An Open Letter To Michael Glatze genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Uncivil Unions

Authenticity

Today, Michael Glatze, a well known figure in the gay world and a former proponent of gay rights, wrote of his rejection of homosexuality in an essay posted at World Net Daily. I have posted Michael's essay below and I have followed it with my own open letter to Michael. I think Michael should be whoever he want's to be...but his choice to do so by attaching negative judgments to the lifestyle of other well-adjusted gays warrants a response.

From World Net Daily:

How A "Gay Rights" Leader Became Straight

By Michael Glatze

Homosexuality came easy to me, because I was already weak.

My mom died when I was 19. My father had died when I was 13. At an early age, I was already confused about who I was and how I felt about others.

My confusion about "desire" and the fact that I noticed I was "attracted" to guys made me put myself into the "gay" category at age 14. At age 20, I came out as gay to everybody else around me.

At age 22, I became an editor of the first magazine aimed at a young, gay male audience. It bordered on pornography in its photographic content, but I figured I could use it as a platform to bigger and better things.

Sure enough, Young Gay America came around. It was meant to fill the void that the other magazine I'd worked for had created – namely, anything not-so-pornographic, aimed at the population of young, gay Americans. Young Gay America took off.

Gay people responded happily to Young Gay America. It received awards, recognition, respectability and great honors, including the National Role Model Award from major gay organization Equality Forum – which was given to Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien a year later – and a whole host of appearances in the media, from PBS to the Seattle Times, from MSNBC to the cover story in Time magazine.

I produced, with the help of PBS-affiliates and Equality Forum, the first major documentary film to tackle gay teen suicide, "Jim In Bold," which toured the world and received numerous "best in festival" awards.

Young Gay America created a photo exhibit, full of photographs and stories of gay youth all across the North American continent, which toured Europe, Canada and parts of the United States.

Young Gay America launched YGA Magazine in 2004, to pretend to provide a "virtuous counterpart" to the other newsstand media aimed at gay youth. I say "pretend" because the truth was, YGA was as damaging as anything else out there, just not overtly pornographic, so it was more "respected."

It took me almost 16 years to discover that homosexuality itself is not exactly "virtuous." It was difficult for me to clarify my feelings on the issue, given that my life was so caught up in it.

Homosexuality, delivered to young minds, is by its very nature pornographic. It destroys impressionable minds and confuses their developing sexuality; I did not realize this, however, until I was 30 years old.

YGA Magazine sold out of its first issue in several North American cities. There was extreme support, by all sides, for YGA Magazine; schools, parent groups, libraries, governmental associations, everyone seemed to want it. It tapped right into the zeitgeist of "accepting and promoting" homosexuality, and I was considered a leader. I was asked to speak on the prestigious JFK Jr. Forum at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 2005.

It was, after viewing my words on a videotape of that "performance," that I began to seriously doubt what I was doing with my life and influence.

Knowing no one who I could approach with my questions and my doubts, I turned to God; I'd developed a growing relationship with God, thanks to a debilitating bout with intestinal cramps caused by the upset stomach-inducing behaviors I'd been engaged in.

Soon, I began to understand things I'd never known could possibly be real, such as the fact that I was leading a movement of sin and corruption – which is not to sound as though my discovery was based on dogma, because decidedly it was not.

I came to the conclusions on my own.

It became clear to me, as I really thought about it – and really prayed about it – that homosexuality prevents us from finding our true self within. We cannot see the truth when we're blinded by homosexuality.

We believe, under the influence of homosexuality, that lust is not just acceptable, but a virtue. But there is no homosexual "desire" that is apart from lust.

In denial of this fact, I'd fought to erase such truth at all costs, and participated in the various popular ways of taking responsibility out of human hands for challenging the temptations of lust and other behaviors. I was sure – thanks to culture and world leaders – that I was doing the right thing.

Driven to look for truth, because nothing felt right, I looked within. Jesus Christ repeatedly advises us not to trust anybody other than Him. I did what He said, knowing that the Kingdom of God does reside in the heart and mind of every man.

What I discovered – what I learned – about homosexuality was amazing. How I'd first "discovered" homosexual desires back in high school was by noticing that I looked at other guys. How I healed, when it became decidedly clear that I should – or risk hurting more people – is that I paid attention to myself.

Every time I was tempted to lust, I noticed it, caught it, dealt with it. I called it what it was, and then just let it disappear on its own. A huge and vital difference exists between superficial admiration – of yourself, or others – and integral admiration. In loving ourselves fully, we no longer need anything from the "outside" world of lustful desire, recognition from others, or physical satisfaction. Our drives become intrinsic to our very essence, unbridled by neurotic distractions.

Homosexuality allows us to avoid digging deeper, through superficiality and lust-inspired attractions – at least, as long as it remains "accepted" by law. As a result, countless miss out on their truest self, their God-given Christ-self.

Homosexuality, for me, began at age 13 and ended – once I "cut myself off" from outside influences and intensely focused on inner truth – when I discovered the depths of my God-given self at age 30.

God is regarded as an enemy by many in the grip of homosexuality or other lustful behavior, because He reminds them of who and what they truly are meant to be. People caught in the act would rather stay "blissfully ignorant" by silencing truth and those who speak it, through antagonism, condemnation and calling them words like "racist," "insensitive," "evil" and "discriminatory."

Healing from the wounds caused by homosexuality is not easy – there's little obvious support. What support remains is shamed, ridiculed, silenced by rhetoric or made illegal by twisting of laws. I had to sift through my own embarrassment and the disapproving "voices" of all I'd ever known to find it. Part of the homosexual agenda is getting people to stop considering that conversion is even a viable question to be asked, let alone whether or not it works.

In my experience, "coming out" from under the influence of the homosexual mindset was the most liberating, beautiful and astonishing thing I've ever experienced in my entire life.

Lust takes us out of our bodies, "attaching" our psyche onto someone else's physical form. That's why homosexual sex – and all other lust-based sex – is never satisfactory: It's a neurotic process rather than a natural, normal one. Normal is normal – and has been called normal for a reason.

Abnormal means "that which hurts us, hurts normal." Homosexuality takes us out of our normal state, of being perfectly united in all things, and divides us, causing us to forever pine for an outside physical object that we can never possess. Homosexual people – like all people – yearn for the mythical true love, which does actually exist. The problem with homosexuality is that true love only comes when we have nothing preventing us from letting it shine forth from within. We cannot fully be ourselves when our minds are trapped in a cycle and group-mentality of sanctioned, protected and celebrated lust.

God came to me when I was confused and lost, alone, afraid and upset. He told me – through prayer – that I had nothing at all to be afraid of, and that I was home; I just needed to do a little house cleaning in my mind.

I believe that all people, intrinsically, know the truth. I believe that is why Christianity scares people so much. It reminds them of their conscience, which we all possess.

Conscience tells us right from wrong and is a guide by which we can grow and become stronger and freer human beings. Healing from sin and ignorance is always possible, but the first thing anyone must do is get out of the mentalities that divide and conquer humanity.

Sexual truth can be found, provided we're all willing and driven to accept that our culture sanctions behaviors that harm life. Guilt should be no reason to avoid the difficult questions.

Homosexuality took almost 16 years of my life and compromised them with one lie or another, perpetuated through national media targeted at children. In European countries, homosexuality is considered so normal that grade-school children are being provided "gay" children's books as required reading in public schools.

Poland, a country all-too familiar with the destruction of its people by outside influences, is bravely attempting to stop the European Union from indoctrinating its children with homosexual propaganda. In response, the European Union has called the prime minister of Poland "repulsive."

I was repulsive for quite some time; I am still dealing with all of my guilt.

As a leader in the "gay rights" movement, I was given the opportunity to address the public many times. If I could take back some of the things I said, I would. Now I know that homosexuality is lust and pornography wrapped into one. I'll never let anybody try to convince me otherwise, no matter how slick their tongues or how sad their story. I have seen it. I know the truth.

God gave us truth for a reason. It exists so we could be ourselves. It exists so we could share that perfect self with the world, to make the perfect world. These are not fanciful schemes or strange ideals – these are the Truth.

Healing from the sins of the world will not happen in an instant; but, it will happen – if we don't pridefully block it. God wins in the end, in case you didn't know.

My open letter to Michael:

Dear Michael,

I read your posting at World Net Daily and I wanted to share some of my own thoughts on your thoughts and the larger subjects of sexuality, religion, and authenticity.

First, let me say that your words express an inner anguish that seems to have been your companion for many years. I have great sympathy for your heartache. Your attempt to resolve that anguish is noble, however your efforts to extrapolate your own journey as a tonic for all that ails others within the gay community is sadly misguided.

I don’t know you so I hesitate to offer my observations without one important caveat. Your life has been lived by and large in the public sphere…first when you embraced homosexuality through YGA and your many other activities…and now as you embrace an alternate reality that you have chosen to share through World Net Daily. Therefore, I make the assumption that both then and now, it has been your choice to submit yourself to the scrutiny of others. If I’m wrong, my apologies.

You note that YGA “was meant to fill a void" for young gay Americans…something not so “pornographic". Is it possible that YGA was meant to first and foremost fill your own void and to combat your own issues with pornography? Let me elaborate. You see pornography is not the unique domain of homosexuals…it is available to virtually all sexual persuasions and curiosities…and one has the free will to partake or to pass.

I’ve read gay newspapers and periodicals for many years and I’ve always known I had the discretion to read and view those articles, advertisements, and photographs of my choosing. When you speak of homosexuality as being “by its very nature pornographic" isn’t it plausible that what you are actually explaining is how you elected to define your own affiliation with homosexuality? Keep in mind that one can affiliate with heterosexuality in the very same manner…maybe you have yet to discover that prerogative.

You also state that “homosexuality is not exactly ‘virtuous’". Clearly, virtue is not innate to any sexual preference…just as it isn’t innate to Italians, Caucasians, tall people, people near the equator, or people who drive yellow cars. Virtue is a chosen state of being that is available to all humans. Your proximity to virtue during your homosexuality was a function of your actions as a human being with free will…not something one can definitively obtain or be denied as a result of some affiliation. If you lacked virtue, YOU lacked virtue…being gay need not separate one from virtue.

You indicate that “homosexuality prevents US from finding our true self within. We cannot see the truth when we’re blinded by homosexuality." The quest to find ones self should never be sought through affiliations. The fact that you couldn’t find communion with your self while you identified as a homosexual is not an indictment of homosexuality…it is an indication of your own internal conflicts…conflicts you played out in the public arena then and conflicts you now purport to have resolved in an alternate reality…once again seeking to air your process on the public stage. Unfortunately, your process now is not necessarily any more authentic than your process then.

What remains consistent is your need for others to affirm who and what you are whenever and wherever you tell us what you are. Don’t take this wrong, but I recall a time when I would fret about eating in a restaurant by myself…all I could think about was what others may be thinking it said about me. In a conversation with a wise friend, I mentioned my hesitation and she offered this observation, “Daniel, what makes you think you’re that important or that relevant in the minds of other diners? Why you are there eating alone is only meaningful to you."

You see it was my perception that was flawed, not my situation. I was living outside of myself and relying on outside feedback to affirm myself…an exercise in futility. May I suggest you remain in the same predicament though you’ve altered your scenery? You proceed to state that you became aware of your homosexuality when you “noticed that I looked at other guys" and that you resolved your desires by paying attention to yourself. You continue by stating, “Every time I was tempted to lust, I noticed it." Your words are clues to your own flawed perception. How you see other men…lustfully…is of your making…it is the perception you brought to your experience with homosexuality. The men you lusted after were not the issue…it was what you carried within.

Unfortunately, you attempt to apply your reality to all other homosexuals…once again illuminating your need for external affirmation…and in your current circumstances you need to vilify that which you no longer want to inhabit your psyche. Sadly, electing to announce your heterosexual affiliation is not the equivalent of extinguishing your flawed perceptions nor does it mean you will approach your heterosexuality any differently than you did your homosexuality. The healing of the heart is not an external event that is subject too, or a function of, ones proximity to any particular societal construct…in this instance heterosexuality.

You then pivot towards religion and your search for, and discovery of, your “God-given self". Lacking in that observation is the realization that others may already be in harmony with their god-given selves. You see, may I regrettably suggest that you suffer the belief held by so many who identify as born again…you presume that everyone else must have lost sight of their god-given identities and is therefore in need of rebirth. May I posit that this is once again demonstrative of your need for external validation of your processes, your identity, and all that you experience? In other words, you are still a victim of your inability to embrace an identity of your own volition absent reinforcing feedback.

Your words provide further insight into your struggle. You state, “Lust takes us out of our bodies, “attaching" our psyche onto someone else’s physical form". More telling words may have never been uttered. What you describe is your own persistent psychic wound that manifests itself in the objectification of others in order to fill an internal void…one you must believe to be insatiable and outside your capacity to repair. You see, your demons are just that…your demons. While you may find comfort in believing that every other homosexual has the same demons…that belief is merely a defense mechanism your ego employs to assuage the pain.

I would also speculate that the mindset you held put you in contact with people suffering similar struggles…thereby allowing you to reach your misguided conclusion that all homosexuals were like you. As difficult as this may be to hear, the friends I have would have little difficulty identifying you and your particular perceptions and the flawed judgments that they foster. That reality likely limited your exposure…but it certainly did not serve as a legitimate basis for your current hypothesis. You see, all that you have identified in your diatribe against homosexuality is that portion of your identity that you subconsciously find detestable. I’m sorry for your dilemma but I reject your conclusion.

Near the end of your essay, you state that “homosexuality took almost 16 years of my life and compromised them with one lie or another". Shame on you. That statement is an affront to everything else you ask us to embrace. At what point will you take personal responsibility for your own behavior? The pursuit of truth is not a construct you get to strap on when it serves you and pine for when you lack the wherewithal to seek it.

What you need to strive for is authenticity. Your persona as a cheerleader in the latest and greatest uniform of your liking is simply the measure of your inauthentic self. Your predicament is sad and I feel for you…but your carelessness and your cavalier capacity to tear down whatever no longer serves your fragile identity is indefensible and unacceptable.

The fact that you now wrap yourself in the glorious guise of god may once again serve your masked and manipulative inner master but it puts you no closer to truth. You contend that god wins in the end because you have chosen to co-opt god to augment your own disenfranchisement from self-truth. While you have hitched your wagon to this particular iteration of truth, it doesn’t mean you have found truth. You have simply found a new mechanism of certainty that can be substituted for the ever elusive identity that in the end has ironically come to define who you are and who you aren’t.

Michael, I hope you’re able to find peace…but I have to implore you to do so without attacking those who have journeyed much further along the path.

Regards,

Daniel

Daniel DiRito | July 3, 2007 | 2:56 PM
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Comments

1 On July 3, 2007 at 3:49 PM, Matt Comer wrote —

Wow. Daniel. Wow.

2 On July 4, 2007 at 10:49 AM, Lyndsey wrote —

Brilliantly written. Expresses clear, and provoking thought. Not to criticize or judge him, you simply wrote from the brain and the heart. Bravo.

3 On July 4, 2007 at 11:36 AM, Jimi wrote —

Ditto #1 & #2.

4 On July 4, 2007 at 1:52 PM, Glenn wrote —

This was amazingly written. And I have to say from my perspective you hit the nail Daniel. When I first met Mike Glatze I thought he was a complete creep. He subjected his body to every drug imaginable while he and his boyfriend pursued threeways and orgies with voracious appetites. Eventually a pseudo three-way relationship with a third guy developed - a relationship flaunted quite visibly in the Halifax gay community. The boundaries Mike set for himself were blatantly destructive. It is no wonder that now his body, mind and soul have all been rotted out. Beyond the guise of "editor" and "leader" he was a horrendous example of what it is like to be out and proud. His inability to mask his internal turmoil was apparent to anyone who took the time to look. I consider myself a good judge of character and I feel this perverse tirade of self-loathing Glatze has put out for the world to read is apt vindication. One day he will find peace but that won't happen through a God concept. As my mother would say: God helps those who help themselves - and this boy isn't helping anyone.

5 On July 4, 2007 at 5:02 PM, Amy wrote —

I applaud Mr. Glatze for his decision to turn from the homosexual lifestyle. It is a perversion from God's original design. Therefore, it is no surprise to me that he experienced threesomes, origies, and so on.

You are incorrect in stating that God doesn't know us. He does; and, furthermore, created us.

Homosexuality is a choice. I am glad he chose differently.

6 On July 4, 2007 at 5:46 PM, PortlyDyke wrote —

Thank you, Daniel, for speaking what I thought as I read Glatze's article.

7 On July 4, 2007 at 6:32 PM, Alex wrote —

Wow, Daniel, that was a stunning and brilliant analysis.

8 On July 4, 2007 at 6:55 PM, Ryan wrote —

Well said. I wish him the best, too. But I hope one day he can differentiate the choices he was making and how homosexuality doesn't influence those choices, rather that it just is, much like heterosexuality just is.

9 On July 5, 2007 at 9:58 AM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

Amy: It always amazes me how many right wing Christians hang out on gay websites, ready to tell us how we have chosen our sexuality and how it is against God's plans? Why is that? Why are you here? How do you know? How in your spiritual arrogance is it that God speaks to you and not to anyone else? Did you ever hear of Ted Haggard? Paul Barnes?
Amy, why is that heterosexuals never choose their sexuality, but gay people always do? Of course, you may be one of those ex-gays who have chosen to be hetero. But I have yet to find one that actually is, including the current Chief Ex-Gay himself, Alan Chambers.
Just because michael Glatze is a mess, and chooses his ex-gay path as a way of validating himself out of that mess, doesn't mean that the rest of us need to. How dare you say that God has not spoken to many good Christians who don't accept your ignorant and/or twisted view of sexuality.
There are so many theological, moral, and scientific holes in your beliefs, and i have learned that it is pointless to try to point them out to you. You're not interested. However, the day that all heterosexuals, chosen at random, declare that they choose to be heterosexual, I'll star believing that gay people choose it, too.

10 On July 5, 2007 at 10:06 AM, Alan wrote —

Daniel, you are not immune to falling into the same trap of generalizing our community. As a gay Christian, I can identify with Michael's demons; both secular and spiritual. He is in the midst of a full assault, both mentally and physically - of his own doing and also from other outside forces. His pivotal center is swaying from one extreme to another. That is not so unusual, especially if you have a group of fundementalists eager to count you among their personal victories, capitalizing on your heartaches and, as Michael put it, "in moments of weakness".

I am hopeful Michael will eventually (God willing) find a balance between his sexuality and his relationship with God. I did. Many others have. But do not assume that all gay people are in the same ball park as you spiritually; some of us actually use a capital G in our reference to a Creator.

Take care.

11 On July 5, 2007 at 10:07 AM, Jon wrote —

I have known many gay men and women and met several others. I have also met some who have left the homosexual lifestyle. In 100% of the cases of which I am aware, meeting Jesus Christ has liberated each one from the chains of homosexualaity. Like the case here, each was accepted and praised within the gay community, then insulted and attacked as soon as they left. Unlike the theme of this essay, I find that it is only the homosexuals themselves that are seeking outside validation, and those who leave the lifestyle are the ones no longer in need of that validation.

12 On July 5, 2007 at 10:50 AM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

Jon: I have six words for you. Ted Haggard. Paul Barnes. Lonnie Latham. All three were men who not only found Jesus, but gave their lives to him from an early age. All six founded churches, etc etc etc. All six were really big fags. Please. The point of the article is that just because someone claims he found jesus and found himself "liberated" from homosexuality, doesn't mean that one iota, one assumption, one statement has any reality, let alone truthfulness about what they are/were actually confronting. When I came out after years of trying not to be gay, that was the greatest liberation I ever experienced. Somehow, Jesus neevr found the time to tell me i was wrong, but blessed me with a wonderful husband, a good life, many friends,and A TRUCKLOAD OF FULFILLMENT. I have been a happy gay person ever since. The only source of my unhappiness is "good Christians" who have nothing better to do than to tell me that somehow my whole life's experiences are wrong. You so-called Christians now pursue gay people with the same absolute moral certainty that you are doing/expressing god's will with which you used to burn witches-- and other Christian heretics-- and with about as much basis in reality. When you have achieved Moral Perfection, then you may feel free to comment on my lack of it. Oh, wait. that's just what Jesus had to say, isn't it.

13 On July 5, 2007 at 12:36 PM, Daniel wrote —

First, a sincere thank to all for sharing their thoughts and observations...I truly appreciate the dialogue.

Amy,

I'm not sure where I stated that "God doesn't know us" and I'm uncertain as to the relevance. Whether one believes god knows us or we know him is a matter of faith. I am perfectly comfortable with that though one person's faith need not and ought not be used to condemn another. Faith is just that...it isn't fact. You suggest that being gay is a choice and I would suggest that faith is a choice. The problem with your choice of faith is that you also believe it anoints you with powers of judgment. I don't believe god intended that.

Alan,

I don't believe I said anything about the general nature of demons within the gay community...I simply stated that Michael's demons were his own...just as your demons would be your own...and mine would be my own. What I did state is that Michael is wrong to assume that his understanding of his demons allows him to draw conclusions about the entire gay community.

No doubt there are many gay people who have similar demons...but resolving one's demons isn't a function of determining how many other people have similar demons...unless one embraces the notion that misery loves company. Perhaps that is comforting but it has little to do with healing. My point is that Michael's healing process is just that...Michael's.

I think the actual point you are trying to make has to do with your conclusion that I don't believe in god...something you extrapolate from the fact that I didn't capitalize the word god. If I did believe in god, I still wouldn't capitalize the word. Far too many people think they know god and far too many of those that do, believe that "their" god is the real "God".

If I believed in god, I wouldn't assume I'm smart enough to be certain that my "God" is THE "God". If I did make that assumption, I would be no different than the many people who assert that their god is THE "God" and then proceed to view that as a right to judge everyone who doesn't share the same "God". I view that as arrogance...and inconsistent with the example of the person identified as Jesus...an example I admire and respect regardless of his relationship with god.

My disbelief in god is a belief...not a matter of fact...just as your belief in god is a belief...not a matter of fact. What differentiates me from many who believe in god is that I accept that my belief isn't a fact that I can use to judge others. You see, I'm not intimidated by differing beliefs because who I am isn't reliant on a need to be proven right...I'm simply content believing what I believe and I'm happy to allow others the same.

Jon,

Building a premise and then affirming it isn't an exercise in reason...it is an exercise in judgment. When you reference the "chains of homosexuality", you simply impart your propensity for judgment...not any understanding of the state of being gay. You're entitled to your opinion...but may I suggest that it has nothing to do with me.

I don't need your acceptance because to presume as much would be to assume you are entitled to grant me acceptance. I would never diminish myself by doing so...nor would I grant that dominion to you simply because you believe it is yours to offer.

The fact that you want to use Michael's "conversion" as the means to reject homosexuality is the issue. Michael can do as he likes...but I don't have to accept his judgment or yours...which is far different than needing his acceptance or yours. Don't take this wrong, but you're not that relevant to me...just as I'm not that relevant to you.

It is also an assumption on your part that Michael was accepted and praised within the gay community. Who is the gay community? Do you know them all? I know a number of "prominent" gay people that I wouldn't praise just as I know a number of "prominent" straight people I wouldn't praise.

I think its rather naive to think that all gay people are good or bad people just as it is to assume that all straight people are good or bad. I view each person as an individual...and their sexuality has little to do with whether they are good or bad.

Those who seek to make those types of conclusions do so because they harbor bias and prejudice...they don't want to get to know the individual...it wouldn't serve their agenda. Further, I can't respect anyone that would act accordingly...and by all means I wouldn't seek their validation.

I hope Michael finds happiness...but he needn't do so by attempting to throw happy and well-adjusted gays under the bus. Isn't it possible he's doing so in order to receive the validation of some other group?

Thanks again to all for sharing. I truly enjoy the exchange.

Regards,

Daniel

14 On July 5, 2007 at 1:11 PM, Tom wrote —

This is for Amy (probaby a closet-case).

I don't mean to sound offensive, but you are probably no expert on human sexuality or an authority on gay-related issues. There is a vast field of unbiased, non-ideological, factually-based science on human sexuality, the overwhelming evidence of which indicates that human sexuality is either genetically-determined or triggered by hormonal activity during fetal development. Even without this knowledge, to assume that everyone on the planet is heterosexual is simply ignorant. To assume that betwen 5-10% of the human population is actively choosing to sin is ridiculous, particularly when homosexual activity has been documented in nearly 1,400 species in the animal kingdom. Your commentary suggests that all gay men and women, regardless up upbringing, either Orthodox Jewish, atheist, Catholic, or Hindu, have never once paused in their lifetimes to ponder their ironic position in an ideological religion-based world that is openly hostile, sometimes lethally so, to their sexuality. You, a heterosexual, female, cannot appreciate the vast amount of soul-searching required to reconcile what you're taught with what you are, not to menton, what is.

Again, it is almost pointless to have this conversation with a Bible-believer. You can cite Leviticus or Romans and suddenly the debate is closed. Homosexuality is a sin. Amazing that a simple case such as this can be made based on the same chapters which prohibit the consumption of pork, sanction the maintenance and treatment of slaves, glorify the destruction of polytheists and sorcerers, convey the proper ways to stone disobedient children to death, and instill fear of a "merciful" God at every angle. Yes, I completely understand that many new-age Christians consider these barbarities "misinterpreted" "misapplied" or "non-applicable in today's world." But that certainly did not stop the "pious" South from citing the Bible when fighting the abolition of slavery less than 200 years ago. Nor did it stop the Church from burning and torturing questionable women and "rebellious" Jews to death as recently as 300 years ago. My point is that all this violence can be rendered Biblically or theologically-defensible just as terrorism and violence against non-believers can be Koranically-justified in the Islamic world. Interpretation permits either.

Exactly how many Christians do you know that have truly read the Bible cover to cover? Would they react with horror to know of the violence sanctioned by the God of Abraham? Or are some simply Jesus-believing Christians who reject these violent passages and follow the teachings of Christ only? According to you, however, these people "must be willing to hear the entire Bible taught; not a "cut and paste" Bible." So, which is it? In my opinion, people do cut and paste because they have to. A literal intrepretation of the Bible is simply irreconcilable with life in the modern world becuase a lot of it, particularly in the Old Testament, would not just be considered by today's standards immoral, but also illegal.

You have to ask yourself some fairly obvious questions. Why are the least religious countries also the wealthiest, healthiest, happiest, and best educated? Do Swedes need God to treat each other with civility and respect? Is France and Norway's high birth rates, pro-family legislation, and extensive maternity leave irreconcilable with its corresponding pro-gay family policies? Why is crime and divorce statiscially lower in more liberal and progressive Blue State America than in the pious South? Does Tokyo need Jesus to post some of the lowest crime rates in the urban world? Why is there no Harvard in Kansas or Alabama? Conversely, the hyper-religious Muslim world suffers from the worst rates of violence, poverty, intolerance, and technological backwardness. Is this a coincidence? Is it not possible that their hostile treatment of women, coupled with a rigid belief system which suggest that all life-related questions are answered in the Koran and an obsession with the after-life, prevent their societies from harnessing their creative abilities and talent?

And by the way, are scientists lying when they suggest a biological basis for homosexuality? Do they have an agenda? If so, what would that be? Are they biased or subscribe to a particular ideology? As far as I'm concerned, scientists are simply curious about the nature of the world, make observations, formulate hypotheses, and test their veracity. They could care less what religion claims. They are in the pursuit of truth, not defending fairytales like Creationism, Noah's Ark, or the Tower of Babel. Those same scientists which cure diseases, alleviate famines, and make daily discoveries certainly do not fit the profile of immoral heathens who are out to "get religion." Can you imagine what our world would look like today without that human curiousity which so many Bible-believing Christians call Satanic temptation? And plus, if science had conversely proven anything in the Bible, you can bet that Christians would be applauding the scientific community and embracing their conculsions with almost hysterical enthusiasm.

Ultimately, I cannot change your mind. Only when someone very close to you, like one of your own children or grandchilren, comes out of the closet will you change yours. And before you assume that something went terribly "wrong" or that this child had been exposed to something "negative," consider, just for a second, that this is a natural, normal coincidence and there is no need to worry or seek therapy. If anything, I'm sorry to say, it has been Christians such as yourselves which drive gay men and women to therapy seeking to change one aspect about themselves which is unchangeable. Imagine how many young gay men and women have taken their own lives failing to do just that.

Now imagine a world where Christians such as yourselves ceased scouring the Bible for condemnatory passages and instead committed themselves to the following: 1.) alleviating suffering and 2.) increasing happiness.

15 On July 5, 2007 at 2:13 PM, Jon wrote —

Tom, Ben and others,

Almost all of any cogent reply to your postings easliy boils down to an issue of obedience or disobedience.

All of the entire Bible must be accepted and dealt with as a whole. Any form of "cut and paste" or choosing some passages while omitting others becomes worthless immediately. Any person is then free to declare anything they want to be good. As an example, say that I choose only passages dealing with David's murder of Uriah, sex with Bathsheeba and God's declaration of David as "a man after God's own heart" as my basis. I could then declare that God approves of killing any woman's husband in order to capture her as your new wife. Certainly this does not mesh with the rest of scripture.

God has declared homosexual sex to be a sin, just as he has premarital sex, lying, stealing and all other sin. The issue is will we obey God or disobey. That is the central purpose of the Bible and Christianity. Morality (obedience) is defined by who God is, His character, not something we decide. Our obedience, what we call morality, is aligning our character and behavior to who God is, and requires us having a relationship with God in order to teach us about Him. We can only be like Him if we know Him. The Bible is meant to help us know Him.

Homosexual behavior is no more and no less of a sin than telling a lie or murder. In each case, as with all sin, we have chosen an action that is outside of the character of God. All people, even Christians (and those in the list of names mentioned) commit sins. Forgiveness comes into the picture as we confess sin - which means agreeing with God that He is the sole definer of sin, not us. If we continue to live in sin and try to call it good, we deceive ourselves and in essence declare ourselves to be God by claiming to be the definer of sin.

The many sins commited in the name of God over history do not negate who God is or His call to us to be obedient. The many successes of science do not make any and every course of research or every conclusion reached correct or truthful. Painting with such a broad brush demeans only the painter, not the reader or the target of criticism.

Those who desire to know God and to be obedient can easily find Him. Those who wish to disobey and call it Christianity can also find that path to follow. Each has a clear result, defined by God, not by man.

16 On July 5, 2007 at 2:29 PM, Jon wrote —

Ben,

To directly answer your question to Amy "Why are we here?" in reference to Christians visiting this site - because Jesus sent us. Quite literally. He said - "Go into all the world, teaching, making disciples. etc." - and this is part of that world.

Their is a battle going on, and we are commanded by God to take on the enemy. That enemy is not you, but satan, the liar and deceiver.

Those who choose sin and also choose to call sin "good" and "right" are hi prisoners. God has commanded each and every Christian to set those prisoners free. How? Jesus said - "I am the Truth" and "the Truth shall set you free." Jesus is the one who sets the captives free. Our command is to teach and to introduce people to Jesus personally. He breaks the chains, not us. We are the messanger to the world to share the good news that we ourselves have also received to release us from our own bondage to sin.

It is most certainly never a case of any Christian being somehow above or better than anyone else. It is very simply a matter of giving everyone the news of the gift from God that they too can have.

17 On July 5, 2007 at 3:27 PM, Charles wrote —

Daniel,

I'm writing from Uganda, Africa. Your response to Glatze is a real "pouring out" of your heart. I understand what many guys who knew Glatze as "on our side" and now feel he's crossed the floor must be going through. But take heart! God gave each human being only one lifetime limited to about 80 years for those who are lucky to last that long. Its a tragedy to waste this precious resource living a lie and realising late in life that life could have been different. Mike Glatze has made a brave decision not to waste any more of his time. Remember, its those on the dark side that see light the brightest. Truth is not difficult to figure out. One can deny seeing truth, but see it you will!

In Africa we tend to call a spade a spade, not a big spoon, so forgive if what I say here sounds vulgar. How can anyone fail to see that a male was made to naturally join with a female sexually. The package was supplied complete, nothing missing, even the lubrication. The animals have never got this wrong, I dont understand how humans cannot see the obvious. That is the nature of "truth". Its plain so you cant miss it.

The anus was not made for sexual intercourse. Glatze also talked about his stomach upsets "due to the life he was living". You remembered a lot from his article but not that part. Those who are honest will tell more of the hell that homosexuality really is. A venereal disease is bad enough affecting the primary sexual organs, but who knows the pain of a rectal venereal infection or of fecal incontinence due to a damaged anal system? Would you rather persist on a path you know is destroying your life and of other impressionable young people you mislead.

I hope next time you write, you will congratulate Brother Mike Glatze for his bravery. Mike was in the limelight for the wrong reasons. He had fame but knew he was infamous. Its not easy to walk away from this kind of limelight. But its wise.

God bless you Daniel.

Charles

ctuhaise@yahoo.com

18 On July 5, 2007 at 3:41 PM, Ben in oakland wrote —

To Jon: I know it is pointless to write this, because you already know all of the truth, and anybody else's is really of no interest to you. But I will.
1) Jesus had nothing to say about homosexuality. He was very clear about judging others. "Look not for the speck in yourbrother's eye, lest you miss the beam in your own." Pretty unequivocal, Jon. Yet here you are, judging just what constitutes a sin that needs to be judged and condemned. He was also very clear about divorce. Yet fundamentalists are known for judging others unconditinally, and have the highest divorce rate in the nation--and not for reasons of adultery only.
2) Your spiritual arrogance in your assumption that you know the mind of god simply because you believe something that you might have read in a book is surpassed only by your willingness to ignore everything else in that book that does not comport with your present prejudices. See #1 above.
3) As I noted: "You so-called Christians now pursue gay people with the same absolute moral certainty that you are doing/expressing god's will with which you used to burn witches-- and other Christian heretics-- and with about as much basis in reality." As I have always noticed when I make this statement, it is never answered. Except the one time when a nice Christian lady said, "Well, they were ignorant and cruel then." And you are not now? "I guess we made a mistake" is no excuse for the misery you so-called good Christians have inflicted on anyone who disagrees with you. See #1 and #2 above.
4) You never talked about the three ministers above. you just went on about your stuff. Are you going to tell me that those three didn't "really' give themselves to Jesus? Please. They did nothing but, and no amount of giving or praying changed a thing for them. What does one have to do to please Jesus and god? Or is it really that God doesn't give a flying fuck up about homosexuality? BUT YOU DO!!! See #1, 2, and 3x above.
As a christian, you have a right to believe that being gay is sinful, and you are free to expound it in your churches and your homes, however unpleasant it maybe for me as a gay man to hear it. It's a free country. When you cross the line into intolerance is when you use my life as a means of raising funds and influencing others to further your own political, religious, and social agendas, and to deny me the rights that you have, based upon your own peculiar interpretations of the bible.

Honey, it's just sex. If you spend the same obsession on war, hunger, poverty, corruption, bigotry, religious intolerance, the environment, that you spend on screaming about our sex lives and denying us what you take for granted, what a better world this would be.

But you won't. This is easier and more satisfying.

19 On July 5, 2007 at 3:42 PM, Daniel wrote —

Jon,

I realize you and I will likely never agree...but I must make one important point. Your reference to what god has directed or commanded or ruled to be acceptable or unacceptable omits one very relevant issue...it is simply based upon hearsay. Those who assert the bible to be the word of god do so as a matter of faith; not as a matter of fact.

Has it ever crossed your mind to ask why god would give incorrect information to those he entrusted to write down his word? If the bible is his words, then it would have to be absolute since he is all knowing. If your answer is that his words were written down and interpreted with errors, then you have no way to substantiate which words are accurate and which are inaccurate.

Further, scholars who have studied the origin of the bible will point out that the bible has been reinterpreted numerous times...primarily because those in power wanted it to support their notions of right and wrong. In fact, a number of gospels were simply removed from the bible...by men mind you...not because god emailed someone and instructed a revision.

Has it ever crossed your mind to wonder why the last time god spoke directly to a human was some 2,000 years ago? Why did he speak then and never again? If someone were to state that god had spoke to them today, would you believe them or would you assert that they were a lunatic? How would one make those determinations and distinctions?

How would you ever know if god chose to speak to someone today...how would you verify that fact? Further, would the scrutiny you would apply today be the same that should have been applied when the bible was written? Can you tell me who scrutinized that process all those years ago? If not, why do you believe what was said then but not what is said now by this person in our midst who says god spoke to him?

Let's assume today that a man makes a claim to have spoken to god. How would people of faith determine that they should or shouldn't have faith in the words of this man? How would you refute his claims if you didn't think god had spoken to him? Is faith only relevant to, and required when, it applies to what happened 2,000 years ago? Why would your standards change today...shouldn't your faith be consistently applied? Further, if you didn't apply your faith consistently, what would compel me to believe that you are able to ascertain when your faith is accurate and when your faith tells you to disbelieve? If it isn't consistent, then how can your faith be trusted?

Therefore, I contend that what you actually endorse is mysticism...which I don't object too...but it cannot be presented as anything more...unless you would actually apply the same standards today to claims that god had spoken to someone. In reality, the beauty of institutional religion (what I am calling mysticism) is that is starts with a premise that cannot be verified and asserts that it also cannot be disputed.

A reasoned skeptic would then need to ask why...what might make that so and what might be the human motivations for such a construct? Isn't the bargain obvious? We (religious leaders) tell you (the followers) what to believe and to do so "faithfully" and in return we will take away your fear of death by promising you an eternal afterlife. Lastly, isn't the rest of the directive from religious leaders this, "Oh, and by the way, god isn't going to speak again and only we actually know what he said when he did speak and anyone that asserts he spoke to them today is a charlatan and mustn't be believed."

Here's the end game. If one disagrees with the religious leaders, the promise of an afterlife is withdrawn...leaving one without a construct to deal with the anxiety of death. The bargain is sealed.

Look, you believe as you like...but what you believe is far short of fact and far too easily explained as the acts of men who desire to manipulate other men. You see, you need the bible to be the word of god since it is how you choose to see and understand your human existence. Nothing wrong with that...but it is nothing more than "your" reality. In the end, your belief in god is the equivalent of what you assert being gay to be...a choice.

Take care,

Daniel

20 On July 5, 2007 at 5:15 PM, Ben in oakland wrote —

To the guy from Africa: "How can anyone fail to see that a male was made to naturally join with a female sexually. The package was supplied complete, nothing missing, even the lubrication. The animals have never got this wrong, I dont understand how humans cannot see the obvious. That is the nature of "truth". Its plain so you cant miss it. "

Do you ever read anything but what you already know, think anything you haven't already thought? It is not obvious--anything but. KY wasn't made for gay men. Homosexuality has been observed in over 1400 species of animals. My genitalia works just fine with my husband's.

If you are going on about the nature of "truth", be sure to take it out of quotation marks.
There have been many "obvious" truths in the world, very few of which have turned out to be actually true. Obvious doesn't make it true.

Here is a real obvious one. There are many different sects of Christianity, Obviously, they can't all be true, because they disagree. There are many different religions,each claiming to be the truth. They must either all be true of they must none of them be true. Now THATS obvious.

I suggest you go up to a nice muslim in Uganda and tell him his faith is JUST NOT TRUE. See what he has to say.

21 On July 5, 2007 at 5:19 PM, Daniel wrote —

Charles,

Unfortunately you haven't a grasp of what I feel or what I'm communicating. I don't know Michael and I could care less if he wants to be a heterosexual...he can be a monkey if he wants. Whose side he's on is irrelevant to me. The fact that you and he seem to think one side is good and one is bad is the only thing I care to address.

I also don't care if 100 gays decide to be straight tomorrow and they do so in the public sphere. Who they are is for them to determine and it has no relevance to who I am. I won't have lost a thing just as I haven't lost a thing in Michael's choice.

The problem arises when and if Michael and those 100 people characterize their election as an indictment of who I am...you see I know who I am and I'm not in crisis nor will I be as a result of what Michael or any other gay or straight person decides about their sexuality.

Do you have a crisis each time a straight person decides they're gay and comes out? Do you see them writing about the sins of heterosexuality? Do you see the gay community calling that proof that being straight is bad and arguing that the person has finally seen truth and abandoned evil and darkness? I'll clue you in...we take people to be who they say they are and leave it at that...you wanna be gay, good for you...you wanna be straight, good for you. We don't see one as good and one as bad. That is your crutch and your obsession.

As to plumbing, I'll assume that you never have oral sex since the mouth seems to be ambiguous in that regard. I would hate to think that you're putting your penis in the same place a gay man might...wouldn't want to think your gay...and you certainly wouldn't want a woman's mouth or throat to suffer the trauma of plumbing abominations. Think of the diseases.

What are you going to do if a new sexually transmitted disease becomes fatal? Will that mean that god is punishing people for being heterosexual? Is cervical cancer, which results from the transmission of the HPV virus via the insertion of a penis into a vagina, an indication that male/female sex is wrong? Oh this plumbing stuff is so confusing to me.

As to Michael's stomach aches, can I see the diagnosis? When a man approaches a woman for sex and she says she has a headache, is that the result of being a heterosexual? Does straight sex give women headaches? Oh, and what can you tell me about yeast infections?

Tell ya what Charles...you worry about your plumbing and I'll worry about mine. So far my doctor seems to think it works just fine...but then he isn't a minister so maybe he's biased.

Finally, I won't be congratulating Michael at this point. Last time I checked the Hallmark store, they didn't have a card for changing one's sexuality...but then again I've never looked for one. Besides, he didn't congratulate me on having my act together so I can't see congratulating him for struggling with his.

Or are you suggesting he wrote his essay and published it (limelight?) to be congratulated? That would seem to be a rather odd expectation from someone who had just found "The Truth".

Anyway, the last time I read his essay and my letter, all the sympathy was flowing in only one direction. Funny thing how that works, isn't it?

Charles, you're entitled to your opinions and please know that I have no problem with you wanting to share them here at Thought Theater. I welcome all points of view.

Take care Charles,

Daniel

22 On July 6, 2007 at 12:33 AM, Justin wrote —

Daniel,

Your response was articulated with clarity and great insight. However with that said- the tone of your open letter, while on the surface dry and intellectual, was truly rather hostile. You slapped Glatze with a fine glove rather than a rough gauntlet, if you will. And while I can certainly understand the offense you took at many of Glatze’s terse comments, I hate to see what could be an excellent, valuable dialogue turn into nothing more than a veiled attack. [I’m not questioning your right to be offended or to respond publicly- or even to attack back.]

I read the article, and not knowing world net to be a reputable news source, I googled the name and found your response. I actually find that I agree with you on some, if not most, of your observations; Glatze’s words and actions do seem to hint at needs for external affirmation. I could not find his essay on world net convincing- it felt forced, fabricated- I think one can even feel the emotional, intellectual, spiritual and social turbulence that still plagues Glatze- needing to preemptively defend himself “no matter how slick their tongues." Let me just state first that I am a Christian, and I actually do not doubt (or at very least do not presume to judge) the validity of his spiritual conversion. Nonetheless, I can sense the same flaws and psychological weaknesses you observed.

But if I may, I want to defend Glatze, not by directly supporting his conclusions, but by examining some important things you missed in your analysis because you were too focused on Glatze’s personal psychological flaws. Glazte’s very career attests to the pornographically driven marketing plan used to mainstream homosexuality and captivate questioning and ‘gay’ youth into a particular ideological fold. It is this world of ‘lust’ that has been Glatze’s very reality for however many years, and it is from this reality that he has reaped his conclusions. [I sincerely understand that many people’s homosexual journey (including, most likely, your own) has not been fueled by pretty magazines with scantily clad boys.] But the existence of such widely spread ‘pornographic propaganda’ should be the cause of great concern- and even more alarming, the wide acceptance of such hazardous material as a good and valuable tool to advance the ‘normality’ of homosexuality; it is becoming (and I believe it HAS become) the very face of homosexuality in the west. It is this very face, this very perception that is so widely accepted and applauded that Glatze is taking issue with- upon which Glatze has come to base his definition of homosexuality. Frankly, your response should not be toward people like Glatze, but toward the high minded community that peddles this junk. [I understand that not ALL people who seek to mainstream homosexuality sink to this level- its just that so many, if not most, do.]

There is so much more I wish to discuss, but I will leave my comments to that.

Thanks

23 On July 6, 2007 at 6:42 AM, Alex wrote —

Why single out "pretty magazines with scantily clad boys" as the face of homosexuality when one can just as easily assert that pretty magazines with scantily clad girls are the face of heterosexuality? Why the double standard? Using sexiness to sell is hardly a gay phenomenon. C'mon, when was the last time you saw Bea Arthur in a bikini on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition?

24 On July 6, 2007 at 8:55 AM, Dennis Doyle wrote —

As a heterosexual male with no regard to one's sexuality when forming an opinion of another, I cannot help but wonder if Michael Glatze has left a lustful lifestyle or "become straight", as some of my conservative friends have said. If he were now straight, would he not announce a great sexual relationship with a woman? Would he not, as most straight men I know, glory in that which most straight men glory? I am speaking of straight man's obsession with the vagina. I accept Michael Glatze's contention that lustful sex, homosexual or heterosexual, may be without love, but it is still great. Most of the time when I am making love to my wife, it is an act filled with love. However, sometimes it is just some good, old-fashioned, lustful fucking. I enjoy both. Has he had the same experience with a woman? I do not think so; what I believe is that Michael Glatze has given up lust, not homosexuality.

25 On July 6, 2007 at 9:20 AM, Ben in oakland wrote —

Justin: your comments reveal your own particular bias. As one writer has already observed, magazines with sscantily clad girls are not considered the face of heterosexuality. The straight world has defined gay people soley in terms of our sexual orientation, then acts surprised when this is what we produce and all that they can see. Tunnel vision does not vindicate the reality of the results of what you see when you look through a narrow tunnel. When gay people try to move the dialog to something different--such as love, marriage, an end to prejudice, and so forth-- we are told that those things are not for us, because all that we are is about sex. I like looking at cute boys with no clothes on, just as my straight male friends like to look at cute girls with no clothes on. Why does it have (according to your view) a different value for them than it does for me? your argument reminds me of the gay men who complain that being gay is all about sex, and there is no truthfulness or value in the gay community except for that. According to them, no one wants anything more than that. That is what they are looking for, and that is what they find. Michael Glatze is no exception to this

26 On July 6, 2007 at 10:21 AM, Ben in oakland wrote —

Daniel--i wanted to say that how you presented your arguments was JUST FABULOUS! In my debates with these sin-obsessed christo-supremacists, I have often wished for the clarity of your arguments. I've tried to make your points, but have not always been so successful. You've produced a very eloquent way to say "don't believe everything you think!" I've bookmarked the page for future reference. Many thanks.

27 On July 6, 2007 at 10:31 AM, kelli wrote —

The thought that comes to mind when I read Daniel's response is "The Skrewtape Letters". It has the condescending tone of the head demon chastizing the lesser. Do not be deceived.

28 On July 6, 2007 at 11:27 AM, Daniel wrote —

Thanks again to all who have commented...even those I disagree with.

I'm short on time at the moment but I wanted to offer a couple thoughts.

Justin,

Your "pornography" hypothesis is unfortunately an absurdity and indicative of the growing problem amongst Christians with regard to it.

I wrote about the issue not long ago after reading an article about a pastor, Craig Gross with XXXChurch.com, who is attempting to address the pervasive issue of pornography addiction in Christian men. You can find the posting titled, Icebergs & Identities: What Lies Beneath...here:

Icebergs & Identities: What Lies Beneath

Given my limited time, let me offer one important thought. Images do not form the heart...the heart will succumb to images dependent upon the degree to which it has at it's core sincerity and authenticity...hence pornography is a symptom; not the disease. Pornography is simply images of our sexuality...if one corrupts that beautiful "blessing" called sex with a suspect heart, it is the heart that has gone awry.

As I stated to Michael, your view of pornography is a result of what you bring in your heart...what you fear isn't the images on paper, it is the thoughts that are in your head and your heart.

Kelli,

First, it's "The Screwtape Letters". Second, you haven't a clue who I am and what is in my heart. On the other hand, it's clear what is in your heart...which, given the doctrine you espouse, would suggest that you, my friend, will have to answer to your god for that.

Perhaps you should ponder the degree to which your judgmental inclinations deceive you and expose the darkness that actually inhabits your being. I'm not sure you would be able to recognize a demon...unless of course, you happened to glance inward.

I welcome debate and dialogue, but I'm not inclined to accept ad hominem attacks. If you want to contribute to the discussion, please do. Otherwise, perhaps we should stop meeting like this?

Regards,

Daniel

29 On July 6, 2007 at 11:36 AM, Ben in oakland wrote —

Kelli: some food for thought for you. Why is it for OK a christo-hetero-supremacist to say "(I believe that) God said it, (I believe that) I believe it, and (as far as I am concerned, no further need for any questions or debate) that settles it". If I told you that your husband was sleeping with another woman, you would rightfully demand some actual evidence before you wnet to the divorce court. Why is it that when a gay person says, "I'm sorry, but I'm not buying that garbage for any number of theological, logical, scientific, factual, and moral reasons, all of which, when considered with an open mind, thoroughly negate your statement. Here's why!" that we're being condescending.' When a c-h-supremacist says, "Well, my beliefs about you and what I think some book might have to say about you trump the whole of your life experience, education, knowledge, self-knowledge, science, and principle, spiritual knowledge, religious experience etc etc etc because I believe that God said it etc etc etc." and "You're so addled by lust and sin that you couldn't possibly know what's right and what god wants. I, on the other hand, have been blessed by absolute knowledge and moral clarity, at least when it comes to what I think about you."
Honey-- you don't think that's condescending? The spiritual and moral arrogance of you presuming the easy and absolute truthiness of those two statements is entirely condescending and bankrupt in more ways than I care to count. People like Michael Glatz by the kind of reasoning because they do not, as Daniel has so eloquently demonstrated, actually address the real and obvious issues. Honey, don't believe everything you think.
I've read CS Lewis--probably every book he ever wrote except for the Allegory of love. Reading Lewis very nearly converted me to Christianity when I was a young man. So i think that i could say with some authority that Lewis would say the very condescending nature of how c-h-supremacists see gay people and our issues is in fact a path to damnation. Self-serving moralizing, hypocrisy, condemnation, judgment, and ignoring the real world, science, knowledge, and compassion are not a spiritual path he would ever endorse.
I absolutely believe that Michael glatz led a life addled by lust and sin, and that he is now attempting to remake his life into something that works for him. Lust, unrestrained by self-examination, slef-knowledge, and self-restraint where appropriate, is indeed destructive,like drunkeness. But his sin was not his gayness. his sin was strictly against himself for failing to do what is best for him and his life, and has nothing to do with his beling gay. plenty of heterosexuals do exactly the same thing, but they don't leave heterosexuality, simply because that is not actually the source of their problems. Daniel is simply saying that Michael's problems are not because he is gay, nor is he gay because of his problems, nor is being gay the problem.
Isaid this in an earlier posting: "When I came out after years of trying not to be gay, that was the greatest liberation I ever experienced. Somehow, Jesus neevr found the time to tell me i was wrong, but blessed me with a wonderful husband, a good life, many friends,and A TRUCKLOAD OF FULFILLMENT. I have been a happy gay person ever since. The only source of my unhappiness is "good Christians" who have nothing better to do than to tell me that somehow my whole life's experiences are wrong. You so-called Christians now pursue gay people with the same absolute moral certainty that you are doing/expressing god's will with which you used to burn witches-- and other Christian heretics-- and with about as much basis in reality. When you have achieved Moral Perfection, then you may feel free to comment on my lack of it. Oh, wait. that's just what Jesus had to say, isn't it."

  • Edited per the following message by Thought Theater

30 On July 6, 2007 at 11:39 AM, Ben in oakland wrote —

sorry- last paragraph. Second daniel should have been michael

31 On July 6, 2007 at 11:55 AM, Ben in oakland wrote —

I do have one more thought, and then I really have to get some work done. This whole thing is not really about God's alleged word. It is about prejudice, and nothing but prejudice, given a thin veneer of respectability by organized rleigion and right-wing politicians.
Here's how I know this. As a Jew, I reject the Christian story, and as a thinking human being, I reject so called Biblical morality, which any thinking person who has read the thing and thought about it can see is barely biblical certainly not moral. (Those babies whom god murdered in the flood were not sinners needing to be punished. They couldn't commit a sin even if they wanted to. WHO really sinned here?)This bothers the religious beliefs of no one but the most rabid fundamentalist, nor would any but the most clueless dare say so in public for fear of rightly being called a religious bigot. But let me say that I'm gay and reject just this tiniest part of conservative Christian belief, and suddenly, religious beliefs are offended, any pretenses to logic, reason science, or even theology (irony of ironies) are thrown out, letters to editor are written, right wing ministers make a lot of money, and right-wing politicans get elected and make a lot of money as well.
As I said in an earlier post: Honey, it's just sex. If you spend the same obsession on war, hunger, poverty, corruption, bigotry, religious intolerance, the environment, (some of which Jesus actually addressed) that you spend on screaming about our sex lives (which Jesus NEVER addressed, despite its paramount important to christo-hetero-supremacists) and denying us what you take for granted, what a better world this would be.

But you won't, because this is just a lot more fun and a lot easier. It is ssooooooo much easier to follow the words of the bible than it is to follow the words of Jesus

32 On July 6, 2007 at 11:58 AM, Daniel wrote —

The following was sent to Thought Theater by Michael Glatze:

To My Friends Who Are Trapped In Homosexuality By Michael Glatze

Dear friend,

Thank you for your kind comments and keen observations regarding my story and my revelation about no longer being homosexual and now being heterosexual. I thank you for the time that you have spent in considering this issue, deeply, and with great passion. God loves you.

God is right there, within you, whether you like to see Him or not.
Can you humble yourself to Him? It's a really nice feeling. I know that, in some small way, you want to. We all do. We don't like being separated from our Father; it makes us sad and lonely, forcing us to be angry, to act out, to get vulgar… well, I won't go on; many of you have already demonstrated, on your blog comments, exactly what I'm talking about.

God love you, Yes! He does! And, He wants you to be free from homosexuality. God made us men and women. Think about that; you could – really – be a man or a woman! Not a strange creature… but, real!

That's awesome…

Change is very difficult and takes a lot of inner strength. Do you have that strength? I promise you that the Gay Identity does not exist, that it is a fabrication of mankind (look it up, if you don't believe me), and that you are not "trapped" in same-sex-orientation.

To believe that you are Gay is to be stupid. I'm sorry, if that sounds cruel; it's not cruel. To believe that you are a false identity, created by man, unnaturally, to participate in social engineering, is to be stupid.

It's not the acts, as much as it is the Identity. No one ever told you that, before, because they wanted to feed you with the lie that homosexuality is a set thing. Any intelligent "homosexual" knows there's no fixed Gay Identity. If you don't believe me, ask the theorists or "intellectuals."

Gay Identity has been packaged and fed to you, and – if you believe yourself to be "Gay" – you have eaten it, preventing you from further growth and understanding of your true and real self.

Coming out from under this packaged lie requires strong self-confidence and will and desire to know the Truth. Yes, Truth is capitalized. It is that way for a reason. There is only one Truth.

That one Truth is the fact that you are beautiful, perfect, and glorious, in the image of He who created you… God. There is only one God. I know it may be hard for you to get your head around the paradoxical nature of God… but, He is everywhere "out there" and – at the same time – right inside your soul. He sees and knows you. He loves you.

He wants you to be free of homosexuality. I promise you that. He's rooting for you; He knows you can do it. Remember, He loves you! He's not judging you – those angry voices in your mind, planted there by Satan, might scream and judge and ridicule – but, no; He's not judging you. He has patience. He'll give you strength. All you have to do is pray to Him.

Prayer and love – True Love, my dear friends – requires total humility. Can you do that?

I know, in my heart, that all homosexuals desire to be free.

It is a new world, one in which the lie will not stand much longer.

The tide is turning. Be not afraid! It's a good change! Jesus will come. And, when that day happens, will you be – truly – yourself!?

Or, will you be a demon, trapped in a fabrication not your own, lusting and hating and destroying your soul to hell? Consider this one last thing: all the love you may believe you feel for yourself or for someone else, while trapped in the homosexual mindset, is a grain of sand on the beach of the love that you could feel. Healing is possible. When you chose to go there, you know who to call on for help. His name is Jesus Christ.

Michael Glatze

33 On July 6, 2007 at 12:01 PM, Ben in oakland wrote —

Damn!!! Daniel-- you did it again--exactly what I was trying to say to Kelli. you keep doing that, and i'll have to give up writing.

34 On July 6, 2007 at 12:06 PM, Ben in oakland wrote —

Michael: the same six words belie everything you say. Ted Haggard. Paul Barnes. Lonnie Latham.
And the lives of every poor sucker who has ever bought your twisted set of beliefs. come out of your ex=gayness, accept who you are, and start making choices that actually make your life work, instead of insisting that you're problems are really eveyrone's problems.

35 On July 6, 2007 at 12:20 PM, Anonymous wrote —

The elusive "gay gene".

From What It Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee: Apes, People, and Their Genes By Jonathan M. Marks.

on the Hamer Study

"...The tricky design of the study makes it very sensitive to a few families matching or not, because the key scientific question is not "Do we have a gene for homosexuality?" but a surrogate question: "Is our 83% result sufficiently different from 50% to be meaningful?" A follow-up study by a different group found no such difference at all. Another follow-up by the original researchers found the difference now to be 67% rather than 83%, quite a bit closer to the 50% expected at random.
Nevertheless, best-sellers were written; careers and fortunes were made. "Born Gay?" Time asked on July 26, 1993. And the "gay gene"—which has never subsequently been found—entered the popular mind as a fact of science.
For me, however, the most interesting aspect of the study was the scope of the actual claim. How much homosexuality did these researchers believe they had actually explained with their study? From the publicity, you might expect the figure to be 90%. Or perhaps a more conservative 70%—perhaps they had explained over two-thirds of the homosexuality in our species, which would certainly merit headlines.
In fact, however, when I posed that very question at a conference in 1996, the answer was very different. It came in two parts. First, the result, according to the researchers, was ostensibly only about male homosexuality and had no relevance at all for female homosexuality; and, second, they believed they had explained about 5% of male homosexuality.
Five percent.
If we make a simplifying assumption that male and female homosexuality exist in the universe in equal proportions, then at best— assuming that homosexuality is a property of a person, not of an act, and assuming all the statistical issues raised are invalid, and assuming there is actually a gene there—they would have accounted for 2.5% of homosexuality in our species.
The third rule of molecular anthropology: There is no science other than behavioral genetics in which you can leave 97.5% of a phenomenon unexplained and get headlines.
That is the most obvious indicator of the cultural power and meaning of this work, and why it needs to be considered very carefully and regarded very skeptically. Virtually any claim, no matter how ridiculously small, can grab headlines. The question is not, "Do you believe homosexuality is genetic?" After all, the Constitution of the United States guarantees you the right to believe anything you want. The question is, "What have we actually shown scientifically about it?"
And the answer is, almost nothing.

36 On July 6, 2007 at 2:17 PM, Ben in oakland wrote —

Michael: i should have said this as well. Those three men have stories to tell, and the truth of their stories has far more weight to it than the story that you are trying to convince yourself is true

37 On July 6, 2007 at 2:27 PM, dreamdzign@yahoo.com wrote —

Being GAY is NOT the problem.
A response to: How a 'gay rights' leader became straight

I’ve been a silent participant in this life and human struggle. But I felt compelled to respond to a recent article on worldnetdaily.com as well.

Like many homosexual men, I “lived the lifestyle" through my late teens up through my early 30’s. Some of the things Michael Glatze points out about the homosexual condition, I completely agree with. For instance, lust and pornography are highly prevalent in our culture and I for one felt I was always in a highly charged state of sexual anxiety by living this lifestyle and reading any “respectable" gay magazine or literature. It was hard to get past the ads for doctors, dentists, life insurance, even the most silly service attached to pictures of almost naked men with perfect, chiseled bodies. Who wouldn’t be able to resist thoughts of lust and fantasies.

But that does not make homosexuality wrong. Heterosexuals have hundreds of magazines that display the human body in exactly the same, objectifying way, and no one questions their normality. What makes it wrong is when we act on our lustful thoughts and feelings – when we lose self control.

I came out at 17 years old, but I knew I was “different" as far back as I can remember, my earliest memory is about 4 years old. I had frequent gay thoughts throughout my early years of 5 to 10 years old. I can’t possibly believe this lifestyle is environmentally influenced. I have always believed it was natural and genetic. Regardless, I still hated myself for being this way.

About 8 years ago now, I was on Google attempting to find ways to painlessly end my life. I was fed up with being gay; I knew there was no way I could change. I was working for a Christian company at the time, and the literature at work and constant guilt I was feeling was too much for me to take anymore. I figured that if I ended my life instead of continuing to do what I was doing, maybe God could forgive me and would understand my decision was the best one to stop my “acting out". Like an idiot though, I did this Google browsing while at work. I didn’t know it at the time, but the company had installed monitoring software to watch their employees Internet and email usage. I was red-flagged right away.

After finding a solution I could attempt online, at 4:55 my desk phone rang and I could see it was the president of the company on the caller ID. I had no idea that he knew what was going on in my mind that I was going to do that night. I answered with no knowledge of what to expect. He asked me if I had a moment to come into his office, which I answered “of course".

When I got there, the head of Human Resources was waiting with him. I thought I was about to be fired. I knew my performance had been lacking as my depression over life had taken over. I would have never imagined the sequence of events that then happened.

They told me they knew what I was planning to do. And they wanted to help me! I was aghast. I instantly broke down — it was uncontrollable. I could not stop crying and it all spilled out of me. I told them I was gay and living with a man, that I couldn’t stop my acting out behaviors (I’ll explain later), and that I was miserable with my life, my decisions, being gay and I hated myself and my community. I wanted out, and I thought the only escape was death. I was HIV positive because of my own actions and there was no hope. I wanted to be in heaven because I was living in hell.

They both embraced me, telling me how much I was needed, loved and wanted here on earth. That God has a plan for me, a unique plan just for my life. They offered help, and a way out. They located a NARTH (National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality) Psychologist for me, and even paid for my visits. I started the route to “recovery". I found a church that had an EXODUS program in it, and went to individual and group sessions. During this time, as fate would have it, God did have a plan for my life. It was when I met my husband of almost 8 years now.

I did the ex-gay thing for about 6 months. When I realized it was not working for me, I stopped and of course, soon after that I lost my job. It would take about 6 more years before I came to realize the real problem.

After I met my husband, we instantly settled into suburban life, setting up a home, building a life together. I had a new job; I was honest with him about everything up front. I was HIV positive, a whore, narcissist, and had never been faithful to anyone in my life. He was HIV negative, had never been in a relationship, and I was his first love. I came to learn later that he was mine too.

This gets me into what I call the “gay condition". During my late teen’s and up through about 33 years old, I was meeting men online, through phone sex lines, AOL, Gay.com, print ads in the local gay newspaper — anything I could do to avoid any pain.

My being gay didn’t start this way of course. I started off going to a gay teen group, I met a boyfriend, starting going out on dates. All the stuff that had been denied me throughout high school. I was a Senior when I started dating my first lover. I was in a constant state of euphoria. The problem was that because it had been denied me all my life, it was all I could think about. I felt like I could barely breath unless I could be near him. I left home 6 weeks before I graduated to move in with him and his Mom. I finished high school, my but grades were terrible. I was consumed by being with him that it literally made me crazy and ended up driving him away. Soon I learned how great it was to go clubbing and drinking away my sorrow with friends. And then how great it would be to find someone new who wanted me, and the cycle began.

I would have boyfriends and lovers, but all the while cheating on them. I could never get enough. I would often stay up all night until I found a hook-up. I would hook-up multiple times a day if I could. All I wanted was to be filled by men, as much as I could. I went from being safe at the beginning to right away only finding men who would top me bareback. I didn’t want it any other way. It had to have the illusion of something intimate, no matter how horrible the situation may have been.

I got into poppers when I was losing interest in sex. Of course, I could no longer maintain an erection, but that didn’t matter, I was a bottom. I experimented with Pot, X, Crystal, Cocaine, Speed, and a few others that I honestly don’t know what they were, but I took them because they were offered.

In June of 1997, my lover at the time found out that I was cheating. I was terrified of being alone, and that he would leave me, so we starting seeing a counselor. He told me right away I was a sex addict. No way, I thought. I’m not addicted to this. But I started going to a local SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous) group so I wouldn’t lose my lover. I needed to appear like I was doing something to help our relationship and therefore myself. I continued cheating the whole time, just being more careful and hiding my tracks better. I finally left therapy, SAA and him 3 months later.

In November of 1997 I became HIV positive. I had the worst flu I had ever experienced in my life right after Thanksgiving that year. I called a friend to take me to the hospital ER because my fever was over 105 degrees and my sweat was literally leaving blue stains on my sheets. I didn’t know what was going on. After spending the night in the ER on IV fluids, back home the next day I looked in the mirror and just told myself “You have it". I didn’t need a test, I knew I was HIV positive. After a week of this flu, it went away and I felt back to normal. I started back with the sex, and continued to never play it safe. I just didn’t care about myself anymore or anyone else. I told myself if they want to stick it in me unwrapped, that is their business.

I was well into this chain reaction living when I wanted to kill myself and my job found out. After I met my husband, for six years I continued this activity and life-threatening choices. I never played safe; I never told anyone I was positive. My husband began to suspect, but I tried ever harder to convince him that he was wrong and I was faithful. In June of 2005, it all came to a head, and he finally confronted me before I was about to head out of town for a family trip. I had programmed in some numbers into my cell phone of some guys I was planning on meeting up with during my trip that I had met online. I finally cracked and told him everything. It has been a rough two years for both of us, but we made it through. I finally learned the lesson that I was unwilling to learn years ago. I was a sex addict, and I was deeply hooked.

Being gay was never the issue. It was not what was wrong with me or what made me abnormal. What caused this fracture of self-hate was my growing sex addiction that grew from hate and abandonment over being different growing up and turning to the only thing I could get my hands on cheaply and easily to take away the pain of living and hating myself.

Looking back over the thousands of encounters I have had, I couldn’t help but think I was lost as a human being. I recall the saying that we’ve all heard that every time you sleep with someone else you leave a piece of yourself with them. I had no soul, no self left. After almost 2 years of SAA now, and a fantastic counselor, not to mention a very understanding and loving husband (who is still HIV negative), I have myself back, and I can finally sense the plan God has for my life.

I do consider myself a Christian. But instead of trying to understand countless passages in a book written by so many that claim to have written it while being influenced by the hand of God, and then finally put together by a Roman Empire Pagan council (rejecting many books of the Bible that we’ve never even read or seen) I made my peace with God. I decided that the only way this religion thing could work for me was to never go to church, never listen to anyone else about it, and make my own opinion. His son was sent to earth with ONE message for us all. We can be saved if we just believe. Once you accept that, and you ask him into your heart, that’s it, it’s a done deal, you are saved. His Golden Rule? To love one another as we love ourselves. Look around the world, our nation, our communities, the news, any media outlet, ourselves. Where is the Golden Rule being applied? Being GAY is NOT the problem. The world is losing its capacity to love one another at a rate far greater than any other time in history.

No, the entire gay community is not sex addicts. But I have to admit, the gay community does have a knack for free and uncommitted sex. I’ve described it many times that gay sex is just a like a handshake. It’s almost how we greet each other. We see an instant attraction (lust), act on it, and it’s no big deal because we are men. We don’t have those emotional attachments to sex; it’s just getting off. The problem is that it is not love, and where there is lack of real love, there is lack of the love of self. Self-hatred invades our culture like a virus spreading and growing and destroying our credibility and us. But I do not blame the gay culture for this, nor can we peg this on heterosexuals. The problem is not with one sexual identity; the problem is human nature period. Sex sells, our culture demands it, just about any company in the world who advertises understands that. And we’ve let it happen.

I was tired of feeling so sexually charged all the time. So I don’t go out to clubs hardly at all; my husband and I will go out about once every 6 months. I don’t read certain magazines; and I’m not talking about porn, even the most “safe" seeming publication can be filled with ads full of hot bodies. For myself, I prefer to not have them around me. I use my DVR a lot (digital video recorder) so I can skip as much advertising as possible. I prefer movies over TV anyway as most shows are Reality TV crap or another episode of who slept with who, who screwed who over, or who killed who. As my distance to advertising and our human culture grows, so does my love for myself, and my husband. I wish the message of love would grow, but I know in my heart for events to unfold the way they are supposed to, it will only continue to get worse. All I can do is voice my concerns and hope someone listens. I don’t judge culture, I’m not called to that purpose, nor is it my place. But I can voice my concerns.

I used to joke about those couples that would disappear from “society" once they hooked up. But now I understand that the only way to work on my relationship, continue to grow genuine love and maintain a healthy home life, is to stay as disconnected from the rest of the human condition happening around me as possible. It’s not hiding from the world, but protecting myself from it. It’s not about being GAY or saying it is wrong, it is about staying NORMAL in an abnormal world.

I hope my words are not misread. I certainly don’t mean to say that the entire gay community are sex addicts. That is simply not true, but I have the courage to admit my identity was fragmented by self-hate and it developed into a horrible range of coping skills. Gay or straight, I know I was not alone.

38 On July 6, 2007 at 2:42 PM, Alex wrote —

"To believe that you are Gay is to be stupid."

I can't believe I'm being called stupid by someone with so little common sense that he had to join a cult in order to stop his own irresponsible, immoderate, self-destructive debauchery.

39 On July 6, 2007 at 7:47 PM, Richard wrote —

To Daniel. The greatest thing about God (that's God, not god) is that whether you believe in Him or not, it does not change the fact that He is real. Maybe one day you'll challenge Him to show Himself to you. And maybe one day He will.

40 On July 6, 2007 at 10:32 PM, Jim wrote —

This is a fascinating debate, especially so when observing the difference in tone between the two sides. I wish I could put my finger on the nature of that difference...

One thing that has not yet been addressed is the damage done to (and by) people who are coerced into suppressing their sexuality. Anyone who has experience in counseling or self-help groups, as well as most gay people, can probably tell horrible stories of lives destroyed and potential unrealized.

I have one close friend who, in my opinion, has been successfully fighting the "demon" of homosexuality all his life. It is a life of alcoholism, an abandoned child, three desparate attempts at marriage (the third to a woman with whom he did not share a common language), and most recently his joining a Christian missionary youth organization and a permanent move to a third-world nation. His life has been one of flight from situations that suddenly become too uncomfortable to tolerate. Christianity, which he has adopted with cultlike intensity in recent years, seems to be working for him now, but I'm expecting it to get critically uncomfortable any day now (especially surrounded by all those Christian youth -- funny how that works). It pains me to consider the decades of chaos and unhappiness he has endured, and caused others, in his attempt to deny his innate identity. Like many in his situation, his denial is such that I'm quite certain he has no idea what is really going on.

I've understated and been vague about things in an attempt to respect my friend's privacy. But I hope the message comes through: that there are many, many people who live severely diminished lives in the "successful" pursuit of a "normal" life.

41 On July 6, 2007 at 11:45 PM, William Anderson wrote —

Dear Mr. DiRito, your letter was, on the surface, respectable. However, there are some substantial clarifications that need to be made. First, you attempt to minimize the challenge to the homosexual agenda done by Mr. Glatze's witness to his personal journey by trying to marginalize the relevance and impact of his statements. Indeed, one reason why Mr. Glatze's statements ring so true is because the experiences he articulates are shared by all people who have lived and are now leaving a gay lifestyle. Mr. Glatze’s statements hold weight exactly because those experiences are not restricted to him nor a small contingent of the “gay gone straight" set, nor one might say of the gay community as a whole. More men and women are sharing their stories, and the fact that those stories share so much in common establishes that the data is both personal and objective. Consequently, the gay lobby, for lack of a better term for the moment, should honestly contend with the relevance of these personal stories without resorting to dismissive tactics. There is objective data that cannot be so easily dismissed by any subtle ad hominum attacks on Mr. Glatze. Mr. Glatze is relaying his first hand account of a lifestyle that terminates in everything Mr. Glatze mentioned in his letter. People’s experiences can be objective AND personal. You, however, have attempted to marginalize Mr. Glatze’s statements by creating an unnecessary dichotomy between experience and empirical or objective assessment. Mr. Glatze, again, has given a very personal AND objective assessment of his experiences and, by virtue of having shared those experiences with others in the gay community, one must acknowledge that Mr. Glatze is confirming actual experiences and talking about men with whom he has shared a gay lifestyle, and that those same men and their actions have contributed to the rational conclusions that Mr. Glatze has expressed in his letter. Finally, just because Mr. Glatze has used language that may seem harsh to those who promote the gay lifestyle, there is no reason to dismiss the accuracy of the content of his statements. Mr. Glatze has accurately articulated the gay experience, and he - now a former gay activist - has used language by which many others are sure to recognize the difficult task of justifying a lifestyle that is characterized not so much by real self knowledge and authentic sexual complementarity and relationship as it is a propping up of an confused identity that is manufactured by inclusion in a dynamic that depends on mimetic rivalry. The violence and brokenness at the heart of homosexual relationships that Mr. Glatze has articulated is confirmation of that mimetic rivalry between men, men who assume confused sexual roles in order to reconcile within themselves a rivalry that, according to René Girard and others, is irreconcilable unless one resorts to violence (of one type or kind) done to self or another person. Those same violent tendencies may be seen in the deflections of gay activists who attempt to scapegoat ex-gays by reducing a person to the sum of his failed attempts to deal with “personal demons". Rather than confronting the reason why he (Mr. Glatze) was controlled by those “demons", you have not seen one of Mr. Glatze’s main arguments - i.e., that he was blinded by a homosexual lifestyle that, based on his experience, blinds everyone who engages in a similar lifestyle, thus making attempts to extricate one’s self from such a lifestyle very difficult and frequently opposed by unsympathetic or hostile activists. Mr. Dirito, you have not really addressed the source of those “demons", as you put it. Mr. Glatze is honestly contending with his early challenges and he further contends that those same challenges (“demons") have been exacerbated by the gay lifestyle. Mr. Glatze, by giving his forthright eyewitness account of the gay lifestyle, is refusing to participate in a culture, i.e., gay culture, which by its very nature is a culture in which people do violence to each other: emotional violence, sexual and physical violence, intellectual and spiritual violence.

42 On July 7, 2007 at 7:59 AM, Rainbow Demon wrote —

Fascinating. It never ceases to amaze me how totally predictable and parochial people of certain persuasions can be.

One should never pretend to say that [s]he alone has the answer to the way things should be. I never could understand this trait in others, or where they get the wherewithall to impose their views on another that they deem 'inferior' to themselves. (and yes, this attitude is manifest in the discussion above).

Belief and Faith are personal to each individual, and should never be obtruded or paraded about as collective or universal 'Truth'. If you find solace in your book, by all means read it - and don't impose your conclusions on others that it may or may not include in its pages.

No one is right or wrong here:
Michael has written how he feels (publicly),
Daniel has responded in kind (rather eloquently)
...and everyone has a right to their opinion.
I might add that the discussion is compelling.

Peace,
=RD=

43 On July 7, 2007 at 9:04 AM, Alex wrote —

"I never could understand this trait in others, or where they get the wherewithall to impose their views on another that they deem 'inferior' to themselves. (and yes, this attitude is manifest in the discussion above)."

I think it ultimately boils down to fear of death and the existential angst of being self-aware yet solely identified with the temporal I/me construct. The only constant in this realm of duality, of relative existence, is change. There is no certainty to be found here. So mankind invents and seeks comfort in arbitrarily declared absolutes that are backed by the authority of superstition and magical thinking. A stronger mind can be content to take comfort with the declared absolute as subjective truth. However, the weaker mind, in its craving for pseudo-certainty, needs to project subjective truth as Objective Universal Truth in order to uphold the illusion of certainty and absoluteness.

44 On July 7, 2007 at 10:49 AM, Ben in oakland wrote —

William Anderson:Pretty hard to sift through the density of your prose, but i will make these comments.

Michael Glatze statements: personal? Undoubtedly. Objective. I doubt it. That is Daniel's point. I've known very few gay people in my life who have the issues michael expresses. But they are happy people. Michaels' issues are characteristic of those who seek to blame the unhappiness in their lives on their homosexuality, or their homosexuality on their unhappiness. Neither is true. There are happy homosexuals and unahppy heterosexuals. Accepting Jesus has nothing to do with it. Lonnie Latham. Paul Barnes. Ted Haggard. There is more truth in their stories than there is in Michael's attempts to convince himself that the story he is making up about himself is true.
Bradley Schmeling. Gene Robinson. Troy Perry. Jane Spahr. Rich Danyluk. Now there you have some people speaking up for truth.

You: to assume that my homosexuality has blinded me says more about you than it does about me. I will say that your anti-gay attitudes have blinded you to truth. Being gay opened my eyes to all sorts of things that you are clearly incapable of seeing. but then, if you could see those truths, you would actually have to think for yourself and be responsible for your own life.

Your bias is made clear by these statements: "The violence and brokenness at the heart of homosexual relationships". "gay culture, which by its very nature is a culture in which people do violence to each other: emotional violence, sexual and physical violence, intellectual and spiritual violence.'

Huh?

Funny, my life, and the life of just about every gay person I know, is nothing like that. But then, we don't buy the line that you're selling. You have, and michael has, and so, it's true for you. Your whole diatribe is nothing but emotional, spiritual, and intellectual violence. The sad part is, you're doing it to yourself. It is nothing to do with being gay.

Next you'll be telling me that you love me as a sinner, but hate my sin. What bullshit. There is no way to say this nicely-- you have your head stuck up your ass, and the only thing you can see is shit. You have bought the whole ex-gay line. You cloak what you have to say in academic, formal, high-sounding language, but at the heart of what you have to say is simple fear and self hatred, an attempt to make whatever experiences you have had and misinterpeted-- or blamed on being gay-- as universal as you can, all in the vain hope of avoiding any responsbility in your own life for your own happiness.

and that was daniel's point.

Actually, though, you might say that I too love the sinner and hate the sin. I hate what you do, that you try to make your misery and unhappiness universal, attempting to deny the rest of us our chance at happiness and peace because you need validation for your choices and beliefs. I feel badly for you and for michael, that your lives have been so twisted by religion and fear and prejudice. I wish that some day you'll come to accepting who you are and creating a life for yourself that is not about "emotional violence, sexual and physical violence, intellectual and spiritual violence."

If that is how you see homosexuality, then that is what you are creating in your life.

45 On July 7, 2007 at 10:55 AM, hannah wrote —

I first heard about Michael Glatze yesterday when a member of my church sent me a message on facebook "Check this out guys! A gay activist, turned to Christ and disclaimed his homosexuality! God is good!" I think what Michael Glatze did is "ABSOULOTLY FABLOUS", it is so amazing to see the sins that God almighty can liberated even the most lost of souls from and i think it will open up the doors for many other people chained down with sin to see what God can do and become free.I know from reading through these comments that there are many people who disagree, and you may try to accuse me of being judgemental, prejudice and then turn around to call me "christo-hetero-supremacist" or use other ways to digrade christainity as you have done to every other christain who have voice thier opinoin in peacful non- prejudice ways or bring up certain christain leaders who have lost thier as an examaple of all christains (this would be the same as me saying all gays have unprotected sex and are bound to get aids), But i choose to voice my opinion none the less.My very best friend is bisexual and I still love her just the same as I did before she came out of the closet, but i still voice my opinion to her, tell about god and continue to pray for her liberation everyday. I abousoltly intend on telling her about Mr.Glatze and pray it will be a witness in her life. As i will pray for all homsexauls living in sin and everyone elese in this world ,including my self because everyone sins everyday the only difference between me and you is i try to elinmate it as much as possible and you accept name it as the way you are, and genetics. So to Michael Glatze thank so much for sharing your story I know that as much as they may oppose you or deny the fact ,your testimoniy will give that little bit of light many homeosexual need to start the begininng of the end of this stage in thier life. GOD IS GOOD!! God bless

46 On July 7, 2007 at 11:11 AM, Seth wrote —

What a load of psychobabble in post #41 and concluding with "i.e., gay culture, which by its very nature is a culture in which people do violence to each other: emotional violence, sexual and physical violence, intellectual and spiritual violence," really takes the cake.

The ONLY physical, intellectual and spiritual violence I've experienced as a gay male has been hurled at me by my father, my classmates and rednecks on the street. They all shared your conviction that their view of the world is the correct one and somehow this gives them the right to impose their beliefs on me through force, whether verbal or physical.

But then, I'd expect nothing less from a cult that glorifies torture and death on a cross as a path to salvation from themselves.

47 On July 7, 2007 at 11:52 AM, Ben in oakland wrote —

For hannah: When I use the words "christo-hetero-supremacist" I am not seeking to degrade Christianity. Christians have been doing that quite well all by themselves. You need no help from me.
It is a description of your beliefs that Christianity is the only valid belief system, that your particular version of Christianity (when it comes to sexuality) is the only valid version of Christianity, and that heterosexuality is the only valid sexuality, in your eyes or god's. Underlying all of this is the belief of Christians like you who assume that it is their religion's right and role in the world to control sexuality in the first place, whether for people who believe like you, or those who do not.

Religious people have been murdering and torturing each other for centuries, and inflicting their misery on the rest of us simply because we don't share their particularly twisted view of the world. If you religious peiople cannot agree on the nature of god and his message to the world, why should I think that you finally have it irght when it comes to your religious opinions about gay people?

Though I think Christianity and its view of itself is silly, sex-phobic, non-historical, mythlogical, and ultimately very destructive of peace, health, and happiness, don't take it personally. Rest assured I think the same of most religious belief, and I have no objection to you believing it. It's a free country.

Where I draw the line is your belief that just because you believe something, I should have to believe it, too, and welcome its destructiveness into my life simply because you think I should, and that your beliefs should govern my health and happiness to the exclusion of what I know to be true.

And, as I will never tire of pointing out, despite the central place that homo-hatred-- or as you are pleased to call it, love-the-sinner-and-hate-the-sin-- has for so many bible-believers, Jesus had absolutely NOTHING to say about it. He was quite clear about keeping your eyes off the sins of others.

As i said in an earlier post: "You so-called Christians now pursue gay people with the same absolute moral certainty that you are doing/expressing god's will with which you used to burn witches-- and other Christian heretics-- and with about as much basis in reality. When you have achieved Moral Perfection, then you may feel free to comment on my lack of it. Oh, wait. that's just what Jesus had to say, isn't it."

48 On July 7, 2007 at 12:49 PM, hannah wrote —

Ben
I'm sorry if you misinterperteded my comment. No where in what i wrote did I say I'm perfect and right and you're wrong; however, I do recall saying "As i will pray for all homsexauls living in sin and everyone elese in this world ,including my self because everyone sins everyday." I do agree that I myself and no other Christians in this world are perfect, as well as many other versions of Christianity due to misinterpretations of the Bible, though the Bible does clearly state God's views on homosexuality (Romans chapter 1, verses 24 -27). I do not think you were just in your reply to categorize my religion under the same umbrella as Christians of the past who persecuted others. I am not a religious person, I am a person of faith who tries to live as a disciple of God, opposed to someone who is just living by rules and regulations. I do not wish to judge you as a person because of the choice you may have made in your life regarding sexuality. I am sure you have many great attributes as well as every other homosexual in the world. I simply wrote my comment to express my opinion on the choice that Michael Glatze has made. I wish you well in your life and pray that God will help you find your way as he helped Michael.

49 On July 7, 2007 at 1:07 PM, Jessica wrote —

For Ben: THis is the first time I have ever heard of Michael Glatze, and I willl admit that I was impressed by his courage to stand up for what he believed. He has amazing courage todo a complete 180 degree turn and become heterosexual, as well as a Christian.

What I have to ask is WHY? If us Christians are so dogmatic, and have a sickly twisted view on "how the world should be run", then why did such a stauch supporter become a Christian?

Also I would like to point out a little error that you made in your comment. You made reference that Christians and "religious" people twist the world. I would like to differenciate the difference between religous people and Christianity.
Now, all religions are not the same. Born-again Christians try to follow God and have a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. Now religious people, and even some "Christians" are serving a set of rules that they claim makes their "religion". The mistake is that, all religions aren't the same, and you can't clump them all together. Islam, Buddism )whatever you like) follows a dead man/men....Muhammad was a man who started a religion and then he died, leaving a trail of followers who worship his dead body. Christians claim to serve a God who is living and omniscience, never-ending. So you can see how there is a large difference between religions, and again, I think it isn't right to clump everyone all together.

Also, in order to make a claim so great as "Jesus said nothing about it, and that he told us to overlook people's sins", you need to do some homework.
When Jesus was on earth He pointed out in several places the sanctity of marriage between ONE man and ONE woman (Mark 10:4-12). He talks about how holy such a bond is. Later on in Romans 1 verses 27-32 it talks about how God does not like (read it for yourself and see exactly what God had to say about homosexuality) homosexuality. Also thousands of years before God made many references about homosexuality and what He thought about it.(Through the laws to the children of Israel, and in HIs dealings with mankind over the years)

I think that you are confusing religious poeple, with Christians (like I earlier said). Religious poeple work on a set of laws that they can use and bend to their own purposes, but a born-again Christian live strictly to what God says. When Jesus was on earth He would sit with the prostitutes and talk to them, He loved them...but He would lovingly point out their sin and their faults. THis is the way a true Christian is supposed to act. We're not supposed to brainwash you, or kill you like some religious fanatics do....we are supposed to love the person while showing you what God says about your life-style and try to gently show you God's love.

I would like to also respond to some of the other blogs and comments as well. When people talk about Christianity they think of killing and torture. I would like to point out that most of these acts of inhumain cruelty were done by old bishops and popes of the past, who killed because they wanted power and who knows what all else. If you look in the Bible you will see that God never, ever encouraged such terrible acts. Jesus actually encouraged being gentle with people and UN-JUDGING. He did encourage loving the person, but disliking the sin.

The Christianity that Michael Glatze has found isn't some "cult" where we all chant and make vows to kill someone (I'm being sarcastic), the faith that Michael has now found, is a hope in Jesus Christ that he will be able to live in heaven after he dies. Also while we are born again Christians, we aren't perfect (we are human), the difference is that we have Jesus who helps us live better lives by having a personal relationship with Him. It isn't a killer cult where we kill everyone...it is a relationship of love between a great God and His creation.

50 On July 7, 2007 at 2:57 PM, Alex wrote —

Glatze was baptized into the LDS church, which is certainly regarded by some (many?) as a cult.

http://wthrockmorton.com/2007/07/04/interview-with-michael-glatze/

51 On July 7, 2007 at 3:00 PM, Andrea wrote —

For Ben:

Ok, I can understand why you are may be upset by the whole Michael Glatze, Homosexuals have been fighting for rights for a very long time and its people like Michael that damper on "your" progress. However, Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that he may be right? If you have been so called "born" with the genetics that cause homosexuality, would it not take a powerful force to change that?
I do not belive in religion, now don't take this to be good on your part for I do belive in the bible and what God and Jesus say.
I could quote you scriptures but I doubt that would be helpful so let me give you a real life example. In the bible Paul talks about "preverted sex" Now let me go to the arguments of "you should be able to be with the person you love" and "people are just born with it". If this were true how would you classify pedifiles? Are they preverted because maybe they were just born like that and they can't help who they love.
I think not. Preverted Sex is never all right just because the country may be ok with it. If you don't agree with me than thats alright but I would like to know how being a Homosexual or being a Pedifile is different. To this day I have not gotten a good argument to show how they differ. If you have one enlighten me. Now I have just played a long day of Rugby so I don't have the energy to give you one of my future lawyer arguments. So I will leave you with this. In the begining when God created man and women he said. Be fruitful and multiply. Biologically this works out quite well. At least on my side of the fence.

52 On July 7, 2007 at 3:03 PM, Rick wrote —

Sometimes I wish I could fast-forward into the future. We all know how women' rights evolved. We also know of the whereabouts of slavery and so on. The only unfortunate aspect of this debate is to realize the mindset of intolerance is alive among some of us. Gay people are not going anywhere. We won't take over the world either. The media, whether on its print, radio or video form; pornographic or not, is of limited influence. At last God gave us free will and an individual nature to find our path to our true selves. I will pray, but I will do so for tolerance and love and for each one of you to rejoice in your God given lives.

53 On July 7, 2007 at 3:48 PM, So Left I'm Right wrote —

Absolutely fascinating, and yet ultimately tiresome. My favorite Christo-fascist recitation is, "I'm not judging you, but..." Every ignorant, hate-filled pronouncement you make about homosexuality is judgmental and always negative, based on nothing but what you "know" as the "truth." You don't "know" anything, you believe something, and you call it the "truth" even though it cannot be proved or disproved. How convenient. And how ludicrous.

This Michael Glatze character is yet another example of a self-hating, confused, messy person who "finds God" as a way to deal with the miserable life he has created for himself. Good for him. And good luck with that. The man clearly needs a mental hospital more than a church. You "promise" me that "God" loves me and wants me to be free of homosexuality? That is a promise that you simply are utterly unequipped morally, spiritually and intellectually to make. Who do you people think you are?

How DARE you Christian wack-jobs presume to tell me anything about my own life! I don't give a good God Damn about your beliefs, your fictional storybook, your version of "God", your arrogant presumption that you have anything to "teach" me. I have heard it all and I've read it all, and I reject you, your ignorant beliefs and your imposition on me. As one of the more eloquent posters mentioned above, you all need to start putting the effort you put into your anti-gay foaming at the mouth into solving the actual problems of our world: poverty, violence, the declining environment, immoral wars, etc. In the meantime, stay out of my fucking face. Don't want to "be saved," don't want to hear your nonsense about the "word of God" or anybody else. I have my own spirituality, and I don't care about yours, I don't ask you to follow mine, and I am sick to death of hearing about yours and how mine is wrong and I'm Satan's minion or whatever other bullshit. "But, Mr. Gay man whom I pity so much, I'm CALLED UPON by GOD to spread HIS word to you, and therefore I have to keep blathering my shit to you and you have no choice in the matter." Well I'm called upon by my higher power to tell you to shut the fuck up, because you're twisting and perverting "His" message for your own self-satisfaction and because you obviously don't have anything better to do!

54 On July 7, 2007 at 3:53 PM, Rafael wrote —

Homosexuality vs. Pedophilia

Well if we are to pursue legal definitions: Pedophilia is defined as a mental disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Homosexuality was believed to be a mental disorder in the past, but this was changed as the scientific community drew its conclusions on the subject.

It is also worth distinguishing consensual adult sex, in which both parties have an understanding of their acts, and a pedophilic act in which one party is at tremendous disadvantage and risk from its sexual perpetrator.

The innate nature of pedophilia does not equate it to the homosexual nature. This argument would be the equivalent of me saying that homosexuality is the same as heterosexuality, it is not. Each behavior either innate or adopted has its on set of consequences.

As a fair and balanced society we precisely recur to our laws to ensure the well being of each other. Certain behaviors threaten our well being and thus is punishable by law, in our case, as a democratic nation we agreed upon these laws. We trust our common sense and our rationale or even our scientific knowledge to differentiate behaviors that endanger our union.

I may not be the best person to address the subject as I'm not an expert of pedophilia and its ramifications. I felt it was important to defend my persona and detach my nature from a conduct we all agree is to be constrained. I hope you read my post with and open mind and that it will serve you to further the argument. Best regards,

55 On July 7, 2007 at 7:21 PM, Wack Job Christian wrote —

TO: So Left I'm Right and to all others.

Seeing as how you are so deffensive, it leads me to belive that you are not 100% about you " sexual nature"
Deep down inside I have no doubt you are a confused and are looking for answers, If you were 100% sure of yourself, than you would be happy with yourself and the person you have become. I don't think my words will have much of an impact so I give you a challange. If you are so sure of your that you are right read the New Testemant of the bible. Afterwards if it has no effect than go on with your life.
If you only belive it is fiction than reading should not be a problem. Chooseing not to would only mean that you have fear in what you might see.
If they are just words they can't do anything right?

56 On July 7, 2007 at 8:00 PM, hannah wrote —

I would just like to make note that this entire descusion was started because of one man decided it was his right to express his opinion on Michael Glatze testimony and new found christianty. Therefore it is in every right of christians like myself to express our opinion on the very same matter, and not to be persicuted ( as we are being accused of doing) while doing so. If you did not wish to hear alternate opinions then you should not express your opinion in the first place.

57 On July 7, 2007 at 8:41 PM, interesting wrote —

Daniel,
Interesting how you accuse Michael of submitting himself to scrutiny by publishing his essay on his "awakening" and wanting attention from the public. I ask you, what about your reply? Your blog? Why did you publish your essay if not for all your buddies to pat you on the back and say how smart you are? Could it be you are also looking for "external affirmation and validation?" It seems that most of your claims against Michael's change are because of his need to be affiliated with a group and have people cheer him on. Come now, don't we all want encouragement? To base your opposition to Mike's letter on his need for "external validation" while putting your own comments in a public forum is just plain... silly!
The rest of your letter could be boiled down to relativistic mumbo jumbo. You might as well have said "What's right for you may not be right for me." To carry on such an argument shows (my assumption) that you are someone who does not believe in absolute truth (which by saying so you have just stated a truth). Those that deny absolute truth will often say that it is alright to believe what you want, as long as you don’t try to impose your beliefs on others. But this view itself is a belief about what is right and wrong and those that hold this view most definitely do try to impose it on others and are therefore hypocritical. They set up a standard of behavior which they then insist that others follow—thereby violating the very thing they pretend to uphold.

The question that begs to be asked is why are those that promote tolerance so intolerant of people who believe in absolute truth? And why are people so willing to embrace a belief system that threatens to destroy the very fabric of society and is at its very heart both irrational and illogical? The simple reason is that people do not want to be accountable for their actions. If there is absolute truth then there are absolute standards of right and wrong, and we are then accountable to those standards. This accountability is what people are really trying to deny in their rejection of absolute truth.

And to those that ask why Christians are so interested in changing homosexuals, I counter with another question. Why are homosexuals so interested in changing Christians? This debate did not heat up until the homosexual agenda became intent on not only acceptance and tolerance of a different lifestyle by heteros, but special status through bills such as the hate crimes bill being pushed by Ted Kennedy, curriculum changes in schools promoting the homosexual lifestyle taught to our children without our permission, etc, and on and on. I don't hate homosexuals. On the contrary I am friends with quite a few who know where I stand and I know where they stand yet we live with a mutual respect. So please don't answer with hate rhetoric. The debate was dropped on the front porch of the church. Why? Because this country was formed by Judeo Christian ethics. Why is this relevant? Because the Bible says that homosexual sex is wrong. It also says lying is wrong, stealing is wrong, murder is wrong etc which many of our other laws are based on as well. To sit back and not do anything as the moral fabric of our society changes would directly contradict what we believe and live for. How would our faith be worth anything at the point? I know some Christians approach this subject with a deep hatred and loathing. I apologize for them. But this does not negate the message the Bible brings nor our responsibility to live it.

And to those who ask why Christians don't worry about real world issues like poverty and hunger, I say do some research. Are you aware of how many faith based organizations there are in the world whose goal is to take care of such issues? To list some would be insane due to the sheer number but I will try and give you a few to google... Mercy Ships, Samaritan's Purse, Compassion International, Hannah's Hope, Voice of the Martyrs, American Indian Christian Mission, etc, etc.
I don't know if you've heard of John Stossel or not but he is an investigative reporter for ABC. He did a piece recently on charitable giving and set out to prove that liberals and the left gave more than conservatives and the right. Here is what he found:
"Religious people are more likely to give to charity, and when they give, they give more money: four times as much. And Arthur Brooks told me that giving goes beyond their own religious organization:

"Actually, the truth is that they're giving to more than their churches," he says. "The religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly non-religious charities." "

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=2682730&page=2

Those are my thoughts, I leave them here now to be butchered and disected into oblivion... :)

58 On July 7, 2007 at 8:47 PM, PBCliberal wrote —

WackJob: If you take more than a cursory look around this site, you'll see several references to exegesis. There's a great piece on Elaine Pagels' new book on the recently discovered Gospel of Judas, for instance. This might be a clue that at least some of the people hereabouts have actually read the New Testament, some of them more than once. In fact, I bet more than a few are familiar with the scrolls of Qumran, or even the Damascas document.

A lot of us are confused and looking for answers, and ancient religious texts translated from dead languages only serve to raise more questions than they answer. These are not just words, and we're finding more and more of them every day. The more light they shed on the New Testament the less value it has as a representative document for Christianity, and the more it becomes a poltical screed for those in power in the churches that protected it from other ancient beliefs that were equally valid.

While you may think your words have no impact on "So Left," they do have impact on me; they suggest the brilliance of Daniel's final line when he implored Michael to do his seeking "without attacking those who have journeyed much further along the path."

What you may be detecting as defensiveness in "So Left I'm Right" is knowledge.

59 On July 7, 2007 at 10:16 PM, Daniel wrote —

Hello again to all who have taken the time to share your thoughts and observations. I want to remind everyone that everyone is welcome to leave comments at Thought Theater...I've said it before and I will say it again...I appreciate dialogue.

With that said, I want to address the notion of dialogue and I'll do so by way of example. Michael shared his thoughts at World Net Daily and I responded with my thoughts here at Thought Theater. When I did so, I pointed out the assumptions under which I had undertaken sharing my thoughts...and I offered an unsolicited apology if my assumption was wrong...that assumption being that since Michael chose to share his thoughts publicly in the past and again at this juncture, that he accepted the natural scrutiny that comes with it.

After posting my thoughts, I received an email from Michael in which he stated, "I am happy to see good dialogue taking place, around this issue."

Subsequently, Michael and I had a lengthy conversation on the telephone...a civil dialogue where we shared our thoughts and voiced our differences...with respect.

I respect Michael for engaging in that conversation and I believe he would state the same about me. Unfortunately, some of the dialogue in this comment thread has deteriorated to a level that will accomplish little more than anger and animosity.

The danger in such situations is that we lose sight of the fact that we do share something very important, our humanity and when that humanity is set aside, we are all diminished.

That brings me to my next point. Kindness, compassion, understanding, and goodness are actions that are lived...they are not acquired by affiliation with any group, organization, institution, or religion...and anyone that seeks to be identified with those monikers has an obligation to demonstrate them.

Yes, I am not affiliated with religion despite the fact that I grew up in a Catholic home and attended Catholic Schools for 12 years. No, I don't believe in god in any of the defined ways god is presented...call me an atheist, call me a heathen...but I'll challenge anyone to separate me from the above monikers...words that I strive to live and words that those who have known me or taken the time to get to know me would all attest to.

Being a good person isn't reserved for Christians, just as it isn't reserved from atheists, people with red hair, people with dimples, and on and on. We live in a world of hollow words...where people arm themselves in righteousness as if it were a weapon to slay their fellow human beings.

I'm not in this world to persecute Christians...or for that matter ANY of my fellow human beings...and at the same time I'm not accepting of being persecuted, called unworthy, etc, etc. When you take the time to know me, and you want to still conclude that I am deserving of such, only then will I respect such actions. You can't know the difference between friend and foe if you close your heart and mind to finding out who is a friend and a foe.

Many of you talk about sin and what I find most interesting is that for the most part it takes the form of telling the other person about their sins. If that's what you want to do, so be it...but I've got news for you...none of us were granted dominion over each other...and those who espouse religious doctrines seem to forget the example of the one called Jesus. Further, anyone cavalier enough to think they can determine a good person from a bad person on the basis of sexuality is intellectually and spiritually depraved.

I have no way of knowing if all those who have reported to be Christians actually live a Christian life...and the presumption that my worth in the eyes of my fellow man or in the eyes of anybody's god can be determined on the basis of a few of my words and my sexuality is committing a perversion of decency and of doctrine.

I personally know good and bad Christians as well as good and bad homosexuals. If you want to judge your fellow man, then you had better pray to whomever or whatever you pray to that when you arrive at your anticipated afterlife destination that the name on the sign above the entrance has your name on it...because if it doesn't...and where you arrive is where you tell me you're going...you're going to meet an angry god...one that clearly stated that he alone would judge.

Those who want to vilify every homosexual would be better served to focus on their own inadequacies...god isn't going to reward you for attacking me or other gays if your own life isn't in order...and if you all mean what you all say when you state that we're all sinners...and you actually believe it, then by god, spend some time fixing yourself.

You have no idea the degree to which any gay person is endeavoring to live a good life just as I have no idea if you are. If one were to simply read the papers, one would undoubtedly realize that there is enough sinning going on to keep everyone pretty damn busy atoning.

I'm happy to compare notes and you're welcome to call me or spend some time with me...but I won't be judged anonymously and I challenge you to show me where god approved of such. Your nose in my bedroom and mine in yours isn't going to get you or me to our hoped for destinations...and if you think it will, good luck to you because I know enough about the word of god to challenge that nonsensical notion.

If you think you're righteous, take comfort...but do so with grace...not with venom...god never endorsed flaunting one's righteousness and those who do so will not go unnoticed.

We hear people complaining about the state of the world and blaming this person or that group for all that is wrong with the world. Think again my friends...what ails the world is the reckless manner in which we treat our fellow humans. If you put out anger and animosity, it will be all that is returned to you. It's time for people to heal their own hearts and to let your god judge the heart of your neighbor. Wrapping oneself in the cloak of righteousness is an external event and doesn't necessarily speak to the nature of what lies within.

If you think I'm going to hell, then take comfort in your certainty and your own salvation. If it is real, no man can separate you from it...if it isn't you won't obtain it by means of comparison and conflict...your god is smarter than that.

You see, even in my disbelief, I am content to attempt to live the example set by the one called Jesus...whether he was the son of god or a charlatan who did himself proud. He lived as we should...to the extent that the account of his actions is accurate. Notwithstanding, the words that describe his life and his actions are an example worthy of our efforts to act accordingly.

He slay no man in his name and he persecuted no man out of righteousness...and if you believe he was the son of god, then he certainly was entitled to do so. His restraint should be our guide...and many a religious institution has failed to uphold that standard...just as many individuals have.

I close with one humble suggestion...go home and heal your own heart. I promise the world will be a better place if you do.

Thanks again for coming to Thought Theater and know that I may disagree with you but I will not condemn you. Is it too much to ask that you reciprocate? Can't we leave the judgment to whomever we all respectively expect will one day meet it out?

Regards,

Daniel

60 On July 8, 2007 at 12:35 AM, b wrote —

ok, this is for hannah, Wack Job Christian, the one who went by the screenname "interesting", and any other anti-homosexuality Christians who think like these three and will come to comment up here as well:

Seems like you three (particularly Wack Job Christian) think we're being "defensive", and apparently all three of you, and the others who've nay-sayed our outrage at Michael's presumptuous generalizations (I'm not saying that any of you ACTUALLY said these things), think that ANY outrage from us non-heterosexual, non-gender-conforming individuals because of how we're treated must signify some inner confusion, revulsion, desire to change and save our souls.

Look, none of you ever said exactly what I'm about to say, and you didn't have to; your posts gave it away so even if you left the following unsaid I still know that it's what you truly think. You think that we're full of it in raising our objection to actions like those of Michael's. You think that all this pain and suffering we keep speaking of is of nobody's consequence but our own strictly because we're gay/bisexual/transgendered individuals. I back up these claims with what Wack Job Christian had to say: "Seeing as how you are so deffensive, it leads me to belive that you are not 100% about you ' sexual nature'
Deep down inside I have no doubt you are a confused and are looking for answers, If you were 100% sure of yourself, than you would be happy with yourself and the person you have become." So you really think that there's no reason we should be complaining, that there are no people in higher places in society, government, etc. actively seeking to deny us our civil rights? Well my answer to that comes in three words:

THAT IS BULLSHIT.

Sorry but I didn't think softer language would make you pay attention.

Every single day there are a handful of ZEALOUS masterminds and figureheads of Christian organizations influencing MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS to just spit on our lives and experiences as LGBT individuals as if we're a bunch of child-molesting sex-crazed drug-addicted libertines. Now they can think what they want; but don't even try to say that what they're doing stops at expressing opinions. What so many have done is actively devote their time and energy into KEEPING US DOWN by way of the law and God knows what else. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Pat Robertson, the "ex-gay" organization NARTH (the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality), president of NARTH Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, Alan Chambers who is the president of the "ex-gay" Christian-identified Exodus Ministries, Ted Haggard, Jerry Falwell, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Anita Bryant, Judith Reisman, the tennis racket-slapping and man-cuddling Richard Cohen (and believe me these are just the TIP of the iceberg)-for YEARS ALL of these people/organizations have made a MARKED effort to mobilize and LOBBY POLITICIANS at the state and national levels all with the VERY specific intent to have LGBT individuals' civil rights denied. So we'll stop being "defensive" and "bitchy" and "whiny" when the ones you've put on pedestals and accept as the next best thing to hearing God stop giving us reason to defend ourselves from negative, overbearing scrutiny and interference in our PRIVATE lives.

And may I ALSO point out:
-You three (forgive me I'm ASSUMING) straight people on the other hand, you don't have this MASSIVE repressive campaign aimed at you and EVERY single other straight person in America (and abroad as well).

-Nobody is decrying YOUR sexuality as "perverse" and "unnatural" and actively campaigning to see that you and your opposite-sex significant others never be married under the laws of the state and this nation or adopt children.

-Tim Hardaway, Reggie White, and General Pace AREN'T up calling you "immoral" on a regular basis JUST because you are attracted to the opposite sex.

-Unless you're liberal, Jerry Falwell NEVER publicly claimed your HETEROSEXUALITY was to blame for 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, or any natural disasters or terrorist attacks to befall the U.S. period.

-You heterosexuals in the U.S. armed services are CERTAINLY in NO danger of being discharged if you're seen holding hands or smooching with your honey or otherwise FOUND TO BE ACTING ON YOUR SEXUAL ORIENTATION.

-You three as heterosexuals have surely never had to deal with your own loved ones and pastors and fellow churchmembers ALWAYS insisting to you that your powerful feelings and desires for the opposite sex are some infernal design of Satan that is "against God's plan for us".

-Your heterosexuality is NEVER subject to questions of legitimacy or referred to as a lifestyle, making it sound like some fetish or underground niche in the pornography industry.

-Your relationships are NEVER, in both the figurative AND definitely literal sense, spat on by MILLIONS AND MILLIONS AND MILLIONS AND MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of scared people desperately seeking answers from, unbeknownst to them, spin-doctors and pseudoscientists who themselves are only out to institute a Christian theocracy by playing "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" with the Republicans up in our state/national governments.

-You don't have these loud five-million-people-strong Christian organizations wielding MAJOR influence on several large corporations and U.S. government officials, calling you "SEXUALLY BROKEN" or "LIVING A SINFUL LIFESTYLE" ALL THE TIME and for no other reason than your liking the opposite sex.

-You straight male Christians have NEVER had to live in fear that your parents might throw you out of the house for telling them you liked girls when you were younger, and likewise you straight Christian women have never had to live in fear that your parents would ABANDON you and NEVER love you again, leaving you homeless, upon telling them that you liked guys.

-You don't have "ex-straight" organizations appearing in the media to advertise themselves in interviews on Fox News and especially CNN, insisting that not only can you change your sexual orientation but that you SHOULD lest you be broken and miserable, convincing the TV-watching public that your life with the one you love, and YOUR feelings and how you love him/her sooooo so much, is of no more worth than a pop-culture debate between strangers, that it's perfectly acceptable to take a "position" against loving relationships like yours as straight people since it's only democratic that complete strangers who know nothing of you be able to vote away your rights.

-You heterosexual Christians have never had to fear that you'd get jumped and beaten within an inch of your life while going out walking and holding hands with your siginficant other at night SOLELY BECAUSE of what sex/gender your sweetheart is.

-For you Christian heterosexuals (and "interesting", hannah, and Wack Job Christian, I ESPECIALLY indicate this for y'alls' benefit): YOUR sexual orientation, IN AND OF ITSELF, IS NOT a CRIME in OVER 75 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES punishable in many of them by DEATH.

So don't you, "interesting", or you, hannah, or you, Wack Job Christian, or any other like-minded naysayer, don't ANY of you EVER blame US for speaking out against the hurt and the LIES CONSTANTLY levied at us from countless powerful facets of society and people who think JUST LIKE YOU DO. Not one of you Christian-identified naysayers has the right to go out and try to convince whoever will listen to you that we're sick perverts out to lure everyone to hell and then go about undermining recognition of our rights to equal protection under the law, and then act as though we're the only source of difficulty in our lives. Not one of you Christian-identified naysayers has the right to act like there is nothing and nobody put out there, beyond our control, whose agenda makes our lives harder.

In short, we're not the ones who taught you to be anti-LGBT, and we're certainly not forcing any of your leaders or peers to go out and mobilize others against us through our government. They, not us, are responsible for their actions and are the largest reason we have it rough in this society. SO STOP BLAMING US FOR YOUR NEGATIVE ACTIONS. WE'VE HAD IT, AND WE'RE NOT TAKING IT ANYMORE.

61 On July 8, 2007 at 9:35 AM, Rick wrote —

I can't help but wonder of Mr. Fallwel's fate. He dared to judge and instigate misery upon those he did not like. I just wonder what God's final judgment was for this fellow christian...

62 On July 8, 2007 at 10:18 AM, Ben in oakland wrote —

Bravo, B-- it is exactly what I feel and will say, but in somewhat different terms. This is excerpted from a letter I wrote to judy of new hampshire:

So, you say you're not a bigot.

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that homosexuality is an inborn as heterosexuality, despite the testimony of tens of thousands-- if not millions-- of gay people, despite the simple logic of "who would choose a life of discrimination and vilification", you believe that homosexuality is a choice. Your beliefs about us are more important than any amount of actual evidence, but you're not a bigot.

You say that it is not you that is disapproving of homosexuality, and not you that is judging, but God. Funny, I don't hear God talking, I only hear YOU talking. I hear you quoting "God's word", allegedly on this subject, while ignoring all of the passages in the Bible that don't accord with your personal prejudices, whether it is eating shellfish or pork, or destroying all of the unbelievers in our midst with a sword. (Deut. 13-6, 8-15)

Apparently God only means what he says some of the time-- for instance, when he agrees with you.

But you're not a bigot.

Let us not get into the appalling divorce figures for 'sacred' institution of marriage. You quote your Bible about the "wrongness" of homosexuality, but ignore far more compelling commandments that don't comport with your prejudices. For example, Jesus was very clear on this subject: divorce is not an option. He also was quite clear about judging others before you yourself have achieved perfection. All of that you just cheerfully ignore, but not for any reasons that could be labeled bigotry.

It's just what you believe. How can that be a statement of bigotry?

You're very clear that based upon your religious beliefs, my HUSBAND and I are not entitled to the same responsibilities and benefits of marriage, even in a very obviously second class civil union, that you enjoy. In other words, my and our equality before the law can be compromised because of YOUR religious beliefs. If you said that Jews or Buddhists could not have the same civil rights that you do because they do not share your religious beliefs, you would rightly be labeled a religious bigot. But because it is about gay people, and whatever you imagine my sex life to be makes you say "ick", you are not being a bigot...so you say. You're just expressing your religious opinion.

Lest you accuse me of hating you, of being intolerant, of calling you names, as you accuse me, let me be clear. I do not hate you, or really, care anything about you. I only wish that you would mind your own business, take care of your own marriage, and stop insisting that you have the right to mind mine--because of what you call your "religious beliefs". You can believe whatever you want, and teach it to your children, and spew it in Church to your heart's delight, however uncomfortable it may be for me to hear it. It's a free country, at least for white, conservative, preferably Christian, heterosexual people. But why to you accuse me of intolerance when I tell you to keep YOUR religious beliefs out of MY life? I haven't told you you can't believe it, or that I will pass laws to make sure that you do not believe it.

What you hear from me, and from other posters here, is not hatred, nor intolerance, nor anything like that. What you hear is ANGER. I don't recall giod making any recent pronouncements indicating that you as a so-called saved Christian have any business making statements about me and my supposed sins, my supposed uin-biblicalness, my supposed brokenness. My life is just fine, except for the likes of you.

I'm sick to death that the course of my life, and my happiness, and those of millions of people just like me, can be subject to your prejudices, whether or you prefer to call them your religious beliefs or just admit them for what they are. I am equally sick that gay people are imprisoned, attacked, murdered, executed, used as political fodder, vilified, condemned, persecuted, jailed, slandered, libeled, fired, outlawed, made into criminals and accused of all sort of things that are simply NOT TRUE because someone doesn't approve, or believes their God does not approve.

I am angry as hell that any man and woman who met five minutes ago and have $50 for a marriage license can get married and have the full panoply of rights and obligations that go with it, but my friends Andy and Paul, a devoted couple for 40 years, or Lance and Peter, together for 35 years, are legal strangers to each other. I am angry that they have to jump through all sort of expensive legal hoops to secure their lives together, all of which can be undone by the combination of a distant relative, a homophobic judge, and a law that permits it.

I am angry that just had to spend $2000 to secure our legal rights and to protect our life together, while you go smugly on about how wonderful being a perfect Chreistian is.

I'm really angry that my friend Steve could not be at his husband's bedside 20 years ago when Johnny was dying, because they didn't have the medical power of attorney documents in their possession when Johnny was struck down. Johnny died alone. Steve grieved for him alone, and didn't get to say goodbye to the man whose life he had shared for 15 years. All of that pain to satisfy some Christian's beliefs about what is moral and immoral.

I'm furious that people like you can smugly say we're all not perfect, but you'll still smarmily judge us anyway, and pretend that you're not. I'm furious that you prattle on an on about morality, but the IMMORALITY of what is done to gay people every day throughout the world, damage that is inflicted on our happiness, our health, our security, and our lives all the time, does not even merit your notice-- let alone an apology. Talk about a crime against nature--what about the crimes against our nature?

You don't approve of homosexuality, or as you put it, you're not in agreement with what you see as our "choice". Let me tell you something. I don't approve of bigots, either. But the world is full of people just like you, who feel you have the right to do and say whatever you like to people you don't know, whom you clearly know nothing about, and who have done you no harm.

And if you can't slip that one by anyone, you'll even claim that GOD doesn't like it. I think that God is much bigger than that. Certainly, he is bigger than you.

And why? Because there is something YOU don't like about them-- their race, their religion, their gender, their ethnic group, their language, or their sexual orientation. You may think that condemning our sin is different, but it is not. It is the same. It's just prejudice given its very thin veneer of respectability by your religious beliefs-- just like burning withces.


Please don't pray for me--what absolute spiritual arrogance. I don't need it and I find it offensive that you think you have the right and spiritual cachet to do so.

And please don't tell me you love me, either. I don't believe it for a moment. I would prefer your naked hatred.

At least there, you are being honest.

63 On July 8, 2007 at 11:32 AM, hannah wrote —

To b as sad as your entire speel on the hardness of homesexuliaty was. And as much as i dont agree that violence should be used against you. i 100% agree with what some of these organisations are doing and i do agree there should be NO gay marrige or things like that, thats why i am very happy with the converservative governement here in canada. Sin doesn't bring happiness , that my opinion and its going to stay that way. And its not that im homophobic my best friend is bi but i follow what the bible says. And to ben, in refrence to the food laws they are later denouced in the new testement ( Acts 10)... do your home work please

64 On July 8, 2007 at 11:44 AM, Daniel wrote —

I thought readers might enjoy the following letter that was sent to Dr. Laura Schlessinger and was subsequently posted on the internet. Our Biblical scholars can perhaps enlighten us?

Enjoy,

Daniel

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them.

1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev 1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev 15:19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. Lev 25:44 states that I may indeed posses slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev 11:10 it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

7. Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20 or is there some wiggle room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blends). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them - Lev 24:10-16? Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws – Lev 20:14?

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

65 On July 8, 2007 at 12:45 PM, Rick wrote —

Hehe thanks Daniel, you made me laugh : )

I grew up going to Hamilton Christian Academy in Lake Charles, Louisiana. They had bible study and chapel services in which they constantly reminded us of hell and made us fear god and at one point I saw a fellow classmate's ordeal of being gay and pressured to change in the middle of the service go figure.

Well to make a long story short, me the homosexual kid was shocked at what I saw my fellow classmates do (drugs, orgies, stealing etc). The truth is that Christians do sin more than twice some repent and grow to further their beliefs others don't and yet keep calling themselves Christians and make demands on the name of Christ. These people we are dealing with here are not the honest repented people. They just fear us, detest us and use the name of God to forward their agenda. Shame on each one of you for your actions. You may not see it, but your words and endorsements either here or elsewhere do carry a responsibility with them. And we will not forget what you do say.

BTW it would be nice to add some pictures of gay love to the page just to spice things up!

66 On July 8, 2007 at 3:39 PM, Ben in oakland wrote —

Hannah:

A couple of things. Then i really have to devote my life to something other than speaking with bigots who claim they are not.

1) I have done my homework. I'm well aware of the food laws and Acts and all of that. I've been in lengthy discussions about that, with some Christians claiming that the whole old testament goes, others claiming only the parts that they disagree with go, and others (Jerry falwell)claiming that none of it goes. Every contradictory, hate-filled word is true.

There is no point arguing scripture with you or any other bible-believer, or koran believer, or torah beliver. The devil can quopte scripture for his purposes, and as far as the bible believers go, frequently does.

2) Your conservative government in canada can care less about gay marriage. They wanted to get elected. they promised they would "do something' about it once in power, but somehow, that didn't happen. and it most likely won't. Just as in the US. the Republican party wanted to get elected, and thus they fornicate with the christian right.
Both lose, as does the country.

3) My real point is that this is clearly not about religion. As a jew, I reject your religion, but that doesn't bother any but the most die-hard bigot. There are plenty of religious people who support gay people in our quest to end this vicious prejudice. This is about bigotry, pure and simple, and it always has been.

You and all bible believers are using your religion and your reading of your book as a weapon. In doing so, you are doing damage to people whom you do not know, whom you know nothing about, and who have done you no harm-- we just want to live our lives as we see fit, with the same rights, responsibilities, and happiness.

In using your religion as a weapon, you continue to attack, judge, vilify, and hurt. You may be able to convince yourself and like-minded believers that you are not--that you are just fighting sin-- you may even be able to convince your best friend, but as every gay person on this site has said clearly, that is exactly what you are doing. In doing so, as Daniel has pointed out much more politely and quietly, you betray not only your religion, not only Jesus whom you claim to love, but your very humanity.

So have a nice life, continue to judge and moralize. Maybe someday, you will have the clarity of vision to realize the world you are creating.

67 On July 8, 2007 at 4:37 PM, oh daniel.... wrote —

Those quotes my friend are all taken from the old testament. I remember that letter to Dr Laura. Actually it was an email joke that was forwarded quite a bit back and forth.
The old testament is very odd indeed! It helps when you study it with other well known works of the time like "Flavius Jospehus." Jospehus was a Roman scribe enlisted to document the entire history of the Hebrews. It gives an excellent background on the culture of the time and why these rules were relevant.
The really awesome thing about the Bible is that Jesus death wiped out the old law making the new law acceptance of his grace. Thank God! I would run off a cliff screaming if I had to follow the laws mentioned in the old testament.
As far as the pain homosexuals have had to endure, there is no denying that. And to be a Christian is not to be perfect. I too agree that it's a shame that anyone can get married and it appears that anyone does. With divorce rates at an all time high, it's quite sad how casually it's treated. Church bodies are working on this also, of course this doesn't make the news. But the sin of others does not negate what we believe is homosexual sin. I do not believe that you choose to be homosexual. I believe that you choose to act on it. As much as you may quote one sided "scientific" studies, there have been just as many that show homosexuality is the result of ill treatment from the same sex parent usually, if not from siblings. When the father of a little boy does not show him that he has what it takes to be a man, gender confusion sets in and the need to identify with the same sex becomes sexualized. This was the treatment for homosexuality until the sexual revolution.
For Christians to accept the laws being changed, for it to be taught to our children, would be to accept something that we believe causes the person afflicted with this pain. It may be hard for you all to believe, especially with the way so many "Christians" have behaved. But the lack of "tolerance" comes from Christ's need for justice and love.
Now I am sure that you all will attack, use more profanity, call names, and post joke emails in response. This isn't a debate at this point and has pretty much degraded down to "Christians suck, we are right and you are wrong," with no argument to back it up. When I saw the title of this forum "Thought Theater. " I assumed that meant that you welcomed all ideas. But I see now that it's a discussion for those who agree with each other, a place that you can all pat each other on the back. I leave you to your patting!!!
Have a great week....

68 On July 8, 2007 at 5:43 PM, Daniel wrote —

oh daniel (Sandy),

Sandy, it is obvious that you didn't read my comments. Time and again I have stated that I welcome all points of view. May I suggest that before you characterize the status of Thought Theater and this comment thread, you actually read the comments?

As to a discussion, don't you really mean that you want this to be a forum for you to lecture homosexuals? You and many others who have commented are absolutists and you justify every contention you make with your own convenient interpretations and with "experts" that support your agenda. You're not interested in hearing what gays have to say...you're interested in being judge, jury, and executioner.

Perhaps you haven't realized that many here don't accept your conclusion that the Bible is the word of god. I would love to see your evidence...something more than an assertion that god worked through some chosen individuals...and I'm not simply speaking about the Old Testament. No doubt humans wrote the New Testament as well...many years ago.

Further, there are gospels that offer very different accounts of the actual events. I'm sure you would have an explanation to fit your contention but I contend that it will be inadequate and lack sufficient historical support.

If you object to the responses offered, so be it. Besides, I'm not sure you can hear anything that isn't consistent with your own rhetoric...but hey, given the tone of your remarks, I would expect no less.

Those who are gay who have read and commented here realize that you're not interested in a dialogue...you're interested in telling gays how bad they so you can feel better about yourself. If you find "Thought Theater" doesn't suit you, the solution is rather simple...find a blog where you can exchange "pats" with your cohorts.

We'll certainly miss your valuable contributions, but I suspect we'll buck up and carry on despite our great sense of loss.

Regards,

Daniel

P.S. I know where the Dr. Laura letter came from and the fact that you believe the Old Testament is no longer relevant is simply more of the same...you make the rules up as you see fit...or should I say as they fit your agenda. If you can't even enjoy the humor in the letter...well, perhaps you're just a little too serious for your own good?

69 On July 8, 2007 at 6:25 PM, PBCliberal wrote —

Oh Daniel...->"The old testament is very odd indeed! It helps when you study it with other well known works of the time like "Flavius Jospehus." Jospehus was a Roman scribe enlisted to document the entire history of the Hebrews. It gives an excellent background on the culture of the time and why these rules were relevant."

What an excellent point. I hope you would also agree that the biblical story of Noah and the flood should be studied alongside the flood myth of gilgamesh, and the references to the Essenes in Josephus' works authenticate the Dead Sea Scrolls far more than they authenticate even the existence of Jesus.

If you're not going to support the Bible as the inspired unerring word of god, applicable and true yesterday, today, and forever, and instead are going to appeal to an enlightened interpretation in context of other works of the period, you are going to find in those works much of the same mythology in the cultures of other civilizations that you find in the books of what we call the bible. Trouble is, some of those other works were written hundreds or even thousands of years earlier.

You're going to find that the creation stories in Genesis are a hodge-podge of beliefs that were popular at the time. You're going to find other texts that claim Jesus was not as he's been characterized. You'll even find texts--far closer in time to the period he was thought to have lived--that do not mention him at all.

The OT is not any odder than any of the other belief systems that were popular at the time; its just been elevated to an undeserved position because of 2000 years of political maneuvering by churches and states.

The upshot of all this: in the whole scheme of things, the pronouncements against homosexuality are downright silly, and there's no way to justify them without interpreting the bible in a legalistic way that makes the whole of it entirely inappropriate as a contemporary manual for living.

70 On July 8, 2007 at 11:00 PM, So Left I'm Right wrote —

I had to come back after reading some of the further posts. This is a classic:
"The question that begs to be asked is why are those that promote tolerance so intolerant of people who believe in absolute truth?" That is simply the most illogical, ignorant query I have ever read. No one is intolerant of anyone who claims to believe in "absolute truth" which I guess is what you're telling me you believe. But once again, it isn't "true" to me just because you believe it, and I have absolutely no intolerant bone in my body related to you believing whatever you'd like, UNTIL you start telling me whatever I believe is therefore wrong and possibly evil because you are so god damned special and think you have reached some "absolute truth." THAT is the very definition of intolerance, and I'm tired of it! And I'm not saying that the person who wrote that follows it in this way, but the problem is that that kind of blathering is usually followed with persecution and hatred, not respect or tolerance. (See, Falwell, Jerry and Phelps, Fred, and many others.)

My other favorite is, "But the Bible says..." anything that follows that is meaningless to me. Here's the deal, I DON'T CARE WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS. I've read it, still read parts of it sometimes, there's some nice stuff in there (which none of you actually seem to follow, especially the Jesus part), but it is NOT the law of the land and does not supercede my human and civil rights as a human being. Allow me to introduce you to a portion of the actual governing document of our nation:

Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Read it and weep, christo-fascists. Because the Bible says something (which is ALWAYS open to 100 interpretations depending on your grasp of various languages and your agenda) is irrelevant! Live your life by it, knock yourself out! But because of my birthright as an American, I get to make up my own mind, I don't get to persecute you because of your religious or any other belief, and you DO NOT get to persecute me or my way of life just because you believe it says something in that fucking book! My GOD why don't you people get that?

71 On July 8, 2007 at 11:34 PM, Rick wrote —

Hi So Left I'm Right. I understand your views and I agree with you in many instances.I only ask of you to refrain from calling the Bible names, we are better than that. Lets show respect and further respect ourselves. Thanks

72 On July 9, 2007 at 7:48 AM, L.S.Paul wrote —

Thank you, Daniel, for being an articulate voice of reason and compassion on these gay/ex-gay issues. It is, perhaps, a key to understanding Mr. Glatze's dilemma to understand the seductive appeal of celebrity in cultures which abuse the many and enrich only the few. As the people awaken to the horrors of greed in an overpopulated, religion-poisoned, heterosexually driven world, the issue of sexuality will undergo an immense evolution beyond our current perception and speculation. It helps to remain a Universal thinker, who looks beyond the trivia of one person's identity crisis and addiction to public attention (exhibitionism).

73 On July 9, 2007 at 11:56 AM, Ben in oakland wrote —

Daniel: thank you again for articulating the issues so well, and calling a spade a spade. I think it is very important to keep calling these people on their basic prejudice, and not to allow them the wiggle room they seem to crave. Having said that, at the same time, I think it is almost pointless to do so. They are not so much not interested in an viewpoint but their own, but incapable of seeing anything differently than they do.

My favorite example of that is Hannah, who assures us that she is not homophobic and even has a "best friend" who is bi (lucky best friend!!!), but then states that she supports "much" that the homophobic organzations are trying to do to make sure that this prejudice continues to exist and that gay people are kept down and out. The organizations exist and thrive on homophobia.

As i said to one of these jokers that "I'll believe you are not homophobic when you will state clearly that although you disapprove of homosexuality, you will agree that we are entitled to exactly the same treatment and rights you are, and will deplore and disavow any attempt to treat us differently on the basis of sexual orientation."

No response, of course.

thanks again, Daniel.

74 On July 9, 2007 at 12:02 PM, bill fox wrote —

Professing to be wise, they became fools…For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire towards one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,… and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them (Romans 1:22-32).

75 On July 9, 2007 at 2:49 PM, Alex wrote —

IMO, tossing out verses of primitive tribal superstition adds nothing to the discussion.

76 On July 9, 2007 at 3:06 PM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

So, Bill. I'm not entirely sure. Are you advocating the death penalty for gay people, and if so, will you say so? or have you decided that you know better than the bible you quote, in which case, you are rejecting its authority. Also, it says TWICE that the responsibility for turning these people queer was GOD!!!! No doubt about that. So what does that mean? God turns people queer. But he would have turned them queer if they believed in him? If they were already queer, would he have turned them straight?

Inquiring minds want to know.

77 On July 10, 2007 at 8:54 AM, jen wrote —

to michael,
thank you for sharing. i hope and pray that you will keep strong and keep to the truth!

for others,
i hope you're right because eternity is a VERY LONG TIME!

love in Christ,
jen

78 On July 10, 2007 at 9:17 AM, Wack Job Christian wrote —

Ben: Don't asume anything about Hannah, or call her homophobic, I am friends with her best friend and they are like tight, each respects the other, but Hannah always stands firm on her belives. Never has she said anything mean to this friend, so don't assume anything about their realonship.

79 On July 10, 2007 at 10:18 AM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

I never assumed anything about their relationship. i don't really care. i wouldn't want to be friends with hannah. Her meannness is in her fundamental attitude, not in what she says.

As for the rest, when someone tells me that I can be treated differently by my government because they think i'm a sinner, that my rights are going to be compromised in favor of their religious beliefs, when my life and love and relationship are denigrated to satisfy someone's mistaken ideas about sin and sex, that i cannot have what you have, that i have to spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to accomplish what you can do in 10 minutes with a $50 marriage license--then i will call that person a homophobe.

as i said in an earlier post: 'Lest you accuse me of hating you, of being intolerant, of calling you names, as you accuse me, let me be clear. I do not hate you, or really, care anything about you. I only wish that you would mind your own business, take care of your own marriage, and stop insisting that you have the right to mind mine--because of what you call your "religious beliefs". You can believe whatever you want, and teach it to your children, and spew it in Church to your heart's delight, however uncomfortable it may be for me to hear it. It's a free country, at least for white, conservative, preferably Christian, heterosexual people. But why to you accuse me of intolerance when I tell you to keep YOUR religious beliefs out of MY life? I haven't told you you can't believe it, or that I will pass laws to make sure that you do not believe it".

Is that clear? hannah is a homophobe for this reason: she supports people who say that i am not entitled to equal protection of the law simply because she believes that something in my life is a sin. She supports people who tell the most vicious lies about me and people i love because she and they disapprove.

80 On July 10, 2007 at 12:03 PM, Alex wrote —

"for others, i hope you're right because eternity is a VERY LONG TIME!"

Eternity has neither beginning nor end, which means eternity is right now. Our eternal, nondual nature has nothing to do with what idea the limited dual ego-mind believes. Belief is merely mind addicted to ideas. Spiritually speaking, religious belief is the equivalent of preschool. Spiritual depth is found in realizing ones own transcendent eternal nature RIGHT NOW, as you are, not living in addiction to fear-based primitive superstition.

81 On July 10, 2007 at 1:12 PM, Paul Mannino wrote —

Wow.

Daniel, I first think that you should follow your original line of thinking-- you don't know Michael Glatze.

You are projecting a lot of pyscho-babble on a guy that you really don't know. Although it appears to be intelligent, I find your building of theories upon other theories about what this guy must be like to be presumptuous.

Homosexuality does have a correlation with virtue if homosexuality is indeed a sin. Now, whether or not you agree with that or not is up to you; but sidetracking his comments by making silly comments about Italians and tall people is absurd. I can't think of any religion that says Italians or tall people are sinful, but I can think of many that consider homosexuality to be. So, even though you are dug in pretty hard against this guy; I would encourage you to stop doing yourself the disservice of making silly analogies that I think, deep down, you know are assinine (since, at least judging by your vocabulary and sentence structute, you seem to be an intelligent person). If you know so much about this guy, then why can't you see what he meant by that statement?

You're excusing him as having something wrong with him because he quit. "It must be because he's got some kind of co-dependent need for being in the public eye and need for affirmation."

Who's the fool? The man who insists that mud pies are great. Or the person who spits the sand out of their mouth and longs for something greater? This guy is closer to experiencing a life of fulfillment without having to deny the conscience that God has placed inside his soul. Making himself vulnerable by admitting his faults is not a sign of weakness or indecision. And going back and trying to find fault in him as not being "really gay" or a "together" gay person is kind of silly because; yet again, perhaps he was suspicious the whole time that the gay lifestyle was a facade, and you're still thinking it's Helm's Deep.

82 On July 10, 2007 at 1:29 PM, Paul Mannino wrote —

Regarding your questions based on the Bible... If your questions are sincere, I will answer all of them. You have my email. You can make just about anything sound silly if you pull things out of context.

I know that Nicodemus in the Bible had a "rep" to maintain in front of all his buddies, so he had to come to Christ in private to have his questions answered. So, if you truly have a heart to seek answers to these questions, hit me up.

Looking back at my previous response, I must apologize if I came off as being pissed off. I was (am), but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't be loving (or imply that you are a "fool."

83 On July 10, 2007 at 1:32 PM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

Or Glatze is like so many of these deluded souls that buy the kkkhristian bullshit about being gay as a way of trying to avoid responsbility for many bad choices, coupled with a fear of death.

All theology is opinion. All statements about God's relationship with the world are suspect, whether they come from a Christian or an atheist. But the only difference between a true believer of any stripe and an atheist is one religion. however, the atheist has the testimony of all the other religionists on his side. The Christian has but faith-- faith that it's not his god that is lying.

Guess which way I'll go?

84 On July 10, 2007 at 3:34 PM, Daniel wrote —

Paul,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, though for a man of god I find it interesting that you were unable to restrain yourself in your zeal to attack such that you felt compelled to offer an apology for your comments. Perhaps you need to work on your own heart? If you would like to contact me in private to hear how you might achieve that goal (I say in private because you might have a "rep" to uphold), you have my email.

The study of psychology is far more scientific than the professing of christian babble...so as far as babbling goes, I'll take my babble over your babble...but you're welcome to believe anything you choose.

As to virtue, what would make me believe that you are any more virtuous than I? You see, the fact that gay people acknowledge their homosexuality doesn't mean they aren't virtuous nor does it give you dominion...for all I know, your sinning at this very moment...but you're not interested in reporting that here, are you? BTW, I could care less if you are...I'm not here to make you virtuous...nor do I inflate my authority to that level.

As to Michael, I clearly stated that his problems are his problems...and his efforts to extrapolate them to every homosexual is absurd and more likely indicative of his own need to make the world fit whatever view he holds at any particular time. His notion of virtue and your notion of virtue are just that...his and yours. The fact that you want your views to be mine is irrelevant. I'm not here to give you what you want.

Further, if you don't like my views, so be it. I understand that they are my views and I don't need you to validate them. If you don't like my view, find someone who shares your views. At the same time, I'm also not looking to adopt yours.

As to the questions about the origin of the Bible which I raised in my follow up comments, they're for your benefit; not mine. I already have my answers. Regarding your Nicodemus comparison, I have two thoughts...one I am not my "reputation"...I am me and what I believe I speak and I'm not afraid of what others think nor am I afraid of what you might have to say. If you want to offer your thoughts on my questions, knock yourself out.

Second, if you're suggesting that coming to you in private would be the equivalent of Nicodemus going to Jesus, well then, may I suggest that you're no Jesus...though you may have delusions of grandiosity. Talk about presumptions?!

Imagine all the people who thought Ted Haggard could give them guidance...were they duped by the devil? How would I know you aren't cut from the same cloth? How do you know your spiritual leader isn't as well?

You see, in the end, you're lost without certainty...so you simply assert it so as to not fear its absence. I'm fine with that...but I don't suffer the same affliction.

Thanks for stopping by.

Regards,

Daniel

85 On July 10, 2007 at 4:20 PM, ------ wrote —

okay i swear you all have to stop mentioning ted haggard.... he was ONE out of millions of christains. And dont even try to mentoin other names cause i dont want to hear it. And you call us judgemental. And dont even think about the word of god babble.I thought daniel was one of the respectful ones on this site, but i guess he is just as rude as the rest of you

86 On July 10, 2007 at 6:12 PM, Daniel wrote —

Hannah,

Now come on...if you get to tell us we're all sinners, then I think we can mention Ted Haggard or any other preacher who shared in condemning homosexuals...only to find out they weren't as "holy" as they stated.

Hey, they aren't my leaders...besides I thought you agreed we were all sinners...why the sudden resistance to the mention of a few prominent ones?

Of course you don't want to hear it because it chips away at your confidence in your absolute beliefs. The problem you have is that Haggard and the many other leaders that Christians follow are thought to be virtual "prophets"...until they fall from grace...which ultimately means Christians aren't any more able to discern good from evil than the next person...they just like to tells us they know who is good and who is bad.

That probably doesn't feel good. Perhaps you're gaining an understanding of how it feels to be marginalized with indiscriminate generalities?

As to babble, I simply responded to Paul's silly assertion...this is an equal opportunity blog...commenter's get to speak their mind and I get to respond. Last time I checked, the U.S. wasn't a theocracy...despite the fact that you might prefer as much.

Respect is a two way street...I'm not here to be flogged. BTW, did you happen to see that Paul apologized? Hey, I give him credit for that.

Lastly, are you supposed to swear? I thought that was sinful?

Anyway, maybe you need to lighten up a little...getting so worked up can't be good.

Take care,

Daniel

87 On July 10, 2007 at 6:59 PM, billy wrote —

I watch the gay community struggling for acceptance for a behavioral problem that can be readily changed by making and identifying the confusion of same sex attraction and love. The agenda of the gay community in itself proves that they are reaching out for acceptance for sexual behavior that defies natural law. This confusion of love is the monster that rages inside, the monster of same sex attraction. I know that monster is a strong word, however that is how it starts then we begin to sugar coat it in order to cope until eventually we become callous to it’s existence and begin to accept it as being natural.

I express my feelings when I first recognized that same sex attraction was a problem I had to confront head on and eventually deal with it. Do you remember those initial feelings? Do you remember the humiliation, the embarrassment, the feeling of despair? You are now faced with same sex attraction that is outside natural law and now being confronted of being sexually abnormal? Do you remember how you felt as being defined as a “queer"?

Do you remember the failure of being different and not really understanding why? Do you remember the first sexual encounter, the gratification, the resentment, then the justification, but most of all the confusion? Isn’t this where we begin to sugar coat the feeling trying to make it acceptable? When we began to sugar coat our urges we began to choose our destiny. Did we not choose to accept this behavior despite all the emotional conflicts raging within. How many times did you quit, denied being gay, but lost control, and eventually moved back to what is now addictive sexual behavior. How long did you fight yourself until finally you gave in, became deceived and called same sex attraction normal behavior? Has your deception been so sugar coated that you totally believe it is acceptable? If you could change it, would you? If you would change it, could you?

Realize that truth and eternal laws cannot be changed. It is key to understand that the natural laws affect your life even when you are oblivious to their existence. It is our responsibility to identify truth and live accordingly. Otherwise we will pay some consequence for its violation or at the very least not enjoy the benefit of its existence. An extreme example would be the Law of Gravity. We cannot see it but we know it is there. We can choose to ignore the law and suffer the consequences by violating the law or we can choose to accept it as law and use it for our benefit.

It was by choice that we started down the path of being an active homosexual or other addictions i.e. pornography, adultery, drugs, alcohol, all of which destroys, not only the person but also the family. The family is the core of our existence, and being a homosexual violates that very existence.

If there were no males and females, then families wouldn't exist. Thus you and I wouldn't exist.

Gay "free" for 35 years

88 On July 10, 2007 at 8:35 PM, Alex wrote —

The natural law you speak of is a relative, human cultural construct, and the negative feelings you have about your own homosexual attraction are merely the reflection of that cultural conditioning. The notion that this cultural construct reflects eternal law is a foolish projection of human egoic aversion onto the workings of nature, which, in reality, are quite richly queer. It's even more foolish to compare that relative cultural construct, arbitrarily declared law by superstitious believers, to the law of gravity, which can be scientifically and quantitatively studied and measured.

As for the survival of our species, it's plainly obvious that our survival does not require procreation by all individuals. It could even be to a procreative couple's advantage to have non-procreative family members to help raise and better ensure the survival of the children. You're appealing to simpleminded thinking where all the myriad shades of gray are dumbed down to black and white. And, nature just doesn't operate that way.

89 On July 10, 2007 at 10:20 PM, PBCliberal wrote —

No, Ted Haggard and all the other names you don't want to hear are germane to this issue. Haggard is a gifted spiritual leader, but the bigotry of fundamentalist Christianity has driven him from the place he may have been made by god to be. You are casting out your best and your brightest because of arbitrary and capricious standards that speak far more to your fears and hatreds than to any special mention in the books you consider holy. We call you judgmental because you demonstrate it with nearly every post.

Fundamentalist Christians wave away serious scriptural prohibitions against wearing clothes of mixed fiber or the eating of shellfish as internet jokes, then turn around and cite scripture with the prohibitions you favor as if they are supported by some immutable authority. When we point out the hypocrisy, we are met with stony silence.

We are going to keep mentioning Ted Haggard and the thousands of others who hide in the choir lofts and the rectories afraid of the people they call their brethren in Christ until you end the eisegesis that makes gay people second class citizens in christian congregations.

90 On July 11, 2007 at 4:07 AM, transsexual and pagan wrote —

It's interesting what Hannah said. Reminds me of those who say they are not "racist" because they have a "black friend," even though they are against interracial relationships. Her argument that Acts 10 does away with the dietary laws is false. The Jews had a tradition that they would not enter the home of a non-Jew, for to enter would somehow contaminate them or make them unclean. Peter knew that his god was only testing him. And he knew, or at least highly suspected, that the test was about the salvation of the Gentiles. His god was not cleansing unclean animals and making them clean. He was showing Peter that he was about to cleanse the hearts of the people whom the Jews considered to be unclean.

As for Andrea's response to what others have said on Jesus' silence regarding homosexuality, you provide Romans 1? That was Paul's feelings on the matter, not Jesus.

As for billy's natural law. Natural law, outside any moralistic interpretations, refers simply to the laws of physics. Since homosexual sex is possible according to the laws of physics, it violates no natural law. The natural law is a social construct, drawn out of thousands of years of history, politics, and religious nonsense. Natural law suggests to some cultures that women should not speak unless spoken to, and natural law dictated that a black man cannot possibly have an intellect equivalent to that of a white man. This natural law is as much a myth as a flying pig, it is a reason created to explain a certain circumstance or point of view, and it will be antiquated before it can have any major influence on society.

91 On July 11, 2007 at 9:52 AM, Jeff wrote —

Billy,

In response to your entry:

"I express my feelings when I first recognized that same sex attraction was a problem I had to confront head on and eventually deal with it. Do you remember those initial feelings? Do you remember the humiliation, the embarrassment, the feeling of despair? You are now faced with same sex attraction that is outside natural law and now being confronted of being sexually abnormal? Do you remember how you felt as being defined as a “queer"?"

Yes, I do in fact remember those initials feelings… and I soon realized that I felt this way due to the myths from society that I have been spooned fed from birth by my family and my church. As others have mentioned this is not “natural" law, this is about societies lie to all of us by telling us that there is something wrong or “abnormal" about us if we are attracted to members of the same sex. The whole idea that we need to be heterosexual and be married and have as many kids as we can was a creation of man, not of God. When the Bible was written, there were far fewer people on the earth than now and most of the earth was not known of by the Middle Eastern society of the time… if it was, don’t you think God would have told someone? The main reason that the major religions of the world are so persistent on encouraging procreation is so that they can try to have more people on the planet that supposedly are the same as them… have the same faith. It is as if we are in a race to see how many Catholics or Muslims we can produce as if we have more people so we are now are the winners. The cruel fact is that we have more people on this planet than the planet can support.

Ok, I digress a bit.

“Do you remember the failure of being different and not really understanding why? Do you remember the first sexual encounter, the gratification, the resentment, then the justification, but most of all the confusion? Isn’t this where we begin to sugar coat the feeling trying to make it acceptable?"

I remember my first kiss and my first sexual encounter… I will always remember because of how liberating it was and how I felt for the first time that I was really alive. I no longer felt any embarrassment or resentment… the resentment I had was reserved for me only because I allowed society to dictate who I was instead of it coming from inside. Being different is not a failure… if that were the case then everyone would be a failure just for being a person because the last time I checked, we are all very different. What a boring world it would be without diversity.

“It was by choice that we started down the path of being an active homosexual or other addictions i.e. pornography, adultery, drugs, alcohol, all of which destroys, not only the person but also the family. The family is the core of our existence, and being a homosexual violates that very existence. “
As for addictions, I cannot make the connection between having an addiction and the fact I happen to be gay. I am grateful that I do not have a problem with pornography, drugs or alcohol. Many others are not as fortunate.

As Daniel has stated many times, I don’t need your approval to live my life nor do you need mine. I am very content with my life and hope you are with yours. My truths are my own and do not require validation or acceptance.

-Jeff

92 On July 11, 2007 at 10:34 AM, Jeff wrote —

BTW Daniel, I love the site and the great dialogue. I will continue to come back.

Also, at the top of this posting where Daniel has placed his open letter to Michael Glatze are the words "The Ethics of Authenticity". What Daniel is basically saying is that Michael is not being authentic in his portrayal of himself or the gay community among other things. If anyone is unfamiliar with or confused by what authentic expression is and how it is used, I encourage you to read a book by Kevin Cashman titled "Leadership from the Inside Out".

For Michael, as a leader, I strongly encourage you to read this if you have not already.

-Jeff

93 On July 11, 2007 at 1:12 PM, Paul Mannino wrote —

Daniel: Here we go again.

You said: "Thanks for sharing your thoughts, though for a man of god I find it interesting that you were unable to restrain yourself in your zeal to attack such that you felt compelled to offer an apology for your comments."

Why would you find it hard to believe that, simply because I am a "man of God," I am incapable of anger. The Bible never calls me to not be angry...it simply says that "in [my] anger, do not sin." As I reflected on the comments made, I realized that they lacked grace. And so, I apologized. It's interesting that you consider my humilty a weakness. Also, the word "attack" is interesting. Um, maybe I'm missing something here. If you mean "attack" faulty logic, um...ok. To me that's as benign as drinking a Slim Fast to "attack" overeating.

You said: "Perhaps you need to work on your own heart?"

I agree whole"heart"edly. Is there a problem with that? Is absolute pride the way to go on these blogs?

You said: "If you would like to contact me in private to hear how you might achieve that goal (I say in private because you might have a "rep" to uphold), you have my email."

I didn't realize that I did have your email. Now that I do, I will take the discussion off of your post because I wouldn't want pride or posturing to get in the way of honest discussion.

You said: "The study of psychology is far more scientific than the professing of christian babble...so as far as babbling goes, I'll take my babble over your babble...but you're welcome to believe anything you choose."

Interesting comments considering that "psychology" literally means "the study of the soul." Hmm...I don't know. As a thinking man, I'm going to go with God's definitions of the interworkings of the human soul as opposed to man's best guess. But, you are right, you and I both have free will to choose what we believe.

You said: "As to virtue, what would make me believe that you are any more virtuous than I?"

That wasn't what the discussion was about. Nice diversionary tactic, though. I do believe that (in a controlled, scientific environment, all things being the same) a person who is actively engaging in the homosexual lifestyle is less "virtuous" than someone who is not, simply because homosexuality is a sin, ie. the oppostive of virtue.

You said: "You see, the fact that gay people acknowledge their homosexuality doesn't mean they aren't virtuous nor does it give you dominion...for all I know, your sinning at this very moment...but you're not interested in reporting that here, are you? BTW, I could care less if you are...I'm not here to make you virtuous...nor do I inflate my authority to that level."

I am simply stating that sin, by it's very nature, cannot be a virtuous act. That being said, whether one "acknowledges" it or not, is irrelevant. Confessing and repenting are what matters.

And you're right about me not wanting to confess my sins here. Why would I? I have a group of men in my life that I meet with every Tuesday night who hold me accountable. Men I look up to. Men who are helping me to grow as a husband. It's not that I am ashamed to confess my sin. I do it regularly. I just don't see what good it would do to confess it within this context.

You said: "As to Michael, I clearly stated that his problems are his problems...and his efforts to extrapolate them to every homosexual is absurd and more likely indicative of his own need to make the world fit whatever view he holds at any particular time."

But if what he's saying is true, wouldn't you think that his motivation would be to help people get out of that lifestyle so that they could experience life? I wouldn't criticize someone for trying to help people.

You said: "His notion of virtue and your notion of virtue are just that...his and yours."

I don't have my own views of virtue. I align my views to God's.

You said: "The fact that you want your views to be mine is irrelevant."

I don't want you to have my views. I want the veil to be lifted from your eyes so that you (like I need to everyday) can see what life is really about...aka God's views.

You said: "I'm not here to give you what you want."

I didn't think you were.

You said: "Further, if you don't like my views, so be it. I understand that they are my views and I don't need you to validate them. If you don't like my view, find someone who shares your views. At the same time, I'm also not looking to adopt yours."

Well, obviously, there is something that drew me towards your site (besides Google). And I guess I commented on it because I simply felt the need to address some gaps in logic (none of which you really addressed in your reply). I can definitely say that it would be silly to surround myself with people who agree with me. What the point be in that? Do you actually do that? I think that healthy discussion is fine as long as bricks aren't being thrown. I guess the question is, since you already seem to "know" so much about me and Michel Glatze, would stopping to listen even be necessary for you?

You said: "As to the questions about the origin of the Bible which I raised in my follow up comments, they're for your benefit; not mine. I already have my answers."

Have you ever thought that "your" answers aren't the right answers?

You said: "Regarding your Nicodemus comparison, I have two thoughts...one I am not my "reputation"...I am me and what I believe I speak and I'm not afraid of what others think nor am I afraid of what you might have to say. If you want to offer your thoughts on my questions, knock yourself out."

OK, I was just trying to provide you a more private context to discuss these things. But, now, I can see, that since, through my choice of words, I placed a negative connotation on that analogy, it might be better to just discuss things publicly. So, I am rethinking sending this in email form and instead posting it directly on the blog, since that is what you seem to prefer.

You said: "Second, if you're suggesting that coming to you in private would be the equivalent of Nicodemus going to Jesus, well then, may I suggest that you're no Jesus...though you may have delusions of grandiosity. Talk about presumptions?!"

I don't have presumptions about being Jesus. I am connected to Jesus. My words, when submitted to Scripture, are from Jesus. And, if you consider that to be presumptuous, I would have to disagree. I'm simply being obedient. As a follower of Jesus, I have the Holy Spirit (God Himself) within me to guide me. I don't boast in myself. But I can boast in the fact that by talking to me, you could have access to the Truth. I wasn't referring to you (Nicodemus) meeting with me (Jesus). I was referring to you (Nicodemus) meeting with God's Truth (Jesus). Sorry about the confusion.

You said: "Imagine all the people who thought Ted Haggard could give them guidance...were they duped by the devil?"

As strange as it sounds, even though Ted Haggard was secretly engaged in all kinds of sinful stuff, I still believe that his teachings could be useful if they were, in fact, the teachings of Jesus Christ. But, of course, many people will fail to see God's message through that particular mouthpiece because man gets in the way of God's Truth all the time.

You said: "How would I know you aren't cut from the same cloth?"

See, I'm really starting to like you. And I mean that with all sincerity. I AM "cut from the same cloth." I AM just as capable of falling as Ted Haggard. I am no better than him. He is no better than me. It is only the nearness of God that is my good. I am a minister because I believe that God has uniquely gifted me to be able to communicate God's Truth to teenagers. But, if I start to go off on a path that comprimised God speaking through me, then, yeah, I should have the same fate as Ted. But my failure and Ted's failure wouldn't be an indication of God's failure. It would simply be a testimony to the fact that man needs to sumbit to God's will.

You said: "How do you know your spiritual leader isn't as well?"

He is, just like me.

You said: "You see, in the end, you're lost without certainty...so you simply assert it so as to not fear its absence."

I guess my response prior to this kind of throws a wrench in your assumptions about how I would respond, huh? There is no certainty in myself, only in God.

You said: "I'm fine with that...but I don't suffer the same affliction."

If that "affliction" is being prideful about things that you really aren't sure about. I would rethink that. Isn't that what you're doing about a man you don't know? Isn't that what you're doing about your unswerving allegiance to your personal application of pop-psychology on a person you've never spoken with? Isn't that what you're doing about Ted Haggard's supposed "uselessness"? Isn't that what you're doing regarding the teachings of the Bible?

You've seem to made up your mind, and you seem to be quite adament in the face of uncertainty. Ironic.

Anyway, thanks for the detailed response. And, if sound debate is what you enjoy, then I guess you might have made a new friend. Although the question of absolute truth is in question here, can we at least agree to play nice when we discuss our ideas? And if I apologize for being too harsh for creating some unanticipated negative response from you, can we take it as an apology and not an act of weakness? Just asking.

With respect,
Paul

94 On July 11, 2007 at 3:06 PM, PBCliberal wrote —

Paul Marrino would be a lot better served to make arguments that are not completely underpinned by the requirement that one hold a belief in god substantially the same as his own.

There's a littany of them in his last post, and each one brings his argument to a full stop. Here's a typical example:

But, of course, many people will fail to see God's message through that particular mouthpiece because man gets in the way of God's Truth all the time.

Considering that it is (may we assume) a man making this argument, a man who, after paragraph after paragraph of standpat reliance on circular reasoning, finishes up with "[You] seem to [have] made up your mind," he makes an argument that is so broad that it negates his own.

Paul Marrino believes what he believes because he believes he is interpreting a confusing document correctly, and further, this confusing document says it is true. That may be enough for him in the privacy of his own head, or among people who have also willingly suspended their disbelief.

But that is not enough in public discourse with people who see the flaws in the logic and are more than anxious, in forums such as these, to point them out.

95 On July 11, 2007 at 3:44 PM, paul Mannino wrote —

OK, PBC:

You said: "Paul Marrino would be a lot better served to make arguments that are not completely underpinned by the requirement that one hold a belief in god substantially the same as his own."

My "arguments" aren't based on anyone believing in God. Please point out the ones that are.

You said: "There's a littany of them in his last post, and each one brings his argument to a full stop."

You give me one example. "But, of course, many people will fail to see God's message through that particular mouthpiece because man gets in the way of God's Truth all the time."

This isn't an "argument." This is my response to Daniel's bringing Ted Haggard into the discussion. I apologize for not qualifying all my statements, but can we simply operate off of the standpoint that, as a pastor, my beliefs are going to be shaped by my belief in God. I guess if you don't believe in any kind of God, the whole notion of a pastor would be silly anyway, but I think that Daniel's question had more to do with where God was in the Ted Haggard situation. I believe he made a comment about the devil being involved. Why aren't you accusing him of being stuck on the supposition that there is a such thing as the devil? Hmm...

You said: "Considering that it is (may we assume) a man making this argument, a man who, after paragraph after paragraph of standpat reliance on circular reasoning,"

Where else is my circular reasoning? If there is a God, wouldn't most discussions center around what He's up to? Don't minimilize what I have said simply because you choose not to believe in God. I won't qualify my statements to toss into question whether or not He exists. That would be disrespectful to God. I would prefer to offend you over Him. But, as you must understand that this is the perspective that I'm coming from, I can't see how you could possibly take offense to it.

You said: "finishes up with "[You] seem to [have] made up your mind," he makes an argument that is so broad that it negates his own."

Are we now reveling in ignorance? Is it wrong for me to be confident in a reliance on God's wisdom? It's not pride in myself. It's reliance upon God.

You said: "Paul Marrino believes what he believes because he believes he is interpreting a confusing document correctly, and further, this confusing document says it is true. That may be enough for him in the privacy of his own head, or among people who have also willingly suspended their disbelief."

The Bible isn't that confusing. All you need is half a brain and the ability to either read Greek and Hebrew or trust the translators who do. I'm sorry if my confidence in the Bible, the life of Jesus Christ, and the impact that God has personally made in my life seems a bit silly to you. I am trying to articulate my faith in a reasonable, respectful way.

You said: "But that is not enough in public discourse with people who see the flaws in the logic and are more than anxious, in forums such as these, to point them out."

You're going to have to bring something a little stronger than that. Oooh...I guess I should run away because I believe there is a God and am not willing to temper my conversation with silly phrases like...

But, of course, many people will fail to see God's message (well...I mean, that is if there IS a God) through that particular mouthpiece because man gets in the way of God's Truth (well, if there is a God and there is Truth) all the time.

If you can give me a translation of what I am trying to articulate without taking away the actual meaning of what I was attempting to say, I'm all ears.

I didn't know that I was violating the laws of "public discourse." Sorry.

But, even though I might not be familiar with these unwritten rules, I am more than welcome to listen to HOW I'm supposed to talk. I would like to be able to discuss things in a meaningful way with really smart people like you guys without turning you off with all of my gaps in logic.

So...I'm being dead serious, using that one phrase you quoted, how would a person like me (who obviously believes in God) phrase a statement like that without being an ignoramus to you?

Respectfully,

Paul MaNNino

96 On July 11, 2007 at 3:53 PM, Daniel wrote —

Paul,

In pointing to your apology, I said nothing about your humility being a weakness. My reference to your apology is solely to demonstrate that while you are assured in your kinship with god and that your words are Jesus' words, you were able to utter words you subsequently found to be lacking (correct me if that isn't what you thought of your words).

Therefore, as someone listening to you, how would I ever be certain which words were correct and which were divorced from grace...and if you can't determine as much before you utter your words, then perhaps your affinity with Jesus and your ability to channel his words is insufficient. Further, when you correct yourself, is that you or someone else correcting you? And what's to say that Jesus isn't speaking through me as opposed to you?

You see, your arguments are circular and they provide you cover for all that you do. That undoubtedly leaves the observer unable to discern anything other than your certainty...a certainty you provide to yourself but that may be nothing more than you anointing yourself to speak for god. Frankly, I believe I understand the concept of god as well as you do. The fact that I don't believe in god doesn't prohibit me from understanding the construct nor would it prevent me from understanding his message.

As a matter of clarification, I grew up a Catholic and attended Catholic Schools for 12 years. In that fact alone, we have significant differences in our understandings of religion. I'm not inclined to argue the Catholic view since I don't embrace the larger concept of god...but I could. The point is that Catholicism, like most all religions believes it's doctrine is absolute (see the Pope's latest pronouncement). Were I a good Catholic, I could simply discount your beliefs since you're not a Catholic...just as many religions do to other religions on a routine basis.

Playing the devil's advocate (take that however you choose), how would the true seeker ever determine which version of absolutism to accept? By your own profession of kinship with the word of god, you would be compelled to state that the seeker should consult you and your faith...but all you can offer to substantiate your authenticity is your belief in your authenticity...the same belief and authenticity that can be found in millions of others...many of which are not in agreement with you. Surely you can see the dilemma a seeker would encounter?

As a psychology major, I must say I find your suggestion that psychology is the study of the soul to be an interesting view. Your use of the word "literal" likely explains an otherwise meaningless assertion given that the actual studies that comprise an education in the discipline are not focused upon the "soul". The last time I was involved with research, the soul was not something we attempted to measure. Frankly, I'm not sure how that would happen.

As to going with gods version as opposed to man's best guess, knock yourself out (hmm, I must like that expression). Clearly, statistically significant data is regarded as more than a guess. In the scientific method, the guess might be one's hypothesis, but the results, if they are statistically significant, are not viewed as guesswork.

Ahh, now onto your most egregious assumption (or should I say your thin air fabrication?)...the one that attempts to define your view of homosexuality as sin with a scientific conclusion that it isn't virtuous. Paul, drink a little less of the kool-aid...please!? Aside from your narrow religious beliefs, you will find NO scientists that will accept your premise...well maybe Paul Cameron...but if you've drank too much of the kool-aid, he's certainly fabricated too much of it for you. May I humbly suggest you stay focused on mysticism and leave scientific method to scientists?

As to confessing sin, I find your willingness to judge the forthright admission of being gay by those who have commented here at Thought Theater while refusing to share your own shortcomings (and I'm NOT accepting your premise that being gay is a shortcoming or a sin) offensive and obtuse. You speak of humility yet you haven't enough of it to come here and expose yourself...yet you want readers to afford you the respect one might concede to a sage. For all we know, you're a charlatan who takes pleasure in creating ego enhancing situations to feed a flawed psyche.

As to your confessing to "men you look up to", if that is a veiled insult to the readership here at Thought Theater, perhaps you owe another apology for such mean spirited judgment.

As to Michael's motivations, I think I've already offered my view. As to his proximity to "truth", the fact that his "truth" matches your "truth" which you will say is actually god's "truth", well...that and a black hat might produce a rabbit...but it would be your illusion, not mine. Were I to believe in god, I doubt I would treat him like a cloak of righteous "truth" that I could slip on and be magically transformed into his infallible vicar...seems a bit grandiose to me.

As to lifting my veil, may I suggest that you remove your own cloak of certainty. You wear it because you fear the random nature of our human existence and it comforts your fears. In reality, it isn't I that lives behind a veil.

As to listening to you and Michael, would we be having this discussion if I hadn't already listened? BTW, I spoke with Michael on the phone for a lengthy period of time so I think I've demonstrated a willingness to listen and communicate.

As to having ever thought my answers weren't the right ones...well of course I have. How do you think I came to my conclusions? I was raised with beliefs that I explored for many years before deciding I didn't accept them and before reaching my current views. Have you ever considered that your views may be wrong?

As to having the Holy Spirit within you...how do you know when he's there...and when you sin, where does the Holy Spirit hang out? And if I'm observing you, how would I know when you were doing god's work or succumbing to the devil? If you aren't always doing god's work, then you could be a false prophet, couldn't you? You say you are obedient but you also say you are a sinner. Speaking of logic, how does that work? I assume obedient people do the right thing and I presume that sinners are doing as they please. Since you do both, how could I trust that you were acting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and not the devil? If I spoke to you while you were being disobedient...and I acted upon what you told me...I might harm myself and act in conflict to god...would you want that?

On the Ted Haggard issue, we're back to the circular argument. Tell me how one determines which of his teachings were offered by a man filled with the Holy Spirit and which were the result of disobedience and betrayal? Further, if you have a direct kinship with god and he guides you, what purpose does a Ted Haggard serve?

Here's the problem, given that you believe you submit to god's will and you self-report as much, would you, like Ted Haggard, only admit that you were not submitting to god's will when you got caught? No doubt Ted Haggard professed the same things you profess despite knowing he wasn't living his words...and no doubt during his "sinfulness" he was asking people to follow him because he was in communion with god...but he WASN'T, was he?

I'm not saying that Haggard is useless, that you are a bad person, or that Michael has ill-intentions. What I am saying is that your collective certainty has no more intrinsic value than my own beliefs.

Your propensity to righteousness is dangerous and were I a believer, my relationship with god would never be through another human being nor would I be so brazen as to think I was entitled to tell another to follow me because god spoke through me. You see, if he (god) is in you and in me and he speaks to us both, why would I suppose he spoke more clearly to you? In fact, I could make the argument that any man who argues accordingly is more likely to be doing the devil's bidding when he attempts to convince another that what he hears from god is superior.

As to being prideful, you start with a faulty premise. You assume that I want you to agree with me or that I think my "truth" must be your "truth". On the contrary, it is you and Michael and Ted Haggard that are prideful and determined to have others adopt your "truths"...and of course your justification for same is that your words are gods words...and you don't hesitate to judge...even though you aren't worthy of that position.

That in itself is a prideful assumption...particularly since you acknowledge that you often stray from the very words you profess...yet you persist to assert your proximity to god such that others should acquiesce at your behest.

As an aside, if you're going to assail the merits of "pop-psychology", then assure me that you and those who embrace the same beliefs will not avail yourselves of it. You see, all too often, those who share your same beliefs, discount all the pop-psychology that doesn't affirm the dogma while elevating the manufactured versions that do. There's something very troubling about the manipulated application of an established field of study...a field that has adhered to the application of consistent standards and methods.

Paul, I don't view your apology as an act of weakness...I simply believe it demonstrates an inconsistency that defies the rationale you seek to impart.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and observation. While we may never agree, I do enjoy the dialogue.

Take care,

Daniel

97 On July 11, 2007 at 4:04 PM, jen wrote —

to billy,
BRAVO!

to jeff,
thank you so much for explaining about the title of this blog. it was very enlightening!

98 On July 11, 2007 at 4:39 PM, PBCliberal wrote —

Paul Mannino: Here are a couple of quotes from your original post that I find troubling and circular, depending of course, on how you're qualifying them:

As a thinking man, I'm going to go with God's definitions of the interworkings of the human soul as opposed to man's best guess.
I don't have my own views of virtue. I align my views to God's.

I have been assuming that when you say "god's definitions" and god's views, that you are basing these statements on what you believe is exegesis (and what I view from your statements as eisegesis). Perhaps I'm wrong and you have god on a ringdown line and you're reading your posts to him in advance of their postings, asking if its ok to click the "post" button on the browser.

If not, and you're laboring in the vineyard like everybody else, then I point you to the multiplicity of religious sects who all call themselves Christian (sometimes trying to deny that label to others who claim it.)

Here's a site listing the families of Christian Sects. For a bible that is "not that confusing" there sure seems to be a whole lot of disagreement on what it says, and a tremendous amount of schisming that you could put a stop to immediately. You might want to start with the Pope who seems to have been backsliding on his ecuminicism of late. Maybe he has a ringdown line too, but the lines got crossed.

So why are there are so many of these sects? I believe its because they are all engaging in "man's best guess" as you put it, and at one point or another in the evolution of their belief systems, their best guesses diverged so radically that the minority view stormed out of the cathedral and went off to build their own church.

The rest of your post seems to be a bunch of snide comments that make false claims, such as the suggestion I view you as an ignoramus, or that I have somehow taken offense.

You have a right to believe what you want, and to preach that from your own personal private pulpet as if it is the truest true the world has ever known. Your supplicants have the right to pay you to do this, and everybody will be happy.

But you're not in your pulpet here, and I would respectfully suggest that you qualify your speech in a way that at the very least, includes the possibility that god may not exist the way you think he does.

I would hope that you would be willing to do that when speaking with others called to preach religious doctrine--the link I provided lists only the ones who call themselves Christians--I would further hope that you could find the ability to do that here.

Whether you believe your arguments to be circular or not, I think modifying your prose to reflect that you are posting your interpretation of scripture and are not a fount spewing the one true dicta would result in a sudden disappearance of claims that you're making circular arguments.

99 On July 11, 2007 at 4:51 PM, hannah wrote —

Daniel your right we are all sinners. But some choose to live in sin and some choose to fight it. homosexuals have certaintly not choosen to be fighter.Rather they give up and give in to tempetation. And you dont have to worry about things chiping away and my confidence or my belifs. Because nothing will ever change... im not the type of person who gives in. And you'll probably try to accuse of being deffensive, so save your energy and dont bother

100 On July 11, 2007 at 5:15 PM, Daniel wrote —

Hannah,

I could be wrong, but I doubt you comprehend the notion of choice which would no doubt lead you to misunderstand the nature of being gay.

Be that as it may, I need not accuse you of anything for I fear your own words expose and betray the confidence and the persona you believe you are putting forth.

As to saving my energy, I feel comfortable that spending it is a worthy transaction.

Glad to see you back at Thought Theater. You're always welcome to share your thoughts.

Take care,

Daniel

101 On July 11, 2007 at 5:46 PM, Paul Mannino wrote —

Now I remember why I quit playing tennis! Aah..this back and forth is crazy. But, it's also why I like tennis.

OK...first off, to Daniel. What I said about respecting the guys in my accountability group was not AT ALL a stab at you or your readership. If it was taken that way, I must apologize. I literally meant that I respected those guys.

To PBC...I still don't think you understand what I mean. Because what you said wasn't it.

But, I would like to thank both of you for engaging in this dialogue.

Can I ask both of you a question...

What would it look like for me to make peace with you?

I am curious. Is it possible? What would "win you over" and make you think that "ah...this guy is different...maybe he does know what he's talking about"? Or is there anything, really? Just a question.

Just to let you know. I definitely didn't want to engage in discursive entrenchment on all these issues. I actually was just curious about what different opinions were about the Glatze news. Somewhere along the line I missed that original intent.

I wouldn't say that, when I fail, that I am being controlled by the devil, thus making me unable to preach or talk about the God of the Bible. If that were the case, then I don't think any minister would have ever been able to preach. It's not pride. I promise you that. It's more of a "follow me as I follow Christ" philosophy. Yes, it puts pressure on me to be authentic; but those are the instructions to all of Christ's followers in the Gospel of Matthew. I can see where it would appear arrogant; but, at the same time, how do I reconcile that with the dilemma that (not only me) any evangelical who believes that the Gospel of Matthew acurately recorded the teachings of Christ must follow God by sharing their faith (or "making disciples").

Do you understand the predicament? Christianity is an active thing. It's not something that is meant to be kept to one's self. So...I guess my question is, can their still be peace between a Christian, who is trying to share their faith and a homosexual man or an atheist?

Serious question. I'm not about arguing anymore. (and, no, it's not because I think I "lost") I would rather figure out if there's any way for their to be peace. I'm obviously not going to impress you with logic or humility or nasty snide remarks. So...what is it that would make a difference?

Second question, is Michael Glatze doomed to have friends within the gay community if he continues down the path he's on?

With respect...

Paul

102 On July 11, 2007 at 5:55 PM, paul Mannino wrote —

eisegesis

He he he...I had to look that one up. At first I thought it was a type-o.

Nope, I'm not ignoring the context. I'm an exegete. Wow...wikipedia is really helpful.

103 On July 11, 2007 at 6:29 PM, Alex wrote —

Lots of different Christians make reference to guidance by the Holy Spirit, including members of Michael Glatze's own denomination, the LDS Church. It's quite telling that not even the Holy Spirit knows which truth is absolute. Honestly, the best argument against the existence of absolute truth is all the people who argue for it.

104 On July 11, 2007 at 7:36 PM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

The Pope said yesterday that the only authentic salvation comes through the catholic church. He should know, because according to his doctrine, he is the only man on the planet who is infallible. The protestants are upset because they thought they had a valid and valuable part of the franchise. So, is everything else the protestants say therefore equally suspect, since they claim that they are the only path to salvation (born again, personal relationship with JC, etc). some even go so far as the call the RC's "The whore of babylon!" I think that one can be chalked up to Tim La haye.

Logically, either the pope is right, or the protestants are right, or they are all right (but not according to the pope) or they all wrong. And if they are wrong about this, could they possibly be wrong about the whole gay issue, just like they were about witches, the earth-centric physics, and so many other things?

Or perhaps we really need to question the whole concept of salvation, and whether a god who allegedly loved us so much that he died on the cross would then love some people so little that he would send anyone who disagrees with him to hell for an eternity of punishment.

Or perhaps we really need to look at this in functional terms: this god who allegedly loves us so much commits suicide in shame and guilt for the burden of sin that he alone placed upon us. In other words, he really screwed up and took the only way out. This would make more sense to me.

Salvation really has nothing to do with it.

105 On July 11, 2007 at 9:48 PM, Daniel wrote —

Paul,

Thanks for your comments and clarifications and your willingness to seek a point of understanding.

I've given it some thought and I an going to attempt to explain it in such a way that you might understand our perspective.

Here goes. First, let me give you the assumptions for this little exercise. Let's presume that Michael had been a longtime member of your faith and your church and that you both shared in the appreciation of that affiliation.

Now let's assume that you find out by way of an open letter in Catholic Digest that Michael has not only converted to Catholicism, his letter of conversion also spells out a condemnation of your faith and your church and he assails all of its members.

Now take that basic construct, go back to Michael's essay and insert Catholic for heterosexual wherever he notes what he has become and insert your faith or your church and it's members...you included...where ever he has referenced gays. Keep in mind that he is now a member of a Church that has a Pope that asserts infallibility...who has just reasserted centuries old doctrine that all those who cannot see the "truth" of Catholicism will never find salvation...that they are choosing to disobey god...that their choice is pride and an unwillingness to surrender to god's will and his word.

You get the picture...I am placing you in the position you place homosexuals in and I am using religious doctrine that exists to do so...doctrine that has the same historical traditions of most faiths...doctrine that the Pope and his Church assert is absolute...that has at it's origin the men who walked with Jesus on this earth and who built the Catholic Church based upon Jesus' words.

Now assume that regardless of your protestations and your assertions that you have many valuable attributes, that you follow many of the same teachings of Jesus in terms of how you treat your fellow man...but Michael and other Catholics tell you that by your refusal to give up your false faith and choose god's faith, you are not just a sinner amongst sinners, you are a sinner of arrogant choice...despite the efforts of those within the Catholic Church to save you and share god's bounty with you...but you just won't do the right thing...so you are refusing to submit to god's will and you will therefore be met by god's wrath on the day of atonement.

Now I realize every remark in Michael's letter will not apply...but that's irrelevant...I am asking you to understand the basic construct and how it is, in fact, predicated upon the same premise with which you approach homosexuals.

Paul, if this exercise fails to give you insight, I fear it is beyond your reach or your willingness to put into practice the very principles you have sought to espouse here at Thought Theater.

I don't think I can offer any better means to understanding. I'm afraid this is my best shot.

Let me know your thoughts after you have had an opportunity to digest my example.

I know there were other questions in your last response but seeing that it is getting late and I am weary from a very long day, I will not address those items tonight though I will endeavor to do so tomorrow.

Take care,

Daniel

106 On July 11, 2007 at 10:07 PM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

Daniel: I just have to say it again. You are one of the most articulate and thoughtful writers on this subject that I have ever read.

107 On July 11, 2007 at 10:38 PM, Daniel wrote —

Hi Ben,

You're far too kind but I certainly thank you for your words of appreciation...as well as all of your thoughtful comments on this important subject.

I feel like I've gotten to know a number of people through this comment thread and that is immensely rewarding...as well as encouraging.

Let me also take this opportunity to thank the many others who have shared in this dialogue. While I would like to respond to each and every comment, the day simply isn't long enough.

There have been so many thoughtful comments and I have learned from the exchange and I hope that the same has been true for each of you.

Thanks again to all!

Take care,

Daniel

108 On July 12, 2007 at 4:46 AM, fming wrote —

Ben in Oakland: (#9) You asked why right wing Christians hang out on gay websites. I'm not a right wing Christian, but I would be considered a conservative Christian. I found this site through a link about Mr. Glatze. You can understand why a Christian might come across and read about Glatze's change. This is why I ended up on this site. In addition, as a heterosexual, I did choose my sexuality (no, I've never been gay). Everyone does. It's just that most people - gay and straight alike - are not aware that they made a choice. In fact, as human beings we are not typically consciously aware why we do many things. There is no DNA gene for being straight or being gay - it is primarily psychological. Aside from the hormone wash while in the womb that makes us male or female (which does have a great impact on gender characteristics) we all choose. Many straigt people may reject this fact because many are repulsed by homosexuality. Obviously as a Christian I think it is wrong but so is someone’s choice to lie, cheat, or steal - even if these behaviors are compulsive and the person "can't help it" they still are responsible for their choice. It's just that some choices are easy for some people and some are hard. If I am good at math, the choice to be an engineer may seem easy, but it's still a choice. As human being, we are not robots pre-programmed to simply act on every desire or feeling no mater how strong or intense.

109 On July 12, 2007 at 8:45 AM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

Please. you twist and bend your truth to make it mine. I could have sex every day with a woman or nine differemnt women, and it wouldn't make me heterosexual. It would just make me a gay man who has sex with women. for you, as a christian, it is only about the act. for me, as a thinking human being, it is about orientation. Jesus' comments about committing a sin in actuality if you think it is a recognition of this.
But it doesn't matter, becasue I DO NOT ACCEPT YOUR BELIEFS AS A DEFINITION OF WHAT MY LIFE IS ABOUT.

Your own founder told you not to judge. how clear is that? Far clearer than anything in YOUR sacred book about my sex life.

Get out of the business of judging others. both your life and mine will be healthier.

110 On July 12, 2007 at 9:44 AM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

Actually, let me put this a different way that will, i hope, shine the spotlight on what your comments are really about.

As a jew, there is not one word in the bible after the last one in the book of Malachi-- in other words, the whole of the new testament-- that i accept as having any truth or value in my life.

(on another tack, there is very little before that last word that i believe either. but then, i'm an educated man who does not require an ancient mythology to be true to validate my life. Mythologies come and go. That's why they are mythologies).

That i reject the whole of your theology, not just the parts you find interesting, probably does not bother you or anyone other than the most die-hard fundamentalist. It doesn't register on your radar, most likely. no lenthy postings on anti or pro-jewish websites, no lectures, no political campaigns to restrict my rights as a jew, no support of anti-jewish politicians, no lengthy contorted, mythology-based pronouncements on the appropriateness of my jewish beliefs, no twisting of actual facts to suit your agenda, no nothing.

Most likely, all you say is "well. Your jewish. I can respect that.' If you are being less charitable, you might even say "Oh well. He's gonna burn in hell forever. I can live with that."

Sp why does this rejection of just the tiniest part of your theology get you so excited-- excuse me, exercised? Could it be that it is really not about your religious beliefs at all?

I have no way of actually answering that question for you, but I've seen enough in my life to give me enough of an answer. It is not really about your religion. it is about a very deeply held prejudice, given a veneer of respectability by some organized religion. but it is still a prejudice.

Even if it is, how about this? I would like to have the same respect from you, the same live-and-let-live attitude that you extend to all of the other people you believe are going to hell, sent there to burn for an eternity by your just and loving god, just because they don't believe his pronouncements, or horror-of-horrors, just don't believe in him at all.

I don't want to be special for you, just because i am gay.

111 On July 12, 2007 at 2:22 PM, PBCliberal wrote —

Paul, you have no need to try to make peace with me. I've always been fascinated by religious belief, was raised in several protestant churches on the evangelical end of the spectrum, and I think I have a pretty good idea of your dilemma. Its an awful lot like mine, in that I think there is something inherent in me that is real and true and so intrinsic to my being that its removal would cause me permanent damage.

The experience of what appears to be the majority of those who ride the ex-gay arc appears to endorse my view. The official positions of the major professional social science organizations resonates with me and seems consistent with the personal stories of the many people I've talked with about this issue.

I doubt that it is even possible to change orientations (this is not the same as saying that orientations don't change.) While this is guilt by association, when I see how intertwined these change groups are with the big evangelical organizations that promote their agendas by creating alternate scientific realities like creation science that have no basis whatsoever in scientific fact, and that the major professional supporters of gay change have almost all been drummed out of the major professional organizations (often for research irregularities), I see a pattern here.

We have moved a long way away from Michael Glatze, with one exception: when the success stories turn out to be lies. That is why you see in so many of us so much interest in the people who make stump speeches about sea changes in their sexuality.

We know that there are lots of our brethren who do not want to be homosexual. They're usually, but not always, in social situations like fundamentalist churches where hatred and self-loathing is encouraged because of the very actions that you, Paul, feel are mandated for you because of beliefs that I suspect you would claim are at least as intrinsic to your being as your sexuality.

The dirty little secret of the gay-change ministries are the suicides, we've know about those since the days of the late Rev. Sylvia Pennnington who wrote the first ex-ex-gay book. When you lie to someone about what they may expect through god's intervention, and that intervention doesn't happen, the self-loathing only increases. "Why has god abandoned me," the reprobate asks? "Why am I not seeing the changes," they ask. "Pray harder," is the answer.

But the truth often is that the leaders aren't seeing change either, but are lying. Sometimes this is a "fake it 'til you make it" lie, but sometimes I believe its a political posturing by the groups who need to maintain homosexuality as a choice by any means necessary. One of those means is to throw innocent people under the bus purely because of who they are.

You ask what would convince me that you're not like the others? To really look at this issue, because I suspect that your arc will be like so many from the late Rev. Pennington to the gay-change ministry in Britain that just changed their own orientation to support the individual as a child of god made the way just the way he wanted them.

112 On July 12, 2007 at 9:31 PM, Alex wrote —

Beautifully stated, PBC.

113 On July 13, 2007 at 10:37 AM, b wrote —

Hi again,

I think something should be pointed out, though I certainly did not come up with this myself-

We like believing what we believe. We will hold to what we believe no matter what, even if there is evidence pointing to the contrary. In those situations we just ignore what's being said, just because we have the ability to do so. And in our own quests for "absolute" truth and the reality of what's going on in the world and whatnot, we tend to give more credit to that which reinforces what we already think and what attitudes we already harbor, so anything gleaned from such a quest is probably not 100% "absolute" in the sense that what we've set out to explore is what's right and good for everyone else as well.

So most likely none of us TRULY has all the answers.

114 On July 13, 2007 at 11:16 AM, b wrote —

But ANYWHOS,

As to the actual topic at hand...I hope Michael is truly happy with the decision he's made (a decision not to "become" heterosexual but to not accept feeling homosexual desires). It just wouldn't be pretty if later on down the road he changed his mind, especially if he were to have such a change of mind, and heart, AFTER making some MAJOR life commitments (marriage to a woman, children, etc.). It could be a hard fall for him if he does later on change his mind about his homosexuality.

In saying this I am reminded of one actual "ex-gay" figure's fall from the face of the movement. In the late 1990s (I think sometime in 1998), a small flurry of advertisements for "ex-gay" organizations appeared in print media and on television. One of the TV ads featured an HIV-positive man with his mother, saying stuff that amounted to "I only wish I could have realized change was possible sooner" (I'll try and find what was actually said in the ad). Some assumed that his story would go far in hitting the last nail in the coffin of LGBT civil rights. But it turns out that a few years later, sometime in 2001-2003, a video surfaced of this same HIV-positive "ex-gay" man engaging in an all-men orgy. It was in fact confirmed that he was one of the men caught on the tape, and (in my opinion, unfortunately) he went to another "ex-gay" Christian-identified ministry in shame.

And if anyone is going to respond to my comment then PLEASE do not construe my language at the end of the first paragraph as saying that a change can be induced in a person's sexual orientation.

115 On July 13, 2007 at 11:53 AM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

You are referring to coral ridge ministries guy. Really big fag. He never changed, but i'm sure he made his mom happy. Also, some of the original ex-gays have aopologized, seeing as they are now ex-ex gay.

And "b" you're right. no one truly has all the asnwers, except for Christians (and muslims and jews and anyone else like that) who really do have all the answers, except for the one answering why all the others to not agree with their answers.

116 On July 13, 2007 at 1:57 PM, Alex wrote —

Sounds to me like Michael Johnston, the Kerusso Ministries guy:

http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2007/01/the-newly-refur/

117 On July 13, 2007 at 2:32 PM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

That's the guy. Sad case. It seems no matter how much these ex-gays sell their souls to jesus, the damn thing is still slinking around the back alley. Maybe jesus really doesn't care as much as so many christians think he does.

118 On July 13, 2007 at 4:57 PM, PBCliberal wrote —

I got wind of a Coral Ridge Ministries guy a while ago (it actually was a group down here in South Florida that met at both Coral Ridge and a church in West Palm).

I met with his predecessor in the ministry before the turn of the millenium, and tried to attend one of their meetings at Coral Ridge (this is the house that Dr. James Kennedy built--you won't find a hellfire breathing homophobe to equal him east of Topeka), but the night I chose, nobody showed up, so I sat and talked with the guy who was then leading the ministry. He later more or less retired, but with no public mea culpa.

Apparantly a subsequent ministry leader had some kind of crisis of confidence in what he was doing, but in a much more restrained way than hosting unsafe sex parties, but I was never able to find him.

119 On July 15, 2007 at 9:59 PM, RUSSELL wrote —

First of all, I'd like to thank PBCLiberal, Daniel, et al. for their patience in replying to the right-wing fundies. I can't imagine patience it must take, it's like some game of whack-a-mole that never ends.
I have a couple things to add to this dialog. First of all, I'm saddened by the way Glatze has let stereotypes influence his perception of what it means to be gay. To make a long story short...a long time ago I rejected what I saw as the bad aspects of gay culture, without rejecting my gayness. I have NEVER done drugs AT ALL or had promiscuous sex outside of a relationship, or had an STD. I had the strength to make the decision to either not do these things or protect myself from harm, apparently he didn't. That's too bad for him, but I'll be damned (haha) if he's going to make it too bad for me or the thousands of other GLBT people who live lives as "normal" and "stable" as average straight people, if not more so. I know a gay couple who met in college 20 years ago and are still together and happy. That's longer than the average straight marriage lasts! I know a number of gay couples in DC who have been together for similar lengths of time. I'm not trying to say this is typical; it probably isn't. (although for lesbians of a certain age, it probably is) But it is proof that it is possible for GLBT people to have committed relationships and stable lives. I'm sorry Mikie didn't find any of those people serve as role models and mentors.

Another comment that needs to be made is an examination of what drives fundamentalist drivel, be it Christian or Muslim or another belief system. It's enormously frustrating for me, and probably for other followers of reason, to put up with their inane ramblings. But rather than act fearful, cite our biblical passage of convenience, and retreat to viewing the 700 club, let us use our intellects to examine what is really going on. We are born into the world naked and helpless, our parents save us from certain doom by the protection and nurturing they provide us. If something bad happens, they are there to provide us with explanation and proscriptive advice - "you burned your hand because you touched the hot stove...stay away from the hot stove." Ok. Then we get to be adults. There's no longer a parent there, all of the time, to serve in this role. So some people want to cling to the childish comfort of an ULTIMATE parental figure. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as an ultimate parental figure. We find out they all have their foibles - even our own. And so in the pain of the realization, some can people move on - but most people around the world turn to the imaginary, infallible parent(s). And that, I'm afraid, has left the world in the state it's in today. The only hope to end all of this nonsense, be it the nonsense of driving planes into the WTC or the nonsense of hating gay people, is for the rationalists to more aggressively promote rationalism. Fortunately, that seems to be happening. For example: the Rational Response Squad.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/

120 On July 20, 2007 at 10:04 PM, John wrote —

RUSSELL:

I just had to compliment you on your eloquent description of reasoning with fundamentalists:

"it's like some game of whack-a-mole that never ends" !

When people are willing to dialogue, things are different - and dialogue means that BOTH parties are open to hearing the other person. Granted, this can be difficult for gay folks (like me) who have been repeatedly attacked for our beliefs and our way of loving. But the connection that happens, and the deeper understanding of what's really important to both sides, makes it worth it.

On the other hand, when religious people start talking or typing just to remind themselves how they are right and everybody (EVERYBODY) else is wrong, there isn't much dialogue to be expected. Sad.

121 On October 28, 2007 at 4:13 PM, Andrea wrote —

Read:

Leviticus 20:13 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

13 " 'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Leviticus 18:22 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

22 " 'Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

1 Corinthians 6:9
9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders

122 On December 29, 2007 at 6:42 AM, Steve Edwards wrote —

The world could wholly accept homosexuality, yet practising homosexuals would still not shut up.

Because they are at war not with people like Michael Glatze, or Pat Robertson, they are at war with themselves. Gay rights is inner turmoil outwardly directed, it is denial socially projected. It is an attempt from within to pin the blame on others, and to negate oneself as a moral agent in one's life, and to deny one's problems.

Michael Glatze is happy now that he has confronted his demons, that he has turned from death and destruction towards light and life and hope. It will be difficult for him; much damage will have already been done.

I suspect that Michael wants to go away now and live a normal life, the normal life that deep down he had been craving for years. But perhaps as a good man he feels the need to help others in a similar predicament. Listen to him. He can help you.

123 On June 3, 2008 at 1:29 PM, Andy E wrote —

Michael Galtze never once states that he found his heterosexuality. If anything he is saying that he has chosen to oppress his feelings in the name of god, or excuse me God, to find some sort of moral balance.

The fact remains that the gay community is conflicted, in pain and often misunderstood, even by itself. These issues, like Michael's, sometimes feel more like a product of social rejection, not a product of human abnormality. I think you can find that ever present in Glatze's inability to call himself straight.

124 On July 22, 2008 at 11:27 AM, GL CARPENTER wrote —

Michael,
I cried when I read your story. Please read mine. I posted it at www.HOPE7.HIGHPOWERSITES.COM
I am problably not going to be able to afford my site much longer, 3 years is a long time for a poor gal like me. It is true. Painful, Tragic and most Embarassing as all get out but true. I know your pain even if I have never lived the lesbian lifestyle my mind was infiltrated with their deceitful dogma. Strangely I dont hate them but do hate homosexuality and what it does to good men and woman and now to our children. God help us all to help them!!! May God give you the blessing today that I would like to have been given. Love and Hope! GL

125 On October 12, 2009 at 9:34 PM, Jessica Sideways wrote —

Christ, why is it that this post brought all of the ignorant thumpers out of the woodwork? Just sayin'.

126 On October 29, 2009 at 8:50 PM, Chris wrote —

I only want to chime in on two points : No one chooses to be attracted to the same sex and no one is born gay.
So many fail to understand the complicated factors that go into making someone gay identified. Unraveling each person's family history, personality and relationships and how these came to influence their homosexual desires is often the key to freedom from the passions that drive their risky or unwanted behavior.
Same sex attraction and its causes are complicated but decidedly not inborn. It developed, and for some, the knowledge of how is enough for them to take control of the feelings and emotions that drive their desires and consciously work to alter them. Further some find while working on the why's of how they feel and act, that their arrested heterosexual maturation begins again and they experience opposite sex attraction. Although properly pursued, one's goal should never be to "change" orientation, rather it is for a fullness of self, healing of past hurts, and most of all seeking to fulfill emotional needs with fraternal love. Check out this page for a better explanation: http://www.ssahope.com/same_sex_attraction_education.html
Peace all.
Free and happy,
Chris

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