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Critiquing Rainbow language

Prepping Your Kids for Pride Month


Are Side A and Side B Intellectually Equivalent?

Christianity is complicated. Those who call themselves Christians, vary greatly, with some believing the opposite of other Christians, on what they regard as important things. Increasingly this century, one of the points of contention, is homosexuality.

Some Christians say that homosexual sex is inherently sinful, and some say it isnt. These contrasting views are known by many as the Side A perspective (who believe it’s not inherently sinful) and the Side B perspective (who believe it is inherently sinful – the position taken by this blog). Others prefer different nomenclature, such as Progressive and Traditional, or revisionist and orthodox, or affirming and non-affirming. And different corners of Christianity take different positions or different mixtures of positions on it. Roman Catholics and various others, officially take the traditional perspective, while some priests and many in the pews openly state they are Progressives who disagree. Some Anglicans and the ELCA denomination officially try to accommodate both views, but unofficially some of them, and others, are very unaccommodating of one or the other belief.

This leads to difficult questions about how to treat those on the other side. A conservative reading of the Bible, depicts God as regarding homosexual sex as a serious sin, and that God would judge a church that permits a belief that it’s not a serious sin. A Progressive perspective focuses on a need to love everyone, and regards the idea of homosexual sex being sinful, as hateful and abhorrent in light of the high rate of gay suicide. But there are people on both sides of the debate who seem to be reasonable people. Some are somewhat uneducated about what the Bible says about homosexuality, even if they are regular church attenders. And to be fair in light of left wing conspiracy theories, there is a lot to know and cut through. And others are somewhat uneducated about homosexuality in terms of whether people choose to be homosexual etc. So each side has limited tolerance of the other.

Some try to take a so-called ‘balanced’ or “sensible middle” road, sometimes claiming each side of the argument is equally moral, Biblically-based or sensible. EG I came across this post on Facebook today –

And to a small degree, it’s accurate. All Christians interpret the Bible based on their own experience, concluding that an author of the Bible meant this or that, based on what they see as important. And yes there are some who call themselves Christian, but who basically dont believe much of what’s in the Bible.

But ultimately I dont regard the above post as a balanced representation. Generally side B folk place far more weight on the Bible than side A folk. Granted there are side B folk who are firstly conservative, and whose beliefs flow primarily from that, and who may quote the Bible as more of an excuse. Just as there are side A folk who are firstly humanists and whose beliefs flow primarily from that, and who may quote the Bible as more of an excuse. But of those who have put a lot of effort into choosing which side they take, generally side B folk place far more weight on the Bible than side A folk, who place weight on contemporary human experience. I say this based on my own extensive research of the relevant Biblical passages, alongside watching many homosexuals who were outspoken and strongly committed to side B, talk of how very poor mental health or even a same-sex love affair led them to shift to side A. Im thinking Julie Rogers, McKrae Game, Vicky Beeching and others who are less well known. And those who move from side B to side A tend to become less evangelical and more liberal or even agnostic.


When gay men beat up other gay men

Most people are familiar with the concept of gay people suffering from anti-gay violence. But today I was reminded of the phenomenon of gay people suffering violence from other gay people. And Im not talking domestic violence.

It’s not the first time Id heard of it. Around the turn of the century, there was a TV show named Queer as Folk, which had a UK version and a US version. In the UK version at least, one of the central characters, Nathan, was a high school student, and seduced another male student, who then became his tormentor at school. I think the premise was that the other student was bisexual and/or uncomfortable with having engaged in a gay act, and then hated Nathan with a passion. All of which reminds me of the reality of the surprisingly high rate of rape of men, especially of gay men.

Today I heard a very mature gay man (in his 70s) talk of how on several occasions in his younger years, he picked up men, often in public places like on a train ride home, had consensual sex with them, eg at their home, and then they immediately beat him, eg punching him in the face and knocking teeth out. Sobering. My source of this was the podcast The Greatest Menace, episode 5. A similar case, is the death of Scott Johnson.


Another reason for skepticism of scientists; Dr Harry Bailey

Dr Harry Bailey was an Australian psychiatrist from the 1950s to the 1970s. He was eventually found guilty of huge malpractice. Dozens of his patients died, and more committed suicide and allegedly “Bailey had doctored many of the death certificates to avoid arousing suspicion.” In court proceedings he was described as two-faced, devious, dissembling, unprincipled and of brining the profession of psychiatry into disrepute. He also “exploited the vulnerabilities of those in his care, having sexual relationships with a number of female patients and some employees.” –

https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/bailey-harry-richard-12162

https://chelmsfordblog.wordpress.com/

https://daily.jstor.org/the-unproven-deadly-common-cure-for-schizophrenia/

https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/08/deep-sleep-therapy-australia/

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg12917500-400-nightmare-on-chelmsford-sydney/

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sydneys-shameful-asylums-the-silent-houses-of-pain-where-inmates-were-chained-and-sadists-reigned/news-story/b4205dc9a17e8ee0763711d93d720d04

How did he get away with it? The cloak of protection of being a well respected medical expert. According to the above report in The Daily Telegraph “They were the days when nurses were not expected to question doctors — the doctors were always right.”


Reformation Project debates continue

This blog site has reported on the LGBTQ group who call themselves The Reformation Project previously, including the background to their genesis and their later implosion. They recently released an online course for LGBTQ advocates, which they charge $150 to access. In February, I engaged in some back and forth comments with one devotee who quoted extensively from this new online course. Here is the core of my last reply to her, which so far she hasnt replied to further, and since it’s been over one week now, I guess she never will.

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Thanks Shaina,

You replied “This point is speculative. Vines’s argument doesn’t rely on the proposition that there were no gay people in the ancient world but rather that it is likely Paul was unaware of their existence.” Yea that was kinda my point. You describe my point as speculative, but Vine’s argument on that point is beyond speculative, to the point of being very unlikely. Gay people constitute more than 1% of the population even at the most conservative measurement, so I would expect Paul to have come across gay people. And if Paul would have approved of loving gay relationships, I would expect those people to be in the church, having loving relationships and that to be reflected in Paul’s writings. Yes wider society was not very welcoming of same-sex relationships. But Jesus was counter-cultural. So if he supported same-sex relationships, I would expect to see such relationships in the early church. 

While it may be technically true for you to claim “There are no ancient texts describing same-sex sexual orientation as understood today comprising the elements of (1) exclusive, (2) unchosen, (3) unchangeable, (4) pattern of romantic/sexual attraction, (5) to same sex. And there are no ancient examples of loving, committed, same-sex relationships between social equals in the ancient world.” That doesnt mean they didnt exist in the ancient world, which is what your wording implies. But if they didnt exist, especially in the church, why would that be? And if Jesus and Paul would have supported such relationships, why isnt it recorded that they did? The evidence suggests they didnt support it.

Yes Christians should oppose relationships based on “self-seeking lust and exploitation”, but that’s a little off-topic. The topic is gay relationships that dont involve that. 

Im open to Christian reinterpretations of prohibitions like John Calvin’s, but I think Vines’ stretch beyond credibility. 

You wrote “The Bible doesn’t teach that gender difference in marriage is universally and exclusively normative.” I think youre overstating your case there. The Bible paints Christian marriage as being inherently heterosexual, and in all examples where the genders are identified, it’s heterosexual.

I think your reference to gender complementarity muddies the water. We are not necessarily discussing gender complementarity. We are talking about whether Jesus was portraying Christian marriage as being inherently heterosexual. I think he was.

Based on what you have quoted, Megan Warner sees things in Genesis 2:24 that Im not seeing. Perhaps I need to read more of what she was saying, for that. But in simply reading the Bible, I dont see what she’s seeing, which leads me to suspect she’s reading things into the text. 

You wrote “If Jesus were teaching divinely ordained gender complementarity, then we should be able to articulate what his view is and in what exact way same-sex intimate relationships violate it, but we cannot.” Im not so sure about that. Jesus made various statements without providing in-depth reasoning behind those statements. But we can theorise based on what he said that perhaps the reason for him not offering support for same-sex marriage, was that God instituted it originally as a heterosexual union, re-uniting the man and the rib; not possible in a same-sex marriage. 

I agree that in some ways there is a Scriptural trajectory towards inclusion of sexual minorities. But how far should that go? I can think of some sexual practises that are generally illegal. Should we embrace all? Its my perception that Scripture also illustrates a trajectory away from polygamy. So Im cautious of being more inclusive in directions other than what Scripture indicates. I certainly agree with notions of being fully inclusive of celibate or “non-practising” homosexuals, but I dont support homosexual sex.

In conclusion, thank you for your sincere and polite reply. My central point was that if Jesus  approved of loving equal-power same-sex relationships and marriage, Id expect to see that in Scripture. Your response to that point, has been to raise elements on the periphery of that; lust and exploitation, gender complementarity, male headship, the trajectory of inclusion in Scripture etc, to overstate your case in your analysis of what various scriptures mean, and to say that Scripture doesnt illustrate equal-power loving same-sex relationships because society didnt condone such relationships. But I dont think you have really addressed my central argument; that if Jesus condoned such relationships, then irrespective of the wider cultural practises, we should expect to see such relationships in the early church and see them reflected in Jesus’ or at least Paul’s records. The absence adds to the sense that they were regarded as sinful. 


What Does “Love Thy Neighbour” Mean?

In early 2022, a Christian school in Australia asked the parents of students to sign a contract which stated school ethos and policy. This led to an uproar as many in the wider community were offended that the contract stated that the school reserved the right to expel students who engaged in various sexual activities they listed, including “homosexual acts”.

On social media, and from leftist media commentators, some of the most common responses from the critics of the contract were “what about love your neighbour” and “what about judge not” and accusations that the school was being “very unchristian” and even “hateful”. Sometimes others challenged these comments, asking how the school was being unchristian, which tended to be result in further feedback with comments about being exclusionary and unkind to LGBT people and that “Jesus accepted everyone”. Several times I noticed that when critics of the school were challenged, they responded that they did not want to discuss it further. The critics were numerous. Numerous people who seemed to feel they knew more than the the principal of the Christian school, about how to be Christian, but who seldom argued their case with much depth, and whose assessment of the school as ‘hateful’ seemed out of balance for those who know the Bible well or read the school policies extensively.

All of which raises the question of whether the Christian school was being unchristian or was ignoring Jesus’ policies. I Googled “love your neighbor” and “judge not” and found several good analyses of “judge not”, eg https://www.gotquestions.org/do-not-judge.html . But I struggled to find a good analysis of “love your neighbour.” So lets explore it here!

Yes, Jesus taught his followers to “love your neighbour”. In fact he said it is the second most important commandment (Mark 12:28-34). At first glance, it sounds simple, but what does it actually entail? Here are some silly questions, to highlight how the command might be interpreted or misinterpreted. Does it mean that you should marry your neighbour? Does it mean you should marry all your neighbours? If your neighbours ask you for sex, are you obligated to agree? Does it mean you should have sex with all your neighours? If your neighbour looses their job due to alcoholism, are you obligated to provide for them and treat them as your own family? If your neighbour has a pet, and the pet wanders to your property and eats your plants and pulls your washing off the line and uses your door as a toilet, does loving your neighbour mean you should turn a blind eye? Does it mean never criticizing your neighbour, even if criticism might help them? And who is your neighbour? Is it those next door, or everyone in your street or block, for example?

Obviously the 3 words “love your neighbour” provide insufficient insight to answer those questions with anything other than a guess. But fortunately the Bible is a big book, including various other statements from Jesus, which might indicate what he meant. Luke 10: 29-37 specifically expands on it, illustrating an example of following the policy as being looking after a stranger you come across, who has been severely beaten. In the example, the benefactor spends time and perhaps a day’s wages on the beaten man to help him recover. I suggest that the illustration teaches that loving your neighbour can include providing practical and even financial help to strangers. The context of Jesus’ words “love your neighbour” also provide more guidance. He says “love your neighbour as yourself.” I suggest this includes sharing, and that you should love your neighbor to the extent you love yourself. It doesnt urge you to love your neighbour more than yourself. Jesus perhaps expanded on this also in Matthew 7:12 where he said “Treat others as you want them to treat you.” This lines up with what John the Baptist preached “If you have two coats, give one to someone who doesn’t have any” (Luke 3:11). So it’s not saying to give your neighbour all your money, leaving you with none. Many people today regard love as primarily being about how you make others feel. But the Bible suggests that Jesus focus was more on practical help, than emotion. Does “loving your neighbour” mean making them happy and affirming them and never disagreeing or criticizing them or asking anything of them and never excluding anyone? No. Jesus was kind, but sometimes things Jesus said, made people sad, because sometimes the truth makes people sad. Sometimes he did criticise. Sometimes he did exclude.

Jesus wanted everyone to follow him. He welcomed everyone. He befriended people that religious people of the time did not tend to befriend, such as prostitutes (Matthew 11:19). But he also set standards for his followers. EG he told the woman caught in adultery to stop sinning (John 8:11). He told the rich young ruler to give away all his riches, which made the rich young ruler sad (Matthew 19:22). And if you were not willing to meet Jesus’ standards, he did not regard you as a real follower of him (Matthew 10:38).

Some people might read this and come to the conclusion that this makes Jesus a hypocrite, on the grounds that Jesus preached acceptance and inclusion. But did he preach acceptance and inclusion, or is that a Hollywood myth? He preached love, but from what I see, the idea that he preached full acceptance and full inclusion, is partial urban myth. Jesus seemed to say that most people would not follow him and would not make it to heaven (Matthew 7) and that Christians would be a hated minority in society (Matthew 10:22). IE he predicted that his ways would not be popular.

So was Jesus actually unloving? I dont think so. Loving doesnt mean never criticising. Is a parent who tells off their child for bad behaviour, unloving? Usually not. Parents usually criticize their young children out of love! I recommend you read the Bible and decide for yourself.


Is Facebook Censorship Biased?

On facebook in early 2022, I came across the following post regarding a specific Christian school that had recently distributed a contract to the parents of students, ask them to sign it and agree that the school had the right to expel students that dont follow Christian principles, including practicing “homosexual acts” and other colourful expressions of sexuality. I believe the first half of the post below has no grounds to it, and the second half is hateful.

So I reported it to facebook. They responded that they would take no action. This surprised me because Id heard of several people I knew who had been in facebook jail, and their censured posts seemed minor in comparison. EG AJ wrote –

What about you? Have you been censured by facebook, and/or have you reported incidents, and have you find their actions biased?


Left Wing Conspiracy Theorists

Until Covid-19, I didnt come across conspiracy theories often, including left wing conspiracy theories. Perhaps the first left wing conspiracy theory I remember is when Sarah Palin became prominent in Western political commentary around 2007. Palin was a strong conservative, but didnt speak with a southern US drawl and had the appearance of being very smart and educated. This appearance challenged the leftist tendency to dismiss right wing views as uneducated and misinformed. The left wing struggled to understand how she could take a typical conservative position on typical controversial issues. It seems the only answer that made sense to some on the left, was that she was lying. Some on the left suggested that in truth Palin knew better, but was spouting conservative positions in order to gain votes and political power from conservative voters. The conspiracy theorists found it very unlikely that she sincerely believed what she was saying.

More recently, some on the left have alleged much the same about Trump. But it’s more complicated in his case, since he’s not consistently conservative, a smaller proportion of conservatives support him, and despite his strong points while president he did seem to say more things that were not true, than your average politician.

Another place you sometimes come across left wing conspiracy theorists, is in discussions about the Christian position on homosexuality. In that context, the liberal/left sometimes accuse the conservatives of lying about why they regard homosexual sex to be illicit, saying the left do not believe it’s due to what the Bible states, but rather is simply due to conservative prejudice. What surprises me, is when these accusations against conservatives, are made in the context of conservatives having provided a detailed, logical and non-hateful explanation of the traditional position, including quoting from the Bible.

This seemingly illogical response by the left, can partially be explained by their differing approach to the Bible. If you ask a conservative Christian whether the Bible is true and should be followed in its entirety, they will honestly respond in the affirmative, perhaps simply with a ‘yes’. (Although If you press the conservative, eg on whether they believe Noah was a real person in a real global flood, whether divorce and remarriage are a sin, etc, and you will receive a variety of responses, some of which might include reference to the concept of elements of the Bible being figurative rather than literal). But if you ask a liberal Christian whether the Bible is true and should be followed in its entirety, my perception is that they will tend to offer a less straight-forward answer, that would basically never be a simple ‘yes’. They might respond that the Bible contains spiritual truths and great beauty and that it needs to be interpreted according to context, or the more skeptical of them may even say it was written by people of understanding that was limited to the knowledge of their society in the era in which it was written. Some of them even say that it was written in an pre-scientific era, and that today we need to reinterpret it with regard to modern scientific understanding, and they may even dismiss Biblical references to anything supernatural, as a misunderstanding or parable. And some liberal Christians seem to believe that nobody who participates in modem society, truly try to follow the Bible in a committed way.

And I suspect it’s those two differing approaches to the Bible that make some leftists susceptible to believing conspiracy theories about right wing Christians.

Partially based on my experience, the following is my perception of a conservative and liberal Christian talking through their differing believes, including homosexuality –

Liberal: You give Christianity a bad name, because you dont love your neighbor.

Conservative: What makes you think I dont love my neighbor?

Liberal: You dont love gay people. You say they are sinners.

Conservative: Everyone is a sinner, whether gay or not. But the Bible does teach that Christians should not have gay sex.

Liberal: You are misinterpreting the Bible. You need to get better educated. EG read xxxxx and watch yyyyyy on youtube.

Conservative: But Rev Dr zzzzz refuted xxxx and yyyyy.

Liberal: Look, expecting gay people to never have sex, is inhumane. You not following the Bible, youre using it as an excuse for your own prejudice. You should stop picking and choosing which parts of the Bible you follow. You should give priority to the key message; loving everyone.

Conservative: I do love everyone. If you tell people that God is fine with their sin, that’s misleading them and risking God’s judgment on them and on me, and ultimately not loving towards them. Did you know that Catholic priests take a vow to be abstinent? What makes you think I pick and choose which parts of the Bible I follow?

Liberal: Notions that homosexuality is sinful, is an Old Testament misunderstanding. Jesus fulfilled the Old in the New Testament. You should focus on the New Testament.

Conservative: The New Testament also teaches that sex between men is sinful, eg in Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6:9.

Liberal: Youre focusing on a small number of verses in the Bible, while ignoring others. What about the verses about slavery. Do you own slaves?

Conservative: The Bible is surprisingly accepting of slavery, but it does say that slave trading is sinful in 1 Timothy 1, and it doesnt say we must have slaves.

Liberal: I bet you eat shellfish. The Bible says shellfish are forbidden.

Conservative: That’s in the Old Testament. Jesus said we can eat anything, see Mark 7:19.

Liberal: Well do you require women to be silent in church, like it says in the New Testament?

Conservative: We believe that instruction was limited, and doesnt apply to all women in all churches. There are other verses in the Bible that seem to indicate that it’s fine for women to speak in churches.

Liberal: Look, I gotta run….


Cautions on the new NRSVue Bible

NRSVue, stands for NRSV updated edition; an update to the NRSV translation of the Bible. It was completed in 2021, though was not expected to be fully released until 2022. Some say the older NRSV, first published in 1989, is a popular translation amongst Christians with intellectual inclinations.

At the time of completion, one report touted the NRSVue as being “considered the most meticulously researched, rigorously reviewed, and faithfully accurate English-language Bible translation”, but most reports (from Episcopal to UMC to ecumenical) in late 2021 seemed to simply reproduce a press release, while other reports have been scathing. The Washington Times noted (as cited here) that the new version renders 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 vaguely, with “men who engage in illicit sex”, obscuring that the original language points to men having sex with men. Further details from one of those critics, was published here.

The apparent press release repeated on many Christian news blogs cited above, stated that “The New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition Bible is the result of a commission of the Society of Biblical Literature by the National Council of Churches, which includes dozens of denominations representing 30 million church members.” Blog site Juicy Ecumenism responded that the NCC is “extremely liberal” and “is not an academic, intellectually responsible, or non-partisan organization.” Juicy Ecumenism goes on “We at IRD have documented over the years how, despite its name and church ties, the NCC is largely a divisive, extremely liberal, clearly partisan U.S. political activist group. The liberal NCC has repeatedly promoted hard-left stances on homosexuality, abortion, and other matters, even opposing the official stances of its affiliated denominations.” Juicy Ecumenism even identifies key managers, and provides links to previous examples of their support for homosexual relations and abortion etc.


UK Gays Want To Redefine Legal Relationships Further

When many western countries redefined marriage to include same-sex couples, conservatives wondered allowed whether that would be the start to further redefinitions of marriage. For example, if traditional marriage needed to be modernised to not discriminate against homosexuals, shouldn’t it also be modernised to not discriminate against polygamists?

And now in the UK there is news of a push to change the law, not specifically about marriage, but in regards to whether a child can have 3 parents listed in their birth certificate. Interestingly, it’s gay people who are pushing for this –

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/uks-first-gay-dads-triplets-25674984