thanks, guys and gals, another time, perhaps. Godspeed, all of you, with the Spirit beneath your wings.

[148] Posted by Pfalz prophet on 05-15-2008 at 04:47 PM • top

Pity the courts can now decide the definition of words.  So what other words can they redefine? Birth? Death? Freedom? Religion? Father? Mother? Child? Parental rights and parenthood?  Child abuse?  Friendship? Sin?  And once the courts have redefined a word for us, what are the penalties to be for using the word in it’s “archaic” sense?  What takes the place of the redefined word in our conversation?  This sidelines not only the Christian community (real scripturally based doing the will of God Christians, not “false prophet’s” kind) but the Jews and Muslims as well.

[149] Posted by ann r on 05-15-2008 at 04:48 PM • top

Pfalz prophet, Godspeed to you as well, really, I mean it,

[150] Posted by FrVan on 05-15-2008 at 04:50 PM • top

Re: David and Jonathan. 

Like many homosexuals, Pfalz see’s homoeroticism all around him.  Everywhere he looks, he gets distracted by all those cute guys…  I know, it’s annoying.

I understand it may be difficult for you to understand how two men could love each other, but why do you conclude from your admitted lack of understanding that such love is defilement?

Not difficult at all for me to understand two men loving each other.  Nor is it difficult at all for see many kinds of love—consensual, opposite sex and same sex—as defilement, and forbidden.  I see it quite clearly, everywhere I look in fact.

But I don’t let it distract me into thinking that it’s all good.  But I can see why you would, if you were already immersed in it.  We see that sort of self-justification everywhere we look too…

[151] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 05-15-2008 at 04:51 PM • top

FrVan and PFalz sum it up for us:  If it feels good, it’s of God.  Do it!

[152] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 05-15-2008 at 04:52 PM • top

Marty, if you look more closely, I believe you will see that you have misread Father Van.

[153] Posted by oscewicee on 05-15-2008 at 04:55 PM • top

You’re right, i did!  So sorry about that FrVan!  Full apology

[154] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 05-15-2008 at 04:58 PM • top

Dear Pfalz,
See, that’s the thing.  (ducking for cover)  I just haven’t met any of these wonderfully stable gay couples.  I know some awesome gay folks, I really do.  But stable?  No.  All (literally ALL) the lesbians I know have a real problem with men due to early abuse or awful experiences and the gay men I know in pairs are not faithful to one another and the backbiting and real nastiness in the gay community (at least in this town) is truly horrible and off putting, especially for some of these folks who have thrown over their whole lives, families, and everything else, to become one of this supposedly supportive community and then to be totally let down by it.  But then, I’ve known churches with the same problem, I readily admit.  I’ll go this much farther.  I think that if I only could see the positive things I might be more hopeful.  But even lately… I am a teacher.  I teach kids of two mommies, two daddies, two of one, one of another, a daddy who turned to a mommy and then the other way around…and wow, it is just a huge mess and so are the kids.  So I am looking at the fruit.  Maybe we are standing under different trees or something.  All I see is broken people and broken lives.  Then I look in the bible and read the clear words there and it seems like such an oasis for the broken.  But that’s just me, and that’s them and I’ll keep praying and hope they do, too.

[155] Posted by GoodMissMurphy on 05-15-2008 at 04:59 PM • top

The state can allow and recognize the marriage.  Your church may perform the service and recognize the marriage.  But you know, and we know, it is not a marriage. So go ahead, play your little game of a play on words….call it whatever you like, but it is not marriage….case closed….

[156] Posted by Dee in Iowa on 05-15-2008 at 04:59 PM • top

Perhaps this is the genuine beginning of treating marriage for what it is:  a civil contract over which a variety of religious and spiritual veneers can be laid or none at all.  Marriage pre-dates religion, indeed, the beginnings of marriage had far more to do with property rights and property transfer than love, God, or anything else.  Tut, what marriage is now is not what it was, what it will be is not what it is now.  Perhaps it is possible that marriage, being a purely and uniquely human matter (in heaven there is neither giving nor being given in marriage) has been left to us, by God, for our mutual welfare, benefit and enjoyment.  As a human institutuion, perhaps marriage, in definition and practice, mirrors the development of humanity. In otherwords, God has left the matter of marriage up to us because in this life, on this planet, some of us need the gifts which it can bring, and this has nothing to do with being gay or straight, simply human.

[157] Posted by oikoshi on 05-15-2008 at 05:01 PM • top

GoodMissMurhy, Pfalz mentioned all the wonderful gay couples he’s known, but coming from the A&E;industry as he mentioned, I’m sure he also knows of quite a few who are “no longer with us” that he’s simply not interested in mentioning…

[158] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 05-15-2008 at 05:24 PM • top

Ralph, #109, did you forget about the deeply homoerotic relationship between David and Jonathan, son of Saul? Can you find another relationship in scripture that is as intense? And look at the positives: David saves Saul’s life, and Jonathan saves David’s!
Wait no more! But also look in the NT at the pairing of the women. All platonic? I wonder.

st. anonymous, thank you for your impeccable hermeneutic. Now if we could get someone who actually has some credentials here to back up your opinions…

Not that I have any credentials, either, but I do read. A lot.

It’s quite obvious that you read a lot, and that you enjoy baiting people. So did the Pharisees. I wouldn’t have guessed that you would go for the David-Jonathan hoax.

I will assume that you read biblical Hebrew and that you furthermore understand what you read. Go back to the story of David and Jonathan and show us exactly where it states that they were ever in a sexual relationship. Should you need help with that, Rob Gagnon has a lot of credentials.

Oh, and what about a single example of a same-sex marriage? How about a single canonized Saint who was a self-avowed, practicing and unrepentant homosexual?

Blessings, Ralph

[159] Posted by Ralph on 05-15-2008 at 05:37 PM • top

Not that I have any credentials, either, but I do read. A lot.

A lot of what?

[160] Posted by st. anonymous on 05-15-2008 at 05:41 PM • top

Pfalz prophet,
As usual you like many other revisionists leave out the very important part of the scripture before John 15:12 of which is:
John 15:10-12
  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. [11] These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be
in you, and that your joy may be full.
  [12] “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.</b>


Many of us love people too much to see them contiue in sinful living of which homosexuality is. God called it an abomination not a blessing!

[161] Posted by TLDillon on 05-15-2008 at 06:02 PM • top

Birth control -> Divorce -> Abortion -> Gay Marriage -> ?

After Gay Marriage, the pace picks up:

Incest -> Bestiality -> Pedophilia -> Necrophilia -> Human Sacrifice

[162] Posted by DaveW on 05-15-2008 at 06:19 PM • top

Well, it was a fun day, trying to blow out the light bulbs. Thanks, guys and gals, another time, perhaps. Godspeed, all of you, with the Spirit
beneath your wings.

You give’em what they ask for….evidence and facts via scripture and the likes to back up your posts and then they turn and run cause they can’t refute it. So it’s much easier to live in denial and total darkness! Pray for’em!

[163] Posted by TLDillon on 05-15-2008 at 06:23 PM • top

Who the almighty Heck are you to claim what God’s design for us is?

Who the almight heck are you to claim what God’s design for us is not?

I believe God can speak for Himself, and that He has.  Look it up.  Try Mark 10:6-9 for starters.

[164] Posted by DaveW on 05-15-2008 at 06:28 PM • top

Ah California…..the land of fruit and nuts

[165] Posted by bradhutt on 05-15-2008 at 06:35 PM • top

Well, not to negate any of my national responsibility, but I sure am glad I live in Texas. 

I agree with jamesw’s(and others) description of the “domino effect” where, once gay marriage becomes “legal”, what’s to stop you marrying your sister, having several wives or husbands, or marrying your dog? 

Where this will also get interesting is when, e.g., a gay couple living and married in MA decides to move, then one partner dies, and the other can’t get death benefits in the state where he/she currently lives because it doesn’t recognize the gay marriage performed in another state.  Then, I imagine the issue will move to the Supreme Court, which, in my view, is much better equipped to decide, on a national and final level, whether or not these “marriages” are constitutional. 

Pfalz prophet, refute Robert Gagnon with something a little more intellectually developed than “that man has issues” and then we can talk.

http://www.robgagnon.net/articles/HomosexHowBadIsIt.pdf

[166] Posted by Passing By on 05-15-2008 at 07:04 PM • top

Bob G+ #118, I don’t think that’s an adequate answer (except on polyamory - thanks for being honest - I guess).

First of all, I’m not aware of a commandment that says we can’t “use” people for “gratification” in exchange for money.  We do it every day if we go see a good singer, or hire a plumber, or use a nanny.  The only difference with prostitution is - well, what is the difference, exactly?  Nothing, really, only that we have a moral code derived from Christianity that says it’s an immoral transaction because the good being exchanged is sex.  Since you’ve discarded that moral code to make the world safe for the blessing of homosexual activity, you’ve left yourself no “reason” to be against prostitution.  Maybe the safe thing would be to stick with the teachings of Christ and His Church: I invite you to return to those.

On incest, I specified “consensual,” and I know of no source that says that’s “rare.”  Even so, I’ll accept your premise.  So, do you accept the minority of consensual incestuous relationships as valid?

[167] Posted by Phil on 05-15-2008 at 07:06 PM • top

Maybe the state should just get out of the marriage business entirely.  This issue can be short circuited: everyone can apply for a domestic partnership, if you want to get married, see your priest.  —talithajd #34

Amen.
Even without this California decision, how can we possibly justify the idea that, in the United States of America, a priest of the Church has to have the permission of the government, and a license from a County Clerk (who might be an Anglican, or a Baptist, or a Buddhist, or an atheist), in order to perform one of the Sacraments of the Church?  When—and <u>why</u>—did we give the civil government the right to control what the Church does?

Rather than worrying about whether the government should allow gays to marry, perhaps we should wonder why we allow the government to have any say in it at all.  Let the State of California define “legal marriage” in whatever way it chooses.  Holy Matrimony is none of the government’s business, so perhaps we should simply stop acting as unpaid functionaries of the County Clerks’s office.  What would happen if we began telling couples that the requirements of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church are these (and list ‘em), and if you fit these requirements we will consider marrying you in the eyes of Almighty God… and that if you want to be married in the eyes of the state, you can get any judge or Notary Public to do it (before the Church’s service, after it, or not at all—that part is a civil, legal contract, and none of the Church’s concern).

Now, <u>that’s</u> an appropriate “separation of Church and State”, even if the County Clerk might not like it!

[168] Posted by Conego on 05-15-2008 at 07:06 PM • top

Those of you who want the State out of the marriage business, how do you propose we go about it?

I can’t think of a single elected representative stupid enough to support such an idea… unless he’s from SF or Boston…

So how do we get there from here?  I don’t see a path.

[169] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 05-15-2008 at 07:22 PM • top

“what is the problem of a civil partnership that has nothing to do with religion…”

The problem is illustrated when bishops like Shaw use the civil statutes as a crowbar—“we need to provide pastorally for these people”—and, when the clergy refuse, they are referred to as bigots and either overtly or covertly asked or pressured into leaving their parishes. 

Not to mention, I don’t know who died and left Shaw in charge of deciding what is the correct pastoral care to active homosexuals—e.g., Mario Bergner’s perspective is entirely different from Shaw’s, and, in many cases, very effective.

[170] Posted by Passing By on 05-15-2008 at 07:23 PM • top

Paul B in comment #6 has got it wrong. The sequence is:
No Fault Divorce -> Gay Marriage
California law defines marriage as a contract that can be terminated by either party at any time without giving cause. It is nothing more. When you define marriage thus, it makes no sense to deny any adult couple the right to enter into the contract. This has nothing to do with the Church and theology. It is purely a matter of how California law defines marriage. The initiative in #2 will probably be found invalid unless it outlaws No Fault Divorce.

[171] Posted by NotaBene on 05-15-2008 at 07:29 PM • top

I hate to write back-to-back responses, but the “David and Jonathon” canard continues to make me crazy.  Can two men have a deep, loving, intimate relationship (and save each other’s lives, etc.) without having sex?  For pity’s sake!  I’m not writing as a Biblical scholar, refuting the misunderstanding/misuse of the Hebrew texts… I’m writing as a retired Navy chaplain, who served with two Marine battalions, aboard a (same-sex crewed) Aegis cruiser, and aboard (same-sex crewed) ballistic missile submarines.  Sailors and Marines have deeply intimate relationships, share emotionally, and are willing to give their lives to save their friends and shipmates… while still being quite cheerfully heterosexual.  [Overly and overtly so, on some port calls—but that’s a different sin from the one currently being discussed.]  Anyone who has ever served with the military (and to a lesser degree with police and fire personnel—who don’t have to wait six months or a year to go home to their wives) knows just how close these men can be to one another, without ever having any need or desire to have sex.

David and Jonathon were, in Navy parlance, true shipmates.  [If David had been “gay”, it would have really benefitted Uriah the Hittite, incidentally.]  Yes, David and Jonathon loved each other, and were willing to give up their lives for each other.  What on earth does that have to do with sex?

The idea that the only type of love, the only proof of love, and the only way to show or share love is sexual intercourse insults a remarkable number of people… starting with me.

[172] Posted by Conego on 05-15-2008 at 07:37 PM • top

This is just another example of how the will of the voters can be overturned by the judicial system. It’s crazy. I think LGTBs should have civil rights not marital. We may not like or approve their lifestyle but we should respect them as people. Unfortunately because of their activism in our faith, it has caused us to take a stand. The tear is just getting wider when things like this happen.

[173] Posted by martin5 on 05-15-2008 at 07:47 PM • top

Perhaps the church should get out of the marriage business.  Let the state run it.  Then the church blesses what and whom it wants to bless.

[174] Posted by oikoshi on 05-15-2008 at 08:10 PM • top

This is all about the money folks, it’s all about the employee benefits.  We live in a society that murders its unborn and marrys men to men and women to women.  Where the hell did we go wrong?

[175] Posted by The Templar on 05-15-2008 at 08:22 PM • top

DJ,
I hear ya! I’m sure that Adam 7 Eve said the same thing ....“Where did we go wrong!” And proceeded to blame the serpent!

[176] Posted by TLDillon on 05-15-2008 at 08:27 PM • top

Wait and see what happens when health care benefit premiume start going through the roof.  And along with benefits, consider this.  Although certainly not in all companies, many pay entrance level employees less money if they’re single.  Now the homosexuals will be able to claim they’re “married” and since we can’t ask “to what”, they’ll get the additional benefit of higher starting wages as well.  As I’ve said before, this onslaught of homosexual demands is all about the money.
These people aren’t stupid, they just learned how to play the system.

[177] Posted by The Templar on 05-15-2008 at 08:50 PM • top

#130 I hope you keep things open for discussion with your sons.  If they think you won’t talk about something because it is shameful, they may well go elsewhere, to some very unwholesome sources of information.

[178] Posted by Anglicat on 05-15-2008 at 09:51 PM • top

Tom Cain (#104) - Sorry this is rambling and long.  You asked what I meant by:
There are no Christians that will be forced to do anything or believe any differently. And,  If Christians will not be forced to do/believe anything will you kindly explain what they WILL do when they come for us?

I never said there wouldn’t be consequences concerning what we refuse to believe or do.  No you can force me to believe what I won’t believe.  No one can force me to hire a gay person or a black man or a Jew.  I may be ridiculed and lambasted; I may be fired from my job.  The majority may vote to deny me rights supposedly guaranteed for all people under our Constitution.  I may be denied legal aid or police protection; I may have my possessions confiscated; I may have my kids taken away from me.  I may be jailed; I may be killed, but if I trust that God will provide and not cave to fear or self-interest no one can force me to believe or do anything contrary to my conscience.

Now, some may say that all sounds fine, but when the rubber hits the road we have to survive or protect our interests.  Where is our Kingdom?  Where is our treasure? 

If I believe the government can force me to believe or do something contrary to my conscience, then I don’t know Christ’s freedom, just this notion of “freedom” granted by this nation-state and the whims of the people/voters in it.  Again, I may have to pay the consequences, but isn’t that what the martyrs did?  “Let’s pass a Constitutional amendment that Christians can no longer claim that Jesus is the only way to God. How hateful, how condescending, how demeaning to people of other faiths,” some group will say.  Will that stop us from claiming that Jesus is the only way to God?  Do we think that given the right circumstances that this kind of thing couldn’t happen?  “You can’t buy or sell unless you have this mark proving you are a citizen and not an illegal alien,” some may propose.  Will the government be able to force you take that mark?

If as Americans, if as Christians, we cannot support the equal rights and responsibilities currently granted to all of us under our Constitution, and more importantly because Jesus commands us to consider others more than ourselves and to love even our enemies, if we actively campaign to deny rights to whole classes of citizens of this country because we don’t like who they are, what they do, or how they think, then how can we expect our rights to be upheld or anyone to defend us when Christ followers become the new targets and the hated group?

Heterosexual marriage is not going to be destroyed by granting homosexuals the right to marry.  Whether heterosexual marriage fails or succeeds depends on the decisions of heterosexuals, unless you believe that the government has the ability to force heterosexual marriage failure because they grant the same marriage rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples.  If marriage brings stability, commitment, good environments for raising children, social cohesion, economic advantage, then for secular courts in this nation-state under our Constitution the granting of equal rights and responsibilities for marriage to both classes of people is a reasonable decision by the courts. 

If we want to live in a theocracy, then the conversation becomes very different.  Then we can enact laws that are dictated by a particular interpretation of Scripture.  But then, would only Calvinists be allowed to teach school or would Arminains be allowed to teach our impressionable children, also (since according to a whole lot of Calvinists Arminians are heretics).  Can’t have heretics teaching our children, after all.

Defending the rights of all secures the rights of all.

[179] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 05:59 AM • top

Mad Potter #176, it’s easy to say “it’s easy”, but do you know of any politicians who support such a change?  It’s not exactly a novel idea, but I suspect it is a politically fatal one—which means there isn’t anything “easy” about making it a reality.

How do we get there from here?  Somebody has to propose and pass a change in the law. Someone who is willing to go on record as being “anti-marriage”, yet still create public support.  I don’t see anyone out there willing to do that.

[180] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 05-16-2008 at 07:59 AM • top

Tom (#100) - The practice may be vile and disgusting, but how do you know this bishop has annal sex?  Do you assume that all gay males engage in annal intercourse?  You assume wrongly.

Since I tend to work with a lot of younger guys who are not Christians, I can tell you that the “rage” over the last several years among heterosexual men is annal intercourse with women.  I don’t understand it, aside from the whole pregnancy thing, but there you go.  Now, since this is a current cultural phenomena with straight men and women, should I assume that all straight men and women always do this?  Should I assume that you and your wife engage in this since I know a lot of straight men and women that supposedly do?

Christ calls us not to bear false witness against our neighbor.  To make accusations based on assumption or stereotypical ideas about other people is not the way of Christ - it is spreading false rumors and bearing false witness.  It may make us feel better and all justified, but it is contrary to God’s way.

[181] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 08:11 AM • top

oscewicee (#125) - No, my response to Phil is that we won’t find much in Scripture that condemns polygamy.  Where is it, aside from a bishop being of one wife?  I DID NOT say that it was a-okay, which is what you assumed as you responded to Phil.  You jumped to conclusions according to who you think I am and what you think I believe. 

Do you see how this is a dangerous precedent when it comes to guaranteeing freedoms for different groups of people when a majority is so darn sure they know exactly who these people are and what they do and what they believe?

[182] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 08:32 AM • top

You did seem to indicate it is OK, BobG+. Now you assume that I would judge everything the same way I would a blog conversation. You also assume I don’t know any gays. I did say - more than once, I believe - that I am in favor of equality before the law for gays as for anyone, including civil partnerships. But marriage is not a “right” - it never has been available to all, by definition it would not be.

[183] Posted by oscewicee on 05-16-2008 at 08:46 AM • top

The issue isn’t about the “mechanics” of a homosexuals sex life, the issue is about the act itself. 

People have tried to interpret the actual meaning of what the founding fathers “really meant” when they wrote the Constitution, and people have been arguing about those interpretations from the day it was written.  Now today, we have lawyers who, with their special insights, are telling us what the founding fathers “really meant to say” and the same with the Episcopal Church trying to tell us what the Bible “really meant to say.” 

Want to increase attendance at your church?  Draw some lines in the sand and stand by them.  People want rules, standards and boundaries.  If they don’t see them in the church, they won’t come.  They see enough hypocricy Monday through Saturday. We “drew our linle in the sand” and separated from TEC in December and our membership is growing EVERY Sunday morning. The silent majority is out there, and they’re watching and listening and once they tire of Gene Robinson and his crusade and Schoris reign of terror, they’ll get fed up and say “show me another way.” 

Our church slogan is “Come and see.”  And they are.  Thanks be to God.

[184] Posted by The Templar on 05-16-2008 at 08:55 AM • top

Phil [#170] - I think you should re-read my response to your questions.  Did I say I’m in favor of polymory?  No.  Did I give a reason why as a Christian I cannot participate in it? Yes.  With regard to incest - what did I say in my comment?  How could you assume that I would be indifferent at best or not opposed to it at worst?

Sex is not like buying an apple. A person is not like a vacuum cleaner to be bought.  Sex is fundamentally a loving endeavor, and I think that is a primary consideration when thinking about how the “world” understands at sex (a physiological endeavor) and the way Christians understand sex.  As a Christian, to buy a prostitute or to engage in promiscuous sex to “get my rocks off” is not acting in a loving manner to the other person.  It is using them.  It may be alright to use an apple or a vacuum, but not a person.  It is not loving my neighbor as myself.  To do otherwise is to not obey Jesus.

Jesus’ standard of morality and ethics are not the world’s or this country’s, as I know you know.  What are Jesus’ standards?  His commandments are clear - love God with everything, love neighbor, love enemy, do to others as we would have them to unto us.  Obey these commandments, he said.  How do these commandments work themselves out on the ground?  That’s the rub.  History shows that they Church has gotten it wrong as much as right.  If striving to obey Jesus’ commands means to you that I’ve abandoned Christian morality, there is certainly a disconnect somewhere.

[185] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 09:12 AM • top

Bob G+, you are so full of it that I can’t help but respond, even as I have to apologize in advance for my bluntness.

1. Nobody is trying to “deny rights to whole classes of citizens of this country.”  Gays are not a “class” of citizens in any different way than thieves are a class of citizens, or swingers are a class of citizens, or college kids engaged in the hook-up culture are a class of citizens, or people that like the type of intercourse you mentioned are a class of citizens, or people that like to surf the seamier precincts of the internet are a class of citizens.

Give your sophistry a rest, for once.  The objection here is based on behavior, and society not only has a right to regulate or completely proscribe this or that behavior, but it does it all the time - including in the “bedroom.”  I gave you examples of that above, which you, typically, had no answer for outside of changing the question.

On the other hand, if you want to stick with the risible idea that this isn’t about sex for you, but that the right to organize a special class of relationship simply shouldn’t be restricted to a party of one man and one woman, then you’ve opened a hell of a Pandora’s box, one which you can’t seem to bring yourself to be honest about opening.

2.  “Heterosexual marriage is not going to be destroyed by granting homosexuals the right to marry”?  Is that like, “my marriage won’t be affected by no-fault divorce?”  And, of course, divorce rates haven’t changed since we, as a society, decided we don’t really give a damn if people stay married, right?  Grow up.  Those kind of ethics have wrecked enough families since the glorious ‘60s, and we really don’t need any more of it.

3. While there’s no question martyrs are honored in Christianity; and while there are even examples in the lives of the saints of people who sought martyrdom, and of fellow Christians who encouraged them; you’ve taken things to what I think is an entirely new level: cheering on the conversion of a culture of religious freedom to one in which Christians will be actively persecuted, simply so we can be “counter-cultural.”  Gee, thanks a lot, Bob.  At least you and the rest of the Episcopalians can rest assured you’ll be safe.


No, Bob: I don’t see how this is a dangerous precedent when it comes to guaranteeing freedoms for different groups of people, any more than I see the prohibition on my freedom to contract in the free market for the services of a prostitute is a dangerous precedent for the freedoms of different groups of people.  All this is a precedent for – and, sadly, it really isn’t a precedent – is the capricious decision of unelected tyrants to nullify the wishes of the electorate under the guise of an unapproved, unwritten, shadow amendment to the California Constitution.

[186] Posted by Phil on 05-16-2008 at 09:20 AM • top

As to your #192, Bob, if it’s OK to use an apple or a vacuum, but not a person, then you’ve ingored yet another question as to why it’s moral to hire a nanny or pay to see a singer.

And how ironic that you would presume to lecture about, “how the ‘world’ understands ... sex (a physiological endeavor) and the way Christians understand sex,” considering you reject the foundational part of the latter.

[187] Posted by Phil on 05-16-2008 at 09:26 AM • top

The original question posted to BobG+:

(#90) “Are prostitution, or consensual incest, or polyamory “within reason” for you, Bob?  According to your logic, they should be.”

BobG+ replied (#118): If we want to talk about polygamy (marriage), well I only find one prescription against polygamy in Scripture and that restriction is applied to bishops.  We can argue against it, but there really isn’t much to support our position within Scripture.

The thread is so long that it’s easy to lose track of what was actually said. And forgive me, BobG+, for inaccurately reporting what you said. I don’t see,  now, that you’ve really said anything about what your view of polygamy is, though you were forthcoming on prostitution, etc.

[188] Posted by oscewicee on 05-16-2008 at 09:28 AM • top

oscewicee (#190)  I don’t make those assumptions about you.  I agree that “marriage” is not a right.  But if it isn’t a “right,” then I suspect the government can determine who can and who cannot be married - like they used to do regarding interracial couples, like they are doing now with gay-couples, like they could do with Christians couples at some point.

I’m just curious, when do you think someone is married in God’s eyes?  At what point does that happen?  Who has “jurisdiction” over the decision of who is and who isn’t married in God’s eyes?  And, is there a difference between “marriage” and “Holy matrimony,” not to mention civil-unions/domestic-partners?

[189] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 09:32 AM • top

Yes, there is a difference between holy matrimony and civil partnerships.

[190] Posted by oscewicee on 05-16-2008 at 09:35 AM • top

#39 Christians in the USA had better wake up to what is happening in Canada and Europe.  We will truly become increasingly counter-cultural.  Don’t doubt that the velvet-gloved “inclusive” “progressive” dictatorship is coming.

So it’s a “dictatorship” when you can’t force your religious views on those who don’t share them ? Rubbish.

If you don’t want gay marriage, then don’t marry someone of the same sex as yourself. And as someone with distinct Libertarian leanings, I’d vote to get the State out of the marriage business altogether. Civil unions for any adult, gay or straight, and let each church define Holy Matrimony as they see fit.

[191] Posted by Planonian on 05-16-2008 at 09:48 AM • top

the constitutionally based right to
marry properly must be understood to encompass the core set of basic substantive
legal rights and attributes traditionally associated with marriage that are so integral
to an individual’s liberty and personal autonomy that they may not be eliminated
or abrogated by the Legislature or by the electorate through the statutory initiative
process.

Anyone else think the above gives the potential for this ruling to be used to go way beyond the scope of forbidding a ban on gay marriage?

[192] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 05-16-2008 at 09:56 AM • top

We have a positive duty to defend our families from assault, torture and murder.  With the example of the Spanish Civil War to study we can see how Satanic Communist murder and oppression can be successfully resisted.  The Pope’s recent beatification of nearly 600 martyrs of that Civil War, which included two bishops and hundreds of priests and religious, bear witness to the duty to resist when means are available.

Also think of Archbishop Turpin.

[193] Posted by Wally on 05-16-2008 at 10:05 AM • top

Civil partnerships, civil unions, marriages, etc…Whatever you want to call it…if two people are living together, sleeping in the same bed having whatever kind of sexual relations, i.e. vaginal, anal, oral, sadisitc, etc… and are not wed in Holy Matrimony then it is IMHO as I read the scriptures still Adultery! And God was pretty clear about adultery in many places of scripture! We humans seem to want to complicate things by putting our own spin on things to validate and affirm our own desires and lifestyles. God weeps!

[194] Posted by TLDillon on 05-16-2008 at 10:07 AM • top

Yep! If the masses here in California think that the Welfare program has pretty much bankrupted us here in the medical field and other areas, wait utnil this gets going!

[195] Posted by TLDillon on 05-16-2008 at 10:12 AM • top

I think some protections are due homosexual unions ... such as hospital visitation rights, etc.  I do not think that the benefits society chooses to bestow upon marriage for the raising of children should be given to either homosexual or straight people except insofar as they have children.  A simple child tax credit per child should do the job.  I wouldn’t make that a positive gift ... I wouldn’t send money out of taxes if one happens to have twenty children and no income.  There are more honest and effective ways of providing welfare.  Also, I do not think that homosexual couples should be tax benefitted as a form of affirmative action ... unless other members of society also disadvantaged historically are weighed into the equation.As to my own experience of gay and lesbian marriages, they are much like all marriages ... some seem good and then blow up in dramatic and very dysfunctional ways.  Porportionally, I know a LOT more straight married couples so it is difficult for me to form any sort of statistically valid picture out of my limited personal knowledge ... I know very few homosexual couples whose lifes are aptly described by a stable, long-term relationship ... but there are a few.  All relationships show some form of dysfunction ... I can’t think of a single straight marriage that I know anything about that doesn’t have some dysfunction.  The more one loves people, the more he inevitably comes to see “issues”.  There is really nothing hidden from love.  I’m sure it is a tremendous burden for young priests to come to know who is beating who or who is cheating on their spouse or hurting their children.  The Confessional is a heavy burden.  Too bad that so many aspirants have only in mind a romance with their idea of priesthood and you see this in the overwhelming focus upon becoming a priest rather than serving as a priest ... or on getting married rather than on being married.  Some people have an ideal of what marriage is and the disappointment with the reality can be crushing.  Some idealize and fantasize about the life they expect to live, the life of this other person, not desiring the other person but their life.  And so it is with the life in Christ.  It is not a gay romance that we are given but we are given one another.  Theologically, we are given a vision of the Church, transformed by the light of Christ, a glimpse through God’s eyes ... for the purpose of strengthening us to serve Christ in each.  The reality that good trees can become diseased and produce bad fruit along with some good may come as a shock. It may come as a shock that good trees can become diseased not only in their fruits but in their roots.  It may not make them bad trees but it often makes them diseased, dying and dead trees.

[196] Posted by monologistos on 05-16-2008 at 10:13 AM • top

Wow.  Long thread.  Good stuff though.  A couple of comments.  First, when defining love in a Christian framework (and I use Christian in the terminology of those who follow the risen Christ), there is absolutely no means of defining love separately from obedience.  If you Love me, obey my commands.  I pity the folks that try and twist what God has written (trying to lead them back to himself, where real love can occur) into all of these man made contrivances, like David and Jonathan are gay, or such incredibly laughable propositions.  (I like the “take off the rose colored glasses, dude” comment).

On another note, I do believe the Christian church will indeed “return to it’s roots”, where it all began.  This social shift towards the powerful (in terms of media control, pressing the “After the Ball” strategy into the consciousness of the weak minded), and the oppression of those who follow the original teachings of Christ and the apostles hearkens back to the society in which the church of Acts was born.  At the time, there was forced worship of Caesar, incredible descent into sexual depravity as the norm in society, and the concept of marriage that honors both man and woman with legal protection was unheard of.

However, look at the growth of the church in it’s first hundred years.  I hate to say this, but there is something built in the DNA of the gospel that makes it flourish under persecution.  What was it that Archbishop Orombi says about the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church?  Well, we’re going back to the future folks.  And with all of Satan’s dancing and singing, pulling out the same old tripe he’s been doing for thousands of years (this recent ruling in CA is just one minor variation on the oldest themes that Satan has used to torture mankind, trying to break down man’s ability to continue as a species…attack marriage, the platform of the next generation, and you breakdown society as a whole), the more he pours on the persecution, the more he fuels the growth of the thing he hates the most.  People coming to know the real, risen Christ, and it’s visible manifestation here on earth, the Church.

So, get ready folks.  Don’t hunker down, get out there and proclaim the gospel, and hook up with others that do.  Yeah, we’ll get shot at, and persecuted, but so what?  We have eternity to look forward to, which is something that those who turn their back on the Gospel that God offers to them do not.  Pity them, for they know not what they do.

God wins.  We just have no idea when.  But he does.  Believe it.  In the meantime, get out there and reflect his glory in the darkness.  The deeper the darkness, the brighter the gospel shines.  Go for it!

[197] Posted by Charlie Peppler on 05-16-2008 at 10:18 AM • top

Why would any good steward allow the government to fall into such decay?  To a point that the Church could lose it’s tax exempt status and even be under Federal court order to carry out such tasks as marrying “gay” couples.

No, a good steward does not allow this state of affairs to develop when a stitch in time saves nine.

[198] Posted by Wally on 05-16-2008 at 10:19 AM • top

Just say no to neo-communism and multiculturalism.

[199] Posted by Wally on 05-16-2008 at 10:25 AM • top

Phil [#193] - I answered your questions about incest, polymory, polygamy, and the like, and about individual responsibility concerning the success or failure of marriage and I gave you my reasons why.  I expounded upon my answer.  You may not consider my answers to your questions to be valid, and if that means to you that I’m “full of it,” then so be it.  It isn’t sophistry.  It’s what I believe I’m called to do in obeying Jesus’ great commandments to his Church.  What am I not being honest about, concerning your Pandora’s Box comment?

I’m not “cheering on” any particular change in the culture, unless it is to be more Christ-like (according to the great commands of Jesus, which are very counter-cultural and very difficult to live by).  I do try to objectively observe culture the way it actually is and not according to how I want it to be (not an easy endeavor).

The argument that gay people are NOT a group or class of people has already been lost, and I think rightfully so.  While the jury is still out concerning the why of homosexuality (and heterosexuality for that matter), it is not a choice.  Behavior is, but the condition is not, and that is why it is not just about sex acts.  As Romans 1 describes, this is not an issue of heterosexuals acting contrary to their nature and engaging in same-sex sex due to lust and the results of idolatry. 

You can continue to insist that it is, but that is why the anti-gay side of the argument is loosing the hearts and minds of people over time.  As people get to know real, live gay people, they recognize that most gay people are as dysfunctional and well-functioning as straight people.  They all still need Jesus and certainly need healing when they are dysfunctional. 

What anti-gay forces keep insisting is true about the lives of most gay people is not what most gay people experience in their own lives.  The disconnect between what is true and what some people want to be true is palpable.

[200] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 10:29 AM • top

O.K. Bob G+, you do your thing and we’ll do ours.  If you are content to allow the continued marginalization of Christianity in our society for any reason, then your motives become suspect.

If you have a personal call to martydom, then by all means live it out.  However the good stewards will get organized to try and stop the growing oppression and marginalization of our faith.  Have the lessons of the oppressive Episcopal Church been totally lost on?  When the left gains political power they will only be carried out feet first.  They are utterly ruthless and don’t believe, but know that the end justifies the means.  Against such the Church must not surrender, but look to it’s own well defined just war definition.

Think of Archbishop Turpin.

[201] Posted by Wally on 05-16-2008 at 10:37 AM • top

oscewicee [#195] - Concerning polygamy, I have a hard time being definitive about it.  If I base my thoughts about it on Scripture, I have to say nothing forbids it (but for a bishop).  If Scripture is my guide, then I can’t use Scripture to demand the culture forbid it.  I might be able to come up with other reasons why it probably isn’t a good idea (look at the FLDS situation, for example).  Lots of cultures still practice it and do reasonably well.  What is God’s intent? Scripturally, I think God is indifferent to it other than for a bishop (for whatever reason).  That’s all I can say about and still be honest.

[202] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 10:40 AM • top

This strange theology for a priest.  Think of the story of Adam and Eve.  They shall be one flesh doesn’t leave much room for others.

[203] Posted by Wally on 05-16-2008 at 10:45 AM • top

oscewicee [197] - You wrote: Yes, there is a difference between holy matrimony and civil partnerships.

Well, I figured you thought there is a difference.  I’m trying to find out why you believe it or what you think of the differences. When do you think marriage occurs in God’s eyes?

[204] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 10:46 AM • top

Remember what Jesus said about marriage and divorce.  How about the continuous image of the Kingdom of God as a marriage banquet?  The Church the bride of Christ?  I think God has demonstrated well what a marriage is and looks like.

[205] Posted by Wally on 05-16-2008 at 10:48 AM • top

When do you think marriage occurs in God’s eyes?

What does this have to do with gay marriages? God did not design marriage between two men or two women. He designed marriage between a man and a woamn. Hence the Church is considrered the Bride and Christ is the Bridegroom. It’s not the bridegroom and bridegroom or the bride and the bride!

[206] Posted by TLDillon on 05-16-2008 at 10:50 AM • top

So, apparently I did you no huge injustice in assuming you were OK with polygamy, BobG+? I remember that you called your religious beliefs “conservative,” but I don’t recall that you explained that. It’s not evident from your posts here that they are.

[207] Posted by oscewicee on 05-16-2008 at 10:53 AM • top

This is not just sophism, but the worst kind of relativism.  Soon we will be hearing about “your truth” and “my truth.”

[208] Posted by Wally on 05-16-2008 at 10:54 AM • top

Wally [210] - If I think about Adam and Eve, does that mean that God condoned incest for their children, since Adam and Eve and their children were the first ones?  (Of course, I know that all depends on what view of Creation one takes.)  The point is, the Adam and Even story is about creation.  It is not a lesson on what our current understanding of marriage should or should not be.

[209] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 10:58 AM • top

One Day Closer [213] you wrote: What does this have to do with gay marriages?

My question to oscewicee has to do with definition of terms and to know what s/he thinks (I don’t what gender oscewicee is).  That’s all.

[210] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 11:03 AM • top

I understood from several discussions last night, one particularly that was on Fox, I’ve forgotten what show, that California’s law is only about “Civil Marrages” and not related to Religious groups.

[211] Posted by FrVan on 05-16-2008 at 11:03 AM • top

I respectfully disagree.  Be fruitful and multiply is a commandment, not a suggestion.  It touches on every aspect of our sexuality and reveals God’s purpose and intent for the enjoyment of and the fruits of sexuality.

I know we are all broken.  I know that all of us are broken sexually too.  Because of our brokenness God gave us the sacrament of marriage, the same reason he gave us the other six sacraments.

The Gay Liberation movement and other secular humanist/neo-communists presume to know better than God how for man to use his sexuality profitably in our brokenness.

[212] Posted by Wally on 05-16-2008 at 11:04 AM • top

BobG+ to say that the Adam and Eve story is only about creation is to put it in a small box, don’t you think? Genesis is about much more than a creation story - and you have trivialized it. Nor is it the only place in Scripture where marriage is defined as being between man and a woman, and I believe that is the best choice for non-Christians as well as for Christians. *But*  our government is secular and it is founded on principles of equality before the law. It can make provision for gay couples as for married couples. But it can’t declare holy matrimony for Christians.

[213] Posted by oscewicee on 05-16-2008 at 11:05 AM • top

Bob G+ said:

The argument that gay people are NOT a group or class of people has already been lost, and I think rightfully so

Bob G+.  I have to heartily disagree with you.  Although several courts have caved due the “feel good” approach (based on incredibly successful execution of the “After the Ball Strategy”), the logic is just not there to declare “Gay” as a separate class of people.
If you look back to how the Supreme Court defines a “class” of people worth protecting, there were three conditions.
1) The group had to be lacking a voice in the culture to speak for themselves;
2) They need to be economically oppressed; and
3) The condition on their “difference” from the whole of society has to be fixed, i.e. not malleable.

The manufacture of the “Gay” identity as a separate class fails miserable on all three counts.
1) The gay lobby has arguably the loudest voice in the media of any political group;
2) The self identified “gay” section of society is arguably one of the richest, due to the fact that they do not need to bear the financial costs and time commitment of raising children, and are the very definition of DINKs (Double Income No Kids), and have tremendous discretionary resources to pour into their political cause; and
3) The condition is most definitely malleable.  There is a hidden section of our society of those who have switched one way or another.  The Ex-Gay portion of our society is horribly abused by the gay lobby because their very presence is anathema to “After the Ball” strategy.  However, if there are those who have lived the gay lifestyle, and want to be free from it, how can “gay” be considered fixed?  I grant that there are those with born same sex desires, however, this does not “fix” anyone as being gay.  These are desires, much like all of us feel, and it is the unique capability of humans (unlike animals), to realize that our desires do not drive our “identity”.  We are indeed more in God’s eyes then how we perform sex.  In fact, it has to be pretty degrading to define yourself that way.

So, I have to say, your argument that “gay” passes the test as a separate class of people fails miserably.  Works great in the media, but it fails in any type of non-manufactured reality.

[214] Posted by Charlie Peppler on 05-16-2008 at 11:05 AM • top

Bob G +

Have you not read?

Mathew 19 4-6 (KJV)  “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man (singular) leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife (singular): and they twain shall be one flesh?  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (My parentheses for emphasis.) 

Ephesians 5:22-23 (KJV)  “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband (singular) is the head of the wife (singular), even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body

The practice of polygamy is clearly found in the Old Testament. Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon are prime examples of Old Testament saints who practiced polygamy. But it must be clearly stated that just because they had multiple wives, doesn’t make it right! At no time does God condone or place His “seal of approval” upon the polygamous practices of these men.

Polygamy brought problems to those who practiced it.
Abraham’s household was fractured because of jealousy between Hagar and Sarah.
Jacob also endured spousal rivalry.
David’s adulterous tendencies were his downfall, as he approached Bathsheba.
Solomon’s many wives were a snare to him and drew him into idol worship.

[215] Posted by Think Again on 05-16-2008 at 11:08 AM • top

It can be difficult to square the revisionists’ logic that Jesus’ command to love our neighbors means we need to glorify certain sexual practices, even if those practices are explicitly and specifically labeled as not preferable in sacred Scripture.  I think the key is to put the word “love” within the social context from which the revisionists draw their life, namely, a muddy orgy at Woodstock.

[216] Posted by Phil on 05-16-2008 at 11:09 AM • top

oscewicee [214] - Well, it isn’t that I’m okay with it. I just can’t demand of other people what I don’t think Scripture demands of them.  There is a difference. 

I think about the last Lambeth when some of the bishops showed up with their WIVES.  I really think polygamy has more to do with culture than with God’s prescription concerning its appropriateness in marriage.

[217] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 11:10 AM • top

BTW, the condition #3 in the post above is what clearly sets apart the social movements to support women and racial minorities as being completely separate, and protected.

There are no “ex-woman”, and there are no “ex-blacks”.

The gay movements attempt to ride on the coat tails of the civil rights movement is an incredibly well manufactured ruse.  Unfortunately, you can not draw the equivalence, except by the fact that if you publish a lie loud enough, and long enough, you eventually get people to believe that it’s true.

[218] Posted by Charlie Peppler on 05-16-2008 at 11:10 AM • top

Think Again, thank you for those Bible quotes that I could almost recite correctly but not *cite* correctly.

[219] Posted by oscewicee on 05-16-2008 at 11:11 AM • top

Scripture isn’t the only source for Christian Tradition.  Fornication and adultery are nothing new.  They’ve always been perversions.  Let’s not get too carried away believing that the labels “homosexual” and “heterosexual” entirely define the man.  Sin is sin for all.  If a man with a sexual attraction to men commits fornication it is not a different sin than if a straight man should do so.As far as couples are concerned, since ‘marriage’ in California no longer means what Christians mean by the term, there is no particular reason that polygamy could not be included. Heck, we might even say that two corporations could marry one another.  Let’s not speculate about piercing the corporate veil!  It’s been a while but I seem to recall Integrity persons saying, ‘Let’s fight one battle at a time.”  Once gay “marriage” is blessed by church and state, there really is no reason not to have polygamy.  Once sexual union between a man and a woman is no longer an essential part of marriage, there is no reason you couldn’t have “marriage” between two or more sisters or even two nuns ... or perhaps an entire convent of nuns.  And of course, there is no reason that nuns should be defined by celibacy ... the Bible does not tell nuns to be single but encourages widows under 60 to remarry to keep the general peace.

[220] Posted by monologistos on 05-16-2008 at 11:11 AM • top

Bob G+,  I have to ask.  Does that “+” after your name mean you are a priest, or is it just a decoration?

I mean, I know it traditionally indicates priesthood, but are a priest?  If so would you be willing to tell us which seminary you attended?

Respectfully

[221] Posted by Wally on 05-16-2008 at 11:12 AM • top

BobG+ we’ve been around that Lambeth block before - which bishops showed up with *wives* - did you see them with your own eyes? Were they introduced to you as their wives? Until someone shows some concrete evidence this one is just mean-spirited gossip. I look forward to your documentation.

[222] Posted by oscewicee on 05-16-2008 at 11:15 AM • top

How about that?  Bob G says the Adam and Eve story isn’t a lesson on what our current understanding of marriage should or should not be.  Jesus, of course, feels differently (Mk 10:2-9) – not that that’s much of a surprise.

[223] Posted by Phil on 05-16-2008 at 11:17 AM • top

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

[224] Posted by Wally on 05-16-2008 at 11:19 AM • top

oscewicee [220] - My intent is certainly not to trivialize the creation story or Adam and Eve’s place in it.  Even within the story, bringing up polygamy again, the story does not demand just two participants in that kind of relationship for their entire lives.  A man can leave his parents and cleave to his wife and they become one flesh, but it says nothing about whether he can or cannot have additional wives.  If it did, why does Scripture not condemn polygamy specifically and why are there lots of examples of it throughout the Bible without God’s condemnation of them?  I think to demand that the example of Adam and Eve does is to read into the story in order to find proof for what we want to believe - namely that marriage must pertain to only two. 

Also, it certainly does demonstrate a relationship between a man and woman.  If we believe demographics, 95-98% of all relationships will be between men and women.  It only makes sense, IMHO, that God uses this imagery to teach us His truths.  The purpose of the story, however, is not to teach against same-sex relationships or against something like polygamy.  Again, I think to demand that it does reads into Scripture what is not there.

[225] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 11:30 AM • top

Jesus Himself makes the Genesis account relevant to our understanding of marriage when he says “From the beginning, He made them male and female.”  This reference to Creation refers to God’s intent and thus is *normative* ... instructions from the Manufacturer. Frankly, I don’t find many liberal Episcopalians who believe in Creation much less the Incarnation. They believe in old heresies. They figure God as an umoved mover perhaps ... expressing laws that as it happened, gave rise to people. So it isn’t God who creates but God’s self is expressed in the laws of nature which function even as the fallen archons of the Gnostics.  If bad things happen it is because there is a dark side to God’s nature.  Most who still claim to believe in God believe themselves incarnations of God, made of God-stuff.  Neo-Platonists.  Not all mysticism means the same thing ... not all mysticism is Christian.

[226] Posted by monologistos on 05-16-2008 at 11:32 AM • top

Phil [223] - If you are referring to what I’ve written, no where did I say that the command of Jesus for us to love our neighbors has anything to do with sex acts.  It has nothing to do with glorifying sex acts, whether heterosexual or homosexual.

The call of Jesus to love our neighbors, even our enemies, does have a lot do with how we are to treat people, about bearing false witness against others, about rushing to judgments of others, about finding specs in their eyes when we ignore the logs in our own, about pride and arrogance, about being hypocritical towards others, all because we don’t like who they are, what they say, or how they act - whether they are Christians or not.

This goes back to why it is important for the courts to guard against the tyranny of the majority, who will all too easily attempt to deny rights to the other groups they don’t like. Our history is full of such incidents.

[227] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 11:45 AM • top

“Even within the story” ... as a pretty piece of primative myth, of course Genesis has no moral authority.  Neither does Jesus lend His authority by quoting it because after all he’s either gay or a misogynist ... take your pick.  NOT.  I do not thank liberals for condescending to pretend that I’m not entirely stupid.  It doesn’t make for a conversation.  There are many levels to Scriptural meaning, including a sacramental level.  Liberalizing TECites have made our Father’s Scriptures into a den of rationalizers. And yes, Jesus’ Father’s house into a den of thieves.  Pffft.

[228] Posted by monologistos on 05-16-2008 at 11:47 AM • top

oscewicee [#229] From what I’ve read about the planning of the last Lambeth, this was a big issue when planning for the activities for the wives of the bishops, generally.  It was decided, from my understanding, that if a bishop did bring multiple wives that they would all be welcome and treated the same.  While I don’t remember the reference, I remember reading that a couple bishops in fact did bring their wives.

[229] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 11:50 AM • top

This is funny.  The same leftists clique that took over the Episcopal Church, via Chairman Mao’s lesson on the Long March, also continues the social revolution that erodes our liberties and undermines the dominance of Christian ethics and morality in our society.

BobG’s advice is to do nothing, go with the flow, work with those whose ultimate aim is to eliminate Christianity as we know it from the public square, and reduce it’s influence on society to nothing, hoping that when the ultimate political power is theirs, they will treat us with the same tolerance we have bestowed on them.

We saw a microcosm of that in the struggle for the Episcopal Church’s institutions and trust funds.  Where is the tolerance there?

[230] Posted by Wally on 05-16-2008 at 11:54 AM • top

#236, if you cannot cite anything other than your understanding regarding Lambeth accommodating multiple wives of bishops, let’s move on. I’ve never seen a shred of evidence to that effect and there’s a vast weight of evidence against it.  If you could name one actual Anglican bishop with multiple wives from somewhere besides TEC, I would be very interested.

[231] Posted by monologistos on 05-16-2008 at 11:58 AM • top

You know, it occurs to me, in terms of the account of Adam and Eve, that there was no “ceremony” per se, the “marriage” was made a spiritual union by virtue of their being joined together physically as God ordained that it be, male and female, for procreation. I am not suggesting that sex can’t be enjoyable, only that there is an underlying meaning. There is also that sense that in scripture, in that time of perfection, One man and one woman is how God ordained that it be. Similarly, that is how the Church defines marriage. The priest does not perform the sacrament, the priest blesses, it is the couple that performs the sacrament through the consummation. In other words,the sexual act between the man and the woman “is the outward and visible sign of an inward a spiritual grace,” that is to say, sex in this context is sacramental. There is no way to actually compare a “marriage” between a same sex couple, and one between a man and a woman. It is unfortunate that they are using the term “marriage,” made even worse because it is more of a parody of marriage. Such acts as this one by California in its decision to allow such things shows how far removed society has become from Christianity. Just because it is California is no excuse. A man and a woman, joined together, bring two natures together becoming one, bringing fullness. A man to a man, or a woman to a woman, can’t be as a whole, just a bigger half, committing sin

[232] Posted by FrVan on 05-16-2008 at 11:59 AM • top

BobG,

Thanks for the answer on what the “+” sign means in your handle.  I thought as much.

[233] Posted by Wally on 05-16-2008 at 12:04 PM • top

BobG+, I would have thought that repeating that bit of smear is way beneath you - “from what you’ve read”, “I remember reading.” And you only refer to planning, not anything that occurred. Don’t you think that’s pretty nasty gossip? Maybe you should check what the Scripture has to say about gossip. Document it or don’t say it.

You’ve left other questions unanswered. Someone asked if you’re a priest. I haven’t seen your answer but do you the courtesy of assuming you would not put the + after your name if you were not. You mentioned, more than once, I think, your “conservative” theology - whatever that means. I’ve asked you to explain that, but I haven’t seen an explanation of how your theology can be considered to be “conservative” or, orthodox. If I missed your answer, I’m sorry. Please point me to it.

And I don’t think I can answer you any better on marriage than monologistos has done.

[234] Posted by oscewicee on 05-16-2008 at 12:06 PM • top

Bob #234, re: “no where did I say that the command of Jesus for us to love our neighbors has anything to do with sex acts.”

Unless you take the position the “marriages” so constructed under this naked usurpation of judicial power are to be marked by mutual celibacy - you certainly did.

By the way - your post #232 is particularly chilling in its almost clinical description of the enormities you’re prepared to accept in the name of “group rights.”  Again, I’ll hand it to you: most revisionists won’t be so honest about where the agenda goes from here.

[235] Posted by Phil on 05-16-2008 at 12:16 PM • top

FR. Van,

Your theology is absolutely sound.  Indeed the sacrament is administered in the consummation of the sexual union the way God designed and planned it.  That is to say, an act of sodomy does not consummate a sacramental marriage.

[236] Posted by Wally on 05-16-2008 at 12:18 PM • top

“BobG+, I would have thought that repeating that bit of smear is way beneath you..”

Dear oscewicee:
I remember making similar claims as those BobG+ is making, because of what I had heard from people, who knew people, who knew people that knew people. Gregg and Sarah took me to task as you are doing him. I went on a search to prove my assertion, to no avail. In my opinion it was an urban myth. There was no suggestion of it anywhere. I had to come back to Stand Firm and apologize, and apologize to those I had slandered. I also feel that Limousine liberals within TEC had fabricated it out of whole cloth to smear those who constituted in their mind a threat. You don’t think the PB, or others within TEC hierarchy, would not have produced evidence if they had it, rather than stand by quietly allowing people to “believe” it happened by their silence?

[237] Posted by FrVan on 05-16-2008 at 12:21 PM • top

Bob,

The pre-fall account of how God intended marriage is clear in Gen. 2.  Jesus reaffirms the account of Adam and Eve in both Mathew’s and Mark’s Gospels.  Anything after this point becomes man’s own invention or vice. 

If you need to read above or below the line to include any other type of marriage whether it is multiple wives or same-sex marriages, you are adding to scripture because anything else simply is not there.

[238] Posted by Think Again on 05-16-2008 at 12:24 PM • top

I also feel that Limousine liberals within TEC had fabricated it out of whole cloth to smear those who constituted in their mind a threat. You don’t think the PB, or others within TEC hierarchy, would not have produced evidence if they had it, rather than stand by quietly allowing people to “believe” it happened by their silence?

Dear Father Van,
I think you’re right - if it had happened, some sort of evidence would have been produced by now, especially considering how some seem to hate the Global South leaders.

Thank you for your post #239.

[239] Posted by oscewicee on 05-16-2008 at 12:51 PM • top

Wally {#237} You wrote: BobG’s advice is to do nothing, go with the flow, work with those whose ultimate aim is to eliminate Christianity…

I’m sorry, Wally, but this is what you want me to be saying, so you read into my posts your bias.  Where did I say, “do nothing, go with the flow…?”

[240] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 01:49 PM • top

I’m curious why the court limited the idea of marriage to two persons. 

If marriage has, by its nature, no procreative function, then why does the court limit the right to groups of two people?  If my spouse and I wished to invite a third person into our marriage, why should we not be allowed to do so?  I see nothing that forbids polyamory or polygamy at some point. 

I’m also curious as to why the ruling is limited to real people.  Why not corporations?  If I love Disney, and Disney loves me, why may I not marry Disney? 

And with proper genetic screening, why not incest?  If I have a rich aunt who wished to avoid probate, why can’t she marry me so that I inherit her worldly goods whole? 
Why, at this point, should marriage be limited in any way?  If the state has no vested interest in limiting marriage, by what right does it prevent me from defining it in any way I wish?

[241] Posted by The Abbot on 05-16-2008 at 02:24 PM • top

monologistos (#235) you wrote, “Even within the story” ... as a pretty piece of primative myth, of course Genesis has no moral authority…  That isn’t what I wrote, and you are reading into what I write.  All of Scripture has authority over us concerning all things necessary for salvation.

There are many levels to Scriptural meaning, including a sacramental level.  Well, yes, but we have to be very carefully when we start applying to portions of Scripture “other meanings” that are not apparent at face value.  It is far too easy to read into Scripture our own wants and desires, to proof-text, and come away with meanings that simply aren’t there.

[242] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 02:28 PM • top

I’m also curious as to why the ruling is limited to real people.  Why not corporations?  If I love Disney, and Disney loves me, why may I not marry Disney? 

Because that would be f’in Goofy…

I am ashamed and embarrassed. Please forgive me.

[243] Posted by FrVan on 05-16-2008 at 02:30 PM • top

So what happens if the virtual free fall down the slippery slope predicted by DaveW #164, Phil and others does not materialize. Does that mean you are wrong?

BTW Phil incest, by definition, is non-consensual. Just thought you should know.

[244] Posted by Gray Wolf on 05-16-2008 at 02:39 PM • top

It is far too easy to read into Scripture our own wants and desires, to proof-text, and come away with meanings that simply aren’t there.

BobG+ See Father Van’s 239. The meaning is there. I suspect you know it is there. But it is so much more friendly not to have any absolutes. Yes, Scripture is our authority, but we just can’t decide what it means so we’ll ignore it - this seems to be what you’re saying. Forgive me if I am wrong, but it’s certainly the impression you are giving.

[245] Posted by oscewicee on 05-16-2008 at 02:40 PM • top

Gray Wolf, which dictionary? From Merriam-Webster online:

  in·cest : sexual intercourse between persons so closely related that they are forbidden by law to marry;

Doesn’t say a peep about consent.

[246] Posted by oscewicee on 05-16-2008 at 02:46 PM • top

oscewicee (#241) - Concerning provision made for bishops who at conversion had multiple wives at past Lambeth conferences, it isn’t a smear, nor do I intend it to be.  As I said, I don’t remember where I read the information but it was within documents describing the processes of preparing for Lambeth, not blogs or heresy.

You’ve left other questions unanswered. Someone asked if you’re a priest.  I missed that one.  Yes, I’m a priest.  I serve as a non-stipendiary curate in a Rite I, Anglo-Catholic parish in Brooklyn.  It’s a funny thing because I grew up and still am quite Evangelical, but I’m discovering this thing called catholicism and its practice in Anglicanism.

You mentioned, more than once, I think, your “conservative” theology - whatever that means.  Conservative, well, I believe in the absolute authority of Scripture concerning all things necessary for salvation.  Scripture is God’s revelation of Himself and His ways to us.  What it said to the original hearers is what it says to us today, and since Scripture deals with the heart of man it is as applicable to us now as it was then.  God’s truths do not change, but we as fallible and sinful man do and by God’s mercy the Holy Spirit leads us so that we more clearly understand God’s intent.  We see as through a glass darkly and will not know fully until we see Him face-to-face.  I believe Jesus is unique and the only way to the Father.  I believe in the fallen state of man and our absolute need for a savior.  I say the Creeds and believe them.

Is that enough?

[247] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 02:52 PM • top

oscewicee #252:

I’ve come to the conclusion that whether you read the Old Testament Scripture as an amalgam of writing styles, poetry, and myth, or as historic truth (as a fundamentalist which is closer to my view), the Truth is still plain. So if you think it is either pointed to in story/myth form, or related by fact, the underlying intention is to relate Truth. And in the case of Adam and Eve as it relates to marriage, the Truth is evident regardless if it is myth or historically evident.

[248] Posted by FrVan on 05-16-2008 at 02:56 PM • top

BobG+ I have stuck with you this far, but sorry - to report something that you’ve only heard, which is highly detrimental and cruel, and for which you can’t even cite a source is mean and low. If you can’t back it up, you have no business saying it and ought to apologize.  You can’t be ignorant of the volatility of the situation and I don’t see how I can perceive this as anything but malice.

[249] Posted by oscewicee on 05-16-2008 at 02:58 PM • top

#255, please replace the last word “evident” with “accurate.”

[250] Posted by FrVan on 05-16-2008 at 02:59 PM • top

Amen, Father Van (#255).

[251] Posted by oscewicee on 05-16-2008 at 03:00 PM • top

BTW Phil incest, by definition, is non-consensual. Just thought you should know.

BTW, Gray Wolf #251, no, by definition, it isn’t.  Just thought you should know.

in•cest [ ín sèst ]

noun

Definition:
 
sex between close relatives: sexual activity between two people who are considered, for moral or genetic reasons, too closely related to have such a relationship. Incest is regarded as a serious taboo in almost every society, although cultures differ as to the extent to which marriages are allowed between relatives.

(Encarta)

[252] Posted by Phil on 05-16-2008 at 03:10 PM • top

You are correct. I was thinking of the vast majority of incest cases which involve an adult and a child. I did not even imagine consenting adults. I am glad you did.

Now how about answering my first question.

[253] Posted by Gray Wolf on 05-16-2008 at 03:26 PM • top

Bob, you sure are being legalistic. Proscription is not the only means God uses to define righteousness - prescription is just as valid. The NT has many prescriptive things to say about Christian marriage - same sex relationships and polyamory aren’t prescribed.

[254] Posted by texex on 05-16-2008 at 03:30 PM • top

Think Again (#245) - I didn’t say the the Genesis account specifically includes “any other type of marriage whether it is multiple wives or same-sex marriages, you are adding to scripture because anything else simply is not there.”

There can be no reading into these verses that God does or does not favor polygamy or same-sex marriage.  It isn’t there.  The purpose is God’s description of what happened at creation and what is - men and women will join together and become one flesh.  That’s what happens!  Descriptive vs. prescriptive, it seems.

And again, the intent of this portion of Scripture is not to give a lesson on marriage.  Jesus refers back to it because once the deed is done, there can be no rightful dividing of the one flesh once again through divorce.

[255] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 03:44 PM • top

Gray Wolf - since the first question is hypothetical, it only seems fair to answer it in the same way: when the slippery slope does materialize (as the court’s opinion demands, if it’s to be consistent), does that mean you’re wrong?

But to answer it directly: wrong about what?  I didn’t predict a fall down a slippery slope; I said the reasoning being used here demands the slippery slope be opened.  Whether that happens or not, it isn’t good for the culture to a) leave that opening for those that would exploit it further or b) do so by an exercise of raw judicial power, unfounded in the law and directed against the clear will of the electorate.

[256] Posted by Phil on 05-16-2008 at 03:45 PM • top

Well folks, I’ve got to go.  Real life calls.  It has been good, and while I may disagree with some of you concerning how we interpret certain parts of Scripture, I will defend you right to do so to the end.  There is only one Truth, and as we draw closer to God and wiser in His ways, my trust and faith is that God brings us ever closer to His Way.  We won’t know fully until we are present with Him.

[257] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-16-2008 at 04:12 PM • top

Many people have discussed the “slippery slope” issue. It is interesting that Justice Scalia raised that issue in his dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, noting that under the majority’s rationale states could not prohibit polygamy, etc.

[258] Posted by Bill Matz on 05-16-2008 at 04:12 PM • top

#256 - I’ve got to confess that I was baiting someone last night on this same thread, and enjoying it, and that he was trying to bait us right back. That’s what #249 is also doing.

The plain truth of the potential sacred nature of human male-female sex is written throughout Scripture, the Mishnah, the Gemara, and the Judeo-Christian mystical tradition. A (the) son of man becomes the mystical bridegroom of the beautiful bride, the story of Adam and Eve; throughout the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. It’s a mystery that’s hard to preach on in a 10-minute homily, and that would be hard to teach even in a 6-month series of adult ed classes. There are NEVER two grooms. Not ever!

As far as I can tell, most modern Christians get so preoccupied by unbridled lust and the drive towards the big “O” that they never realize that in a proper male-female union they are not only mystically creating one unified soul in heaven while they are joined, BUT that they also are in a rather unique “position” to communicate with God and the angels. (That’s all I can say about that.)

Leviticus summarizes the nature of male-male sex in two words, to’eva and mut, and simply says to those who might be inclined or tempted, “Don’t do it.” I don’t think there’s further elaboration in the Hebrew Scriptures other than the occasional “homophobic” remark, such as at Jeremiah 13:22 (for the greatness of your sin, your robe will be removed and your heels [buttocks] violated). As noted by so many others, Jesus would have lumped all of this this in with “porneia” (sexual immorality) having no need to elaborate on the different kinds in teaching Jews who already knew the Law. Paul, who as a high-ranking Pharisee would have known the mystical tradition, and who would teach Gentiles, does elaborate, and extends the law to female-female sex.

To’eva, usually translates as “abomination”. It has the sense of horror and repulsion. In the context of Leviticus, the horror is that a male-male connection is not only mutually defiling, but also has the real potential to invoke the devil. It also describes what a male-male union creates: not one unified soul, and certainly not in heaven. That’s why the male-male connection is one of the latter initiations of black magic. The combination of blood, feces, and you-know-what is a potent mixture that gets the attention of Old Nick. The next steps involve pedophilia, human sacrifice, and necrophilia. (That’s all I can say about that, and more than one should say. But it needs to be said.)

Mut has to do with death. It is misunderstood (and mistranslated) by some as a judicial death penalty to be carried out in the physical realm, but the rabbis know better. This is a spiritual death penalty imposed by the one man on the other, and carried out by the quenching or withdrawal of the Holy Spirit. For starters.

Simply put, men who have sex with men, women who have sex with women - as well as men who have sex with women in a defiling, “immoral” manner - are playing a diabolic “game” of russian roulette with their very souls.

If two people know what Scripture and tradition say (and have always said) about these things, and choose to do otherwise, then so be it. May their judgment be tempered by mercy. Yet, we remember the story of Dives and Lazarus.

If a person deceives others by teaching them in ways contrary to Scripture and tradition, then…well…we again pray that their judgment will be tempered by mercy. Yet we would again remember the story of Dives and Lazarus.

The post-gay movement teaches us that despite the to’eva of porneia, there is the potential for metanoia, redemption, forgiveness through Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior.

Signing off on this thread,
R. H.

[259] Posted by Ralph on 05-16-2008 at 04:18 PM • top

Phil, I will concede when necrophilia and human sacrifice are sanctioned by the state and I see a direct correlation with gay marriage, I will admit I was wrong.

I am not sure what you mean by the “clear” will of the electorate. There was a referendum defining marriage as being between a man and a woman some time ago, but since them the California legislature, which is elected by the people, has placed two bills on the governor’s desk authorizing gay marriage. Both times the Republican governor vetoed them saying he wanted a court decision. Now that there is one he says he will abide by the court’s ruling and oppose the initiative in November.

As for the activist judges, six of the seven were appointed by conservative Republican governors, so that is one more reason to vote for the liberals.

[260] Posted by Gray Wolf on 05-16-2008 at 04:21 PM • top

clear will = 70%

[261] Posted by martin5 on 05-16-2008 at 04:37 PM • top

Martin4, I thiink maybe you done been in the martinis. The vote in 2000 was 61.2%. But you were close. Only exaggerated it by about 8.8%.

[262] Posted by Gray Wolf on 05-16-2008 at 04:52 PM • top

“Martin4, I thiink maybe you done been in the martinis”

A man after my own heart. After enough of them we might still not like the idea, but we won’t really care…

[263] Posted by FrVan on 05-16-2008 at 04:58 PM • top

With respect to polygamy, while not giving it whole hearted approval, the Anglican Communion appears to at least accept it. From the 1988 Lambeth Conference resolution:

This Conference upholds monogamy as God’s plan, and as the ideal relationship of love between husband and wife; nevertheless recommends that a polygamist who responds to the Gospel and wishes to join the Anglican Church may be baptized and confirmed with his believing wives…

[264] Posted by Gray Wolf on 05-16-2008 at 05:05 PM • top

#271, As I remember hearing about it, these remarks were directed at those converting and not the already Christian. Or am I incorrect?

[265] Posted by FrVan on 05-16-2008 at 05:07 PM • top

#249, Bob, I’m feeling bad about piling on here.  My purpose isn’t to flail you.  Your assertions regarding the authority of scripture must be understood as meaning something other than what I mean based on your apparent support of homosexual marriage here (or rather in California) and other matters.  We don’t speak the same language apparently.  There is nothing necessarily wrong with proof-texting unless it is picking and choosing in such a way as to undermine how the Chuch understands the reference.  I don’t happen to believe that the overarching message of Scripture is that love means something antinomian.  I don’t know what your reading of that might be but again, from where I stand, when you make an assertion about Scripture or church teaching I don’t know and can’t tell what your statement cashes out to.  Since we don’t share the same theological language, virtually every reference, every term, requires unpacking and elaboration or very likely we are talking past one another.  I won’t assume that is your intent but from where I stand, the burden is on those who have reimagined Christianity and Christian theological dialog.

[266] Posted by monologistos on 05-16-2008 at 05:18 PM • top

FrVan [#272], you’re letting the facts get in the way of a good rationalization.

[267] Posted by texex on 05-16-2008 at 05:24 PM • top

monologistos (273), I wish I had said that. But I couldn’t figure out how to.

[268] Posted by oscewicee on 05-16-2008 at 05:41 PM • top

Could it happen here?  Has it already begun?  Violence against clergy had been plotted since 1931, with leftist forces targeting the institution they saw as an obstacle to their vision of a godless, materialist state that was beyond all “bourgeois morality.” The church records that nearly 7,000 clergy were killed in Spain from 1931 to 1939.

The 498 people beatified — who were killed in 1934, 1936 and 1937 — are comprised of two bishops, 24 priests and 462 members of religious orders, as well as a deacon, a subdeacon, a seminary student and seven lay Catholics.
Pope Benedict XVI appeared from his studio window after the Mass to greet the pilgrims, saying the beatification of so many ordinary Catholics showed that martyrdom wasn’t reserved to a few but “is a realistic possibility for the entire Christian people.”

“This martyrdom in ordinary life is an important witness in today’s secularized society,” he said.

Communists and crypto communists in Spain were furious at the timing of the ceremony, coming three days before Parliament passed a Socialist Workers Party-sponsored law seeking to outlaw all symbols of the resistance to their bloody regime. The law also calls for the removal of all monuments and shrines to the heroes who resisted their attempt to outlaw God and His Holy Church.

[269] Posted by Wally on 05-16-2008 at 06:27 PM • top

Could somebody please give Wally his meds. I think he is starting to channel Joe McCarthy.

[270] Posted by Gray Wolf on 05-16-2008 at 06:58 PM • top

Oscewicee, it is seldom I can say anything concisely enough to actually get to the point before I forget what my point was. smile

[271] Posted by monologistos on 05-16-2008 at 11:06 PM • top

There are 277 reasons why the conversation/listening process should end.  The best reasoning for accepting the revisionist position on homosexuality is an appeal to emotion in post 106.  Then in post 249, we are admonished to not apply “to portions of Scripture ‘other meanings’ that are not apparent at face value” with no indication where homosexuality is normative at face value.  Or sexual orientation, for that matter, either.

[272] Posted by Stephen on 05-16-2008 at 11:19 PM • top

Remember the wild and radical days of the 1960s? When TIME magazine gleefully announced that gender was simply a social construct and then men and women were androgenously interchangeable? TIME was able to scoop itself a decade or so later when it suddenly discovered that men and women were different after all.
An inverse process is at work in our thinking about homosexuality. Unlike gender, sexual preference is NOT rooted in biology.

Into this puzzling dilemma steps Foucault with a sort of Copernican revolution, proposing that homosexuality got there because we put it there. We created the category and gave it the importance which it seems to have; we drew together a series of practices and tastes, gave them a single name, and postulated their psychic depth. And now we seem to be mystified as to how this strange creature got there. Foucault writes: “homosexuality appeared as one of the forms of sexuality when it was transposed from the practice of sodomy into a kind of interior androgyny, a hermaphrodism of the soul. The sodomite had been a temporary aberration; the homosexual was now a species.”[6] The very word “homosexual” came into English only in 1892, formed after a German neologism coined about twenty years earlier.[7] Homosexuality, then, is a social construct of our own culture, and virtually even of our own century. What we mean by “homosexuality” did not exist in Greece; there is no such thing as Greek homosexuality. . .

Foucault, in the striking remark which I quoted above, claims that what had been merely the practice of sodomy got transformed, in the thought of the nineteenth century, into an interior androgyny, a hermaphrodism of the soul. What Foucault seems to be suggesting is that sexual preference may itself be nothing more than a superficial matter of taste and practice, like the practice of opening breakfast eggs at the big or the little end, or the preference for white or dark meat of fowl, and that it need have no deeper roots in the soul than we generally suppose these cases to have. If this is true, it is no wonder that the quest to understand the deep cause of homosexual preference has been unsuccessful: it is a quest for something that isn’t there.
- The social Construction of Homosexuality by John Thorp

Homosexuality is a modern invention, a social construct. Its purpose has been to justify the overthrow of traditional morality in order to allow the guilt-free practice of sodomy.
-RedHatRob

[273] Posted by RedHatRob on 05-17-2008 at 12:43 AM • top

“Remember the wild and radical days of the 1960s? When TIME magazine gleefully announced that gender was simply a social construct and then men and women were androgenously interchangeable?”

Red Hat Rob [#280]: When did during the 1960s did Time announce that? It doesn’t sound like the 1960s Time.

[274] Posted by Irenaeus on 05-17-2008 at 12:59 AM • top

I don’t happen to believe that the overarching message of Scripture is that love means something antinomian.

is IMHO among the soundest remarks made so far in this thread. In the longest apostolic treatment of sex-ethics, I Cor. 5-7, the love-principle is not invoked. The basic principle there is Christ’s ownership of my body. If He owns my body absolutely, that takes care of attitudes to the whole gamut of πορνείαι, or unchaste acts, which the tradition shows that He called defiling to human beings. There can be no reason to suppose that St. Paul was unaware of the tradition later recorded in our Gospels.

And what are those πορνείαι? Anything that any of us do, or think of doing? I do know what they are, and so do you: the whole range of offences routinely committed in our idolatrous pursuit of orgasm which are forbidden by the explicit command of God and by conscience. We are not in the clear if we are innocent of the couple of particular instances mentioned by Paul in this context. πορνεία/unchastity is so broad a term that it is sometimes a portmanteau for adultery too. It stands at the head of the list of the Works of the Flesh in Gal. 5; and we cannot say that adultery is not one of them.

[275] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 05-17-2008 at 02:59 AM • top

monologistos (273) - I don’t know that we necessarily have a different understanding of the authority of Scripture, but perhaps the interpretation of portions of Scripture, what it is actually saying and not saying, and perhaps its application.

There are huge variations between groups concerning the correct interpretation of Scripture that do not impinge upon the agreed authority of Scripture.  Those who believe that the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are in operation today and those that don’t, Calvinists and Arminians, Catholics and Protestants, etc., are examples.  There are hugely different theological understandings and Scriptural interpretations, but side from perhaps the Catholic/Protestant divide, all abide by the authority of Scripture in the lives of believers and the Church.

Because we may disagree on the interpretation of a few verses of Scripture does not in my mind mean that you do not love Jesus, strive to live life according to God’s will, or take seriously Scripture.  I would hope you could accord me the same consideration, but if you refuse then so be it.  I can’t help what you do.

[276] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-17-2008 at 05:30 AM • top

monologistos (273) One more thing (or perhaps two).  First off, I agree concerning your statement about not accepting the notion that the “overarching message of Scripture is that love means something antinomian.”  I’m certainly not antinomian, nor do I abide in legalism.  The overarching message of Scripture surely does not teach an “anything goes” mentality.  But, what does Jesus say the entire Law and the Prophets hang upon?  The two great commandments - Love God with everything and love your neighbor as yourself.  To abide in and obey these two commandments are far more difficult than following a check-list of does and don’t (as in the Levitical Code/Mosaic Law).

Secondly, yes the problem with language is huge these days.  The political and social polarization taking place within general society as infiltrated the Church.  We love to place our individual (group) spin on meanings of words, but it gets us nowhere in the end but mistrust.  We no longer trust one another.  This is a shame, because we end up isolating ourselves within our own groups and close ourselves off to the “iron-sharpening-iron” dynamic of Anglicanism that brings balance to our theological machinations.  It takes work, and will take work to bring ourselves back from being “polluted by the world” so that there might be a measure of trust once again.

I recommend a new book entitled: “True Enough: Living in a Post-Fact Society.” The author details the phenomina of late and its negative implications that “facts” either don’t really mean anything any more or we are no longer able to accept “facts” that from the beginning do not agree with our already determined conclusions.  The book is telling and important to consider as we attempt to declare that to our world that there is such a thing called Truth.

In the mean time, we love to through theological and verbal bombs at one another, all the while a lost and hurting world looks on and thinks, “If this is Christianity, I want nothing to do with it.”  To our shame, we let this happen.

[277] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-17-2008 at 05:54 AM • top

Bob writes in part:  “Because we may disagree on the interpretation of a few verses of Scripture
does not in my mind mean that you do not love Jesus, strive to live life according to God’s will, or take seriously Scripture.”
I won’t quibble about the “few verses” business.  What I am saying is that I don’t know what you mean when you talk about loving Jesus, striving to live according to God’s will, or taking Scripture seriously.  These words do not communicate anything to me other than a vague sense of topic and next to nothing about what they might cash out to in actual fact. Until we recognize that these soundbites in fact do not communicate, we won’t even realize that we are talking past one another.  And of course repeating the words as if the other missed it the first time, or shouting as if the other person was deaf will not circumvent the difficulty.In the early church, the catechumins were asked to depart at a certain point in the liturgy because without the Spirit given in Baptism, it was thought that they were unable to pray the prayers of the Church.  You recall Jesus saying that if you ask in my name, it shall be done?  It is this sense of praying “in Jesus’ name” that is required here also.  I do not imply by this in the present context of discussion that some Christians are not baptized but that the Church recognizes that certain theological language (of koinonia) requires more than intellectual discernment.  It is possible to choose cunning rather than understanding such that even should Christ appear and summon us, we should not hear with true understanding (charisma veritatis certum).  There is no profit in berating or scolding but the words must be spoken for Love’s sake.  From the curse of Babel, good Lord deliver us.

[278] Posted by monologistos on 05-17-2008 at 07:10 AM • top

If it were only a disagreement over a few verses of scripture then we could all get along.  It is however a social revolution that calls for the destruction of Western Christian Civilization.

The walls are falling on all of morality.  If Christians fail to prevent their marginalization, and the norm of Christian morality, both sexual and ethical, then we will live in a a world that is closer to hell.  Already any force that effectively speaks out against these neocommunist and multicultural trends is viciously attacked in a most personal manner (take note Gray Wolf!).

The example of the Spanish Civil War is a valid one.  The world has ignored this holocaust against the Church in Spain.  The Pope had the courage to beatify these heros, but the world ignores this also.

If several thousand homosexuals had been targeted and murdered in the Spanish Civil War we would still be hearing about it and watching made for television movies.
The Spanish left wing coalition consisted of the same loonie left coalition that confronts Christianity today.  Communists, Anarchists, advocates of free love, homosexuality and lesbianism, and liberals of every stripe.  All of them viewing the Church as their mortal enemy and willing to strike down anyone who gets in their path to a the new socialist man who has moved beyond bourgeoisie morality.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the opposition are well meaning Christians who only disagree about the face meaning of a few verses of scripture.  These people are extreme social revolutionaries and are murderously hostile to all who disagree with them.  Go to their web sites and read for yourself how they feel about you.

Their is no compromise with this evil.  With them it is the hard either or.

[279] Posted by Wally on 05-17-2008 at 08:15 AM • top

Take a look at this latest (just posted today) propaganda “news” story off the Yahoo! home page.  http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20080516/sc_livescience/samesexcouplescommoninthewild;_ylt=AsL5S0brYvy1InFSWwHYgLCs0NUE

[280] Posted by Wally on 05-17-2008 at 08:26 AM • top

#285 Bob G+ Love God with everything and love your neighbor as yourself.  To abide in and obey these two commandments are far more difficult than following a check-list of does and don’t (as in the Levitical Code/Mosaic Law).

Why must you put these things in opposition to one another? I must admit I never get the tensions and contradictions revisionists tend to see in the Bible (Paul vs Jesus, etc.). If a parent tells his kid ‘Have fun, but stay out of trouble’, there’s no contradiction. When Jesus says, “He that loves me keeps my commandments” and Luke 5:30 (“eating with publicans and sinners”) there’s also no contradiction.

Also, what are the limits of your skepticism about language/doctrine in #283? You can’t just invoke this skepticism uniformly… some doctrines are clearer than others. I’d say the two great commandments that you list, sexual ethics, Christ’s divinity are pretty clear, whereas the teaching on charismatic gifts is not as clear. You can’t use the ambiguity of the one as being relevant to the clarity of the others, yes?

[281] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 05-17-2008 at 09:24 AM • top

BobG+, I have a hard time understanding what you mean when you say you believe in the “authority of Scripture” but then immediately nullify anything that the Scripture might mean. It’s all too vague, we can’t pull anything particular from it, but, hey, it has complete authority? How about some examples of how the “authority of Scripture” works for you?

[282] Posted by oscewicee on 05-17-2008 at 11:39 AM • top

Bob G +

I want to tell you there are things that you say in post #284 that I couldn’t agree with more.  The problem is I don’t feel you have yet comprehended the depth and meaning of what you’ve really said, and have not drawn it to it’s full and complete conclusion.

I can not agree more with the following statement that you make:

We love to place our individual (group) spin on meanings of words, but it gets us nowhere in the end but mistrust. We no longer trust one another.

 
My personal opinion is that you have only scratched the surface when you make this statement.  I think the reality of the situation goes far beyond what you are hinting at here.

We are presently using one set of words (mostly in English, but they are linked to the underlying Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic), but have interpreted them with completely different meanings.  Our diametrically opposed understanding of the words meanings cause immense chasms between us in terms of how we construct and live our lives.

The problem is, so few people get this concept.

Let me use a very specific example.  I’ll use the Nicene Creed, since most Anglicans at least mouth the words, but in their minds, different people do amazingly different things with the words. 

In this interview with Gene Robinson, Gene is very explicit about this transformation of meaning of the words.  Here’s the money quote:

“By the time I went to college [at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.], I found that not only were my questions tolerated, but applauded. I was generously and hospitably welcomed into the religious community there and helped with my journey. I had an assistant chaplain there who, when I was ranting and raving about how much of the Nicene Creed I didn’t believe, encouraged me to just drop out when I got to a phrase that I didn’t believe. And participate in however much of it I did feel comfortable with.

You can see here, very explicitly the beginning of the meaning transformation going on within Gene’s head.  His first reaction was the honest one.  He disagreed with, and didn’t believe what the church had fought over, and eventually agreed was the true definition of the Christian faith.  But that’s just the beginning of the process.  He goes on to reinterpret the words, to mean something completely different than what the original authors had intended.

“And I [thought], a religion that can be that undefensive about itself is the place for me. I gradually said more and more of the Nicene Creed until I did believe it. I found [the Episcopal Church] to be this amazing community where people were not afraid to use their minds, where people were not afraid to read and believe the scriptures, and did not seem to be forcing on anyone else its own beliefs in the way that I felt the religion that I grew up with had been doing.

This is really, really interesting.  The thing that attracted Gene the most was that he could choose a place to study where the religious thought was “undefensive”.  Perhaps a better word would be “malleable”.  He had the power to change the meaning of words as he wanted, and those around him encouraged him on this very path.  Just think a new concept, and it was so!  Start repeating it, and it becomes my own, new reality!  I can only imagine the headiness that comes with such power.  No more submission.  No more having to accept as true something that somebody else says.  You just…change it to be the way you want it!  It’s much, much harder for the human soul to “submit” to others authority, than to take the power of redefinition for ourselves.  Very, very intelligent people wrestled for years in their own minds, and in ecumenical councils, between one another, to hammer this out.  These people were closer to the source of Christ’s presence on earth than we are worked incredibly hard, with
What happened originally was that he completely disagreed and rebelled against the plain meaning of the words, or the meaning of the words as they were carried to us through many centuries.  He was honest, and said he didn’t believe in them.  Then, with the help of some Jedi Master’s ability to change meanings of words into what Gene wanted them to mean, he could then repeat the same words, with their new meanings, and believe all of them, and repeat them and claim them for his own.

The problem is, in his mind and heart, he had changed the meaning of the words from the authors’s original intent, into some completely new interpretation, some “new thing”.  In Gene’s heart and mind, I’m sure that he beleives this is “from God”.  Not so from the rest of us.

[283] Posted by Charlie Peppler on 05-17-2008 at 11:56 AM • top

The rest of us have kept the original meaning.  It’s kind of like when the Coca Cola company introduced “New Coke”.  We like the original meaning, the “Classic Coke” of theological definition. 

The “New Coke” people see the “Classic Coke” people as being anachronistic, narrow minded, and not seeing the “new things” God is doing.  The “Classic Coke” people look at the “New Coke” people being deluded in their thinking, and being led off the cliff, with new meanings to old words.

The conflict arises when we try to use the same words, and each of have diametrically opposed concepts in our minds of what they mean.  No wonder there’s discord!

I think this applies throughout the lexicon of religious language, going right down to the word “Christian”.  Some have the concept that the word “Chrisian” really means “good person”.  Well, OK, we have language for that, like “good person”.  But we have now lost the meaning of the word “Christian” as anything that conveys information.

Well, OK, maybe you say something a little more specific like “Christian” means “follower of Christ”.  We’re back together on the meaning, right?  Wrong.  We’ve just pushed deeper into the lexicon, and found that the word “Christ” can have a multiplicity of different meanings, depending on your world view.  Some consider him a “prophet”.  Others consider him a “good guy”.  Orthodox believers have a very specific and concrete set of beliefs of doctrines (as originally taught by the prophets and apostles).  There were some really difficult challenges about who Christ was, and what his actions meant for us.  There were challenges to these meanings in the early church, for which they had councils, and hashed out these meanings.  The result of all this reasoned debate were….the creeds.  For example, the council of Nicea produced the “Nicene Creed”, which addresses itself specifically to who and what Christ was, and who the Father is, and who the Holy Spirit is.  The meanings behind these are very specific, and much like the wheel, they don’t change.  They form the basis for who Christ is, and what the Trinity is, and why I exist on earth.  You can come up with any new meaning you want for the words that are said, but be honest, and proclaim it as a “New Thing”, different from the old.  Allow the separation of belief systems, because it’s there.  Then we can all be honest, and restart a dialogue, but not in this massively, and horribly damaging box, where people use the same words, have completely different meanings in their minds, become emotionally exhausted, drained, frustrated, and then lash out.  Those are only symptoms of the true, real problem.  We can’t communicate, because the meanings behind our words have been taken away from us.  Within our “clans”, perhaps we can have a little more harmony, because we can share some common meanings when we use the same words.  Trapped in a box and trying to communicate with one another with the same words that have different meanings will never, ever work, and only lead to more damage.  So, it’s actually more loving to allow us to separate, so we don’t continue to do damage.  As far as the “rest of the world”, and what they see as the meaning of the word “Christ” or “Christian”, that is up to the different groups to compete for their mindshare.  They each need to proclaim their own “Gospel”, and see which one draws more hearts and minds.  The honest thing would be to admit that the Gospels are different, and let them choose.

As for me and my house, I want to go back as far as I can to determine the original meaning of those words, the “Classic Coke” formulation, and to test them there.  As they become more true in my life, I will have a clearer picture of who God has revealed himself to be.  Where would I go?

I would start with the Nicene creed.  How about we take this test together.  I’ll take a statement from there, and see if you agree with it or not.  Please don’t fluff the space with abstractions, an “I believe” or “I don’t beleive is sufficient”.

I can love and pray for Gene Robinson, while at the same time, accept him as having a completely different and opposing world view than I have.  He may look at me, and the way I think and come to the conclusion that I’m anachronistic, a throw back to some ancient way of thinking, that has now been superceded by the “new thing”.  In turn, I look at Gene Robinson, and have pity on the man.  In my view, he’s been deluded into manufacturing a world of delusion, that he thinks is the truth.  He gets to change the meaning of words in his own mind, but rather than coming up with something new, he’s rehashing old ideas that were competing at the council of Nicea.  Gene’s temporary advantage is that he holds the worlds microphone (the media) in his hand, and he proclaims his new gospel as loudly as he can.  Well, dear God have mercy on his soul, because what he teaches is a completely different faith then the one which I hold in my mind, in my heart, and in my soul.  My only conclusion is to bend my knee, and proclaim thanks, and ask for mercy from the one who died for my sins, and rose again and lives today.  And I can say a prayer for Gene, and hope that he gets the spiritual healing that he so desperately needs.
he did meant to usit means “follower of Christ” right?

On another note, if we disagree on what the Nicene Creed means, and what it implies, what good is an “Anglican Covenant”?  Just more obfuscated mass of words for all of us to get all tangled up in.  More meaningless discussion, using more confusing words, with no means to resolve issues.  Let’s not waste the effort, the pain, and the time.  We each have different gospels to proclaim.  The New Coke, and the Classic Coke gospels.  Let the competition for hearts and minds begin!

Here are a couple of more examples from your post…

The two great commandments - Love God with everything and love your neighbor as yourself.

A perfect example.  We both accept this statement as being true.  The only problem is, we have different meanings of the word “God”.  If one accepts the classical, orthodox concept of the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed, you go one direction.  If you accept the new thing, Spongian, Robinsonian thing, you go a different route.  Confusing, eh?  You bet!

To abide in and obey these two commandments are far more difficult than following a check-list of does and don’t (as in the Levitical Code/Mosaic Law).

Another perfect example.  In your worldview, you put the two at odds with one another.  In my world view, the laws are for my own good, they protect me, and my living my life by them is the most perfect expression of my love for God.  As a fallen human, how well do I do it?  Lousy!  Back to sin, repentence, grace, and forgiveness.  In your world view, those old dusty, nasty laws are just constraints that prevent you from embracing all that the Universe can offer!  There’s not such thing as “sin”!

Got it?  I can love you, BobG+, and all those that hold a separate world view from me.  At the same time, the most loving thing would be to allow us to allow the reformation of the church, the realignment to occur as it will in as loving a way as we can, and then, if both parties are willing, we can start to win each other over to our own worldview.  The basis of that process is to be truely honest, and admit that they are different at their very core.
Best Regards,

Charlie Peppler

[284] Posted by Charlie Peppler on 05-17-2008 at 11:57 AM • top

Evidence is accumulating that homosexual attraction can be treated and changed, but it would seem that politics and the media are behind science in this case…or is this a case of intentional blindness?

[285] Posted by Floridian on 05-17-2008 at 12:19 PM • top

#292, GA/FL. I think this is more a case of “judicial blindness” wink

[286] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 05-17-2008 at 01:13 PM • top

When I was getting my Master’s degree (college student development), I had an Assistantship with the Office of Campus Life.  I helped advise the student board that brought in educational and entertainment programs to the university.  One of my advisees was also in the Black student organization, which was very radicalized at the time and many black students very much opposed to the “white devils.”

One day during one of my oversight meetings with this student, we came to an impasse.  We obviously were using different meanings for the same word.  I said, “well, lets see how the dictionary defines the word.”  She said, “That’s the white man’s dictionary and white man’s language and it is meaningless to me.  I don’t care what it says.”  At that point, I was a bit dumbfounded.  I thought if we cannot even agree on a common reference to define the words we use in the English language, overcoming the race situation in this country will be impossible.

I very well understand the significance of the difference in meanings of words and concepts within a common language.  I also know how destructive it can be.

The dynamic of suspicion and mistrust so overwhelmed our ability to function that we got nowhere.  We had to function together, but as supervisor and supervisee, as friends or even colleagues it was hopeless.  It was a trying year.

This last several comments in this ongoing debate or conversation over meaning of words reminds me of my experience with this woman.  I say, “I love Jesus.”  Growing up in the Foursquare Church and spending 8 years doing ministry in the Assemblies of God, that phrase means what it means - “I love Jesus.”  If, because we disagree on interpretation, not authority as I suggest, suddenly there is such suspicion and mistrust on your part of my character (truthfulness) that suddenly these three words are assumed to mean… I don’t know what, but not what most Evangelicals mean by these three words, well then this whole endeavor is nearly hopeless, I fear.

I described above for one of you who asked me about how I regarded myself as theologically more conservative.  I detailed why I am.  If those words are meaningless to some of you simply because you assume that because I come down on one side of a Scriptural difference of interpretation, there is little else I can say.  There was very little I could say to this student I advised.  Mistrust and suspicion will not enable the Body of Christ to function.  Politically, it will not enable a democracy to function. 

This is like Calvinists who insist that Arminians are abject heretics deceived by Satan and going straight to hell.  I’ve encounter this several times.  I’ve been told countless times that I was demon possessed because I believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.  These kinds of accusations have little effect on me at this point.

There have always been theological differences between Christians and groups of Christians even from the time of Paul.  If there is no willingness to grant to the other the benefit of the doubt, that the other person may well love Jesus even if theologically screwed-up, then I fear we have profoundly failed Jesus.  The cause of Christ in the world is seriously defamed.  We act just like the world - just like the Republicans and the Democrats.  Lord help us.

So what do we do when no common ground can be accepted (not even found, but accepted)?  Well, every Sunday we repeat these words in the summation of the Law in Rite I, “Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith: Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first great commandment.  And the second is like unto it: Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hand all the Law and the Prophets.”  This is what God calls us to do - calls me to do.  So, despite how I am regarded, despite how I may be misperceived, despite how I may be judged, I will still love the person (people) as God gives me the ability.  God is on His throne and God will maintain His Church.  Thank goodness He will be the judge on that terrible and glorious day, and not the conclusions of fallible and sinful men - myself included.

[287] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-17-2008 at 05:00 PM • top

BobG+ having no common understanding of what our faith - and the words we use to express it - means, means we can’t have faith in common. On every thing in Scripture we have discussed, you have eased away from it having any meaning whatsoever - so how are we to interpret your belief in the “authority of Scripture” if you won’t allow that any passage has a meaning. Or if every passage means everything anyone can dream up for it to mean - it is, in effect meaningless. Maybe we should be asking you what you mean by “authority”?

[288] Posted by oscewicee on 05-17-2008 at 05:13 PM • top

Charlie, you wrote, ”... In your worldview, you put the two at odds with one another.  In my world view, the laws are for my own good, they protect me, and my living my life by them is the most perfect expression of my love for God.  As a fallen human, how well do I do it?  Lousy!  Back to sin, repentence, grace, and forgiveness.  In your world view, those old dusty, nasty laws are just constraints that prevent you from embracing all that the Universe can offer!  There’s not such thing as “sin”!”

No, Charlie, I don’t put them at odds.  You may think I do or even insist that I do according your already determined perception of what I must believe, but i don’t.  Do you really think I disagree with you concerning what you wrote above?  If you do, you have misunderstanding what I wrote and my “worldview” - or your suspicion and mistrust of the very words I use are so strong that no matter what I say your preconceived opinions of what you think I must believe will rule the day. Since trying to convince you otherwise seems to be a losing proposition (I honestly hope that isn’t the case), I will simply revert to saying that you are wrong in your perception or assumption of what I believe.  You’ve read into my words, wrongly.

[289] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-17-2008 at 05:21 PM • top

oscewice (295) - Really?  Serious?  Everything I’ve written has proven to you that I have moved away from Scripture having any meaning whatsoever.  Am I understanding you correctly?  How?  Honestly, you are make terribly wrong assumptions about what I believe.

In my comment #254, I answered your question about how I consider myself more conservative theologically in response to your comment #241.  At the end of my response, I asked, “Is that enough?”  It seems that obviously it wasn’t.  So what would be enough in your opinion?  Seriously, that isn’t rhetorical, I really want to know.  Just so you know, I meaning I apply to the words I used are the traditional meanings Christians normally apply to those words, and have for generations.

I’ve mentioned the theological differences between Calvinism and Arminianism, and that each tradition has very different interpretations of Scripture concerning very significant stuff - the nature of God, sorteriology, Christology, etc.  Most people while thinking that the other is wrong in their interpretation of the same Scriptures do not cast the other side into utter darkness (although some Calvinists are prone to do so).  They don’t assume that the other side is trying to be deceptive.

How do you deal with this?  Are you Calvinist or Arminian or do you come from another tradition?  How do you deal with the Christians in the other tradition(s) that differ from yours - Calvinists or Arminians/Weslyians or Anabaptists, etc?

[290] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-17-2008 at 05:45 PM • top

Charlie or oscewice: What about this issue of suspicion and mistrust and their corrosive results on us as Christians and as Americans?  What about our not being able to get beyond them and the fact that at least politically if we don’t then our form of democracy is doomed?

[291] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-17-2008 at 05:51 PM • top

“Fr.” Bob,
You’re starting to get it.  There is no compromise with Satan.

[292] Posted by Wally on 05-17-2008 at 05:58 PM • top

Wally - I already know that.  It isn’t at all a new concept for me to “get,” since I already well understand and believe it.  Having spent so long in Pentecostalism, I know well Satanic oppression, possession, and deception and exorcism.  Perhaps, you are better understanding what I am actually saying and not so much reading into what I am writing according to your assumptions about what you think I mean or believe.  Can you step back for a moment and consider that you could be wrong in your presumption?

[293] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-17-2008 at 06:12 PM • top

Quo vadis?

[294] Posted by Wally on 05-17-2008 at 06:15 PM • top

BobG+ yes, this suspicion and mistrust are corrosive. Recent years in the Episcopal Church have not been conducive to trust. But without going up the thread to pull examples, it seems that every time we come to a place where the Scripture points to something with authority, your response is no, it doesn’t really say that, we can’t know what it means. And we are well accustomed by now to revisionists who claim to hold to the creeds and Scripture, but give the words different meanings. This is what happens when words are untied from their meanings - there is no trust.

[295] Posted by oscewicee on 05-17-2008 at 09:42 PM • top

oscewicee - I’m still interested in how you deal with the kind of theological and Scriptural interpretive differences between larger traditions such as Calvinism and Arminianism or Anabaptist?  And, I’m still curious within which you would place yourself.

[296] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-17-2008 at 10:41 PM • top

Bob G+
I think you’re being deliberately obtuse about the clear teaching of scripture. It is a logical non sequitur to proceed from noting the theological differences of Calvinists and Arminians to the assertion that scripture has no clear or fixed meaning.
Do the Calvinists and the Arminians disagree about the meaning of the ten commandments?
When Jesus summarized the law and the prophets by pointing to the two greatest commandments, he did NOT say, “If you obey these two, you can disregard the others.” In fact, he said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
Surely one of those commandments that those who love Jesus are called by Jesus to keep is, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
It is ludicrous to assert that what Jesus meant was, “For the next 19-20 centuries, homosexuals need to remain celibate, so as not to break this commandment, but once the enlightened vanguard of the 21st century perceive my TRUE but hidden teaching, then homosexuals, too can marry, and engage in sexual relations, while still ‘keeping my commandments.’
OR.. perhaps what Jesus REALLY meant was, “for the next 19-20 centuries, heterosexuals shall not engage in sexual relations outside of marriage but it will be OK for the homosexuals because they’re going to be oppressed for the next 2,000 years.”
A question for the advocates of the “new thing:” Is the 7th commandment still to be obeyed by Christians?
-RedHatRob

[297] Posted by RedHatRob on 05-18-2008 at 01:44 AM • top

RedHatRob - Asking about Calvinism or Arminians or “Anabaptistsim”, etc., gives indication of how a person handles Scripture and gets to how a person deals with differences that touch upon far more fundamental theological issues of Scriptural interpretation dealing with such issues as how salvation is understood (sorteriology), how God is understood, how God deals with humanity, Christology, to name a few.  I asked Oscewicee because I want to know how he thinks and I don’t want to misunderstand him.  Plainly and simply.

All of this gets to how we handle Scripture, how we learn, how we deal with our ego/pride, all of that when it comes to our relationship with God and with one another.  Oscewicee asked me a couple specific questions earlier, one being why I consider myself more theologically conservative.  I tried to answer him as concisely as I could and yet still be detailed concerning the basics of Christian belief.  Now, I asked him a legitimate question to better understand where he is coming from so that I don’t misunderstand where he is coming from and make invalid assumptions. I hope he will answer me.  We shall see whether he will or not.

If he (or any one of us) is so suspicious that he cannot believe (trust) what I write when I say something like, “I say the Creeds, believe them, and have no need to try to reinterpret them,” then there really is no point in going forward.  Suspicion and mistrust have then ruined our ability to honestly deal with one another and thwarts the very real working of the Holy Spirit as good, rigorous, godly conversation or debate of differences can bring (Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”).  This is historically the heart of Anglicanism and our ability to avoid strict sectarianism.

If we don’t believe another Christian’s testimony, what is left but closing ourselves off and retreating into sectarian beliefs?  If we are so mistrustful of fellow Christians because of our differences, we hinder the Holy Spirit and we hinder learning.  If that is how any of us are, I fear for our eternal souls because such mistrust and suspicion cannot but harm us and hinder what the Holy Spirit can do in our transformation.

[298] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-18-2008 at 04:48 AM • top

RedHatRob - Take the commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”  First off, since suspicion is pretty evident here, I want to detail a few things.

Firstly, the example you gave above I think deals with fornication, since there is sex before marriage.  I assume you know that “adultery” deals with unfaithfulness within marriage.  Am I right in that - what you are talking about is fornication?  But, let’s assume that within a marriage, the wife commits adultery against the husband with another woman - bringing in the homosexual stuff.  “Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Secondly, as I’ve said before, I believe Jesus when he said that all the Law and the Prophets hang on his two great commandments.  I also believe Paul in his letter to the Galatian Christians concerning a Christian’s right response to the Levitical Code.  So, since Jesus came to fulfill the Law and not destroy it, how do we understand a Christian’s response to the Law within Jesus’ two great commandments.  (Which, incidentally, was also the summation of the Law in Judaism - indicating how off base the Pharisees at least were at Jesus’ time.)  Jesus didn’t give them a “new teaching,” but he corrected their misunderstanding and application of the Scriptures concerning living out the faith, the Law.

Considering this, the commandment not to commit adultery for a Christian can be understood within the commandment of Jesus in two ways.  First, we are to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”  To cheat on one’s spouse is to act profoundly unlovingly to one’s spouse because of the breaking of vow and trust.  Secondly, to do such a thing is to act profoundly unlovingly to God, since we break the convent made between the couple made before God.

Not only that, but as Jesus said - it isn’t just what is done physically, but also within the mind and heart.  Our responsibility under Grace is more arduous than under the Law because we actually have to think about how these principles are worked out outside of a strict checklist.  When I said that obeying the two commandments of Jesus is far more difficult and challenging than obeying a check list of do’s and don’ts,  this is what I meant.  To the Jews, the Law said don’t have sex with another man’s wife.  To us, we have to consider everything - even our thoughts and how to think and act lovingly towards God and our neighbor (in this case, a spouse) in all kinds of situations that the original hears may not have had to deal with.

But, an even more fundamental question is when marriage begins in the first place through the examples of Scripture!  This will certainly determine whether we are talking about fornication or adultery.  This also gets to some of our contemporary issues.  I asked earlier, “When does marriage begin in God’s eyes.”  No on answered me, but this is an important issue.  Does marriage in God’s eyes begin when the State says a couple is married?  Does marriage begin when the Church blesses the couple who have committed themselves before God to one another for life - through sickness and health, all of that?  I don’t see any “method” prescribed in Scripture other than at some point the couple is “married” and they are faithful to one another, so I have to wonder about the answer.  The conclusion I’ve come to (and I can be completely wrong) is that a couple may be considered married in God’s eyes when they honestly commit themselves to one another and consummate that decision by having intercourse.  The Church may bless the couple within the fellowship of all believers because the couple needs the support and prayers of Christians and the Church.  (Sex may occur before or after the blessing of the Church, just as it does now if the marriage is done by a court, first.)  The State gives a license to the couple for secular and legal reasons, but in God’s eyes I don’t think He frankly cares about a piece of paper from a Justice of the Peace.

If a couple has sex before they have made that kind of sincere and life-long commitment to one another, I think they are committing fornication.  If they have sex with other people after that commitment, the are committing adultery.  But it isn’t that we Christians are bound any longer by the Levitical Code, a check list, but we are bound by Jesus’ commands to love God with everything and love our neighbor as our selves.  If we commit adultery we first violate our convent with God and violate Jesus’ command to love God with everything.  If we commit adultery,  our vow to our spouse and Jesus’ command to love neighbor as self (and to consider others before we consider our self).  For Christians the Law is a guide, but no longer are we under “Legalistic Righteousness.”

The current debate that the above decision by the California Supreme Court has some traction here.  If we consider “marriage” the domain of the State (and we really do, since it is only when that license is given that most of society, Christians included, believe the couple to be “married”), then what happens when the State decides that same-sex couples can be “married.”  When does God consider “marriage” valid, even if only for opposite-sex couples?

I’ll stop here, although a whole lot more can and needs to be said.  I have to prepare for mass.  10 kids will receive their First Communion this morning.  Thanks be to God for their lives and for the increase!  When we lift up the name of Jesus, he will draw all people unto himself.

[299] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-18-2008 at 05:44 AM • top

“a couple may be considered married in God’s eyes when they honestly commit themselves to one another and consummate that decision by having intercourse.”

And will this be your counsel to your 10 young confirmands?

You may be entirely orthodox in your understanding of the creeds… all while pointing them to destruction in your embrace of immorality.
-RedHatRob

[300] Posted by RedHatRob on 05-18-2008 at 09:00 AM • top

If he (or any one of us) is so suspicious that he cannot believe (trust) what I write when I say something like, “I say the Creeds, believe them, and have no need to try to reinterpret them,” then there really is no point in going forward.

Bob, I am appreciative of your besieged position here and it is with some amusement I note your Pauline attempt to divide your accusers by referring to rival theological camps.  However, you have simply repeated my dispute with your position back to me as if it was your own.  It is not.  You are not in the position of speaking out of the scriptural understanding of the apostles.  You are not quoting dictionary definitions.  Rather, your statements, consistently, persistently, have attempted to qualify and relativize the meaning of Scripture to both individual interpretation and situational ethics ... on topics where it suits you.  Shifting your stance to a didactic, nobly aggrieved tone only means a defensive posture and more clowning ... which is fully understandable here but not helpful for those bearing witness to truth for your sake.  I don’t think you are unintelligent at all but I think your ability to process the questions at hand is muddled by acceptance of heretical teachers and your need to justify homosexuality when it is clearly condemned in Holy Scripture.Let’s speak honestly to one another. Citing evidences of spiritual excitement such as Glossalalia does not indicate to me a commitment to Holy Scripture or to the teaching authority of Holy Tradition.  In nearly every place where Tongues has become a New Thing, schism has followed.  This isn’t because Tongues isn’t a genuine gift but because *most* of those engaged therein are defrauding themselves and chasing after signs. It isn’t that *no* good can come of Tongues or *no* good can come of devotion to a same-sex partner.  It is that same-sex sex is a kind of knowing, in the sense of “biblical knowing” that joins one to a different communion than that of the Church. Again, it isn’t that God cannot or does not act outside the Church but that the choice to commune apart is a sinful choice.  Of their own doing, sinful choices lead to death.  It might be that God *might* weave our sinful choices into His providence such that we are not lost but I would not suggest putting Him to the test.  Again and again, the most likely scenario if we throw ourselves off a high place, is ourselves broken and dead at the bottom.  The moral, prophetic authority of the Church to teach and lead is not found in “new dispensations of the Holy Spirit” but is centered in apostolic authority to “rightly divide the word of truth.”  If your bishops do not have the gift of the Holy Spirit, no amount of spiritual babble will solve that problem.While your other remarks belie your belief that the bit I blockquote above is your prospective, consider that this is precisely what I am saying to you.  As the proponent of the New Thing, the burden for justifying your definitions is upon you ... not upon everyone else here present.  I am not fooling myself into thinking the rest of us do not also suffer from rationalization and sin or that we all understand one another perfectly.  But the question is not here perfection and sinlessness but submission to God’s will as understood within Christian tradition.  If you do not walk out of your own will, you cannot be saved.

[301] Posted by monologistos on 05-18-2008 at 11:38 AM • top

The conclusion I’ve come to (and I can be completely wrong) is that a couple may be considered married in God’s eyes when they honestly commit themselves to one another and consummate that decision by having intercourse.  The Church may bless the couple within the fellowship of all believers because the couple needs the support and prayers of Christians and the Church.

Bob, I find this intriguing.  Is this it?  A 16-year-old couple can honestly commit to each other and then go have intercourse and they are married?  Really?  And then when they break up and do the same with another, are they bigamists in God’s eyes?  Polygamists?  What if they commit to each for life but don’t believe in marriage.  Are they still married in God’s eyes?

What about the gay couple, either male or female.  What specific action (don’t tell me, it’s rhetorical) does the male couple perform for the consummation?  How about the female couple?

[302] Posted by Paul B on 05-18-2008 at 11:55 AM • top

BobG+, I am not sure exactly how I would place myself among the categories you name. I suspect I am closer to Anglo-Catholic than Calvinist.

[303] Posted by oscewicee on 05-18-2008 at 01:05 PM • top

Consider this, marriage as a sacrament and the vows, as expressed in the historic Book of Common Prayer, are strictly speaking no different than ordination vows in their binding the individuals to a religious vocation, in this case matrimony.

The reason a new marriage rite is needed for gays is because the marriage vows in the 1928 BCP are in no way applicable to a homosexual coupling.

The logical thread of thought from this point on requires that passages of holy scripture such as the account of creation in Genesis must be reinterpreted to include gays in the redemption story and to not exclude them in their totality from the Kingdom of God because of their sexual practices.

In order to accomplish this essentially political and social revolutionary act, all of holy writ that expounds on the union of the male and the female must be reinterpreted so as to include gay couplings and raise them to an equality with heterosexual couplings.

That the civil law should be amended to provide for equal protection of people choosing to be in gay relationships, or for that matter any combination of individuals, is merely a reflection of the demand of society, even if only by a politically vocal minority.

Christians are rightly alarmed by this spearhead of a wider social revolution.  Our own country’s recent history has shown that intense pressure, both political and financial, will be brought to bear on any who dissent from the political orthodoxy as espoused primarily by both state and federal courts.  The national and state legislatures have refused or been unable to contain this social revolutionary juggernaut.  If churches refuse to offer the sacrament of marriage to communicants who happen to be gay, a civil rights law suit does not seem to far fetched.

I am convinced that the only thing that prevents the federal courts from going after religious assemblies that do not permit women’s ordination is that first they would have to confront the powerful Roman catholic Church.  I am not an RC, but am thankful for this powerful shield of our religious liberties.

[304] Posted by Wally on 05-18-2008 at 02:07 PM • top

Good stuff from Bob G+ in #306; and, still, by carefully avoiding and/or steering around the more specific statements Jesus and His Apostles made, his analysis would work just as well for a threesome or foursome.  But then, Bob already told us he had no problem with that.  For that reason, and for the reason Paul B gave in #309, I hope the parents policed those First Communion classes.

[305] Posted by Phil on 05-18-2008 at 03:28 PM • top

RedHatRob (307) - There where first communion recipients.  There were not confirmands. Just to clear that up.

So, will you answer my question about when you consider marriage to actually begin in God’s eyes?

I’m curious about another thing,  RedHatRob.  As the director of the Francis Schaeffer Study Center and an Elder of Abundant Life Church, and since Schaeffer was Reformed, do you come from a Reformed theological perspective?  Why are you so interested in commenting on an Anglican blog?

[306] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-18-2008 at 03:35 PM • top

monologisto (308) - I’ve asked a few question, as I’ve said, to understand where people are coming from.  Period.  I certainly don’t feel besieged, although I wish as I attempt to answer questions or make myself clear others would be so kind to answer my questions.  Why would you not?

1. For the purpose of understanding how people deal with difference in Scriptural interpretation over issues far more fundamental to the faith than differences of interpretation concerning the purpose of the Genesis story of Adam and Eve (or homosexuality for that matter), I’m wondering how people deal with the profound differences in theological understanding from the same Scriptures between Calvinism and Arminianism or “Anabaptism,” etc.

2. When do you (or anyone) believe a couple is married in the eyes of God?  I explained why I consider this to be significant.

As I answered questions asked me,  please answer mine.  I could make assumptions, but I would rather not.

[307] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-18-2008 at 03:54 PM • top

oscewicee (#310) - I appreciate knowing more about where you consider yourself within the Anglican perspective, but what I’m asking is how you deal with the differences between theological perspectives and the use of the same Scriptures to come to the different theological ends.

As someone who is more Anglo-Catholic, your beliefs will probably be a lot different over certain aspects of the faith than, say, a Charismatic, Evangelical-Anglican.  How do you deal with those different interpretations of the same Scriptures that define these two Anglican expressions?

[308] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-18-2008 at 04:18 PM • top

Phil (#312) - You assert something about me that is absolutely not true.  You wrote that I don’t have a problem with “threesomes or foursomes.”  I cleared this up earlier, so either you didn’t understand before or you insist on bearing false witness.  I figure you’re just trying to be clever or sarcastic, but please stop.  It gets us nowhere.

[309] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-18-2008 at 04:31 PM • top

Bob G+ - I was unclear in that by saying threesome or foursome, I was referring to a “committed” “relationship” or even “marriage.”  You, in turn, made it clear earlier - two or three times, I think - that you see no Biblical proscription against polyamory.  So, I don’t see the false witness.

[310] Posted by Phil on 05-18-2008 at 04:36 PM • top

Paul B (#309)  Re-read my comment.  You didn’t get it right.  If you can misinterpret what I write so badly, what confidence should I have that you haven’t misinterpreted the intent of God speaking through the authors of Scripture?

But, concerning what you wrote, this gets to why I asked the question of when and by what means God considers a couple actually married in the first place. 

Does God depend on the State to signify when a couple is married?  Does God depend on the Church to declare a couple married before He recognizes them as truly married?  What does Scripture say or not say about the moment or method a couple is actually married in God’s eyes? 

My grandmother was married to my grandfather at the age of 17.  That seems mighty young to most of us these days, but it wasn’t all that uncommon all that long ago.  Should I assume that in light of your comment that if the 16 year olds got a license from the State that God would then view them as married - and that He depends on the State to declare someone truly married in His eyes?  Answering this question will determine whether people are simply fornicating or not or committing adultery or not (which speaks to the actual scenario you detail in your comment).

Would you please to answer my question?

[311] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-18-2008 at 04:56 PM • top

Phil - As I said three or four times before, if I am asked whether I have a problem with polygamy or not and if I base my answer on Scripture, I would have to say that Scripture does not forbid it, except for a bishop. Re-read what I wrote in comment #209 about the FDLS and their experience with polygamy.

This is very different than saying, “I have no problem with polygamy.”  It is not the same thing, but I think you know that.  Now, this is possibly the fifth time I’ve explained this.  Is there a reason why it is not clear at this point that to assert that I have “no problem” with polygamy is fallacious?  I hope that I do not have to re-write this yet again, but if someone once again makes this mistake I will repeat it perhaps a sixth time.

[312] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-18-2008 at 05:08 PM • top

BobG+ I have been trying to follow this thread this weekend on a computer that is seeing each post as about 6 feet wide, so I have to scroll and scroll to get to the end of the line, then scroll and scroll back to get to the beginning - so I haven’t been following well or responding fully because of that. I would like to do so tomorrow from another computer.

Phil, I recall that BobG+ did list reasons why he opposed polyamory and said he had no Scriptural argument against polygamy (except for bishops) - but he left his view of polygamy open-ended (neither yay nor nay) unless he’s elaborated this weekend.

[313] Posted by oscewicee on 05-18-2008 at 05:46 PM • top

oscewicee - I was having very strange things happening to the comments, too.  I switched from using the Firefox browser to the Safari browser (Macintosh) and it cleared it up.  It’s strange that this should happen because the basic engines are the same in each browser.  Go figure.

[314] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-18-2008 at 06:21 PM • top

“Love is the fulfilling of Law” [Rom. 13:10]. Where are the respectable commentators who suppose that St. Paul meant abrogation? He didn’t. He knew that the Lord had quoted the Law itself when the stock “Is this man a genuine Rabbi?” question was put to him. Cf. “You know the Commandments”, and “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” in other Synoptic contexts. The analogy I have sometimes used is that the relation of Love to Law in the NT is like that of the jelly filling the mould: you can’t eat the mould, but without it you are unlikely to get any jelly. The moral rules, still “holy, and just, and good”, give practical shape and definition to our love, which otherwise tends to wander off into vague feelings of goodwill deeply tainted by our natural self-seeking. Hence the second half of Article VII. (And indeed the whole Article, for Marcion is still alive and well.)

This whole discussion about Law versus Love illustrates how damaging oppositional thinking can be. I could mention a certain Anglican bishop near to where I live as an awful warning in this connection.

Incidentally, Philo in De Spec. Leg on the Ten Commandments labelled homosex a violation of what he calls the Sixth Commandment, i.e. that prohibiting adultery. Tragically, many such acts in the modern world start off as a peculiarly horrible form of adultery against a spouse.

I Tim 3:1ff. and Titus 1:5ff make it plain that ALL senior male leaders, elders and deacons too, are to eschew both simple polygamy, and its dishonest and still current serial form quite common under Roman law, and not unknown in Judaism at the time.

[315] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 05-18-2008 at 08:18 PM • top

Bob G+ said: “Should I assume that in light of your comment that if the 16 year olds got a license from the State that God would then view them as married - and that He depends on the State to declare someone truly married in His eyes?  Answering this question will determine whether people are simply fornicating or not or committing adultery or not (which speaks to the actual scenario you detail in your comment).”

Bob, I understood exactly what you said.  I was using exaggeration to make a point.  You were saying that God determines that people are married based on a commitment and consummation.  I was asking if the couple had to think they were married for God to honor that.  I used 16 year olds as an example because they might very well, in their limited experience, pledge themselves to each other forever but not consider themselves married, and then go on to pledge the same feelings/commitment to multiple partners over time, not thinking they were married to any of the partners, just committed for life.  I asked whether their serial monogamy was really bigamy or polygamy, since Jesus specifically prohibited divorce.

Then I asked how gay people people would consummate a marriage.  It’s an old question, but never really answered to my satisfaction.  Why don’t you have a go at it?

To your questions, I am Catholic.  I believe a civil marriage between a non Catholic man and woman to be recognized by God. Does God wait for a civil or church ceremony to declare a union between and man and a woman valid?  I believe so.  Does He NOT recognize some civil or church marriages?  That is more problematic. 

In general, there would be chaos if a church wedding between a man and a woman wasn’t necessarily recognized by God, wouldn’t there? Someone could be sinning while having relations with their spouse, or not sinning before the wedding (if God “pre-recognized” the marriage) and that is not orderly, and God is orderly, so that must be wrong.  God must honor the commitment at the wedding ceremony.

Will He ever recognize as valid a marriage between two people of the same sex?  There is nothing in scripture or tradition to indicate that He would.

[316] Posted by Paul B on 05-18-2008 at 09:18 PM • top

One thing to consider when we talk about how Jesus spoke to the Jews he encountered.  When Jesus spoke, he spoke to those who were under the Law.  The Covenant of Grace had not yet be established, so Jesus used what was in force at the time, the Covenant God made with His people comprising the Law. Jesus judged their attitudes and actions based on the Law (Grace had not yet been established).  It makes perfect sense that he referred back to the Ten Commandments or the Levitical Code when he was challenged or when we was making a point to a Jews.  That’s all they knew at that point.

We, as Christians, are no longer under the Law.  We are under Grace.  As Paul says, if we want to give up our freedom and place ourselves back under the Law, then so be it.  But, we will then be judged by the whole of the Law and if we break one, we brake them all.

Luke and Paul deal with living under the Law or under Grace. See Acts 15:5-11 & Eph. 2:8-9.

Then, of course, there is Paul’s instructions to the Galatian Christians.  He writes to them as a people under the Covenant of Grace, not as Jesus spoke to the Jews before his resurrection when the Covenant in force comprised the Law.  The Judaizers and some of the Gentiles who listened to them were attempting to continue to live by the Law.  Read what Paul writes in Gal. 2:19-21, ending with ”... I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”  Read Galatians 3, specifically! 

Was the Law bad? Of course not, but for Christians we live under a different Covenant and Paul warns those who want to return to the older Covenant that they do so contrary to Christ and the new Covenant of Grace he established.

Even if an argument can be made that since Jesus referenced the moral law, then we are still bound to obey it, which part of the moral law are we willing to obey?  All of it?  Those opposed to homosexuality are quick to bring up the restriction against males have sex with other males, but they certainly do not obey all the moral law! Take Lev. 20:9 and 20:18 as examples.  So, we are hypocritical if we say that the moral is applicable or binding to us today as Christians, yet we do not abide by the entire moral law (either by its restrictions or by its punishments).

Before anyone may accuse me of being a Marcionist (since he was brought up above), let me assure you that I am not.  It turns out that a large portion of my sermons end up being about the OT reading.

[317] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-19-2008 at 09:25 AM • top

Before anyone may accuse me of being a Marcionist (since he was brought up above), let me assure you that I am not.

No, you’re not a Marcionist. Marcion accepted the authority of at least SOME of the canonical books.

-RedHatRob

[318] Posted by RedHatRob on 05-19-2008 at 09:44 AM • top

Bob G+ (and oscewicee) #319: there certainly is a reason - actually, there is more than one reason - why it isn’t clear at this point that you have no problem with polygamy, and, one assumes, any other innovation which political activists can build support for within society and the church.

The first reason is your assertion of our responsibility as Christians to honor the sexual proclivities of any sufficiently organized pressure group to be coequal with Christ’s command to love others as ourselves.  Now, I understand you were careful not to say that straight out, but that’s the bottom line in your argument, and you’ve said it over, and over, and over: honoring homosexual behavior is what it means to love others as Christ told us.  There is no logical difference, from the standpoint of your argument, between inventing a new form of “marriage” between a man and a man and a new form of “marriage” between three men and two women.

The second reason is your assertion that it is our responsibility, both as citizens and as Christians, to rewrite longstanding societal moral norms whenever ordered to by an unelected judge ignoring the plain language of the law.  You say we’d better do this, as I read you, as a defensive, even cowering, strategy, lest the illusory majority turn on Christians and send us to the lions ourselves.  (What that would have meant for the early Church makes an interesting thought exercise, since we’re told again and again in the lives of the saints of martyrs preaching clearly to the people to forsake idol worship in favor of worship of the True God.  By your logic, one supposes the saints should have shut up and respected the right of the majority to do what it wished; stop evangelizing, if you will.)  Again, there’s no logical reason from what you’ve written to assume you wouldn’t celebrate California’s embrace of polygamy if they voted for it tomorrow, just as you’re celebrating its embrace of another kind of immorality today.  In either case, it would be the wishes of the majority, to which Christians would best kneel.  This is your own logic (36, 52, 85, 99, 186 - I’m going to stop there; the paper trail is clear).

The best reason, though, is that, contrary to your protestations, you never say you have a problem with polygamous “marriage,” even as you take a rather chillingly clinical view of it as being not contrary to Scripture whatsoever.  You continually use carefully-crafted language: “Did I say I’m in favor of polyamory?” [emphasis mine]  But, of course, you never get around to saying there’s anything wrong with it.  You evince a clear neutrality on it, which fits perfectly with your arguments as I’ve outlined them above.

Also, of course, we can’t divorce any of this from the broader context that you’re perfectly willing to cut, paste and distort the Church’s understanding of Scripture and Apostolic teaching concerning marriage.  (Heck, that’s nothing - you’re willing to say that when Christ says Genesis teaches us about marriage, even His interpretation of Scripture is wrong.)

Basically, it appears you have no problem with what the majority does, and, further, it’s our Christian duty to yield to their wishes, because to do otherwise might give offense and so would not be very loving.

Your statements on polyamory are given below, for reference.
—————
Well, considering polyamory, like I wrote above, as a Christian to be promiscuous is to use other people for my own end, to treat them as objects, and I consider that a violation of one of Jesus’ great commandments.  If we want to talk about polygamy (marriage), well I only find one prescription against polygamy in Scripture and that restriction is applied to bishops.  We can argue against it, but there really isn’t much to support our position within Scripture.  (I’m reading II Samuel right now and David has just taken to himself multiple concubines and additional wives.)

I would advocate the reasonableness of all this and that all people take upon themselves this same attitude (Jesus’ two great commandments), but I know they won’t. (#118)

No, my response to Phil is that we won’t find much in Scripture that condemns polygamy.  Where is it, aside from a bishop being of one wife?  I DID NOT say that it was a-okay, which is what you assumed as you responded to Phil.(#189)

I think you should re-read my response to your questions.  Did I say I’m in favor of polymory?  No.  Did I give a reason why as a Christian I cannot participate in it? Yes. [Actually, you never did - Phil] (#192)

I really think polygamy has more to do with culture than with God’s prescription concerning its appropriateness in marriage. (#224)

Even within the story, bringing up polygamy again, the story does not demand just two participants in that kind of relationship for their entire lives.  A man can leave his parents and cleave to his wife and they become one flesh, but it says nothing about whether he can or cannot have additional wives.  If it did, why does Scripture not condemn polygamy specifically and why are there lots of examples of it throughout the Bible without God’s condemnation of them? (#232)

[319] Posted by Phil on 05-19-2008 at 09:53 AM • top

Paul B (#323) - The implications of a couple being considered married by God when they commit to one another and then consummating the relationship (whether 16 or 36) are significant.  This is one reason why fornication might be very significant - lots and lots of people could well be committing adultery…

This is an extreme consideration, I know, but whenever I think about what is essential for a person to live a life in God is what might be required if the person found him/herself on a deserted island.  There have certainly been people who are stranded along on an island.  If a single man and a single woman are stranded on island for the rest of their lives, what would they need to do concerning their relationship?  I suspect, since it is just the two of them, that they may well fall in love or at least decide to be involved with one another.  There is no Church, there are no legal entities.  Would a sexual relationship be forbidden them because the Church or State did not exist in that place?  If they committed themselves to one another, whether for love or by default, and began a sexual relationship, would God consider them married?  I think He would, either by exception or by rule, and particularly because Scripture does not specify a method or form that demarcates unmarried and married.

That is part of the reason why I have to deal with the commitment and consummation method of discerning when a couple may well be married in God’s eyes, and therefore not committing fornication or adultery.  Again, the implications are pretty severe, particularly in our “hook-up” culture, today.

If an argument can be successfully made that God does not forbid all forms of same-sex relationships, and I believe the jury is still out on that question despite the hard line both sides tend to draw, and as we strive to correctly handle the Word of God, then those relationships would have to fall under the same prescriptions as would heterosexual couples.  I don’t see how it could be argued from Scripture that there could be different standards.

[320] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-19-2008 at 09:58 AM • top

One thing to consider when we talk about how Jesus spoke to the Jews he encountered.  When Jesus spoke, he spoke to those who were under the Law.  The Covenant of Grace had not yet be established, so Jesus used what was in force at the time, the Covenant God made with His people comprising the Law. Jesus judged their attitudes and actions based on the Law (Grace had not yet been established).

And the Gospels are chock full of other things Jesus said that he didn’t intend to be passed on?  I can’t so easily dismiss what Jesus said. And this is another example of how you seem to slide away from the issue of Biblical authority - yes, it’s authority, but only if you decide it’s so.  Is there anything that your faith binds you to do that you are deeply against doing?

Even if an argument can be made that since Jesus referenced the moral law, then we are still bound to obey it, which part of the moral law are we willing to obey?

I think our contemporary society shows us the folly of not abiding by the moral law - all of it. (And do you forget how Jesus rebuked the woman at the well for her immorality?) Our paper chronicles the changing society of our community. Just as one example - babies often come into the world now with one parent and two grandparents, by the time they are 8 or 9, they may have six parents and a dozen grandparents - and of those, the one true parent may be too busy providing for her children to care for them, while neither the never-responsible father nor any of the men who succeeded him in the child’s mother’s affections have any interest in his fate and the multiple grandparents are likely to be equally disinterested. The failure to uphold the moral code in heterosexual life is leading us to children who are almost self-parented and the results of this will haunt us for several generations, I imagine. We have plunged into a sort of sexual chaos and our children are the victims of it, their status falling in some cases from that of loved human child to not much better than a kitten in a large litter or something spawned in the ocean and set adrift. Is that what we want? More of the same and worse?

[321] Posted by oscewicee on 05-19-2008 at 10:00 AM • top

BobG + says:

We, as Christians, are no longer under the Law.  We are under Grace.  As Paul says, if we want to give up our freedom and place ourselves back under the Law, then so be it.  But, we will then be judged by the whole of the Law and if we break one, we brake them all.

Your implication here is that the new covenant is at odds with the old covenant (I think you call this the “checklist”).  Unfortunately, I think your interpretation here is off.  It is in fact a “more perfect” covenant.  God started with the OT laws for mankind to have some kind of boundary line to keep him from completely destroying himself.  God chose the time for Christ to come, so that with his sacrifice, all of our transgressions of the law could be paid for.
He did not throw the OT out.  He made a more perfect way to complete it, in Christ.

The NT was a more perfect covenant, presented to mankind at a point when it became clear that you just “can’t get there from here” by doing your best to follow the law.  Mankind is imperfect, and there is no way an imperfect thing can reach the perfection without God’s intercession in Christ.

Nice attempt at an end run.  Can’t separate OT and NT.

[322] Posted by Charlie Peppler on 05-19-2008 at 10:26 AM • top

#329 Charlie Peppler,
Spot in! And I might add…..

Matthew 5:17
  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

I guess this is yet another fine example of ignoring or dismissing scripture that we do not like!!???

[323] Posted by TLDillon on 05-19-2008 at 10:39 AM • top

Bob+, I don’t see profit in your invitation to examine Calvinist versus Arminian theology.  My listening process is not a participation in a Hegelian dialectic.  You obviously believe that such an examination could elicit a growth in understanding on my part of your position ... else why bother? As long as your intention is to assist me in coming around to your point of view, we are on opposing tacks.  It’s not that I don’t have a philosophical background and enjoy arguing!  Real dialog with the capacity for genuine change generally happens between friends.  You and I are not friends regarding this topic.  Your course on this carries you away from Christ and is thus an anti-priest witness.  All of us fall short but I call those friends who are trying to move in the direction of Christ.  Not your Christ but the Christ of the gospels, borne witness to and understood by Holy Tradition.  You will note that intentionally and systematically, I do not separate the “historic man” from the post-Resurrection witness of the Church.  The methodological thrust of the “Jesus Seminar” also I consider spiritually bankrupt picking and choosing.

[324] Posted by monologistos on 05-19-2008 at 10:51 AM • top

RedHatRob (#325) - Marcion didn’t accept the OT, which is what I was referencing.  Am I correct in that your implication is that I do not accept the authority of any of the canonical books?  As I’ve said before, if that is your assumption, you are wrong.

By the way, I’m still interested in whether you hold to Reformed theology.  I’m still interested in knowing why you desire involvement on an Anglican blog/website.

[325] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-19-2008 at 11:11 AM • top

#327 Bob G+There have certainly been people who are stranded along on an island.  If a single man and a single woman are stranded on island for the rest of their lives, what would they need to do concerning their relationship?

If two men were stranded on a desert island, and one stole coconuts from the other, the one stolen from would have the right to exact retributive justice on the other. Does that mean that we should do away with government institutions of justice, such as police, the courts, etc.? Or maybe I’m not understanding your point. What is your point?

Also, this strategy of accusing those who disagree with you of “mistrust” or of avoiding people’s questions and asking them about what they believe about Calvinism or Arminianism… this is needlessly personal and diversionary. Come on, in #314 point 1, do you really believe the Calvin/Arminian is more fundamental to the faith than the question of human sinfulness? Are you confusing the term “fundamental” with “hidden things I’d really like to know”?

[326] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 05-19-2008 at 11:53 AM • top

Marcion rejected more than just the old testament:

Marcion formed a canon of his own, which consisted of only eleven books, an abridged and mutilated Gospel of Luke, and ten of Paul’s epistles. He put Galatians first in order, and called Ephesians the Epistle to the Laodicaeans. He rejected the pastoral epistles, in which the forerunners of Gnosticism are condemned, the Epistle to the Hebrews, Matthew, Mark, John, the Acts, the Catholic Epistles, and the Apocalypse.

- Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol II


As to my interest in an Anglican blog - It is more than just academic. I am a church historian by academic training and profession. I was baptized at St. Luke’s Episcopal in Atlanta, GA and attended an Episcopal parish during my college days. My undergraduate advisor was D. Brown Patterson, later Dean of the Faculty at Sewannee. So my ties to anglicanism run pretty deep. My readings in church history have led me to adopt a “reformed baptist” position on most matters theological, but I have discovered that I often have more in common with “evangelicals” across denominational lines than with many who might be in the same corner of the theological camp.
As a church historian, with long ties to the episcopal church, and an affection for the episcopal church, I am following very closely the theological crisis in the episcopal church - with prayers that the bishops and the seminaries of the church will return to orthodoxy.
-RedHatRob

[327] Posted by RedHatRob on 05-19-2008 at 12:03 PM • top

“Bob G+, said (One the island) There is no Church, there are no legal entities.  Would a sexual relationship be forbidden them because the Church or State did not exist in that place?  If they committed themselves to one another, whether for love or by default, and began a sexual relationship, would God consider them married?”

Bob, good question.  Are there any sacraments at all on the so-called desert island?  Would it be so hard to imagine the sexual relationship being prohibited?  I think God asks a lot of us.  It is not easy to follow the Gospel.  The easy way out is to say the since there is no priest or civil authority on the island, have at it.  I don’t buy the premise that the easy way is God’s way.

If an argument can be successfully made that God does not forbid all forms of same-sex relationships, and I believe the jury is still out on that question despite the hard line both sides tend to draw, and as we strive to correctly handle the Word of God, then those relationships would have to fall under the same prescriptions as would heterosexual couples.  I don’t see how it could be argued from Scripture that there could be different standards.

Well, opposite sex marriage is ordained in Genesis and in the Gospel.  Where is same sex marriage mentioned?  Nowhere.

But, to follow your logic, a certain act must be performed, using complementary body parts, for a marriage to be consummated.  That act can not take place in a same sex relationship, so, by applying the same standards, a same sex “union” can never be consummated, and is therefore not valid in the eyes of the state and could be annulled in the eyes of the church, right?

[328] Posted by Paul B on 05-19-2008 at 12:18 PM • top

Charlie (#329) - And what is that more perfect way, Charlie?  It is not placing ourselves back under the law.  This is what Paul says to the Galatian Christians.  Read the verses I mentioned above - or better yet the entire letter for context. Do you not believe Paul?  There is no attempt to separate the OT from the NT, but the Jews of the OT lived under a completely different covenant than we do.  Paul is clear that we should not attempt to place ourselves once again under the Law, but remain under Grace.  Jesus did this, Paul and Luke and the other apostles explain it.  Jesus FULFILLED the Law and showed us the correct way to understand the Law through His finished work.

monologistos (#331) - I ask to understand YOU better - how you handle differences in Scriptural interpretation that leads to very different theological conclusions, yet generally does not conclude with shouts of apostasy or heresy.  I would rather ask you, get an answer, than to assume how you may handle such situations.

Calvinism and Arminianism are two very common, and commonly understood, examples.

By the way, I’m not trying to “assist you to come around to my way of thinking.”  I really don’t care whether you agree with me or not, but I do care that we have an honest understanding of where both of us are coming from.  You insist on applying positions you think I hold that I do not, but you will not believe me when I tell you that you misunderstand.  You take the words I write and interpret them one way, and in a way I do not mean.  So be it.

SpongJohn SquarePantheist (#333) You wrote, “do you really believe the Calvin/Arminian is more fundamental to the faith than the question of human sinfulness?  No, but I’m not attempting to pit the differences of C/A against sinfullness in importance.  The different interpretations of Scripture between the two camps lead to very different theological conclusions that are foundational to the faith - more so than straight sinfulness, because these theological issues precede discussion about sinfulness because they deal with what God does about sinfulness, how we are saved, etc.  Yet, both camps while having different _interpretations_ of the same Scripture with significantly different results, they do not at all disagree with the _authority_ of Scripture over the believer’s life or the Church.

My contention is that there can well be different interpretations of Scripture, such as the intent of the Genesis Adam and Eve story (descriptive vs. prescriptive) without affecting one’s view of the _authority_ of Scripture.  The Church has wrestled with these kinds of differences throughout time - Paul and Barnabas, the Judaizers and the Council of Jerusalem, Protestants and Catholics and the Orthodox, Charismatics and non-Charismatics.  The Church is now wrestling with this over what God does or does not truly say in the verses that touch on same-sex activity.  This does not necessitate any less respect for _authority_, although _interpretation_ is obviously very different.

I ask about how people might deal with the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism to get a bearing on how they deal with such differences.  That’s the only intent.

[329] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-19-2008 at 02:17 PM • top

RedHatRob (#334) - Thank you for answering my question.  I appreciate it and it does help understand from where you come or the why of what you write.

[330] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-19-2008 at 02:18 PM • top

Paul B (#335) I wrote: <blockquote)”...then those relationships would have to fall under the same prescriptions as would heterosexual couples.  I don’t see how it could be argued from Scripture that there could be different standards.</blockquote>
You wrote:

“But, to follow your logic, a certain act must be performed…

When I use the word, “prescription,” I am meaning such things as fidelity, etc.  No where in Scripture, that I remember, does God say - “these are the _acts_ you have to do to be married…”  That’s why I asked when people think God views a couple to actually be married. 

Even in Genisis, the two shall become one but God does not specify what actual act determines or causes that, if any specific act at all.  We read into the words that are there and make an assumption (interpretation) that it is vaginal intercourse.  It may very well be, but that is our interpretation of and reading into what the author wrote. 

I was the best man in a wedding and it came to be that because of a vaginal deformity, the two could not have intercourse.  They had sex, but not intercourse.  Does that mean, if vaginal intercourse is required for the two to become one flesh (which is not specific in Scripture), that they are not “one flesh” or that they are not truly married in God’s eyes?  If that is true, then they have fornicated throughout their State licensed and Church blessed “marriage.”

[331] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-19-2008 at 02:34 PM • top

Bob G+ said , “I was the best man in a wedding and it came to be that because of a vaginal deformity, the two could not have intercourse.  They had sex, but not intercourse.  Does that mean, if vaginal intercourse is required for the two to become one flesh (which is not specific in Scripture), that they are not “one flesh” or that they are not truly married in God’s eyes?  If that is true, then they have fornicated throughout their State licensed and Church blessed “marriage.””

Well, in this case they are presumed to be married, aren’t they?  However, if one wants to ask for an annulment, then they have grounds.  I guess this is where our theology diverges, though, because the only licit “sex” is between married people, and it must end with vaginal intercourse, so if that’s not possible, they must abstain.

Bob+, there is only one reason a man is built the way he is.  There is only one reason a woman is built the way she is - to become one with the other.

To argue that the intended purpose between man and woman sometimes does not or can not occur and that justifies same sex unions is a leap across too wide a chasm for me.

[332] Posted by Paul B on 05-19-2008 at 03:36 PM • top

BobG+

I think the desert island analogy is misleading in several respects. Could a man and a woman marooned on a desert island engage in sex without it being sinful? Perhaps if its Kate & Jack. I’m not too sure about Kate & Sawyer. [wink]

The problem with this analogy is that young hormonally driven teen-agers will reason from the analogy that they can take off for a weekend camping trip and if they REALLY make a commitment to each other, then they can engage in sin-free sex too.

The truth of the matter of course is that there IS something about the formality of a public exchange of vows before witnesses which is important. We sometimes use the phrase “to solemnize a marriage,” or “to solemnize their vows,” which implies that the marriage perhaps already existed prior to the ceremony and that the vows have certainly already been made before the ceremony by the bride and groom.

As in baptism, the sacrament is an outward, visible sign of an inward, spiritual reality.

Are you saved before you get baptized? Of course.

Are you married before the marriage ceremony? Not so fast, pilgrim. You might be… but if you are truly committed to each other, might not a small demonstration of that commitment be to REFRAIN from indulging one’s sexual urges until the marriage ceremony?

I would certainly counsel young people that marriage is far more than a license to engage in sex.

Pushing the desert island analogy is likely to have disastrous consequences when dealing with the young and the restless.

The key to successful marriage is precisely the same as the key to living as a follower of Jesus. It’s easy to say and VERY difficult to do. All you have to do is learn to deny yourself.

Our own zeitgeist bewitches us with the lie that sex is more important than anything else, and that without an active sex life, you’re cannot possibly be fulfilled as a person. God is the creator of man, male and female. He created us as sexual beings. But he never tells us that sex is the key to our happiness, fulfillment, or identity. Quite the contrary. God gave us rather specific instructions in regard to the proper role and use of sex. It is intended as one of the expressions of love between a man and woman within the boundaries of marriage. Outside of the boundaries of marriage it is sin, and distorts and degrades us. See, for example, the adulterous woman in proverbs.

-RedHatRob

[333] Posted by RedHatRob on 05-19-2008 at 03:40 PM • top

Laws are not generally made from “desert island” analogies. They are, by definition, rare and unlikely situations. There would be no sacraments of any kind on a desert island - so what does that mean? We don’t need the sacraments? Or do we leave the desert island situations to God?

[334] Posted by oscewicee on 05-19-2008 at 03:45 PM • top

Bob G:  Your use of being “under the Law (OT)” or “under Grace (NT)” invites comment.  Paul explains that the Law defined for us God’s concept of sin, and under the law there is condemnation and no real recourse.  The grace of Jesus pays the debt for our sins, and gives us the opportunity to confess, repent, and be restored to Grace.  Note that being restored to Grace, God’s favor so to speak, involves being obedient to His Word.  God’s Love is defined for us by God’s Word.  There is no definition of “love” that supersedes obedience to the many many directives included in the NT.  If all one had to do was “love”, why did he spend so much time telling us how we were to live? and exactly how we were to express love?  Whether it is your intent or not, you give the strong impression in your writing that much of the NT can be done away with, if you “LOVE your neighbor.”  If that is not your intent, you should look to your style of communication.  You may think you are a “theological conservative” but your writing is sufficiently ambiguous as to allow a reader to come to the conclusion that your actual position is quite the opposite.  We’ve tangled before, on T19, and I wasn’t intending to tangle with you again.  But your use of Law and Grace was more than I could take.

[335] Posted by ann r on 05-19-2008 at 04:21 PM • top

Paul (#339) - I’m not using it to justify same-sex unions.  It is a sincere question of wondering when God considers a couple married.  We in this country have so confused the rights and responsibilities of the State and the Church that we at times confuse the proper place of “jurisdiction.”  Too many Americans have made an idol of the United States.  It is my experience that not too many Christians have really thought through the implications of how they view the beginning point of marriage.  So, if we consider marriage, who has the “jurisdiction” of determining when a couple is married - in God’s eyes and not just the couple’s or the State’s or even the Church’s. 

Now, how we answer can have implications for all kinds of other issues surrounding marriage for heterosexual couples - common-law marriages, for example.  The answer can also impact the arguments made in both the secular arena (this supreme court opinion, for example) and within the Church concerning same-sex couples. 

But, my purpose in asking the question was not to justify same-sex unions.

[336] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-19-2008 at 05:01 PM • top

There is no definition of “love” that supersedes obedience to the many many directives included in the NT.  If all one had to do was “love”, why did he spend so much time telling us how we were to live? and exactly how we were to express love?  Whether it is your intent or not, you give the strong impression in your writing that much of the NT can be done away with, if you “LOVE your neighbor.”

Thank you, ann r, for putting it in a nutshell. The NT and, *of course,  the OT.

[337] Posted by oscewicee on 05-19-2008 at 05:16 PM • top

I should be forced to conclude that BobG’s position is classic antinomianism, except that when it comes to the Two Great Commandments, he is manifestly a legalist.

Paul in I Cor. 6 uses or perhaps coins a noun for the man who penetrates other men which is, to the competent Hebraist and Septuagint scholar, unequivocally a pickup from the by now familiar proscriptions in Lev. 18 and 22. When his whole thinking on Law and Grace is taken into account, it is clear that he thinks of the moral law as in itself a form of grace, proceeding from the gracious heart of God.

In his seminal article on the ἀρσενοκοίτης  term in the I Cor. passage, ‘Homosexuals or Prostitutes? The Meaning of ΑΡΣΕΝΟΚΟIΤΑI [I Cor. 6:9, I Tim. 1:10].’ [Vigiliae Christianae 38. 1984. 125-153], my old friend and contemporary David F. Wright demonstrates conclusively that when the Fathers discussed homosex, they made reference to, and regarded as authoritative, the Leviticus proscriptions, and saw no conflict at all with St. Paul. They saw no need to seek any newer word on the subject, perhaps because St. Paul, with his plain back-reference, had already shown them how it handle it. Because David is not a Hebraist, he does not identify the precise role of the ἀρσεvoκoίτης in relation to the μαλακός. For a fuller explanation, please see my excerpted article on the two terms under this heading

[338] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 05-19-2008 at 05:38 PM • top

I’m sorry, the address again doeesn’t work, because of the mysterious semi-colon which has inserted itself. Excise that semi-colon, and it will.

[339] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 05-19-2008 at 05:41 PM • top

Bob+, I think we are sufficiently clear on the consequences of your theology.  You have challenged RedHatRob regarding his presence here.  The same could be asked of yourself.  How clear do you need to be when discussing the relative virtues of sin in a forum whose purpose is to Stand Firm with traditional worship, belief, and praxis?  Some here may seem very young to me since I am old enough to be Sarah’s great grandfather (more’s the pity) but I think there is a commonality of heart and a common love for the Episcopal Church…or at least for what it has been in our lives.  I do not think they have come to justify themselves even if they do struggle.  My impression is that you are here to contend.  I submit that your posts have served as a foil for others to clarify exactly why it is that your positions are wrong.  At a certain point, this becomes a matter of you being used and that disturbs me.  I have not heard a single regular poster here aside from “contenders” such as Padre Wayne that has come into agreement with you but many have been further assured of the wrongness of your arguments.  I’m not appealing to some sort of majority principle here; rather, I’m pointing out that you seem to not be serving your purpose unless it should be that you yourself wish to be convinced of the wrongness of your own position.  That will serve you not at all but it will be worse for you if you then continue in error.  Perhaps you have exorcized exorcism but I would offer you a caution.

[340] Posted by monologistos on 05-19-2008 at 06:10 PM • top

In his talk in London and in a later interview with the Spectator’s Theo Hobson, Robinson laid out the precepts of gay Christianity in which homosexuals, as an oppressed minority, are more capable of Christian charity than heterosexuals.
In his talk in London and in a later interview with the Spectator’s Theo Hobson, Robinson laid out the precepts of gay Christianity in which homosexuals, as an oppressed minority, are more capable of Christian charity than heterosexuals.

To lend biblical credence to his assertions, Robinson cited a passage in John’s Gospel in which Jesus tells his disciples they were not ready for all of Christian teaching. Robinson asserts that the acceptance of homosexuality was part of the teaching that the Holy Spirit was to give the Church later.

Really?

[341] Posted by martin5 on 05-19-2008 at 06:55 PM • top

Behaviour for which the Lord would have got Himself stoned in such short order that He’d never have known what had hit Him.

Hidden or occult knowledge indeed!

[342] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 05-19-2008 at 08:03 PM • top

The motto of this thread should be, “no horse too dead to beat.”

BobG+‘s theology is totally innovative, although it has some similarities to some gnostic ideas.

What a debate!  But BobG+ is on the side of the ones with the power in TEC.  His theology has won out over orthodoxy.

That’s why people have been leaving in droves since 1977.

It is not the real thing anymore.  It is a new and strange gospel that they preach.

[343] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 05-19-2008 at 08:33 PM • top

I was the best man in a wedding and it came to be that because of a vaginal deformity, the two could not have intercourse.  They had sex, but not intercourse.  Does that mean, if vaginal intercourse is required for the two to become one flesh (which is not specific in Scripture), that they are not “one flesh” or that they are not truly married in God’s eyes?  If that is true, then they have fornicated throughout their State licensed and Church blessed “marriage.”

Well, if it was BECAUSE of vaginal deformity that they could not engage in intercourse, then one of them was a man, and the other one was a woman.  Assuming that their marriage is allowable by the Church and the State (age, blood-relationship, e.g.,), and assuming that they are committed to fulfilling one another’s sexual needs, and also committed to not fulfilling their own needs outside of their marriage, and assuming that they are either both Christians or both non-Christians, then I see no Biblical proscription against such a pairing. 

I note that you’ve chosen not to dwell on the fact that one of them was a woman, and the other one was a man.  I’m curious- as the best man at this wedding….When you toasted the bride and groom (“two spouses,” if you prefer) did you refer to the woman as an ‘it,’ rather than as a ‘she’? 

I’m asking because you appear to be over-generalizing the marriage covenant in order to open the possibility of its applicability for same-sex couples.  Your example would apply if you think and talk of your friend’s wife as if ‘she’ were an ‘it.’  If you don’t refer to her that way, then your example begs the question. 

My turn… Can you find an instance in Scripture where it talks about divorce between two spouses, as opposed to divorce between a husband and a wife?  In other words, does Scripture acknowledge the problem of divorce between same-sex couples? 

If so, is the “divorce” seen negatively or positively?

[344] Posted by J Eppinga on 05-19-2008 at 08:34 PM • top

ann r (#342) - I readily admit that what I am trying to convey by the words I use and the way the words are being understood is problematic.

I think part of our problem as Americans is that when we see the words “love” in Scripture, we consider them according to our cultural understanding of “love.”  This is a profoundly deficient understanding of “love.”  This is no emotionally laden sentimentality.  One of the primary beginning points of “love” is decision, not feeling.  What is our primary example of “love?”  The Passion of Christ.  “Forgive them for they know not what they do,” kind of love.  “Take this cup from me, but not my will but thin,” kind of love.  The Good Samaritan kind of love where we do unto others what they will not do unto us.  A kind of love that is unselfish, unconditional, unrelenting, complete in every aspect of our lives, and only possible with God’s help.

Jesus taught us all kinds of things for our well being and to reveal the Father’s will for our lives - and most of the parables were to reveal to those who had ears to hear what the real intent/meaning of the Law and the Prophets really were, rather than what the religious leaders of the day had distorted them into being.  Grace through faith began with Abraham, and as Paul writes in Galatians, Jesus restored Grace. 

Jesus gave only a few specific commandments to distinguish the way of life he is calling us to live from the way of life the Jews where to live under the old Covenant of the Law.  I think that is for a reason.  Look at the Rich Young Ruler.  He obeyed the Law, and was commended by Jesus for doing so.  Yet, Jesus went further – “sell all that you have and follow me.”  The man couldn’t do it.  He obeyed the Law, but he loved his possessions more than he loved either the idea of following Jesus or Jesus himself (he didn’t love God with all his heart, soul, and mind).  If we follow the prescribed rules, it is easier to justify ourselves - “Yes, I follow the all the rules, therefore everything is good with me,” all the while our hearts are far from God.  We also tend to what to find loopholes, and in Jesus commands to love there are none.

The task of spreading the faith to every culture in the world takes a level of integration of the faith into every aspect of living that goes beyond the adherence to a list of laws of a specific culture and language.  Part of the reasons for the dietary and ceremonial laws was to set apart a people for God and to show them what they were not to accept from the cultures around them.  The moral law cannot be divorced from the other two and set up to be something different in kind - as in the moral law must be obeyed as is by Christian while the ceremonial or dietary laws do not.  Separating the ceremonial and dietary laws from the moral law is a very popular idea among particularly American Evangelicals, but it is neither a Jewish concept nor an early Christian concept, and Paul makes this clear in Galatians.  Again, as I wrote before, is the moral law bad?  Of course not.  Are we as Christians bound to obey it?  No, because all the Law has been fulfilled by Jesus, who brought us back to the beginning and Grace.  Is this license to do whatever we want to do?  Of course not, but the commands of Jesus are far more difficult and strenuous than just obeying a defined list of rules (a checklist).  It isn’t that we are not to commit adultery (as in sex outside of marriage, which the moral law stipulates), but by way of Jesus we are not to even entertain the thoughts.  According to Jesus, adultery isn’t just a physical act anymore, but now also an act of the heart and mind whether the physical act is ever carried out or not.

To think that when I say that the two great commands of Jesus upon which hang all the Law and the Prophets are for Christians to obey rather than the Jewish Levitical Code somehow means I advocate for an “easy-believeism,” then the thought is wrong.  As Christians, we have to stop and consider every thing we do, every thought we have, and every feeling we experience as to whether it conforms to Jesus’ commandments - Love God with _everything_ and love our neighbor as ourselves.  This kind of love is defined by the life and example of Jesus and impossible without God’s help.

[345] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-20-2008 at 04:05 AM • top

Priscilla Turner (#345) - You know good and well that there is great debate among biblical scholars, both conservative and liberal, concerning the meaning and intent of obscure Greek words, as in perhaps that new noun he coined.  Even Gagnon will admit that the meanings are obscure, even while he certainly comes down on one side of the possible meanings. 

I never wrote that we were not to obey, but what we are to obey.  There is a difference between the old covenant and new, between life under the Law and life under Grace.  This is what Paul writes, </i>” Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.”</i> (Gal. 3:23-25)  Or, perhaps, For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Gal. 5:6)

[346] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-20-2008 at 04:28 AM • top

monologisto (#347) - I believe in the description of people of faith engaging each other as “iron sharpens iron.”  I can most certainly be wrong in what I believe or understand about God or the Scriptures.  If I think I have everything all figured out, then there is no room for me to grow and learn, as the Holy Spirit intends.  To engage people who believe differently than I do over certain issues or topics or Scriptural interpretations challenges me to consider other understandings that may well be right, to examine my beliefs as to whether I may well have gotten it wrong.  That’s why I’ve engaged people here, and to also challenge others to consider that they may also have “gotten it wrong.” 

By what you write, you show that for at least some thing you do not understand, but rather read into what I write.  For example, you wrote, “You have challenged RedHatRob regarding his presence here.”  No, I did not challenge his presence here.  I asked him _why_ he was here, since he worked in an organization that was presumable Reformed and did not attend an Anglican church.  He answered my question, and I thanked him.

You misunderstood the intent of what I wrote.  I asked as simple question, and you read into intent that was not there.  This is a good example of how we misunderstand, and it can indicate a willingness to read into even Scripture what we want it to say rather than what the author intended to say.  We know through history that the Church has misinterpreted and misunderstood the Scriptures before.  We still can.

[347] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-20-2008 at 04:50 AM • top

I also realize that we are certainly beating a dead horse.  There does come a time when it needs to end.  So, perhaps it is now.  For those (perhaps few) who desire to place yourselves back under the Law, please read Paul’s correction of the Galatian church.  As I’ve watched American-Evangelicalism over the past 20+ years and the rise of the politicized Religious Right, I’ve witnessed a renewed appeal to the Law and legalism.  I fear this is the same error the Galatian Christians fell under.

So, considering anglicancatholicpriest’s and monologisto’s recent comments, I will get back to doing my job in real life.  Thanks, and God’s blessing be upon you all.

[348] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-20-2008 at 05:21 AM • top

Just out of curiosity, Bob G, is it possible that the bride in the wedding where you were the best man, was a transgendered person who had had a sex change?
I am asking in all seriousness.
I have had a lot of experience as an OB-GYN nurse both in private practice and in the hospital, and have yet to have come across a persistent case of this type of thing you describe.

[349] Posted by HeartAfire on 05-20-2008 at 06:36 AM • top

HeartAfire - to have “vaginal” intercourse means that one person has a “vagina.”  Again, the suspicion and mistrust really does astound me.  I didn’t expect it, but this is the first time I’ve really engaged in any dialog on StandFirm.

Okay, this really is the last time.

[350] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-20-2008 at 07:44 AM • top

Bob+, may God’s peace be with your spirit.  Relationship does take work.  We are all contending to a certain degree. We unconsciously seek justification in the acceptance of others.  We yearn for that but cannot believe ourselves lovable. Our healing is coming into the presence of God where there can be no contending.  May we all find remedy for what ails us ... which is not law but lawlessness.  Our Lord is profoundly “lawful” in a non-legalistic sense but it is not the design of the Maker that oppresses us but our rebellion against His heart.  Our blindness is no curse from God but the natural result of putting out our own eyes because we would not see what we have wrought.  If we come into God’s presence, we must endure the judgment of turning back to ourselves but in light of His countenance. When we return to ourselves, for we must for this time, God gives us the paraklesis to heal the wound of bearing what we have wrought, and including some measure of forgetfulness of sins that we not be untimely withered. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not swallowed it up.  That God does not change in His constant regard for us does not mean that He is a static thing, an Unmoved Mover.  He is Alive.  I grant you that words will not convey us to God and perhaps they will never be adequate to speak of our experience of Him but we do speak, haltingly, as a dumb man who only recently gained the use of his tongue ... because we do love one another for love of Him.  The invitation to the heavenly banquet is worth repeating.  Prepare oil for your lamp and don’t forget your wedding garment.

[351] Posted by monologistos on 05-20-2008 at 07:45 AM • top

Nobody ever said it was easy to be a Christian.  Following the path of least resistance, compromising with the world over the faith and practice of two thousand years of church history is the path to Hell.
The innovations of the Episcopal Church place her far outside the mainstream of catholic, apostolic Christianity.  The new doctrines (for that is what they are, they are far more than reinterpretations)are also far from evangelical Christianity.  They are far from any type of Christianity.

I could list the abuses, but they would only be reminders of what most Anglicans already know.

The need to justify the left wing social revolution promoted by the Episcopal Church in the name of equity and civil rights, required a radical change in the liturgy of the Church.  Hence the 1979 BCP.  The ancient Church proverb, “As the Church prays, the Church believes,” points up not only the dangers of a carelessly written liturgy, but the positive evil of one that is designed to change the faith once received from the saints.

The world loves what the Episcopal Church has done and is doing.  If the world loves what one is doing, then one is sitting in the lap of Satan, the Prince of this world.

When one is “dialogging” with churchmen who don’t believe in the existence of Satan it is a fool’s dialog.  What sort of profitable conversation can be had with one who believes that everything is permissible so long as one loves, whatever that means.  What understandings can be reached with those who question every single teaching and     doctrine of the undivided, apostolic church?  Who demand reinterpretation of not only those doctrines, but also reinterpretation of Holy Scripture as though the Church had been teaching error for these two thousand plus years.

What has occurred in the Episcopal Church is nothing less than a revolution.  One that places that Church at odds with the rest of Christendom.  However the leaders of that revolution overplayed their hand.  They underestimated the resolve of ordinary American Anglicans     and third world bishops untainted by the materialism and secular humanism of the effete and decadent West.

A final word of warning.  Tolerance is never good enough for the likes of the Episcopal Church leadership.  In their own words on the homosexual “civil rights” movement   they declare that one must “embrace, celebrate, and affirm gay people.”  How can an orthodox Christian do that?  Unless you allow the BobG+s of the world to convince you that the Episcoapal Church is right, and all the rest of Christendom, minus the UMC, the ELCA, and other American “churches” that care more about being inclusive and promoting multiculturalism than preaching the Gospel, are wrong.

The Episcopal Church is a putrid corpse.

[352] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 05-20-2008 at 08:27 AM • top

Bob G+, if you are still around:

The moral law cannot be divorced from the other two and set up to be something different in kind - as in the moral law must be obeyed as is by Christian while the ceremonial or dietary laws do not.

Didn’t Paul say just that. Moral law *is* different in kind and when you talk of the many cultures of the world, it is true that many aspects of moral law are widely shared. Including a taboo on homosexual relationships. Not universal, but very widely shared. That aside, moral law helps to bring order out of the craziness of a people and a culture too willing to try anything, do anything and never count the cost (to themselves or others).  You accused me (and others) of making assumptions about you, but the assumptions you make in your approach to Scripture are rather breathtaking. Not persuasive, but breathtaking.

Too, you kept asking us where we see ourselves on the faith continuum and how we deal with beliefs that are different from ours - it began to feel like you wanted to know what slot to fit us into. At the same time, no assessment we made of your words have you considered to be accurate - which seems to mean that while you want to put people into slots, you are not willing to be assigned to one yourself. You want to brand us “legalistic” when what we are trying to do is embrace the whole word of God, not just the feel-good bits. You describe love above in terms we would use - where does that love “pinch” for you? Were are the hard places for you? Where is it costing you? I’m not asking to be insulting but to try to understand.

[353] Posted by oscewicee on 05-20-2008 at 09:16 AM • top

The Lord let me see a priest, as he stood hearing confessions, in the image of Christ.  Though his hair was white with age, his face looked young and beautiful like the face of a boy, so inexpressibly radiant was he.  In the same way I once saw a bishop during the Liturgy.  I also saw Father John of Kronstadt, by nature an ordinary-looking man until grace gave his face the beauty of an angel and made one want to gaze at him. Thus sin disfigures a man while grace beautifies him. 

St. Silouan of Athos, “We are Children of God and in the Likeness of the Lord,” Saint Silouan the Athonite, Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov (trans., ed.), p. 387.

[354] Posted by monologistos on 05-20-2008 at 10:32 AM • top

monologistos, just wanted to say again that your posts on this thread have meant a lot to me. Thank you.

[355] Posted by oscewicee on 05-20-2008 at 10:41 AM • top

Bob G+‘s argument also runs into difficulty inasmuch as St Paul himself had no compunction about giving teachings Bob would call legalistic.  The most pertinent example, of course, is the Apostle’s teachings on the matter of the immorality under discussion.  And note: that’s true whether you accept the Church’s understanding of those writings, or Bob’s home-grown interpretation of them.  That is, whether as an absolute matter, or whether only in the context of idol worship, Paul says the behavior is wrong, not that we should live and let live and love our neighbor sacrificing a bull to the idols.

Did St Paul misunderstand his own teaching on Law and grace?  Did he really have no chance of a right understanding without Episcoplians around to explain it to him?  Questions, questions.

[356] Posted by Phil on 05-20-2008 at 10:44 AM • top

I think that it ought to be added that Rob Gagnon is not confused about the basic meaning of the two allegedly “mysterious” terms in I Cor. 6:9. He is just not as clear as he might be about the ‘activity’ compound ἀρσενοκοίτης, not quite understanding the principle of Greek word-formation involved. He argues with me in a footnote. At that point I am frankly a better Greek grammarian than he is. The noun means “one who goes in for (i.e. habitually) lying with males”, in the Hebraic male coital sense of “lie with”. The formation is of the same type as the ψεύστης, or con-artist, and the ἀνδραποδίστης, or professional slaver. Paul may have found the term already in existence, or may have coined it himself. Either way there is a clear back-reference to the Leviticus passages which no competent Hebraist or post-Classical Hellenist will dispute.

I think that Rob Gagnon may have progressed in his grasp of the specifics of the ἀρσενοκοίτης since he published his big book (which should be read in preference to reviews of it) after some private correspondence with me.

[357] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 05-20-2008 at 05:02 PM • top

Priscilla Turner - You refer to yourself as a “biblical Hellenist.” (Your critique of Gagnon’s book on Amazon.)  I’ve never heard of someone referring to themselves as a “biblical Hellenist.”  What does that mean?  How does that perspective differ from a Jewish perspective (of that time, and above and beyond the normal differences related to Platonic thought, etc)?  How does this impact the way you approach Scripture within the exegetical and hermeneutical endeavor?  Do you abide more with Augustine or Thomas Aquinas?  (I suspect Augustine, but I could be wrong.)  Honest questions.

And to others who have continued the line of previous debate after my “this is the last one…”  I’m going to stick to not “beating a dead horse” and monologistos’ suggestion of caution.  My question to Priscilla is a different thing, and I know it is off topic.

[358] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-21-2008 at 08:29 AM • top

BobG, I am a Biblical philologist. I specialise in Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. For my Cambridge Classics degree, I specialised in Classical Latin and Greek. For my initial Old Testament work, I added Classical alias Biblical Hebrew. Syriac and Aramaic came next. For my Oxford doctoral work in a Septuagint topic, I extended myself into post-Classical, New Testament and Septuagint Greek. Nothing more theological than that.

And yes, this is OT.

[359] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 05-21-2008 at 05:25 PM • top

Priscilla, wow!  Back in my day all we had was Dr. A.T. Robinson and Koine greek.  Sorry about not having the fonts or spell checker on this computer.

[360] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 05-21-2008 at 06:22 PM • top

Just out of curiosity, Bob G, is it possible that the bride in the wedding where you were the best man, was a transgendered person who had had a sex change?
I am asking in all seriousness.
I have had a lot of experience as an OB-GYN nurse both in private practice and in the hospital, and have yet to have come across a persistent case of this type of thing you describe.

[356] Posted by HeartAfire on 05-20-2008 at 12:36 PM

HeartAfire, three possibilities suggested themselves to me before I even thought of sex-change operations—history of traumatic injury with severe scarring (which I’ve seen as an E.R. chaplain), genetic malformation (not always true hermaphodism, but sometimes what’s called ‘physical gender ambiguity’, and which casemanagers in China adoption programs see at least a couple of times a year—the babies are anonymously dropped off at orphanages or near hospitals in the middle of the night), and persistent vaginismus.  The last is often treatable over the long term—the first two aren’t.

And, of course, there are those who’ve had sex change operations, and have become, under the law, female—as a Navy chaplain I was involved in the case of a male Sailor who’d legally married (in Texas, yet!) someone who was born male, but felt, acted, and by the time of the marriage, thanks to medical science, even looked (apparently even while nude, though I can’t vouch for that) like an reasonably attractive female in her early 30s—the question was raised by the C.O. about whether the Sailor should be discharged for homosexuality, based on the sex listed on the spouse’s birth certificate.  However, since the wife was legally female and they were legally married under the laws of the State of Texas, the Navy’s legal-beagles decided that there was absolutely no grounds for discharge.  Part of my job was to scrape the C.O. off the ceiling… he was not a happy camper. [If it had been Massachusetts or California, it wouldn’t have been so bad—he felt betrayed that it was <u>Texas</u>!]  So, as HeartsAfire writes, these cases do occur—but there are other things that can make vaginal intercourse unlikely or impossible. 

For that matter, should we refuse to marry the elderly, those who’ve outlived their respective spouses and (through God’s mercy, perhaps) fallen in love again… but at such advanced ages that vaginal intercourse might be painful for her and exceedingly unlikely for him? [As graphic as I’m willing to get…]  I’ve done a few of those marriages—marriages between men and women who are unwilling to live together unless their union is blessed by God and Church, who truly and clearly love one another, but at the same time marriages in which “the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord” (BCP, p. 423) is pretty unlikely to be God’s will.  I am an Anglo-Catholic and a tradionalist (I dislike the word “conservative” because of its political connotations outside the Church), but cannot believe that God would condemn such unions, solely because the couple was beyond child-bearing age.

[361] Posted by Conego on 05-22-2008 at 11:53 AM • top

CanonZ,

All very good points indeed!  One’s that provoke the best questions about not only the Church, but one’s own self.

Why should anyone marry?  Paul wrote that his own desire was for all of the brethren to be celibate, but better to marry than to burn.

If we look at marriage the way that the world does, then all of your examples and questions about who is permitted or not permitted to marry (Remember the laws of consanguinity? Are they in your 1979 BCP?)are compelling.  They are full of compassion for the personal happiness and self fulfillment of those who are gay, barren, elderly,lonely, deformed and those who just want their relationship with their significant other blessed by the Church.  Why would or should the Church withhold such a blessing?  This is how the world sees the situation, and judges the Church as mean spirited and unloving, adhering to an outdated moral code that has no place in the modern world. The right to be ordained a priest is viewed in a similar fashion by the world who see the refusal of the Church as sexism.

The world does not understand what the Church is about.  The world does not want to accept marriage as a religious vocation with all that a religious vocation entails.  That vocation is not just about two people, it involves the whole Church. If you just want to live together for the relief of loneliness why not get a civil arrangement? 

But if you happen to be Christian why not consider a vocation as a religious or a deacon, or even a priest?  If God has given you extra years beyond the life of your spouse then why not serve Him?

And if you happen to be gay, instead of living a life of conspicuous consumption and running up medical bills on STDs, why not also make a similar consideration?

Born deformed? Ditto.

Why not encourage the entire Church to live the religious life, with those called to the vocation of marriage living that out, and those called to other vocations living those out.

There is a severe shortage of priests in every jurisdiction.  Religious vocations are almost non-existent.  I know that God is calling people to these vocations, they just aren’t answering the call.

The soldiers of Christ should be disciplined and well ordered. Their concern should be focused more on the needs of the Church and less on themselves.

It is a selfish and greedy generation that seeks to grasp a sacrament just to justify it’s own self serving ends.

Let us remember where true joy and happiness are.  In the service of God.

[362] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 05-22-2008 at 04:32 PM • top

Priscilla Turner (#366) - I’ve seen you detail your credentials before.  That isn’t what I asked of you, however.  Your response doesn’t tell me anything about what a “biblical Hellenist” actually means, etc.  That’s what I would like to know.

[363] Posted by Bob G+ on 05-23-2008 at 09:01 AM • top

anglicancatholicpriest (#369), I fully disagree with but one of your points, although the injunction to be in and yet not of the world is one that requires both fine discernment and delicate balance.

I do want to point out, in passing, that your reference to ‘my’ 1979 BCP required an assumption on your part—justifiable, in that I quoted the ‘79 book, but (as it happens) false.  In the US, I last served at a parish which uses the Anglican Service Book (the quote would be almost identical, including the part about “when it is God’s will, for the procreation…”, but the page number would be p. 311).  I didn’t use it because I didn’t expect most readers to recognize it.

You write “That vocation is not just about two people, it involves the whole Church. If you just want to live together for the relief of loneliness why not get a civil arrangement?  But if you happen to be Christian why not consider a vocation as a religious or a deacon, or even a priest?  If God has given you extra years beyond the life of your spouse then why not serve Him?”

I’m not sure that I agree with you that everyone who outlives a spouse is called to life as a religious or as clergy—there are those, I believe, who are called by God to live out their lives within the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.  The fact that such a person’s spouse predeceases him or her does not mean that the person is now somehow automatically called to the Diaconate or Priesthood.  Calls to ministry are <u>calls</u> from God—not choices people are supposed to make out of Christian fervor.  The fact that God may have given some people “extra years beyond the life of (their) spouse” doesn’t mean that such a person, called to Holy Matrimony, can now ‘swap’ that call for one to ordained ministry… no matter how short on clergy the Church may happen to be.

Regarding your writing “There is a severe shortage of priests in every jurisdiction.  Religious vocations are almost non-existent.  I know that God is calling people to these vocations, they just aren’t answering the call.”, and in regard to your earlier reference to ‘my’ 1979 BCP, I may point out that my <u>current</u> Prayer Book is the Liturgia da Igreja Lusitana—since becoming so physically disabled that I am now unable to work even part-time, I am volunteering as a Mass priest in northern Portugal, where the priest shortage in the Igreja Lusitana (Portugal’s very small, very poor branch of Anglicanism) makes America look absolutely priest-rich—in Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, in northern Portugal, there are five parishes, but only three priests and the bishop (who celebrates at one of the parishes weekly)—and each of the priests, in addition to being rector of two separate priests, is also bi-vocational, as none of the parishes can afford to pay full-time salaries.  I am living on my medical pension and serving as the ‘fourth priest’, without remuneration, in order that each parish can have the Eucharist on Sunday.

So while I understand what you are saying, I think, (to claim more would be to assume too much), I still think that there are areas in which we may not fully agree—despite being, I suspect, on generally the “same side”.
Pax!

[364] Posted by Conego on 05-23-2008 at 12:14 PM • top

Thank you Father for your forthright response.

I certainly do not mean to lump everyone together in terms of vocations.

One could come to the conclusion that maybe God is not sending us priests because we don’t deserve them.  Whichever is the case; God not calling, or people not answering, the shortage is a fact, and in some places like where you are acute.  I am writing of my own experience in discerning vocations that have gone unfulfilled.  Truly the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few.

It is true that not everyone has one of these professed and/or ordained vocations.  But if they are Christians there must be some vocation accompanied by gifts of the Spirit.  St. Paul writes that everyone should pray for these gifts and especially the ones that the Church has need of.  Mother Teresa said that everyone is called to holiness.  Jesus said this also.

I once read a letter written in the late 19th century from an Orthodox monk to a nun.  He wrote that he pitied the Christians to come after them.  “They will be able to accomplish no great spiritual feats, all they will be able to do is to sit and wait patiently for the coming of the Lord.”  I pray that is not true, but I fear it is.

[365] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 05-23-2008 at 02:13 PM • top

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