March 25, 2017

July 17, 2015

On Valorizing Gay Marriage: A Response to Wesley Hill

In an article entitled “Hoping for Love” posted June 28 by Dr. Wesley Hill on his Spiritual Friendship site, Dr. Hill made a series of remarks that prompted me to post on my Facebook page: “Am I the only one for whom this post by Wesley Hill sets off alarm bells, particularly after yesterday’s disclosure of Julie Rodgers’ acceptance of ‘gay marriage’ as a valid alternative for ssa-Christians?” Rodgers, a self-identified “celibate gay Christian,” was one of the contributors to the Spiritual Friendship site (last contributing in Oct. 2014).

Matt Kennedy produced a response to Hill’s article, “Love Does Not Rejoice in Wrongdoing,” which included a quotation of one of my comments on Hill’s article. Dr. William Witt (systematic theology), a colleague of Dr. Hill’s at Trinity School for Ministry, rushed to Dr. Hill’s defense, saying (among other things):

“I was disappointed that Gagnon completely missed that the whole point of Wes’s article was about friendship. Gagnon’s criticism does not even mention the word ‘friendship.’ Did Gagnon even read the whole article or did he just read the first paragraph and take off running?”

Let me begin by assuring Dr. Witt that I read the whole article carefully before commenting on my FB post. Dr. Hill wrote a post explaining why he was so “moved” by “gay” friends celebrating the Supreme Court “gay marriage” decision rather than being anguished by that decision: (1) the alternative for most was a church hostile to celibate “gay” Christianity or at least indifferent to developing “spiritual friendships”; (2) there are many goods associated with homosexual relationships even if the sex can’t be approved from a biblical standpoint.

In speaking about alarm bells I was not equating what Dr. Hill had written to Julie Rodgers’ new acceptance of “gay marriage.” At several points in the article (not to mention his other writings) he states that he is not rejecting the church’s teaching that homosexual sex is wrong. Indeed, just yesterday he distinguished his position from that of Julie Rodgers in an op-ed for the Washington Post (“Yes, many Christian communities are toxic for my LBGT friends. But there’s more”; similarly, the co-founder/editor of the Spiritual Friendship site, Ron Belgau).

My concern is rather that in his “Hoping for Love” article Dr. Hill is blurring boundaries in a way that Rodgers blurred boundaries before Rodgers finally crossed over into the other side. Perhaps he himself does not realize that he is valorizing homosexual relationships in an unhealthy manner. But he is.

Dr. Hill begins by commending a statement of Alan Jacobs, who was “moved by many of the scenes yesterday of gay people getting married…. I hope that many American gays and lesbians choose marriage over promiscuity, and I hope those who marry stay married, and flourish.” Dr. Hill comments: “I felt that too.”

“I hope those who marry [a person of the same sex] stay married”? What’s next? Hoping that polygamous unions stay together as a better option than the alternative of promiscuity? No, of course neither Dr. Jacobs nor Dr. Hill would argue that. So neither should argue the same for homosexual relations.

In his concluding paragraph Dr. Hill says:

“When some of us traditionalist Christians were moved by the pictures we saw of gay couples, or moved by the real-life visits with our gay friends, the day of the SCOTUS ruling, ….we were wanting our friends not to be lonely and alienated from love, and we were wanting them to keep hoping and searching for Love Himself.”

The last clause indicates that those in homosexual relationships should keep searching for Jesus, the very embodiment of love. Well and good. Yet the preceding remarks about being “moved” and, in a way, about feeling happy for their newfound legitimacy as “gay couples” are quite out of touch with the views of Scripture.

In the rest of the article it looks like Dr. Hill is making a brief for homosexual relationships, minus the specific moments in which sexual intercourse is taking place. He talks about the “lump in my throat on Friday [immediately after the SCOTUS Obergefell verdict] as I was scrolling through news feeds and seeing gay friends’ pictures pop up on Facebook and Twitter” and “their current jubilation.” He contends that “the so-called Great Tradition of the Christian faith” has not condemned “the legitimate human desire for closeness that may or may not accompany [same-sex sexual] acts.” He adds:

“That same teaching certainly isn’t condemning all the things about ‘gay culture’ that give us those weepy chills when we see them at their best. Historic Christianity certainly isn’t saying that … all their longings and loves are any further removed from God’s design than their heterosexual neighbors’ are.

“Nor is the Christian tradition intending to denigrate the many virtues exhibited by gay couples [note: not just persons with ssa but those in homosexual relationships]. I myself believe that when the history of our particular time … is eventually written, we will look back on gay couples as the [sic] among the ones who rediscovered and taught us some important things about the virtues of friendship, things we’d forgotten in our fixation on heterosexual romantic love. I think, for instance, of Andrew Sullivan’s beautiful writings about gay friendships during the AIDS plague years; those stories will be remembered.”

“Weepy chills”? Note that the context indicates by “gay couples” Dr. Hill means homosexually active persons. In our “fixation on heterosexual romantic love” we have lost sight of the fact that “gay couples” are “among the ones who rediscovered and taught us some important things about the virtues of friendship”?

Equally concerning to me is this article to which Dr. Hill links, from Eve Tushnet, who to some extent valorizes a “Gay Christian Network” conference. The main purpose of GCN leader Justin Lee (who is looking for “Mr. Right,” by his own admission) is to blur the vital distinction between ssa-Christians who are faithful in not engaging in homosexual practice (light) and ssa-“Christians” who live homosexually active lives (darkness), in order to make homosexual relationships more palatable to the evangelical mindset.

One of the key “resources” peddled at the GCN website is an 83-minute DVD called “The Bible and Homosexuality: How the Scriptures Changed My Mind,” in which Lee purports to help people “to understand the Bible arguments in favor of committed same-sex relationships” (for an example of how Lee has blatantly misrepresented my work, with which he appears to have acquainted himself only through snippets on an online “gay Christian” website, go here).

Ms. Tushnet describes the Jan. 2015 GCN conference as an event of intense openness and love, a time of welcoming “regardless of our sexual ethics or behavior.” “These were people truly trying to create the Christian family which can love and shelter all those in need.” She adds:

“A lot of the stories I heard at the conference were stories of moving from a ‘Side B’ [i.e., traditional Christian] sexual ethic lived out in judgment, condemnation, shame, and despair, to a ‘Side A’ [pro-gay] ethic lived out in hope, welcome, and trust. That’s a story of someone becoming more Christian, not less.”

Can you imagine any writer of Scripture, or Jesus, making such a statement? (The question is rhetorical.) Would she say the same about self-professed Christians who no longer feel guilt or shame about wanting to act on polyamorous urges (“big love”) or erotic attraction to a sibling or parent?

Sadly Ms. Tushnet appears not so much concerned about “gay Christians” choosing “Side A” (homosexual relationships) as concerned about “gay Christians” choosing Side A because they think Side B (celibacy or marriage to a person of the other sex) “is death.” They should instead recognize that “the historic Christian ethic can be lived by gay people without self-hatred or shame.” As long as they understand that, they are good to go: “That way those who do become ‘Side A’ [pursuing a homosexual relationship] will do so because from a score of beautiful options this one seemed the most true–not because they thought their choices were Side A or suicide.” Needless to say, that is not a faithful Christian ethic on homosexual practice. The moral choices that we make matter, not just that we are well informed about alternative options.

Bear in mind that Ms. Tushnet is one of the most important contributors on the Spiritual Friendship site, perhaps superseded only by Hill and Belgau. Clearly her views and her associations with the “Gay Christian Network” don’t trouble Dr. Hill and Mr. Belgau. Dr. Hill regularly does road-show dialogues with Justin Lee, rarely if ever challenging his homosexualist propaganda (though he says that he will try to do better in the future); Mr. Belgau has been a member of GCN from its inception, I believe.

My concern with Dr. Hill’s piece, as I expressed in comments under my FB posting, was twofold.

First, all the so-called goods of homosexual relationships are inextricably tainted by the evil of homosexual practice. As I noted: In my view a correct understanding of Romans 1:24-27 (“the infamous Romans 1 passage of St. Paul,” according to Dr. Hill) is not entirely limited to an indictment of the sex act (contra Dr. Hill) but includes a recognition of the self-dishonoring character of the desire, which treats a person of the same sex as though a sexual counterpart or complement, which in turn diminishes one’s own sex as incomplete in relation not to the other sex but to one’s own.

Even though we are not culpable merely for the unsolicited experience of sinful desire, the desire is sinful in the sense that it distorts reality and rejects God’s will. The very desire to “couple” with someone of the same sex as though a “significant other” is a false narrative that must be confronted by the gospel, even when the persons involved abstain from sexual intercourse.

There is no way that Paul would have valorized any aspect of same-sex marriage; nor would he have condoned such valorization by other believers. Such institutionalizing of sin only regularizes and legitimizes the dishonoring of the participants made in God’s image, deepening the self-deception regarding the indecency of the relationship. There is no possibility of feeling good about that while remaining faithful to the biblical witness (to say nothing about the persecution of many faithful Christians that the imposition of “gay marriage” by five lawless justices will bring).

Secondly, as hinted earlier, there is the problem of analogies. Should we also talk about positive aspects to an adult-committed incestuous union between a man and his mother, aside from the sex? I suppose that one could argue that there are indeed some positive non-intercourse aspects but wouldn’t it be a bit perverse to discourse on such things? Even adult-child sexual relationships (which I am not equating with adult homosexual relations) arguably could have some positive aspects, as ancient cultures often did so argue (including ancient Greek proponents of pederasty).

The writers of Scripture and the Church Fathers had such a negative view of homosexual acts as a violation of the very foundation of creation that all discussion of the goods of homosexual coupling must be treated as a desensitizing of the Christian church against this grave wrong. If we would be concerned about a Christian leader who says that he is “moved” by adult-committed incestuous or polygamous unions and bemoans the church’s failure to recognize the non-sexual goods in such relationships, we should be all the more concerned when a Christian leader does the same for homosexual “marriages.”

My view is not altered by Dr. Hill’s citation of C. S. Lewis, who for all his wonderful works didn’t always get things right in his offhand comments. Lewis is not Jesus or the apostolic witness to Jesus in Scripture. Moreover, we can understand why some boys in the harsh all-male boarding schools of the first half of the last century found solace in occasional and impermanent “unnatural love-affairs” with other boys. Yet understanding motivation is not the same as mitigating the deed, much less building a case for the non-sexual benefits of adult, intentional, and permanent homosexual relationships.

Don’t misunderstand me. I appreciate the problems faced in the church by persons struggling with same-sex attractions (ssa). I have always commended intimate but non-sexual same-sex friendships for ssa-Christians as one means of dealing with loneliness. Dr. Hill’s attempt at promoting friendships is generally a good thing, though I have my concerns about his way of describing such friendships.

A vowed non-sexual relationship between two Christians dealing with same-sex attractions can be unhealthy if they begin to look at themselves as “significant others.” Dr. Hill used this expression in an interview by Jonathan Merritt for Religion News Service: “I wish more churches would recognize that certain friends are, for gay Christians, our ‘significant others.’” The language of “significant others” should be reserved for true sexual counterparts or complements, not for same-sex friends. Two ssa-Christians can couple, leave off the sexual intercourse, and still be governed by the sinful false narrative that they are each “completed” in the other, as though two half-males make a whole male or two half-females make a whole female.

Dr. Hill quotes approvingly two paragraphs from Eve Tushnet, who rails against the toxic atmosphere of the church against ssa-Christians. I certainly don’t condone any ill treatment of Christians with ssa in the church. Obviously the church should not be requiring repentance for the mere experience of unwanted same-sex attractions (though I have not met any pastors who do require such).

That being said, I’m not sure I agree that everything which Dr. Hill (through Tushnet) classifies as “abuse” is really abuse. I don’t agree that a self-identification as “gay,” even by otherwise faithful Christians, should be given a pass from critique. There are good reasons why such a self-identification is problematic (it obfuscates and infantilizes). Nor do I agree with the statement that even self-professed Christians who engage in a self-affirming manner in homosexual intercourse are being abused if put on the kind of church discipline imposed by Paul in the case of the incestuous man in 1 Cor 5.

I get the impression, both from this article and other writings by Dr. Hill, that Dr. Hill views any classification of homosexual practice as a particularly severe sexual offense to be an instance of abuse, even though the united witness of Scripture supports such a conclusion (arguably the most severe consensual sexual offense among humans; see this article).

I suspect that Dr. Hill would regard my concerns as coming dangerously close to abuse, where “any hints of self-acceptance are treated as rejection of God” (Tushnet). Yet that would be a wrong assessment. My concern lies in valorizing a form of behavior repugnant to God, which then makes the prospect of engaging in that behavior more conceivable.

One wonders if Dr. Hill is issuing (whether consciously or not) a veiled warning about himself and other celibate “gay” Christians: “It should come as little surprise that many of the people who receive this mistreatment eventually reject (what I believe to be) the Christian sexual ethic, and often reject Christianity entirely.”

In effect: Either (1) accept our self-designation as “gay Christian,” stop referring to homosexual practice as more severe than divorce-and-remarriage, stop criticizing us when we speak about the goods of gay marriage and when we associate with the “Gay Christian Network” or (2) face the fact that you will drive us away from orthodox Christian sexual ethics and perhaps from Christianity itself.

I think a better approach is for us to caution as brothers and sisters in the Lord: We appreciate your faithfulness to Christ in abstaining from sexual immorality and your service of the church through your writings. Yet we are concerned that elements of an un-renewed, fleshly mentality permeate some of your thinking about “gay coupling.” We do not want to see you or the church head down a road that romanticizes aspects of what is abhorrent to God and paves the way for acceptance of such unions.

Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Abingdon Press).

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Valorizing is a good term for half lame attempts to jive same-sex marriage with Christian tradition. Such attempts are usually emotion driven and tend to de-valorize scripture.

[1] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 7-17-2015 at 08:20 AM · [top]

I may phrase this poorly so I appreciate y’all’s patience.  Isn’t the idea that a physical unnatural wrong (same sex acts) if pursued within a spiritual good (true friendship and affection) and desire for a greater spiritual good (knowing God) can be right a sort of Gnosticism? I write this because we are supernatural beings.  What we do matters.  Not just for our bodies but for our souls.  The idea of separating these so one does not impact the other is not orthodox Christianity, at least that is my understanding.

[2] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 7-17-2015 at 11:14 AM · [top]

Thankful for Dr. Gagnon’s reply.  This is excellent.  May comment more on the substance a little later. 

But first just a quick aside:  It’s REALLY hard to see the rainbow flag picture heading the blog at Stand Firm.  I’m so SICK of seeing it all over the Internet.  To have it here too feels like a violation.  But I guess that’s part of the point.  This issue is not going away and we have to know how to respond to all those so excitedly waving this flag, whether the true pro-LGBT advocates or those who are just blindly following the cultural tide.

[3] Posted by Karen B. on 7-17-2015 at 11:25 AM · [top]

The clear articulation of the issues at hand is very much appreciated.

[4] Posted by Jackie on 7-17-2015 at 11:39 AM · [top]

1.  Dear Lord, thank you for the courageous, steadfast witness of Robert A. J. Gagnon.  Please surround him with your Holy protection, protect him from evil, and pour your blessings upon him.  I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

2.  Didn’t Jesus have in mind valorizing, rationalizing, and the defense “I was made this way”, among other things, when He said bluntly:

Matthew 18:8-9 (ESV)
And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Matthew 5:17-20 (ESV)
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Mark Adams Brown
San Angelo, Texas
July 17, 2015

[5] Posted by MarkABrown on 7-17-2015 at 11:48 AM · [top]

I love the olive branch right there at the end of this piece. 

I’ve been privileged to have followed Dr. Gagnon on FB since at least 2012.  Hardly a day goes by without him posting one or two several-hundred word critiques on the latest round of headlines that make Job chapter 1 look like a clam-bake.  He’s tireless and as irenic as he can be, in spite of the many cowardly attacks that come his way (particularly from the Red Letter types). 
There is probably only one thing that he and I don’t agree upon, of the many things he’s discussed openly.  So far, that has been his belief that the GOP might ride to the rescue, so to speak.  Apart from that, he’s influenced me far more than the other way around. 

The other nice thing is that from time to time, he includes snippets of his family life.  It’s nice to know that even one such as he can still have one, even at the End of the Beginning of this culture-war. 

What a blessing. 

Thank you, Dr. Gagnon.  And God bless you.  

[6] Posted by J Eppinga on 7-17-2015 at 01:52 PM · [top]

Do you believe Holy Scripture - and will you follow Holy Scripture, even when you don’t fully agree or understand it?

God is clear in His Holy Scripture that homosexual behavior is sin.  Period.  Not even when homosexuals feel really really good about SCOTUS decisions.

[7] Posted by B. Hunter on 7-17-2015 at 03:35 PM · [top]

Wow…I thought this thread would blow up with comments! Only 7?

[8] Posted by drlouis20 on 7-18-2015 at 09:14 AM · [top]

#2 - in my view,  a good bit of the contemporary problems of western society root back to gnosticism.  Certainly ssm does.  The foundation of marriage is the union of the 2 halves of the reproductive system,  which God divided between make and female.  Marriage is more,  of course,  but how can the “more” stand without the foundation?

Also,  it’s an error to think that marriage will affect gay promiscuity,  at least among men.  What little data we are allowed to have shows that “long-term monogamous relationships”  aren’t so monogamous. 

Frankly this gushing over same-sex marriage reminds me of Entertainment Tonight,  which can’t tell the difference between Cinderella and reality.

[9] Posted by Words Matter on 7-18-2015 at 11:21 AM · [top]

#8 - it’s hard to improve on Dr. Gagnon.  I just read it and think, “yup.”

[10] Posted by Reformed Wanderer on 7-18-2015 at 01:03 PM · [top]

#8 - Dr. Gagnon is very well respected in the religious community for his well researched work.  I am certain there are more than a few academics who are chewing on their nails wanting to opine but know they would struggle to back up some of the rhetoric they throw out.

Personally, I would encourage them to come into the light and let’s put it all on the table.  I am certain I am not the only one would love to find real evidence, hard biblical truth that the Church has been mistaken low these 2,000+ years and allow us to join in the rejoicing.

[11] Posted by Jackie on 7-18-2015 at 02:58 PM · [top]

#8 ..

My own theory is that any controversy regarding Wes Hill’s recent comments have, at least as far as StandFirm is concerned, burned itself out. 

You can read more on the “prequel” to this thread, which starts out with a bang and ends with a proverbial whimper.

I suspect that the days of 100+ post threads where we go at it with revisionists are over.  We may encounter one or two now and again who want to recruit and/or demoralize the non-conformists.  They’ll realize that it’s pointless (or hopeless, depending on how one looks at it), crow a bit, and then move on to collect their reward among their own.

[12] Posted by J Eppinga on 7-18-2015 at 07:43 PM · [top]

#12: J Eppinga, I am someone you would refer to as a “revisionist,” or “reappraiser,” and the reason I stick around at Stand Firm has nothing to with recruiting or demoralizing those who don’t agree with me.  In fact, the reason I’m here is to intentionally remain in conversation with those who disagree with me on many issues (especially the gay issue).  I wish more “reappraisers” would take time to read the posts here and join in the conversation.

On the other side of the Anglican interwebs, say at Episcopal Café or Thinking Anglicans, there are many “reappraisers” who have the same attitude against “reasserters.”  They assume most are gone, roll their eyes when one pops in on a thread, and said “good riddance” when they hear that someone leaves for ACNA.  What a pity.  They should welcome interaction with the “reasserters” and appreciate their contribution to the conversation.

In any case, it’s valiant that those at Stand Firm present their thoughts and convictions with boldness and courage.  Keep it up.  But comments such as those in your last paragraph (comment #12) are not only unhelpful, they turn people away from continuing to dialogue.  There has been a flurry of FB strings amongst “reappraisers” as of late similarly bemoaning comments such as these from the other side on Episcopal Café.

Peace be with you.

(PS I put “revisionist,” “reappraiser,” and “reasserter” in quotes as they are not my categories, but they seemed helpful for this post.  Correct me if I’m wrong!)

[13] Posted by Charles on 7-19-2015 at 04:25 PM · [top]

RE: ” But comments such as those in your last paragraph (comment #12) are not only unhelpful, they turn people away from continuing to dialogue.”

Well, it’s nothing at all like the honorable mention that Sarah Hey received a few years ago, from none other than WFB2, but it is a badge of honor I can wear with pride nevertheless. 

Thank you very much, Charilie.  I was starting to feel as through I wasn’t making a difference.  I see now that I was right all along, and shall redouble my efforts to be a thorn in the backsides of such as you. 


[14] Posted by J Eppinga on 7-19-2015 at 04:53 PM · [top]

One reason this post only garnered a few response is that much of the discussion has already taken place on Dr. Gagnon’s FB page. I am glad that he wrote a response to be posted here.  I responded on Dr. Gagnon’s page so no use posting it again here. Instead I noticed this little gem. I saw it when I read the discussion on FB but responded about larger issue (discipleship)

In our “fixation on heterosexual romantic love” we have lost sight of the fact that “gay couples” are “among the ones who rediscovered and taught us some important things about the virtues of friendship”?

Actually could not disagree more. Now that same sex friendships are seen as prequel to a homosexual relationship, I can see why so many youth are confused and try out homosexuality. No doubt some have been convinced that a loving friendship between youth of the same gender is in reality just a homosexual relationship they just don’t know it yet. That is sooo wrong.  I would hate to see a generation not have close friends of the same gender simply so they are not *mistaken* as *gay. So very sad.

[15] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-20-2015 at 06:31 AM · [top]

Charles, What I have found over the year dealing with “reappraisers” is the fact that they *don’t* want conversation with anyone who disagrees. How do I know? Until 3 years ago, my diocese (South Carolina) had a small but vocal minority of TEC loyalist many of whom are definitely “reappraisers”. When we decided to disassociate, those folks were very vocal in telling anyone why they *are* the Diocese of South Carolin including publishing newspaper ads to that effect. When there was simple discussion about how trademark and copyright law works in my parish on Sunday morning, one got so mad she left and never came back. Now why would anyone get so upset over a discussion of part of how the law works especially when it was a lawyer that left! 

Truthfully, both sides are tired of arguing with the other crowd (at least I am), and so no longer really care about conversation with the other side. If we were to have a conversation,there would not be an agreement on the most basic of tenets of the Christian faith. To have a conversation takes willingness to allow discussion and not leave in a huff. The ability to discuss and disagree has been taken away under the guise of political correctness. Too bad. We can always learn from discussion but stomping away mad does no good.

[16] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-20-2015 at 06:42 AM · [top]

Unfortunately those who disagree are seen as operating out of evil motives. They are “phobic” or not caring. A caring person tolerates any idea. Watch it play out. It is hard to discuss ideas when you are on trial.

[17] Posted by Pb on 7-20-2015 at 08:39 AM · [top]

One thing the politically correct have done is up the ante on the quality of discourse at least from the conservative side.  The left/reappraiser/liberal - however you want to describe it - are able to make wild accusations, misrepresent the facts, outright lie and little to nothing is done about it.  (Harry Reid’s statement about Romney and tax evasion?) This is likely because the media has decided to take sides and no longer wish to be the policeman of our political environment.  And that being said, how sad that our religious discourse is being directed by the political discourse. 

This is exactly the reason that I so appreciate clear voices like Dr. Gagnon.  I go back to my comment further up the chain - Here is the perfect environment and opportunity for those who oppose the orthodox approach to debate the issue with facts.  Hear the crickets?  I guess that is because they only want to enter the ring where their “fact"s aren’t exposed for what they are.

[18] Posted by Jackie on 7-20-2015 at 09:52 AM · [top]

Regarding dialogue, there was at least a chance that it might happen. 

About a week ago, Prof. Gagnon issued a challenge to Matthew Vines (the ‘41 questions for your 41 questions,’ guy) over Facebook, requesting a public debate.  Vines declined, citing his opinion that such things “ought” to be done in print.  Gagnon said that working it out in print prevented him from timely completion of his latest book.  Vines doubled-down.  They went a few rounds and then Vines accused Gagnon of “taunting” behavior, which according to Vines was “unbefitting” of a scholar. 

So, just so we all understand what sort of ‘dialogue’ is available at the moment:

1)  A purported 60% of the populace is in favor ss"m”
2)  An actual 5/9 of SCOTUS judges are in favor of the same
3)  The majority SCOTUS opinion gave a glancing lip-service to the 1st Ammendment rights of dissenters
4)  The POTUS, who in 2008 said that marriage was between a man and a woman, wants affirmers to give the dissenters some additional time, but “make no mistake..”
5)  The Press has been presenting this as “inevitable,” and “desireable” and “fair” for YEARS
6)  The American Public has the attention span and critical thinking ability of a Jerry Springer Show audience, and is about as free.

Even in that environment, Vines is unwilling to publically debate Gagnon. 

I think that speaks for itself. 

This is one reason why I am increasingly skeptical of the usefulness of the process of “dialogue.”  Of course, there are numerous instances (some of which I have experienced myself) where we have seen the reappraisers have abused and manipulated the process of dialogue to suite their own ends.  So, they’re not really a trustworthy lot;  or rather I should say, I trust them to be themselves.  I also trust them to uh, ‘emote’ more as they get more of what they purport to covet. 

But I don’t trust them to have the sorts of virtues that I have, or other dissenters.

[19] Posted by J Eppinga on 7-20-2015 at 02:48 PM · [top]

The 60% figure was cooked.  It was never higher than 48%, maybe 51% with a 3 point margin of error.  According to this article,  it’s down to about 42%. I predict that ad the bullies bully, it will continue to drop.

[20] Posted by Words Matter on 7-20-2015 at 03:10 PM · [top]

RE:  “cooked”

I take that as a ‘given,’ as with many such statistics that are used to influence public opinion. 

Hence the qualifier, “purported”. 


[21] Posted by J Eppinga on 7-20-2015 at 03:20 PM · [top]

This comment,  referring to the National Catholic Reporter, is why I don’t waste time on “dialogue”  with feelgood liberals.  Frankly,  the world is full of good and holy Christians,  Catholic and non-Catholic,  to waste time on the haters.

Read this recently about commenters at the NCReporter, and it would seem it would include some here, but not quite the same size swarm. 
“That describes a substantial portion of the N”C”R commentariat: “totally alienated from Roman Catholicism…” There are a number of folks there who imagine themselves to be Catholic, but they have reduced Catholic identity down to the bare minimum: being baptized, or adhering in some fashion to the Beatitudes; and those are the best Catholics of the N”C”R set. It’s noteworthy that the site attracts quite a lot of folks who truly hate and reject Catholicism; and even more noteworthy that this fact — evident to anyone who reads the comments — seems to bother neither the still-trying-to-be-Catholic readership, nor the editors.”

I’m tired of being called names by the supposedly liberal religionists.

[22] Posted by Words Matter on 7-20-2015 at 06:27 PM · [top]

Just two notes: non-one should get the idea that C.S. Lewis was ever anything but absolutely opposed to homosex, which for instance he refers to as “this terrible problem” in at least one place; and as Rob Gagnon knows, I will not term homosex “sexual intercourse” at any price. It is, in the case of both males and females, impersonal, non-relational manipulation of the sex-organs, neither face-to-face nor in any meaningful sense sexual.

[23] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 7-21-2015 at 07:58 PM · [top]

Is Julie Rodgers any relationship to Dr John Rodgers, one of the founding faculty members of what was then TESM?

I can sort of understand Dr Hill and his vision of same-sex relationships among those with SSA as deep friendships without any physical involvement.  However, from what I understand, he does not speak to the need of those with SSA to explore their own psychological make-up, learn how to deal with their sexual desires in a healthy way, or any of the things that would be done in participating in one of the programs from Regeneration or another of the “Ex-Gay” ministries.  As far as I understand Hill, he simply says to those with SSA, “Accept yourselves as having SSA, develop some good friendships among others, and stay out of bed.”

His vision seems to me to be a lot like walking to the edge of the Grand Canyon, standing with one’s toes hanging over the precipice, and slowly moving forward a little at time to see how far one can go without falling over the edge.

[24] Posted by AnglicanXn on 2-16-2016 at 05:59 AM · [top]

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