Dear American Christians

Dear American Christians, You need to get a grip, and I am tired of speaking to you politely. You are not being persecuted by being required to serve all customers in your store. If you serve all people in your store, you are simply being American. As a fellow Christian, I can assure you, your faith will not be compromised, and God will not be displeased with you, if you make a cake or a pizza for gay people. wpswi150402 What many of you do not seem to realize is that this move for the “religious freedom” laws is designed to appeal to your basest fears. These bills are designed to do one thing, and one thing only: to make you feel offended and afraid that your faith is at stake. But your faith is not at stake. And if you think it is, then your faith is far, far too weak. I’m all worked up about this, because of analogies made by State Representative Matt Krause of Fort Worth. Rep. Krause is a sponsor of one of these so-called “religious freedom” bills in Texas. Among other things, Rep Krause said the following:

“Should a Jewish bakery have to bake a cake for the neo-Nazi convention coming into town? Nobody would say that. Nor would anybody say a gay florist couple has to give flowers to a Westboro Baptist protest at funerals..”

At a time when everyone understands these bills as a reaction to increasing LGBT rights, Krause’s hypotheticals are ludicrous and offensive. It’s ludicrous and offensive to analogize situations where LGBT persons are cast in the place of neo-Nazis or Westboro Baptist. In fact, this last comparison is head-exploding, given the fact that Westboro is most known for vile protests against LGBT people.

To offer hypothetical analogies that casts LGBT citizens in the role of the actual people who actually engage in vile protests against them is ludicrous and offensive, even in the abstract. Krause, then, attempts hypothetical examples that are completely implausible in the real world to defend a bill that would then become real-world law.

And if you’re reading Krause’s comments and thinking, “Well, that COULD happen…” Then you are a part of the problem. No. It couldn’t. And the fact that you think it can points to the fact that you have fallen victim to the lie that American Christians are victims of widespread and systematic persecution.

A Christian Business owner today, serving the LGBT community,  is not being persecuted for their faith, anymore than Southern Christian business owners were being persecuted when society called them to open their lunch counter. Oh yeah. And there’s no “War on Christmas” either. (Or Easter).

We Christians are absolutely as free to exercise our faith as we ever have been. We can go to church without fear of being hunted down for doing that. We can pray with our families. Our churches can create clinics, and schools, and non-profits that serve God and the world. And nobody is going to impinge that right in any real way.

So, stop with the being offended. You have no right to be offended if an LGBT person walks into your place of business. Even if you haven’t come to terms with the fact that people can be gay and also be Christian(1), you’ve at least got to remember that Jesus said that little thing about the “wheat” and the “tares.” I can’t speak for Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, or any other kind of shop-keeper. But I do know, as Christians it’s not our job to separate out from society. Jesus said that.

You want to know what persecution really is? It’s 147 Christians being shot in Kenya. That’s persecution. Your so-called “offense” at being required to serve LGBT people is an insult to their sacrifice.

And on Good Friday, I will say as a minister of the Gospel that it’s an insult to Jesus’ sacrifice too.

Grow up. Get a life. Be a real Christian. And a real American.

UPDATE: I highly recommend this blog which covers many of these same issues remarkable well: “Bake for Them Two

UPDATE TWO: Also, read my own follow-up to these same issues here.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

163 thoughts on “Dear American Christians

  1. This is an attempt to not separate church and state, but gay and no-gay. Do what you will and harm none? The media is blowing this up and rubbing our noses in it. I don’t care if you are gay and getting married good luck to you. BUT I disagree with demonstrations from a certain class of gay people who seem to want to brazenly say “See I’m gay! You have to accept me now” and note I said a” CERTAIN CLASS”. I have known wonderful gay men and horrendously mean and vicious lesbians throughout my life. Would I take their money if they patronized my business..yes. It’s as good as the next persons, and I’d be only hurting my business to refuse them. Plus they are in and out of my shop in a few minutes. So while I do not agree with their lifestyle, it’s their business, just don’t flaunt it at me and we’re cool.

    1. Julie,
      I thought your comment was heading in a positive direction, intelligently thought out, and then you crashed and burned. “Don’t flaunt it at me and we’re cool”? Oh, Julie.

      1. I think you miss the point Julie is making. Just as those who are not religious do not want religious people “flaunting” their religion around, he is saying the same thing goes in reverse. It is a legitimate statement.

    2. Every group of individuals have outliers that are extreme. Please do not color an entire group of people (gay men and women) based on the extremists. And by the way, there would not be a need to “brazenly say “See I’m gay” if we had equal rights. We are standing up for our rights which have been trampled or non existent.

      Regarding your comment about how you “do not agree with their lifestyle”…Please understand that being gay is not a “lifestyle”. It is not a choice. God made me in his image, just as I am. Why would anyone want to choose to be gay…that would be like choosing to be hated, to be discriminated against, to not have rights…

      All men and women should be valued as whole individuals just as they are regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation. Please learn to embrace diversity and not live in a world of you versus “they”.

    3. Julie, you have missed the point entirely. First, read this (First They Came for the Socialists) http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007392.
      Second, understand that after they come for the LGBT community, the Christians will come for the Jews or the Muslims or the Atheists… but it doesn’t much matter who because the whole point of this, is to get rid of the notion of Separation of Church and State.
      These people want us to be a Theocracy. A Christian Taliban. Ruminate on that for a while.

    4. Right … because all Christians are super sweet, non-judgmental and kind, loving examples of their faith….

      We have for YOUR side the WBC (which whether you agree with them or not, claim to be Christian), Pat Robertson who is constantly spewing hate on TV, James Dobson, all manner of political leaders who espouse one set of beliefs while constantly being outed as hypocrites.

      The people who speak for you on the national level are absolutely calling themselves Christian and are ABSOLUTELY waging war on others — women, gays, atheists, democrats. There’s even a term for the one they follow: Republican Jesus….who is SO far from the Jesus of the Bible that it had to be identified so as to not slander JESUS.

      You want to talk about “flaunting” it at you? I have no problem with you having faith. Fine. But keep it in your house and keep it in your church.

      And most importantly: KEEP IT OUT OF THE LAWS!

      So…. I have no problem with most Christians… just a CERTAIN CLASS. I have known wonderful Christians, and horrendously mean and vicious Christians throughout my life. And while I do not agree with their lifestyle, it’s still their business…. just don’t flaunt it at me and we’re cool. 🙂

    5. Soooo… what does “flaunting” even mean to you? Am I allowed to kiss my wife on the cheek, lips or not at all or else you will look down your nose at me? What if I hold her hand the entire time? What if we wear our matching rainbow scarves? Why do you feel the need to limit gay people but not straight couples?

      As someone who is identifies religiously as as a devout agnostic pagan, I don’t typically care what people do, religiously until they feel like opening their mouth and trying to proselytize uselessly and yes, slightly to my chagrin. However, once I politely tell them I am not interested in their religious views and I hold dear my own (thank you very much!) then we can continue on whatever the reason is that we were even speaking in the first place. Typically, if I am going to a store and the owner is Christian, let’s compare apples to apples…

      Gay owner= rainbow flag outside
      Christian owner= cross flag outside

      Gay owner= wearing pride/gay/rainbow clothing/jewelry
      Christian owner= wearing religious clothing/jewelry

      The only thing I can really compare being with my wife and my physical actions with her to something a Christian might do, would be maybe making the sign of the cross or praying in front of me. All in all, none of these things I listed are things I would care about if a Christian did in front of me. The only thing I care about is when they offer unsolicited conversion conversation. I don’t try to talk people into being gay or voting for people who support it or anything even remotely similar. All I want is for them to keep their mouth shut if I happen to out myself as gay by the ACTIONS that occur while in their presence because I love my wife and I’m not about to let someone make me cover that up.

  2. They don’t HAVE to accept Christian beliefs or educate themselves on the difference between committing a sin & LIVING in sin. They’re free to believe as they wish. Also, I do NOT HAVE to tolerate, accept, or even recognize them as anything but the vile, hateful, intolerant, hypocritical, violent, vindictive, sick, twisted, miserable miscreants they are. Nothing they say or do will ever change a speck of how I feel or believe. I don’t angrily march the streets DEMANDING anything of them – & I ignore every vile word out their mouth.
    I will show a gay or gay activist the exact same level of tolerance they show me, & not an ounce more. They don’t want “equal rights” – they want much, much more so they can subjugate all who disagree with them. The days of “live & let live” are long gone thanks to those hateful, unreasonable activists. As if our society needed more division – good job. Now, are you happy? They will NEVER be happy or satisfied, & will always blame someone else for that, because admitting you’re wrong is something they’re completely incapable of.

    1. So you aren’t real big on the Golden Rule, right? “Loving your neighbor” isn’t in your Bible? Calling people names is exactly what Jesus wants you to do? I don’t see one actual Christian belief in anything you said. The Bible doesn’t say “live and let live. Jesus says “turn the other cheek.” Jesus says, “Love your enemies that you might be children of your Father in Heaven.” Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” So its a good thing you don’t call yourself a Christian in this post, because you sure don’t know the Bible at all and none of these hateful, bigoted beliefs you spout here go along with Jesus’ teaching.

  3. I seem to remember Jesus saying like “whatever you do to others you have done to Me.” True Christians, those who set aside the Old Testament and live a life according to the teachings of Jeaus, forgive our trespasses and those who trespass against us. We don’t judge others and we certainly do not cast stones.

    1. Jesus did not say that. He said,

      40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

      Matthew 25:40New International Version (NIV)

      Apparently, you haven’t yet figured out who are the brothers and sisters of Jesus … HINT: It’s those who love Jesus, and follow His commandments….

  4. Christians ARE being marginalized in popular culture and is the first steps toward persecution, If the force Christians to violate their principles they, being those who want us marginalized, win. Comparing the reverse and hypotheticals of opposites, which LGBT community is toward Christians, are NOT hateful or ignorant. It’s pointing out the hypocrisy and political motivations involved, if not by the couple who filed the suit, but by what it has become and how it’s being used by the left in their attacks toward Christians. Read Bonhoffer on how the Vladimir Republic became Nazi Germany from a Christian pastor’s perspective (Dietrch Bonhoffer was a Lutheran Pastor in Germany during Hitler rise to power BTW). It started with marginalization, then speech restrictions, then disarmament, then political police, ending in hundreds of Christians not towing the Nazi line going to prison and death camps along side Jews. It’s historic precedence, not just in Germany, but in the Soviet Union, Mao in China, Stalin in Italy. The LGBT ACTIVISTS, not all gays, but most all of their “rights groups” do not want equal rights, but special rights. They want to stomp on anyone with disagrees with their lifestyle period. No better then children given the power to beat up their bullies.

    1. Jim: I’m allowing this post, even though I find much of what you say here violates the kind of thing I would normally approve. However, you have absolutely, positively, 100% proved the point of my blog by everything you have said here.

      Thank you.

    2. How is wanting to be able to marry the person you love and not be discriminated against in society wanting “special” rights? You realize you already have access to those rights, right? You also realize that Nazi Germany was about the persecution of Jews, not Christians, right? You seem to be so afraid that you will be “persecuted” that you are saying “Let’s persecute them first!” Because that’s exactly what you and those like you are doing. You have marginalized us, restricted our access to society by allowing discrimination against us, and you continuously attempt to make laws that basically ban us from civilized society. Yet all of that is ok in your mind because if you have to share your rights, somehow Christians MIGHT end up being persecuted? Give me a break. Christians make up more than 70% of the population. They are FAR from being marginalized. Allowing groups that don’t share your beliefs to have the same rights as you is NOT being marginalized.

    3. I would really love if you explained to me in no uncertain terms EXACTLY what principals you’re being asked or told to violate. PLEASE.

      Does it say somewhere in the Bible that Jesus or God told the people not to do business with or be kind to (or even befriend!) ANYONE? Gay, fat, Jewish, an adulterer, a pagan, an atheist, a divorcee, someone who eats a different kind of food or had a kid outside of wedlock. ANYONE? Are you kind to all of these people? Would you refuse all of them service or only some, or only the ones you didn’t like? If you feel being gay is a sin, then what is the difference between it and all the other sins? Someone who lies, cheats, steals or lusts doesn’t wear their sin on the outside, so how do you know if they are a sinner? Guess what? The Bible says we ALL HAVE SINNED and fall short of the glory of God. It doesn’t say anywhere that being gay is a worse sin than all the rest. In fact, if you separate it from lust (which, to prove your point, it’s much easier to just lump them together) but word for word, homosexuality itself is not even one of the 7 “deadly sins”.

      So please. Tell me. HOW is someone asking you to personally violate any of your principals by asking you to be KIND to someone DESPITE your differences and just treat them as the human that they are?

  5. I find it interesting that you so much about how the christian faith is always the discriminators. If you went to a Muslim Bakery, wouldn’t they receive the same refusal. Where is the backlash against those communities. Secondly, It is one thing to ask them to bake a birthday cake and they refuse because they are gay is discrimination, and quite another thing for them to bake a cake with slogans supporting something they don’t approve of, especially when the same bakeries bake for their birthday parties and everything else. Finally, this is a free speech issue, this is america we have certain freedoms that are not to be trampled, free speech and freedom of religion. The customer has no right to say if you don’t agree with my views on gay marriage then you shouldn’t have a business. It’s not that I agree with them to not bake the cake, who cares. But the only reason a LGBT couple would go to a christian bakery to ask for a wedding cake is to incite pain and hatred toward’s those particular bakers. Shouldn’t the LGBT community have the responsibility to respect the rights of the Bakers beliefs. Just as the Christian community should respect the beliefs of the LGBT community, or the Muslims or any one that disagrees with them. In other words, both sides needs to STOP inciting HATRED towards one another.

    1. As I have said elsewhere, I am not as concerned with what Baker’s of other religions do or do not do. But, since I am a Christian, I’m very concerned about what so-called Christian Baker’s do. And I believe are calling is not to be treated like everyone else, but instead to treat everyone else as better than us. That is what Jesus would do

      1. If we are to ask ‘What would Jesus do’? then we have to understand that calling someone a snake (Viper), a dead, smelly rotten person and turning over tables and running people out of a court yard using a whip, is within the realm of possibility. Jesus would no more attend or take part in a homosexual ‘wedding’ than he would a ceremony in the temple of Aphrodite.

        1. Better yet, are you saying that Christians are sinless??? Jesus was the sinless perfect human, and he may or may not have “participated” in a same sex wedding… it’s really not for you to say WWJD… but the fact is that we’re ALL SINNERS and that people get married all the time without being pure and sinless, whether it’s being lustful, or a thief, or divorced, or a single parent. The thing is, that being gay is a sin that you wear on your sleeve- at least sometimes.

    2. There are no such things as “Christian” bakeries. They aren’t labeled that way. They don’t have big signs outside that say “I’m a CHRISTIAN baker!” The LGBT couple didn’t go there because they wanted to target a Christian baker. They went there because the bakery probably had good reviews on yelp, or they heard about it from friends, or it just so happened to be the closest bakery to their house, or they saw a cake in the window that they liked. You seem to have this paranoid delusion in your mind that they somehow found out the owners religious beliefs and just decided to go there and screw with them, when in reality they probably had no idea the owners were hateful bigots until AFTER they were told “We don’t serve gay people. Sorry.” There’s no “gay agenda” conspiracy against Christians. Gay people just want the same societal rights that you have. You know? The right to take part in the economy we ALL help fuel without being discriminated against? The right YOU already have?

    3. Forgive me for length, ok?

      What if said bakery makes the best cakes ANYONE within a hundred miles of a large city raves about, especially their wedding cakes? ANY couple would love one at their wedding.

      Inciting pain to the baker who may be very religious wouldn’t be why a couple with a baby out of wedlock would want this said amazing wedding cake, right?
      That couple chose to have sex & had a child out of wedlock. They just want the amazing, overpriced cake.
      But our baker chose to turn them down for their family choice. CHOICE is the key issue here.

      My ONLY choice as a gay guy is to tell anyone. I’ve no special skin color, horns protruding from my forehead or anything to tell anyone I am gay. In fact most assume I’m straight. It annoys me a little.

      Gays are part of every single human group we can imagine. The only reason we think they are not, is many are persecuted way more than here. They don’t answer surveys or tell their friends about their exciting new love. They could be jailed, murdered or hated by their grandmother.

      Many gays don’t act any different in public or private than you do. They don’t act like drag queens. They are as boring as you & I. For many of us it is OUR CHOICE to share anything about who we love, to YOU.

      However what makes gay rights ACTUALLY EQUAL RIGHTS and NOT SPECIAL RIGHTS is that none of us CHOOSE to be hated, marginalized, cast from our family or faith, lose friends, lose jobs, get beaten, murdered or again, be hated by our grandma.

      Being gay is what we are as much as YOU being straight. We are as much a part of this natural world as men, women, straights, whites, blacks, Asians – any group. In fact we’re in every one of those groups. We are HUMAN TOO. WE ALL HAVE TO RESPECT EACH other in this country like grown adults. High school is way behind us.

      All that non-heterosexuals want is to be treated as equals. Of course we’re vocal about that. Blacks were vocal about their rights. Women before them. In fact the whole reason this flipping country even exists was to escape persecution & tyranny – for equality & freedom.

      As a country we’ve always evolved, changed & updated what we mean about equality. IT’S BEEN TOUGH TO DO. The purpose of fighting for equality is not to persecute others, it is to further that cause we have wanted all along. That cause that so many peoples after us decided to also fight for.

      The goal of equal rights is NOT to impede on others’ rights, it is to have the same rights. Eventually the logic & reason of egalitarianism will prevail & we’ll ALL have the same rights. I’m not a huge patriot or even a protester but I’m extremely egalitarian & find intolerable, ANY injustice toward someone for something they did not choose to be.

      Also it’s just bad business to turn down hundreds of dollars because said baker hadn’t grown up into a proper, respectful citizen of this fairly good country – like the out of wedlock customers they almost had.

    4. In many instances a gay person does not know that they will not be served at a christian establishment because the person who is refusing them service does not have a sign saying “we do not serve gays” or a Cross flag or something that labels them as a christian establishment.

  6. Umm – gotta respectfully disagree with some of your points. I do completely agree that the situation with Christian martyrs in Kenya and elsewhere is much more serious than that of Christians in Indiana. No argument there. However, a few points: Jesus did tell Christians to separate themselves – the New Testament says, “Come out from among them and be separate.” No, that doesn’t mean Christians can’t mingle with non-believers, but it does mean we aren’t to participate in sinful, worldly lifestyles. You are just wrong in saying that we are comparing gays to Nazis and members of the Westboro Baptist church. Not at all – but we are comparing their actions and the potential of those actions to those of such groups. In the 1960’s, a number of Holocaust survivors lived in a predominantly Jewish community in Skokie, IL. The American Nazi Party decided to stage a march and rally in Skokie. They paid the necessary permit fees but the town council denied their right to march. The Supreme Court upheld their right to march. But yet no one would force a gay sign maker to make a sign saying, “I hate flags.” In fact, woman asked a gay baker to make a cake with the Bible on it and a verse from Dueteronomy. He refused, she sued, and the Court upheld the baker’s right to refuse. So no – those examples aren’t ridiculous and offensive – they are real and they happen. Bottom line: the worm has turned and gays now have the power. However, some of them (not all) are using that power to do the very thing they claim to deplore – discriminate. By the way – no one is arguing that a Christian retailer should be able to refuse to serve gays. Why would you even ask someone’s sexual orientation before serving them? This is only about services that force your participation in something you find morally repugnant – that could include gay weddings or even a wedding between a polygamist and his second or third wife. This seems like a small and stupid thing to many, but it is what it could lead to that bothers many – and history bears out that those “what ifs” do come to pass.

    1. Brilliant!! I had this discussion the other day–there is no ‘religion’ in a company (and shouldn’t be allowed in any legislation!).

      What I’d like is for everyone to put on all social media outlets which local businesses are discriminating against people for ‘religious’ reasons.

      Because I want everyone to BOYCOTT those businesses.

      I don’t have time for bigots. And the fewer the better.

  7. I think we are missing the point here, the United States was not founded only for religious freedom but economic freedom as well. People are forgetting that if you want to participate in the open economy of the United states then you are required to serve the people of that of that economy without discrimination. If your religious beliefs are so strong that you cannot treat every person in the community with respect and decency then you should refrain from being a business owner. While this country may have strong roots in religious freedom, the government and economy are not based on or created to support religious beliefs, but instead they were based on the principles that all people are equal. All people under the law shall be treated fairly and enjoy the same privileges as ever other person in this nation. The only support the government gives to religion is that there will not be a law to prohibit the free exercise of religion in the United States. Denying service to a person in business based on the traits of that person’s personal life is an act of discrimination against your fellow man and should not be permitted even if that person is not in a protected class. For me, there is only one protected class, and that is every human being. And being a member of that class should mean that you are protected from discrimination because you have a different opinion regarding sex, God, politics, religion etc. You can argue we as a nation are not here now, but at least we were trying to improve. I see these new laws as a step backward. For me, I cannot see how telling a black person they cannot sit in the front of the bus because they are black, and telling a gay person they cannot ride the bus because by doing so I am condoning your lifestyle which is against my religious beliefs, are any different.

  8. Ray Butler says: “I do NOT HAVE to tolerate, accept, or even recognize them as anything but the vile, hateful, intolerant, hypocritical, violent, vindictive, sick, twisted, miserable miscreants they are. ”
    He is having a little trouble seeing past that beam in his eye. So much hate.

  9. Eric, even with your 70,000-plus views, UM Insight would like to reprint this excellent blog post in this week’s issue. It deserves repeating as much as possible. Thanks!

  10. How could you possibly interpret the Bible as saying that homosexuality is not a sin and not an abomination? Just curious. Seems pretty clear to me. The Bible even went so far as to say that homosexuals WILL NOT enter heaven. (1 Corinthians 6:).

    There are others that won’t make it in, of course, but since this post is about homosexuality, that’s what I’m focusing on. Would love to hear your reasoning. I like to know what the other side is thinking.

    And please, attempt to refrain from the application of this principle to business. I’m less concerned about that and more concerned about why you’re using your platform to tell people that homosexuality is a legitimate and holy relationship before God.

    1. Sawyer: I absolutely will respond to you at some point. I am traveling this week, and it may be a day or two before I can get back to you….but you ask important questions that absolutely can be answered from a perspective of faithful Christian witness.

    2. Sawyer: First, I thank you for your patience. I’m in between trips this week…first to Arkansas and then to San Antonio…and finding the time to respond has been challenging.

      There are many MANY Biblical scholars who have carefully examined the seven so-called “clobber” verses in the the Bible, which appear to speak against homosexuality. Keep in mind, we are talking about seven VERSES, not seven stories. There are NOT seven “stories” about homosexuality in the Bible. In fact, there is no single story in the Bible, ever told by Jesus or by anyone else, that is specifically about homosexuality.

      For comparison’s sake, there are HUNDREDS of verses in the Bible that justify the keep of slaves. Jesus tells stories and parables about slaves. Slavery was absolutely a part of the world view of Jesus’ time. Paul even writes a letter, the whole point of what is to insure that a slave returns to its master.

      All this is by comparison, of course. But I think it’s a helpful comparison. I know of no Christians alive today who would attempt to justify slavery by virtue of Holy Scripture, despite the fact that a literal reading of hundreds of Bible texts clear justifies slavery.

      The best, shortest answer to the question about the Bible texts was written by my friend, Dr. John Holbert, as a part of book called “Finishing the Journey,” published by our church some years ago now. It’s short and very readable:
      http://www.northaven.org/portals/0/book/chapter04.html

      After quickly covering each passage, Dr. Holbert ends with the following:
      “the writers of the Bible could not conceive of innate homosexual orientation; in fact, it was always their assumption that all human behavior was freely chosen. Hence, if same-sex relations seemed to fly in the face of some ascribed norm, it was believed this behavior could be changed by a force of rational will. However, if homosexual orientation is as much given as chosen, as many researchers have now concluded, it would be just as wrong to demand homosexuals change their orientation as it would be wrong to demand left-handed people use their right hands.

      The writers of the Bible could know nothing of a homosexuality that is loving, faithful, and monogamous. Indeed, the Bible’s concern to promote love and justice among all of God’s people would certainly question any homosexual relationship that did not manifest those characteristics, just as surely as it would question a similarly flawed heterosexual relationship.

      In the final analysis, the Bible says very little about same-sex relationships. But it has much to say about God’s love and justice for all, and God’s desire for God’s creatures to practice the same.”

      My own views on homosexuality have very much been shaped by pastoring to many loving, gay and lesbian Christians for the past 14 years. Many of our members have been in loving, committed same gender relationship for decades….50 years in one case…40 in several more….several couples who have been together 30 years or more…and dozen of peoples who have been together for 20 years or less.

      I have seen the depth of their faith and Christian commitment to each other, and to the Church. I have seen their deep commitment to reach out in service to God’s world. I see nothing in their relationships that should be condemned or shunned by the church.

      In fact, I have written extensively about “The Pastoral Case for Christian Same Sex Marriage” here:
      https://wheneftalks.com/2013/03/27/a-pastoral-case-for-christian-same-sex-marriage/

      Given my previous conversations with Christians who are opposed to homosexuality, I post all of this, knowing that it’s unlikely to help change your mind. My own sense is that what really changes minds and hearts is by personally knowing, and loving LGBT people, and being blessed enough to be in ministry with them.

      I can only close, then, by praying that you will one day get that same chance.

  11. I, often, wonder if people realize that they are causing people to leave the Church. By distorting, and moulding Jesus and The Bible into what THEY would like to ‘believe’ it says, they are causing people to look elsewhere. For a kinder, more inclusive, community. Is that what people want?

    When I look at the basis of war and fighting and discrimination, it seems to be traceable to religion. Shouldn’t that be the LAST place we could trace these things to?

    As I search for a place where I belong, one I find accepting and loving and kind to ALL people, I find myself having quite the struggle. And not because of Jesus, but because of what some of his followers have turned him and his words into.

    It’s unfortunate. I know I’m not alone, not by a long shot.

    1. A few things, first “When I look at the basis of war and fighting and discrimination, it seems to be traceable to religion.” This is true but really not true of Christianity. The violence that the “church” participated in or supported was done by “distorting….The Bible”. The first 300 years of Christianity has zero acts of violence done in the name of faith, meanwhile Christians during that time (and still today) were being slaughtered. I also agree that Jesus should not be “distorted and molded” but that includes the other side too. Jesus calls ALL to REPENTANCE. Jesus accepts everyone but demands everyone to change and become more like Him. He laid down His life in exchange for our sin, therefore we accept Him on His terms, not ours.

    1. No, I don’t. What I believe is that evangelical excel at persecution complex and always have, at least in my lifetime.
      It’s hard for me to take this story seriously, when I personally know two Christian law professors at our local law school…one who happens to be my wife!
      I know of nothing like what you are describing here….that Christians per se, en masse, and as a whole, are being discriminated against.

      In fact, of all the religious expressions in our land, Christianity tends to be the MOST protected by our laws. Sadly, Christians fail to see just how privileged their status is, and instead try to cast themselves as the victims and scapegoats.
      Our society has many scapegoats…people of color…women….immigrants….and gay and lesbian people first among them.
      Christians rank far down on the list, and the fact that many Christians do not even SEE this is evidence of just how privileged they are, and how blind they are to it.

      We can attempt to prove the case, time and time again, from specific examples when Christians have been slighted in the public sphere. But “slight” is not persecution.

      Our savior was indeed persecuted and killed…by the political authorities of his day. We, or you, are not.

  12. As a Christian I believe Christ set the example of service to all people. He helped those shunned by others without judgement. He loved the people, not the sin. I think the laws being passed are saying that people have the right not to perform a service for something they do not feel comfortable with. ANYONE should have that right. There are those in business who don’t care, and that will be GREAT for their business. If a business informs a potential client that they don’t feel they would be able to give 100%, then they should be allowed to say that. As a consumer, I wouldn’t want to shop somewhere that didn’t want to invest 100% into my order. If I went to buy a cake for an event that the shop owner disagreed with and they told me they didn’t feel comfortable with it, yes I would be offended and upset. But I would also be mature enough to accept it and find a location that didn’t have a problem. My money would be supporting a business that supported me.

  13. As a minister of the Gospel you claim to be be. How do you reconcile your beliefs with not just the old testament, but the new testament as well? Are you serving God, or a progressive cause with no basis in scripture, or christian tradition?

    Romans 1:26-27 Good News Translation (GNT)

    26 Because they do this, God has given them over to shameful passions. Even the women pervert the natural use of their sex by unnatural acts. 27 In the same way the men give up natural sexual relations with women and burn with passion for each other. Men do shameful things with each other, and as a result they bring upon themselves the punishment they deserve for their wrongdoing.

  14. Eric, you dont like the Nazi and Westboro comparison, I can understand that. so lets stick with the Gay couple and Christian baker. The Christian baker informs the couple that they are not in favor of gay “marriage” and that they will comply with the couples desires because they fear a lawsuit if they dont. But before money changes hands they inform the couple that all the proceeds that the baker receives will be donated to Focus on the Family. Tell me, does the gay couple have the right to refuse to continue with the transaction and if so are they discriminating against the baker if do?

    1. Do I have the right to cancel an e-bay transaction before I hit the final button, because in mid-transaction, I read an article pointing to the seller as a bigot? No lawsuit would likely be upheld in either case. The buyer of the cake determined they didn’t want to go ahead with the transaction, so they stopped it. Buyers do this all time for a huge variety of reasons. But sellers are offering goods and services, really need to offer the same business transactions to everyone.

  15. If gays had a brain in their heads, and were actually interested in having a great wedding event, instead of causing public uproar and trying to force a legitimate business to “do it their way,” they would look for private contractors. Put an ad online, “Gay couple seeking gay or gay tolerant baker (florist, pianist, wedding planner, etc.) to help us plan our dream day. Must have experience and references. If qualified, email for contact information.” You could get your beautiful wedding, with possibly a lower price tag, and may just help a tolerant independent professional start up their own business. Not to mention, ya might just make some new friends. No one would be hurt. The public wouldn’t have to hear any of your whining. Business owners would still be able to “reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, at any time, for any reason”, keeping their client base happy, and all would be right with the world. Remember, we might be able to force people to serve us, or work with us, or rent to us, or hire us……….. but they can’t be forced to like us, support us, or be truly tolerant of us. And that isn’t bigotry. It’s human nature. No one will ever make me like the people I don’t like, and if forced to deal with such people, I will not hesitate to make things as miserable as possible for them….. just to show them that they would be much happier if they didn’t insist on being where they aren’t wanted.

    1. Your suggestion that gay couples have to go above and beyond just to find someone to make a freaking CAKE is absurd. Do you realize in THE wedding cake debacle that the couple who went to this baker KNEW the baker and did not know that they would be turned away from having this person make them a cake. They had been going to the bakery for YEARS. HOW would anyone magically KNOW that they are going to be discriminated against if there’s no sign saying “We don’t like them gays around here.” Your assertion that same sex couple have to go the extra mile to be sure they’re dealing with someone tolerant is so ludicrous that I initially thought it was satire.

      1. Not being married I guess I am confused about something. Don’t all people getting married have to go above and beyond to get exactly what they want on their special day? Are couples of any persuasion supposed to draw Scrabble letters from a bag or role dice to select bakers, florists, etc. and expect that person to drop everything (even their sincere beliefs) to serve them? I think not. Why would any couple want someone who doesn’t want to participate in a ceremony they reject for any reason participating in their ceremony? Is this not a recipe for disaster?

        This is not, nor has it ever been about bias against gays, its about fundamentally changing the culture and forcing acceptance; its about anything goes; its about COEXIST*

        *…as long as you agree with us completely, otherwise we will destroy you personally and professionally.

        1. Did it destroy racists lunch-counter owner to have to open their businesses in the 1950s? Are the Christian descendents of those who opposed such change then being actively “destroyed” in the current age.
          No. Absolutely not.

        2. Nope. If I see a cake in a window I want, I should be able to get that cake, period, if it’s for sale to the general public. I am the general public. You’re mincing my words- going above and beyond what straight couples would do for a wedding is what I was saying. I.E. straight couples don’t get turned down and turned away (so long as they have set forth a decent frame of time.) There is really nothing about making someone a cake or even forcing someone to make someone a cake that is anything near forcing them to agree with their beliefs. Also, what I’m interested in knowing where it says in the Bible anything about not being kind to, associating with, doing business with or whatever else with homosexuals, sinners, people you don’t like. If the government is interested in protecting all sort of random things people claim are their religious right, I am entitled to smoke marijuana… since it’s part of my religious belief, right? Nope, wrong. I can’t just say something is part of my religion/ belief/practice and then it’s protected. That’s not how it works. In fact, that’s not even how the law is supposed to work, but it’s been perverted over the past 200 year or so. You saying that it’s not about being biased about gays is completely off the mark. The Constitution and government was set up to protect the RIGHTS OF THE MINORITY. The gay couples don’t KNOW they will be turned away. I have yet to see any businesses with signs that say something like “Serving the God-fearing community for 10 years!” Or whatever. “No gays allowed.” Besides, I don’t think how someone feels about you will always dictate whether or not you use their services. If someone is an asshole, for whatever reason, maybe they are still the BEST at what they do- especially in a small community- and everyone deserves the right to purchase what they think is THE BEST, especially for their wedding. That’s not so hard to understand, is it? I got fired from a craft store, but it’s 10 minutes away from me and has supplies I want and need. I HATE the manager there for making my life miserable, but I need his products. Making a cake is hardly what I would consider “participating” in the ceremony. It is helping to prepare for it, but that’s all. Again, you’re using words that don’t completely mean what you want them to mean to fit your opinion!

    2. Connie,
      There is so much palpable negative energy radiating from your post, I’m not sure ANYone would want to do business with you.
      “Whining?” Clearly, you haven’t been on the receiving end of much discrimation, hatred, and negativity. Yet, you seem to have plenty to spread around. And that’s sad. And exhausting.

  16. Interesting you mention the analogies of Jews making cakes for Nazis or a gay baker for the Westboro bigots as offensive…and “NOT going to happen” without ever dealing with the actual logic of it. OF COURSE a business owner of an expressive business (media or creative) should have the right to refuse business which MESSAGE is appalling to him or her.

    I would strongly stand up for the right of the gay bakers in Colorado who refused to make a cake with bible verses on them offensive to gays…. as it is their business, not the government’s, not your’s or mine….

    Key to this issue is the word “expressive.” No case in the national spot-light was refusing to serve gays as regular customers, but only for ceremonies which their religion–and 98% of religions in history–teaches is wrong.

    Would you demand that a sign maker–or a publisher–publish any content, no matter how offensive it is to them? To demand that government force that is the essence of fascism.

    1. Again, I think without realizing it, you have somewhat proven the point of the blog…NO, it would not be facism.
      Facism would actually be what these laws would lead us toward….ie, not real religion, but state-assisted religion that discriminates against specific groups of people….the state USING religion to help it discriminate against an entire set of people, under the guise of “religious” or personal freedom,.

      1. Fascism: a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government

        : very harsh control or authority

        Unfortunately this is what happens in societies where definitions become colloquial and lose there meaning.. see “Marriage” as an example. Eric the easy way to figure this out is who is using the power of the state to force the hand of the other. In a free society I should NOT be able to force someone to serve me by using the power of the state and in a truthful society a person wanting to stop such forced servitude shouldnt be charged with accusations of fascism.

        Please answer my previous question… “does the gay couple have the right to refuse to continue with the transaction and if so are they discriminating against the baker if (they) do?” I think there is a reason you are avoiding it.

  17. Am I missing something in the broader debate?

    To cite comments byJennifer Knotts Bobic, the Supreme Court upheld rights of Nazis to assemble and to freely vocalize their views during a march/rally in a Jewish enclave, and a court upheld the rights of a gay baker refusing a customer request to inscribe a Bible verse on a cake (she sued, lost).

    So given these examples of constitutional protections that would most certainly be upheld if a conservative Christian business refused services to a gay customer on the basis of their religious beliefs, and assuming the business owner can prove in court their religious affiliation and demonstrate unambiguous supporting biblical text, then why on earth do we need these “Religious Freedom” laws?

    It seems clear their sole purpose is to manipulate the Christian electorate through fear and anger for GOP political gain.

  18. “There are NOT seven “stories” about homosexuality in the Bible. In fact, there is no single story in the Bible, ever told by Jesus or by anyone else, that is specifically about homosexuality.”

    Not a single story in the Bible? What about Genesis 19 – Sodom and Gomorrah

    1. It never ceases to amaze me how little some people, who claim to be Christian, know about the Bible. We are still seeing Christians trying to pass off the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah as being about homosexuals and homosexuality. Those who have studied the Bible know that passage has absolutely nothing to do with it. (Is it more moral that Lot offered up his daughters to the mob to do with as they pleased?) This is what happens when those lacking hermeneutical acumen rush to a concordance and do a search for a particular word, in this case “homosexual/homosexuality,” and try to turn the passage they find into a treatise about loving relationships between two people of the same sex and equal marriage rights. Please note that there is no listing for the word in Strong’s.

      Then there are those who think that the first chapter of Romans is also about homosexuality. Such deplorable exegesis allows the reader to entirely miss the fact that this chapter is about God’s punishment of idolaters, not homosexuals. Verse 28 shows how God punished them. Then there is the fact that that the original script did not specify homosexuality, but pederasty. Ultimately God uses this issue of idolatry by pointing out the sin of judgment: “Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”

      Christians, particularly Paulists, should study the issue within historical context. Begin by noting that the word “homosexual” was not added to the Bible until the middle of the 20th century. Contextual honesty shows that Paul’s condemnation is not of homosexuals, but of pederasts, as it was common in that time to find pederasts and prostitutes working in the Roman temples. Not a single reference is to loving homosexual couples, nor was it even understood as a natural orientation that is found in every species.

      I don’t know how people can justify their attempt to get their own holy book to agree with their prejudice and hate.

      1. I think it’s a combination of motivations. There are those in leadership, Biblical scholars in some case, who have studied the scriptures and yet continue to promulgate the lie that the Bible is a dramatically anti-gay book.
        But in addition to this, there are many people on the streets who simply swallow this theology whole, without any real study or thought of their own.

  19. I owned a business and bought and sold from and to gays…i even visited with them in their homes… But I would not participate in a gay wedding in any shape or form..

  20. Ruth, the Bible does not condemn gay marriage nor does it condemn loving relationships between two people of the same sex. And I have to ask, if simply providing a cake for a gay wedding is something you would not participate in any shape or form, do you hold that same stance when it comes to couples with ex-spouses who marry again? Do you refuse to “participate” in their weddings? Do you refuse to participate in weddings of fat people or people who are known to drink to access? While Jesus says not a single word about homosexuality/homosexuals, he has plenty to say about divorce/adultery and gluttony. Or is your discrimination reserved for gays only?

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