November 6, 2005

Response to Mohler re: Homosexuality, Pt 2

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 10:14 pm

In an odd bit of symmetry, I’ve realized it will take me three posts to address Albert Mohler’s columns on homosexuality here, here and here. In the first post I point out Mohler’s picking and choosing among sins to take his stand. In this post I’ll address why lifelong monogamous relationships between gays aren’t a sin at all.

What disturbs me about Mohler’s approach in his columns is that he leaves gays out of the discussion entirely. He quotes various historians, sociologists, and theologians from both sides of the debate, but ignores the personal reality of gay Christians altogether. His is an academic, theological argument that seems to discount that gays themselves have any relevance to the subject at all.

Keeping the discussion biblically grounded, let’s consider Christ’s second commandment:

‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’

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November 5, 2005

Mohler Anti-Gay Rant

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 9:27 am

Al Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has a rant against gays that spans three of his columns on the SBC Baptist Press here, here and here. This is hate-filled stuff, and not hate-the-sin-but-love-the-sinner type hate, but good old-fashioned bigotry type hate.

Mohler weaves a long narrative negating all of the moral advances regarding gays achieved over the last 100 years, but for him it all seems to boil down to biblical inerrancy. Somehow I thought Jesus’ message was all about compassion and love, but apparently for Mohler there is something greater than that — biblical authority based on a literal reading of Scripture. So here’s the crux:

The broader context of Paul’s rejection of homosexuality [in Romans 1:22-27] is clear: Homosexuality is a rebellion against God’s sovereign intention in creation, a gross perversion of God’s good and perfect plan for His created order. What Paul makes clear is that homosexuality is a dramatic sign of rebellion against God and His intention. Those about whom Paul writes have worshipped the creature rather than the Creator. Thus, men and women have forfeited the natural complementarity of God’s intention for heterosexual marriage and have turned to members of their own sex, burning with a desire which in itself is degrading and dishonorable.

The logical progression in Romans 1 is undeniable. Paul shifts immediately from his description of rebellion against God as Creator to an identification of homosexuality — among both men and women — as the first and most evident sign of a society upon which God has turned His judgment.

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November 3, 2005

DeLay Aide: Christian Right "Wackos"

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 9:31 pm

I’ve often wondered whether conservative Christian views are sincerely shared by Republican operatives on Capitol Hill, or merely tolerated. The answer is neither — conservative Christians are held in contempt, at least by a one-time aide to Tom Delay, Michael Scanlon. From a Salon piece on Jack Abramoff and his business partner Scanlon:

Consider one memo highlighted in a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday that Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, sent the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana to describe his strategy for protecting the tribe’s gambling business. In plain terms, Scanlon confessed the source code of recent Republican electoral victories: target religious conservatives, distract everyone else, and then railroad through complex initiatives.

“The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees,” Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them.” The brilliance of this strategy was twofold: Not only would most voters not know about an initiative to protect Coushatta gambling revenues, but religious “wackos” could be tricked into supporting gambling at the Coushatta casino even as they thought they were opposing it.

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The California Propositions

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 5:19 pm

There has been a lot of press lately on the dysfunctional initiative process in California. It has become a way for special interests to bypass the compromise and negotiation required in the legislature by going directly to voters, sometimes with disastrous results.

Last year, Kevin Drum at Political Animal had the definitive argument for voting no on pretty much all initiatives. After a well-thought-out enumeration of three reasons propositions no longer work, he summarizes:

The bottom line is that I think ballot initiatives do more harm than good these days. The process is mostly limited to use by wealthy interests that can afford expensive signature gathering campaigns and million-dollar ad buys, the results — locked in stone for all time — are increasingly reactionary, and they contribute to keeping the California legislature in a permanent state of infantilism since they control fewer and fewer important issues as time goes by.

The only real answer to this on my end is to vote no on everything and urge everyone else to do the same. My hope — undoubtedly vain — is that if enough people feel this way it will become almost impossible to get anything passed. And when that happens, special interests will give up and go back to bribing legislators, just like in the old days.

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