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Two cases pit gay rights against religious values

In a pair of recent court cases, a university's interest in enforcing anti-bias rules collides with the rights of individual students to follow their Christian beliefs.

In one case, the Christian legal group Alliance Defense Fund sued Augusta State University last week on behalf of a student in a counseling program.

JenKeeton.jpg

Jennifer Keeton, 24, is pursuing a master's degree in Augusta State's Counselor Education program, according to the defense fund. After professors there became aware of her religious opposition to homosexuality, the school ordered her to complete diversity sensitivity training and remedial readings. In effect, the attorneys say, she must change her beliefs if she is to finish the program.

"A public university student shouldn't be threatened with expulsion for being a Christian and refusing to publicly renounce her faith," said ADF Senior Counsel David French, in a statement. "Simply put, the university is imposing thought reform."

In the second case, a federal court Monday ruled in favor of Eastern Michigan University in a lawsuit brought by the defense fund on behalf of student Julea Ward, who was dismissed from the school's graduate counseling program in March 2009 "for not affirming homosexual behavior as morally acceptable," according to an ADF release.

Eastern Michigan had required Ward to serve homosexual clients in an affirming way during counseling sessions.

In granting summary judgment, U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh said the university's dictates were reasonable and did not infringe on the student's constitutional rights to speech and religious expression.

Steeh said the program required Ward to suspend her own beliefs, not to change them. Her dismissal "was entirely due to plaintiff's refusal to change her behavior, not her beliefs," the ruling states.

Ward's attorneys say she tried to solve the problem by referring a potential homosexual client to another counselor.

The federal ruling is a victory for universities and a setback to advocates of First Amendment protection for Christian students on campus. Last month, the U.S. Supreme court upheld a university's anti-bias rules in refusing to recognize a campus group that bars gays.

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By Daniel de Vise  |  July 28, 2010; 11:50 AM ET
Categories:  Administration , Litigation , Students  | Tags: Alliance Defense Fund, Augusta State University, Christian college students, Eastern Michigan University, Jennifer Keeton, Julea Ward, gay rights lawsuit  
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Comments

This is not a case of denying religious thought. This is a case of being able to perform the duties necessary for a particular job or degree program. If you are going into a program that requires you to listen and not pass judgement on people, then yeah, spouting off that you don't like gay people and that they are going to hell is probably a detriment to the client to be sent to an ex-gay program or that they're going to hell. Prejudice has no place in a profession that requires you to want what is best for the client, not what you want for the client.

Posted by: Jeffrmarks | July 28, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Not much of an anti-gay slant to this article. Almost every quote is from the alliance defense fund. Even the title misrepresents what this is about. The real title should be Christian students sue for right to not conform to course requirements.

Posted by: unreligious | July 28, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Counselors are expected to help people, not judge them. If these women are so narrow and prejudiced, they would only harm any needy soul who came into contact with them. THIS type of mind set results in religious fanaticism and those two women need to consider a job in their local church, not a job that would involve interaction with people who are hurting. Whatever happened to judge not lest ye be judged? How arrogant are these two people?

Posted by: laraine2 | July 28, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

This is the probelm in an open-forum democracy like America - that everyone's opinion, regardless of how absurd and factually untrue, is accorded equal validity with those of leading experts. Here we have a problem: Ms. Keeton's religious beliefs compel her to consider homosexuality "a personal choice." Meanwhile, the existing consensus among scientists, pyscologists, and other experts in Ms Keeton's field is the exact opposite. With two completely irreconcilable opinions, we must be honest with ourselves in admitting there is no "middle ground" here. You either chose to be gay or you didn't. Certainly, gay giraffes, dolphins, and lizards didn't make a conscious choice to upset their own deities as well as heterosexual animal peers. Naturally, the implications for Bible-believing Christians of the born-gay argument are a bit too incovenient for them. But that's no one's problem but their own. Go ahead and live your ridiculous delusions but don't expect the secular community to accomodate such rubbish without evidence. Especially when you're expected to counsel to vulnerable gay teens who are having a hard enough time as it is accepting the reality of their orientations. Religion has done its damage - 1/3 gay teens has attempted suicide at some point in their lives according to the CDC; such needless tragedy when there are truly no logical (secular) objections to gay equality other than "it says so in Leviticus." These ridiculous law suits just pour salt in an already festering wound. Not to mention, they set a bad precedent. Why stop at your religin's take on homosexuality? Fine, let's let non-expert religious zealouts opine on the complex nature of human sexuality. What's a Phd for anyway? Those same zealots would just dismiss such education as proof of liberal elitist bias anyway. There's no such as thing as evidence or facts, right? There's just "heart" and "conviction." So, let's open up this can of worms. What about biology teachers suing school boards to teach their Christian views of Creationism in class? Why not give astrologers equal air time with astronomers on their views of the solar system? Or perhaps allow magicians over physicists to teach the laws of gravitiy? Bottom line: You can believe in whatever garbage you want. But if you're going to challenge the status quo and use the phrase "my God and/or holy texts say so," be prepared to be mocked and challenged. Enough is enough.

Posted by: tomstaph | July 28, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Dear Daniel de Vise:

You erroneously characterize this as a "setback to advocates of First Amendment protection for Christian students on campus."

You are wrong. You have no understanding of first amendment law.

Want proof? Let's take your biased slant on this to its logical conclusion.

A devout member of the Christian Science Church enrolls in a State College of Pharmacy. But, as a member of the Christian Science Church, their faith forbids them from reliance on medicines, so they refuse to dispense any medicine.

Daniel: Do you really believe it is a First Amendment, Constitutional right for the Christian Science Church member to be granted a degree and licensed as a pharmacist, even though he refuses to dispense medicines?

Posted by: Len_RI1 | July 28, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

These students are deliberately making themselves incompetent. They are, of course, entitled to hold religious beliefs, and preach them in religious settings (prudently avoiding, one hopes, other equally religious individuals of different doctrines). However, they cannot be expected to be paid to push their noxious and foolish beliefs on others, particularly in situtions--not uncommon in couselling practice--where doing so would do no good, but instead serious harm. Maybe they should go into religious service, as that seems to be what suits them.

Posted by: ChrisVogel | July 28, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

"Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions." G.K. Chesterton.

Excellent job, Jennifer. Keep true to scripture.

Posted by: JPDG | July 28, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Jennifer, be true to scripture. But don't do it as a certified counselor. I'd love to see you seek counseling from an equally pig-headed disciple of the Church of Satan.

Posted by: t_parker16 | July 28, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Inside one's church they can discriminate to their liking. Catholics can bash Protestants, Jehovah Witnesses can bash Catholics, Baptists can make their list of who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. But outside those walls, when you are in society, you have to deal with those who do not hold to your faith. The test of your faith is how you deal with them. If your brand of Christianity caters only to those who hold your same beliefs, then you will always put yourself against "the others." If you are a true follower of Christ, you will always have a place in your heart for those who do not follow your religious way of thinking.

Your religion gives you, Jennifer Keeton, the licence to hate anyone or any group of people you choose. But our society is not based on your religion. We are not a theocracy. There are Jews, Muslims, Athiests, Satan worshippers, Wicas, Buddhists, and a whole array of religions that you will encounter if you decide to become a counselor in the United States. If you want to only cater to those of your beliefs, become a counselor for your church, or, if you are Catholic, move to the Vatican, it's 100% of people of the same faith.

Posted by: godlovesgays | July 29, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

You do realize that you are arguing that devout Christians should not be allowed access to certain jobs. If the same argument were being made against the gay community, I am sure you could see the error. We need to protect the rights of the gay community. However, we also need to protect the rights of those that disagree.

Posted by: CSLewis2 | July 29, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

To CSLewis2: No, I am not saying devout Christians should not be allowed access to certain jobs. What I am saying is that they will be working in a place that is not the Utopia they see in their head. A Jew has to work along side a Catholic, a gay person has to work along side a heterosexual, an African-American has to work along side a Hispanic, etc. In the privacy of their own homes they can believe what they want and say what they want against the ones they hate, but out in our society we agreed that it is not acceptable. And we back them up with laws. If devout Christians who are anti-gay cannot handle working with, or counseling, gay people, they will have a problem just as a Skin Head Neo Nazi racist doctor working at a county hospital would have. A gay person could not deny counseling a Christian who is Christian in name only.

Posted by: godlovesgays | July 29, 2010 2:22 AM | Report abuse

godlovesgays: I like the name and agree. God loves everyone. I also agree that a Christian who does not love someone for any reason is not acting or loving as Jesus instructed them to love. Loving however does not always mean agreeing. Many loving Christians lovingly adhere the texts in the Bible in regards to homosexuality and other sins. They pray for their own sins and the sins of others. It is a mistake to equate them with a hate group. I have worked with hundreds of counselors over the last 26 years. Some of them were gay who disagree with the views of their clients who held homosexuality to be a sin. ( I know because they told me). Others were Christians who respectfully kept their own opinions on their gay clients to themselves. Many here are underestimating the heart of Christian counselors both gay and straight. We have to be able to disagree without it being presumed as hatred.

Posted by: CSLewis2 | July 29, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

It sounds to me like Jennifer here was being forced to renounce her faith in order to complete her master's program. That just isn't right. As a practicing Catholic, who loves God and His Church, I agree though that if she (it doesn't actually say in this article) or if anyone for that matter cannot practice respect and charity towards others in their respective field (which includes not forcing ones beliefs onto others), than something needs to be done about it, but they shouldn't be forced to give up or renounce their beliefs - they just need to learn how to treat ALL people with love and respect.
I, as a practicing Catholic, love gays and non-gays alike. Though I cannot agree with the lifestyle of gays, I still love them as God does and I desire their utmost spiritual good as Christ and His Church requires of us.
Anyone who "hates" gays, does NOT know God. For God is love. And anyone who doesn't love, doesn't know God.
Pax Christi to all! =)

Posted by: Suko | July 29, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I think that 'tomstaph' makes a common mistake when he speaks about the cause of homosexuality.

Homosexuality as a physical and emotional sexual orientation is not caused by personal choice. On that much, we are agreed - after all, what sane person would ever consciously opt for a choice that will result in so much rejection, persecution, social stigma and hurt? As a gay man, I can say that with absolute certitude.

However, being homosexually oriented (physically and emotionally) is not the same thing as living as a gay person - here I am talking more about the decision to accept your sexuality, to come out of the closet and to be known as a gay man or woman to other people. That is very much a personal choice, and one that a great many men and women still cannot make freely, because of persecution and stigmatization by society.

I have made that choice, and I've experienced both the bone-deep pain of rejection and social stigma, and the undescribably relief and joy of being able to live with myself and of being who I am.

Still, the case reported on in this article does lead to several very interesting and important moral dilemmas. Should we as gay people (and other liberal-minded people, as well) force our beliefs on those who believe otherwise? Would that not be exactly the same kind of moral tyranny that we had been subjected to (and still are) for most of our lives? Can there be any compromise for or resolution to this inevitable conflict between liberal morality and more reactionary moral codes? Should an employee (whether public or private) be entitled to refuse doing the job they are paid for when particular instances of doing that job would violate their moral beliefs? And the corollary to the previous question would be whether employers can force their employees to do so?

In this specific case these questions had been answered, but as we know, one page does not the book make. As homosexuality (and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual social identity) becomes more and more visible and acceptable in society, such conflicts and confrontations will occur more frequently. Moreover, the same moral issues apply to many other aspects of socio-cultural identity, integration and human/civil rights - and it behooves society to engage in a serious discussion right now before the shifting trends in society's moral beliefs and attitudes cause a violent backlash from conservative reactinaries.

Posted by: jabulani74 | July 29, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

This woman was dismissed because she told the faculty that she would NEVER counsel gays in a way that was neutral about their sexual orientation (read the judge's opinion for the gruesome details.)

Imagine a scenario where she is counseling a client about job issues who, in the 4th or 5th session, mentions being gay. She wants to be able to tell that client, "I can't see you any more because you're gay and so, despite the fact that you've spent hours with me talking about your troubles, You need to start all over again with someone else." How could any training program possibly grant her a degree and unleash her on the public?

Posted by: FrankM1 | July 30, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

To those of you using the Bible as a weapon against homosexuality, you are wrong. Homosexuality is not a sin. The Bible is constantly being taken out of context to support anti-gay views. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, Greek temple sex worship, prostitution, pederasty with teen boys, and rape, not homosexuality or two loving consenting adults.


http://www.soulfoodministry.org/docs/English/NotASin.htm
http://www.jesus21.com/content/sex/bible_homosexuality_print.html
http://www.christchapel.com/reclaiming.html
http://www.stjohnsmcc.org/new/BibleAbuse/BiblicalReferences.php
http://www.gaychristian101.com/

Thats why Jesus never mentions it as well. There is nothing immoral, wrong, or sinful about being gay. Jesus, however, clearly states he HATES hypocrisy. If you preach goodness, then promote hate and twist the words of the Bible, you are a hypocrite, and will be judged and sent to hell. Homosexuals will not go to hell, hypocrites will.

This is very similar to the religious bigots of the past, where they took Bible passages to condone slavery, keep women down, and used Bible passages to claim blacks as curses who should be enslaved by the white man. People used God to claim that blacks marrying whites was unnatural, and not of God's will.

Posted by: shadow_man | July 31, 2010 2:12 AM | Report abuse

For those of you claiming homosexuality is a "lifestyle", that is a false and ignorant statement. Homosexuality is not a choice. Just like you don't choose the color of your skin, you cannot choose whom you are sexually attracted to. If you can, sorry, but you are not heterosexual, you are bi-sexual. Virtually all major psychological and medical experts agree that sexual orientation is NOT a choice. Most gay people will tell you its not a choice. Common sense will tell you its not a choice. While science is relatively new to studying homosexuality, studies tend to indicate that its biological.

http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/03/differential-brain-activation.pdf
http://www.newscientist.com/channel/sex/dn14146-gay-brains-structured-like-those-of-the-opposite-sex.html
Gay, Straight Men's Brain Responses Differ
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,155990,00.html
http://www.livescience.com/health/060224_gay_genes.html
http://www.springerlink.com/content/w27453600k586276/

Posted by: shadow_man | July 31, 2010 2:16 AM | Report abuse

The National Library of Medicine pubs confirm that sexual orientation is natural, biologically induced in the first trimester of pregnancy, morally neutral, immutable, neither contagious nor learned, bearing no relation to an individuals ability to form deep and lasting relationships, to parent children, to work or to contribute to society.

From the American Psychological Association: homosexuality is normal; homosexual relationships are normal.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Asociation and American Psychiatric Asociation have endorsed civil marriage for same-sex couples because marriage strengthens mental and physical health and longevity of couples, and provides greater legal and financial security for children, parents and seniors.

America's premier child/mental health associations endorse marriage equality.

Posted by: shadow_man | July 31, 2010 2:19 AM | Report abuse

This was taken from another poster that shows why we need to legalize gay marriage. If you don't feel for this person after reading it, you simply aren't human.

"I am not sure what our President thinks of this dicission but coming from a poor family and knowing what discrimination is all about I would assume he would not care if "Gays" have equal rights. The whole reason why they are asking for rights to be considered married is from the same reason why I would be for it. My own life partner commited suicide in our home with a gun to his heart. After a 28 year union I was deprived to even go his funeral. We had two plots next to each other. But because we did not have a marriage cirtificate "(Legal Document)" of our union his mother had him cremated and his ashes taken back to Missouri where we came from. That is only one example how painful it is. His suicide tramatized me so much and her disregard for my feelings only added to my heartach. That happened on March 21 of 2007 and I still cannot type this without crying for the trauma I have to endure each day. Oh did I mention I am in an electric wheelchair for life? Yes I am and it is very diffacult to find another mate when you are 58 and in a wheelchair. "

Posted by: shadow_man | July 31, 2010 2:20 AM | Report abuse

The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers state:

"There is no scientific basis for distinguishing between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples with respect to the legal rights, obligations, benefits, and burdens conferred by civil marriage."

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/documents/Amer_Psychological_Assn_Amicus_Curiae_Brief.pdf

Thus, mental health professionals and researchers have long recognized that being homosexual poses no inherent obstacle to leading a happy, healthy, and productive life, and that the vast majority of gay and lesbian people function well in the full array of social institutions and interpersonal relationships.

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/documents/Amer_Psychological_Assn_Amicus_Curiae_Brief.pdf

The research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality.

http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/therapeutic-response.pdf

The longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions is that homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation.

http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/sexual-orientation.aspx

Posted by: shadow_man | July 31, 2010 2:21 AM | Report abuse

To Shadow_Man: Greetings and peace to you!

First off, I believe the teachings of the Church (though not 100% sure, but pretty sure) that having sexual interest in the same sex isn't a sin, in it of itself, so I think you are right where you say "There is nothing immoral, wrong, or sinful about being gay." However, it's when you let your passions/sexual lust get the better of you and ACT upon them, THEN it becomes sinful. Remember the story of Sodom and Gomorrah? God did not look kindly to what was happening there. It wasn't perhaps just the idolatry and the other things you mentioned that were occurring there. It was the "wicked" things that were occurring there. Remember when 2 angels of God came to visit the home of Lot at the city of Sodom? Then the young and old people of the city came and demanded that Lot bring them out in order "that we may know them." It was this "wickedness" as well as perhaps the other things you mentioned which caused the outcry to become great before the Lord, and thus, the city's destruction.

I would like to now respond to your post about "Why we need to legalize gay marriage." Now I can understand why this person in a wheelchair would be saddened by everything that's happened. However, one, including yourself, shouldn't let that be a motivation for supporting something unnatural, and against God's intended purpose for marriage. Remember, God created them Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. God sent his apostles and told them "Whoever hears you, hears me." So are you listening to the teachings of the apostles and their apostolic successors? Are you holding fast to the traditions that have been laid down whether orally or by writing as St. Paul had said? The Catholic Church has, and will always teach against gay marriage/unions. You stated that Jesus isn't a big fan of hypocrisy, and you are completely correct. However, aren't you being hypocritical too by not abiding by what the Church teaches? Only looking at some that are convenient for you, and pushing aside the rest. Jesus Christ was obedient to His Father until His death, death on a cross. He did His Father's will always over His own. We too are expected to do HIS will, NOT our own, even if we do not like it; and we too are called to be obedient on things related to Christian faith and morals as it is taught by Christ's 2000 year old Church. I'm sure St. Paul would have to agree too that we are to abide to Church ruling as he himself described the Church as thee, and I quote, "household of God, the PILLAR and FOUNDATION of TRUTH."

Pax Christi to you, Shadow_man!

Posted by: Suko | July 31, 2010 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Suko: You sound like a reasonable person =) Take a look at the links, you will learn a lot regarding this issue, especially if you're religious (i'm assuming you are religious) Sodom did not have to do with homosexuality. In fact, it would make no sense for Lot to off gay men to his daughters, if they aren't straight. But let's examine the Sodom story interpretation:

The Sodom Story - Genesis 19:1-29
Scriptural Viewpoint: Sodom was a lush beautiful region of land whose inhabitants had known the goodness of God. Despite their exposure to, experience with, and witness of the one true loving Creator, the people of Sodom had rejected a relationship with God, and turned to numerous types of idolatry. When God's messengers were sent to the city, the men of Sodom responded by threatening the ultimate act of violent abuse, murder, disrespect and humiliation. They were going to RAPE God's representatives.

All other Old and New Testament references to Sodom involved the sins of idolatry, inhospitality, indifference toward the poor and the rejection of God's messengers. There are no references to same sex acts or homosexuality.

Also, the natural argument is easily debunked. By definition, homosexuality is natural as it occurs in thousands of species of animals. However, whether something is natural or unnatural is irrelevant to whether it is right or wrong. Some natural things (homosexuality) is not wrong. Other natural things like eating your own kids, is wrong. The same goes for unnatural.

Also, the Adam and Eve story falls flat, because it is an assumption. There is no verse in the Bible when interpreted in context condemning homosexuality. We can also assume that Adam and Eve were not married, so marriage is not a valid institution, and also assume that incest is condoned by that story. That's why assumptions don't work.

I am abiding by what God teaches, and God never condemns homosexuality. Whether or not the church wants to promote the wrong teachings (as they did in the past where they considered black people "curses" meant to be enslaved by the white man, where biblical passages were cited for this), is irrelevant to what God thinks.

Posted by: shadow_man | July 31, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

To Shadow_Man: Peace and God’s blessings to you! =) May the Holy Spirit enlighten you with the Truth, more and more each day. ^__^

I did as you had requested and checked those 5 links that you had referenced as sources that “Sodom did not have to do with homosexuality.” The first 2 links, just so know, didn’t work, at least today they didn’t. ;) The third didn’t seem to say anything on the topic, and believe me, I looked. I seeked, but I did not find. The 4th link, now that was something else…
I pray that you may keep an open mind now and allow me to open your mind to the truth. If you may, allow me to ask you a series of questions that I’d like you to answer and ponder about. The first question I must ask you is, how do you know that what this person from the 4th link is teaching, is correct? What gives him anymore authority than if you, or me, or anyone else for that matter were to interpret sacred scripture? Do you realize that there are thousands of different Christian and Protestant sects out there because they ALL believe that they are interpreting the Bible more correctly than the other preacher? If one preacher disagrees with another, do you know what he does, he starts his own church or religion. That isn’t the work of the Holy Spirit. Remember, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and Jesus, after his Ascension, sent the Holy Spirit to be with the apostles to guide them and their disciples to ALL truth. Now ask yourself this question, is it possible that there can be thousands of different religions, Christian sects or individuals like the one in the 4th link, all preaching the truth? Simple answer. No. They all can’t be. There’s no way this is the work of the Holy Spirit. There can only be one that’s the true way. There was only one Church, and one only, that Christ established with St. Peter as the visible head after his Ascension into Heaven, and boldly stated that the “gates of Hell will not prevail against it.” And it hasn’t, even through extreme persecution and yes, even scandals, the Catholic Church has stood the test of time (a mere 2000 years and still going), as Satan cannot topple it without making Jesus a liar.
Another thing I’d like to question you on is, what was the purpose of the Bible to begin with, who compiled it and where did it come from?

Posted by: Suko | August 1, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Please allow me to explain. The main purpose of compiling the Bible was for readings at mass. Catholic mass. That’s it. It wasn’t meant to be some sort of “perfect rulebook” which many people are using it for today. Jesus Christ never told people to go look for a book, and in it, you’ll find the keys to salvation. In fact, as far as we know, He never commanded them to write anything. He specifically told the apostles and his disciples to PREACH in His name, and that the Holy Spirit will guide them to ALL truth. Remember, PREACHING preceded the Bible. Not the other way around. Holy Scripture came about from the PREACHING, and as a RESULT of the preaching. For the first 380 years or so after Christ’s resurrection, there was NOTHING but preaching; there was NO Bible. The Catholic Church didn’t finish compiling the Bible (which contains 73 books – the Greek Septuagint or Old Testament, and The New Testament, which were from all Catholic men) till about 419AD. And again, it was mainly for liturgical use – for readings at mass. They had the Catholic Church to preach and to teach them on key issues on faith and morals – from the time Jesus ascended into Heaven, up until now, 2000 years later. This hasn’t changed and it never will. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to listen to what this 2000 year old Church preaches on faith and morals and to abide by them, all of them; To not pick and choose which ones you want to believe in because it’s convenient for you, and to disregard the ones that seem too much of a cross to bear since they may cause hardship on your part.
It remains true to its name in that it’s the one (the original), true (because Christ established it), holy (because it has been sent the Holy Spirit to guide it to ALL truth), Catholic (universal-everyone is invited) apostolic (with true priest and bishop succession – just like when Mathias replaced Judas Iscariot as the 12th apostle) Church.

Posted by: Suko | August 1, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Now, I would like to make a note about many of the epistles that were written in the New Testament. Many were written, as I’m sure you can tell, for problems that were arising among cities and in Churches, so yes, there were Catholic Churches already built and continually being built. Many epistles were teaching people on how to live their lives and to correct them on matters of morality. You see many of the same things on the early Church father’s writings as well. Check this link to see some of their writings on homosexuality:
http://www.catholic.com/library/Early_Teachings_on_Homosexuality.asp
Yes, I know you won’t like it, but I feel the Spirit impels me to show you exactly what our early church fathers believed, and note the years they were written. That was WAY back then, and the views on homosexuality by the Church hasn’t changed, because it can’t. The Holy Spirit has already guided the Church to the truth on these matters, that’s why not once in the 2000 year history of the Catholic Church, will you ever find the Church reversing any of their doctrines on faith and morals like you may see in different Christian sects today.

Anyway, I hope that what I have said here has helped you in your understanding on why you can’t trust just anybody’s interpretation of the Bible. Remember, the Bible came from the Catholic Church, compiled it, and wrote the New Testament. It is this same Church that we owe our fidelity to if we truly want to follow Christ, as it is His one, and only one Church that He established and boldly stated that “the gates of Hell will not prevail against it” and sent the Holy Spirit to guide it to all truth.

May God bless you and lead you ever closer to Him! Amen! =)

Posted by: Suko | August 1, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

To shadow man and suko,
Thanks for conducting one of the most civil and informative dialogues on the issue. Many spend more time working through their hatred than anything else. Suko, you make a good point that the Catholic church's position on anything (including homosexuality) is never just a Biblical thing. The official teaching on homosexuality has never changed. Devout Catholics are not basing their faithful obedience to any question of interpretation, they are remaining faithful to the teachings of the church. For millions this is the challenge. Shadow man I also attempted to read the essays and was unable to access all. As something of a poors mans Bible scholor, I can however,say with real confidence the overall reading of the Bible is not complementary. There are many direct references as to the act being displeasing to God. There are many who do not take the Bible literally. They look at the work figuratively. For them the verses prohibiting the behavior are easily dismissed because the book is simply meant to reflect the character of God and not be a rule book. However, there are a number of other Christian who read it reverently holding each word as having a power their lives are based on. For these people any support for homosexual behavior no matter how much they will pay for it in socially is a position they have to take because anything less would be unfaithful. What this conversation needs on all parts is love, listening, and an attempt to understand each other. The one thing we know for sure is that Jesus means for us to love each other. Whatever we agree or disagree on

Posted by: CSLewis2 | August 2, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Suko wrote: "The first question I must ask you is, how do you know that what this person from the 4th link is teaching, is correct?"

Those are not the only links, which reference numerous biblical scholars. I have many more as well as books that address the subject, but i do not want to flood my post with too many sites at once. I believe it's correct because i have read both sides of the story, from the pro-gay side and the anti-gay stances, and this is the conclusions i came up with:

-One side cherry-picks lines (the anti-gay), takes them out of context, and just says it's wrong with no evidence.
They even added the word "homosexual," a word that wasn't even used this way till the 1800's.
-The other side (pro-gay side) actually looks at and relates the historical times, provides plenty of evidence using the Bible itself, looks at the Bible as a whole, relates the context to other lines and passages, interprets them properly, doesn't distort their meaning, translates the Greek words properly and sees how they are used in various locations of the Bible to get a clear definition, and provides sufficient evidence.

It's easy to see why the latter wins out.


Suko wrote: "Do you realize that there are thousands of different Christian and Protestant sects out there because they ALL believe that they are interpreting the Bible more correctly than the other preacher? "

Because the majority feels a certain way, does not make them right. As examples, at one time the majority of religious people believed the world was flat, and even punished scientists due to heresy with proof of the contrary. At one time, majority of the people used the Bible to keep slavery and racial segregation intact, citing a verse from Genesis that considered blacks as "curses" Of course, nowadays, we know that was a gross misinterpretation of the Bible.


Sato wrote: "Another thing I’d like to question you on is, what was the purpose of the Bible to begin with, who compiled it and where did it come from?"

And this right here addresses another issue. Was the Bible changed over the years and by how much from man? Was it really the word of God? There are a lot of questions that are a different subject altogether. But when it comes to civil law, that's the main reason a lot of people say you can't use the Bible to deny a civil right. It's a personal religion with really no real proof of the existence of God, and has no validity over other religions or atheists, or even agnostics. But since we are on the topic, we are discussing what we see in the Bible today, and it's interpretations.

Posted by: shadow_man | August 2, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Suko wrote: "That’s it. It wasn’t meant to be some sort of “perfect rulebook” which many people are using it for today. "

I agree with this. There is a lot of questionable content and outdated content in fact within the Bible, that just no longer applies to todays society.


Suko wrote: "To not pick and choose which ones you want to believe in because it’s convenient for you"

This is the main problem with many Christians today. They pick and choose what verses (heavily out of context) to condemn homosexuality, but ignore the thousands of other laws as well as the real laws to protect the institution of marriage. Where are they for the divorce initiative that's beginning in California?

Suko wrote: "http://www.catholic.com/library/Early_Teachings_on_Homosexuality.asp"

This was written in a time when nobody knew much about sexual orientation, nor much of science. As for teachings that lasted for thousands of years that were changed, that argument holds no water, because very recently was slavery outlawed and considered a bad thing, very recently races were allowed to intermix, very recently women were given rights that made them equal status, not 2nd status, divorce was eventually legalized, polygamy was eventually illegalized. The fact of the matter is, a lot of those views have changed, for the better, as we grow up as a human society.

Suko wrote: "That was WAY back then, and the views on homosexuality by the Church "

Also, as you said, this was based on what was happening back then. And my links further prove the historical aspect of why homosexuality was not condemned.

It would help if you knew what the culture was like back then. In those times, male-male intercourse was a result of idol worship. Back then, it was a common practice of cult priests and priestesses to submit to sexual acts with either gender as part of the worship of their deities. Therefore, such acts were considered sinful and debauchery. It would be the same if it were hetero people involved in cultic sex, prostitution or sexual abuse of minors.

Now I'm pretty sure that two guys engaging in sex these days are NOT idol worshipers. In fact, 99% of the time, it is a physical act of love; just like any hetero couples.

Suko wrote: "Anyway, I hope that what I have said here has helped you in your understanding on why you can’t trust just anybody’s interpretation of the Bible."

Remember, the Catholic churches views have changed over times. We do not see them condoning slavery anymore, or the subjugation of woman, nor pressing the view that interracial marriage is wrong, nor pressing the issue that the world if flat or the center of the universe. Even the church eventually keeps up with modern times, though they still have ways to go.

Posted by: shadow_man | August 2, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Suko: Although i know many religious do not change their views, i hope you take a look at the following links. Would you really believe God would create homosexuals, only to punish them afterwards? It makes no sense, unless our God is sadistic.

http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/03/differential-brain-activation.pdf
http://www.newscientist.com/channel/sex/dn14146-gay-brains-structured-like-those-of-the-opposite-sex.html
Gay, Straight Men's Brain Responses Differ
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,155990,00.html
http://www.livescience.com/health/060224_gay_genes.html
http://www.springerlink.com/content/w27453600k586276/

I hope you keep an open mind on this issue. God bless you as well :-)

Posted by: shadow_man | August 2, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Suko: I also want to say one last thing =P You don't seem like one of those people who have those views out of hate, like many other religious people i seen post. From what i gather from your posts, you seem like a genuine, good person, and well educated as well. I am not trying to tell you what to believe, all i ask is that you read my posts and links with an open mind. Gays and lesbians do not want to harm your traditional beliefs. All they want is acceptance and equality. All they want is to be able to visit their loving partner in the hospital when they are about to pass away. All they want is the other benefits that come with marriage that straights get. All they want is love, and not to be shunned by society.

The reason i even fight for our rights, is because i've seen first hand of religious families rejecting their gay kids, kicking them out their house, telling them they are going to hell, being fired for merely being gay. These people are affecting our fellow human beings negatively. Jesus was all about love, respect, and tolerance. In the end, gay, straight, black, white, mexican, asian, man, woman, religious, atheist, agnostic, there really is no difference, because we are all human beings.

Posted by: shadow_man | August 2, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

CSLewis2 wrote: "There are many direct references as to the act being displeasing to God.

I haven't seen any verse that condemns homosexuality when the Bible is interpreted as a whole. Remember that during those times, homosexual sex was widely used (among other things) for idolatrous practices and fertility rituals, which was sinful due to the idolatrous aspect (worship no other God before me)

In fact, the Bible has gay couples in a positive light as noted in Ruth 1:16-17; Daniel 1:9; 1 Samuel 20: 41-42; and 2 Samuel 1:26. David and Jonathan's relationship parallels that of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, a gay couple in an ancient Sumerian epic. Their relationship fits the model of military lovers, common throughout the societies of the ancient Middle East. These male-male sexual relationships were taken for granted, and they would not have had to be explicitly referenced. There's even a part where Jesus healed a gay centurion, which can be seen in my links as well.

Of course, like you said though, in the end, Jesus said we should be loving each other.

CSlewis2 wrote: "For these people any support for homosexual behavior no matter how much they will pay for it in socially is a position they have to take because anything less would be unfaithful. "

Much like in any group, there are bad people and there are good people. The problem with a lot of those people that condemn homosexuality, is they do so while ignoring other parts of the Bible. Like when they cite Leviticus out of context to condemn homosexuality, but then they ignore the rest of the text, such as those lines that prohibit the eating of shellfish, wearing mixed fabrics, stoning your kid if he curses at you, etc etc.


Posted by: shadow_man | August 2, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

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