God's word makes you crazy.
Yeah, but it is amazing how many Christians don't seem to realize this. I have a friend who skipped the Pride Parade to go to church, and he mentioned how hip and fun his church is, and how his pastor drives a Porsche. I quickly calculated how many Africans could be fed for a year on the difference between the Porsche and say, a nice Civic, and he still didn't get why his pastor was a hypocritical fuck.
Gitai, they aren't interested in feeding Africans. They're interested in teaching Africans: The word of God. That's it. So, there isn't really any hypocrisy with the Porsche until you consider what the Bible would tell you to do. Lately, not many Christians seem to be following the Bible, so...bwaaanananan!
Since I am not a Christian and I only get my religious news/info from SLOG and The History Channel, I would like to know what other religion's (Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.)views on homosexuality are. Since I never see a column called "O They Will Know We Are Muslims By Our…" I would assume they are much more enlightened.
The movement away from organized churches with governance bodies, like the Presbyterians, Episcopalians, etc., toward ungoverned independently pastored churches probably does make this kind of thing more common. But closely governed churches can have their problems: see the Catholics and their altar-boy molestation crisis.
Bad preachers have always been endemic in American society, particularly in the lower or more fluid classes outside the Establishment. They are in fact so common in our history that they're a cliche of American fiction.
These incessant religion-bashing posts are the reason that you have no credibility outside of the sexual fetish world, Dan. Picking out bad people and then using their religion or position in a church as a common denominator is no different than religious crazies who blame homos for the societal woes of our nation. 85% of Americans claim to have a preferred religion. You just look ignorant when you throw this garbage in the Slog every day. You are discriminating people, and isn't that what you claim to be against? Don't you hate it when people discriminate based on race, religion, or sexual preference? Oh wait, no...apparently you don't.
Maybe you should just stick to giving out BDSM advice and making up words for anal substances.
@2 and 3
They don't want to feed or teach Africans. They want to KILL Africans, which they accomplish by teaching them that life-saving instruments such as condoms are sinful to use.
You hit it right there Devil!!!
More than 800 of them have lost an arm, a leg, fingers or toes. More than 100 are blind. Dozens need tubes and machines to keep them alive. Hundreds are disfigured by burns, and thousands have brain injuries and mangled minds.
These are America's war wounded, a toll that has received less attention than the 3,500 troops killed in Iraq. Depending on how you count them, they number between 35,000 and 53,000.
Dan has already tossed well-reasoned rebuttals to those like #6, probably as many times as he's made posts like these. I wonder if he's sick of it.
He should be sick of trying to explain his ignorance. You can "well-reason" it all you want, but it is what it is.
Well-reasoned, I know.
More tightly controlled sects, Catholicism for example, often have more institutionalized graft. Where do you think the money for all those beautiful buildings, cathedrals, artwork, jewels, clothing came from?
Yes #10, that Dan sure is a smart debater. that's why his support of Bush's war on Iraq was so influential on readers of the stranger and why he is, in part, responsible for the tens of thousands of human beings who have been killed and maimed in the Iraq war.
From a purely business perspective, churches seem to be a good deal. There’s low overhead since they don’t manufacture anything, don't pay most taxes and especially if they rent their meeting space.
They seem to be right up there with casinos in terms of profitability and the business model is similar: People come in, empty their pockets and leave. No fuss, no muss. Plus there’s a sucker born every minute, so that basically guarantees an incoming revenue stream.
I wonder if anyone has ever started a church on slick marketing and a bet (Scientology? Mormons, maybe?)?
@4 We Jews have a funny little saying. If you put ten rabbis in a room and ask them a question, you'll get eleven different opinions. As such, views in Judaism are diverse and many, are acknowledged as interpretations and opinions, as opposed to dogmas. We only have a few dogmas, and while opinions and and often are viewed as religious law, that law is restricted to those who follow that particular rabbi or school, and the law is mutable. Minority and dissenting views are recorded, and sometimes become the prevailing view. In my Intro to Talmud class (the Talmud is the compendium of Jewish law), a law student who was there as part of studying other legal systems remarked that it looked remarkably like Supreme Court case law. There is also wide recognition and respect for differing views on most matters, such that while a Lubavticher Hasid won't eat food not declared kosher by the Lubavitch movement, they don't think that a Bobavich Hasid is eating forbidden food.
So, in Judaism, there are a huge variety of opinions on homosexuality. A Reconstructionist rabbi performed my gay wedding, and the Reform movement is pro-gay marriage. The (rapidly declining) Conservative movement allows rabbis to bless relationships based on individual conscience. The Orthodox and Hasidic movements do not. Some crazy Hasids are rabidly anti-gay, and sound like Woody Allen joined the Westboro Baptist Church, but they are in an extreme minority. Most Hasids, even those who view homosexuality as a sin, aren't dicks about it, though. In college, I regularly went to Shabbat dinner at the home of a Hasidic rabbi (Habad Shabbat dinners are the best. The rabbis will always seek to get you royally toasted, believing that drunkeness aids spirituality) and the knowing looks I received from my fellow students when I guaranteed him that I would never marry a non-Jewish woman kind of gave away the game, but he kept inviting me back, never brought up the subject, was continually friendly, showed me tremendous respect, and was much, much more concerned about making sure that read a Psalm daily than trying to get me to stop sucking cock. Well, really, he never tried. I honestly got the feeling that if I put on a black hat and grew out a long beard, but kept sucking cock, he would have been ecstatic, which makes sense, because Jewish fundies view religious observance as a whole, and are pleased with any incremental steps toward observance, and willing to overlook things they see as sins. It's not generally so black and white (that same rabbi also voted a straight Democratic ticket because of the Democrats' greater concerns for the poor and oppressed). Watch Trembling before G-d for a very nuanced and in depth view.
As for Islam, there's near universal condemnation. Assimilated American gay Muslims aren't opening the door ever so slightly, and in the US, they've got decades of progress to make. In the rest of the world, it's centuries of progress. This is in large part thanks to colonialism. Prior to Western domination of Islamic lands, homosexuality was viewed as at worst, a venal sin, and the homoerotic art and literature of the Islamic world is voluminous. However, Western condemnation of homosexuality crept in, viewed as part and parcel of reforms of their own culture to gain whatever it was among Europeans that allowed them to own the world.
Good coverage. I'd just like to add a few notes:
The Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox base their disapproval of homosexuality on the Torah verse "[A man] shall not lie with another man as [he would] with a woman, it is a toevah" (Leviticus 18:22), where toevah normally translates to abomination. However, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
First, there are a hell of a lot of "abominations" in Leviticus, including eating shellfish and wearing cloth of mixed threads. One abomination is not worse than another; from the point of view that all human beings stray from the path sometimes, homosexual acts are simply one of many kinds of spiritual mistakes that must be forgiven by God and by other humans in order for any human being to find spiritual redemption.
Secondly, there is a lot of evidence that in biblical and Talmudic times, when the Jewish codes of ehtical behavior were being formulated, there was absolutely no concept of homosexuality as a form of personal identity. Homosexuality manifested itself only in certain acts, which were seen as evidence of the "evil inclination," considering that homosexual acts at the time were most often seen in cultic rituals, and that homosexuality was detrimental to the overall goal of procreating and raising future generations, which was a precarious matter of survival in that time. Now that we understand homosexuality to be less of a choice and more of a completely integrated aspect of one's identity, it's harder to dismiss as simply sinful.
Basically, if you take as a tenet that God created human beings in God's own image, and that homosexuality is part of certain individuals' identities throughout their entire lifetimes, it's very difficult to condemn homosexuality wholescale. After all, God would have had to create these individuals as homosexuals, and why would God have done that if God had considered homosexuality evil? That's more of the position that Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative Jews currently take. The Conservative movement, btw, currently takes the position that homosexual relationships are ok, because it's only specifically anal sex between men that Leviticus 18:22 bans. As you can imagine, this position has amused lots of people.
I wonder how this would sell if Dan were talking about Jews; O They Will Know We Are Jews by Our... illegal occupation of the West Bank. O They Will Know We Are Jews by Our... attempts, through the ADL, to stifle free speech in the United States. Or even just, O They Will Know We Are Jews by Our... disproportionately high representation in media, banking and law.
Somehow I think that approach wouldn't be quite so uproariously popular among the ditto-heads who chime in to support his Christian-bashing, in spite of the theological similarities between Judaism and Christianity. Because if it's aimed at Jews we recognize it for what it is: religious bigotry. But most self-styled liberals have a hard time applying their moral framework to a given situation without peer guidance. So racism against white people isn't racism, sexism against men isn't sexism, and bigotry against Christians isn't bigotry-- not for any logical reason, but just because that's the consensus among liberals. Detecting consensus is about as close to critical thinking as most people can get, and American liberals are no exception to that rule.
It's the situational ethics of groupthink and I guess the main thing I find so provocative about it-- like Dan's earlier support for the war and various other non-dildo related subjects Dan's felt compelled to make a public stand about over the years --is that it's so obviously guided by a fairly transparent egocentricity and intellectual chauvinism.
Religion is not the same as race, sex, sexual orientation etc. religion is choice. A person skin color is mostly out of their control and has no direct baring on behavior or thought. Being religious does and belief systems like religion are open to criticism as to the veracity and effect of those beliefs. Just like political persuasiona or anything else.
Further more religions make claims about reality and humanity. There is no reason why these cannot be argued just like anything else.
Just becasue your Christian doesn't make you special. In fact given Christianities instance in its superiority and sole truth I think Christianity is particularly available to criticize.
Holy shit, that last one happened not even ten minutes from my house.
The scary cultish baptists around here are all in Flagler county at Riverbend Community Church. I'm just waiting for some shit to go down up there.
Also in this country it is Christians who are trying to force their beliefs onto everyone else be arguing for their moral superiority. Since their god is at best absent and at worse a fantasy what else do we have to judge the religion except its beliefs and adherents. Given that the beliefs are always in flux depending on what the followers of the day argue judging a religion based on its followers seems like a not to bad idea.
Thank you Gitai and lymerae for your insight.
I have to agree somewhat with Judah in that Dan manages to "bash" Christianity on a daily basis, yet all other religions seem to get a pass. I often wonder if Dan fears insulting Jews or Muslims more than he cares if he insults Christian groups because appearing to be anti-Semitic seems to be a greater sin than appearing to be anti-Christian.
Hey Dan! My father-in-law just joined a rabidly anti-gay, anti-woman "Baptist" church, and it's pretty much been hell. To "They'll Know We Are Christians by Our..." you can add "death threats"! The other daughter-in-law & myself have both been treated to "I'll run her down in the street!" screamed about us, and I have gotten to personally enjoy members of Granite Baptist Church harrassing my husband with "Isn't your soul worth SAVING? Isn't ETERNITY important to you? Wouldn't it be better WITHOUT her?"--meaning, of course, my death, because good "Christians" don't do divorce. Because murder is better than divorce, clearly. More Christian.
@18 I would assume that part of the reason Dan wouldn't harp on Jews so much is that our clergy aren't as busy trying to be the moral arbiters of all society, nor are they trying to set themselves up as pure and righteous, like televangelists do.
Plus, ours is not an ostensibly pacifist religion, like Christianity. We have a similar just war theory, but we don't have to jump through insane theological hoops to do so.
And quite frankly, we just don't have the numbers or influence in the US to warrant much attention.
In Israel though, a "They Will Know We're Tzaddikim by Our..." column would be worthwhile.
Judah hit this with a bomb!!
How quickly they forget.
All of you accusing Dan of anti-Christian bigotry are conveniently forgetting his anti-Muslim bias. It hasn't been that long since he posted story after story of gay men being beheaded and hanged, of women being stoned to death in the Middle East.
Not to mention The Stranger publishing the Mohammed cartoons and regularly turning a page or two over to Bruce Bawer.
Where were all of you then?
Keshmeshi: I didn't say Dan didn't bash Muslims. I know he does. I said, "What if Dan bashed Jews the way he bashes Christians?" I specified Jews because Jews, as a historically persecuted minority, are broadly classified as a protected group under liberal conceptions of "hate language".
And that, my friend, is some bullshit. US military aid to Israel is a huge foreign policy issue-- possibly one of the top ten foreign policy issues on the U.S. agenda. We may not have the numbers, but policy-wise American Jews have a huge influence on the question of how the US government handles the situation in Israel. Have you ever read Charlie Wilson's War? Jewish contributions to Wilson's campaign based on his agenda with Israel make a good example of why American Jews have enough influence to matter.
Given that the beliefs are always in flux depending on what the followers of the day argue judging a religion based on its followers seems like a not to bad idea.
Yeah, actually, it is-- for a wide variety of reasons.
dan is allowed to say whatever he wants about christianity because he was raised catholic. he has the right to criticize both the theology and practice of christianity because he has been on the receiving end of its bullshit. i can't believe that someone can say that he is not allowed to criticize christianity when he has experienced its homophobia firsthand!!!
i went to church every sunday of my life (house rules) until i was 18 and i moved out. i've never set foot in church again except for weddings and funerals. i have actively tried to rid my mind of all the latent bullshit a catholic upbringing leaves behind and 15 years later there's still subconscious crap rumbling around. i'll be damned if someone told me that i'm not allowed to criticize chrisianity because i'm hurting a 'believer's' feelings. i experienced the brunt of catholicism first hand for 18 years and that gives me the licence to say whatever the hell i want about it good or bad. DAN HAS THE SAME LICENCE!!!
since when does anyone get pissed off about people pointing out hipocracy anyway ... those people are the worst of the worst.
since when does anyone get pissed off about people pointing out hypocrisy anyway ... those people are the worst of the worst.
double post ... sorry
"dan is allowed to say whatever he wants about christianity because he was raised catholic."
Nonsense. Dan is allowed to say whatever he wants to say about absolutely anything because freedom of speech is an inalienable right.
Nobody I've read on this forum wishes to deny Dan the right to say whatever he wishes. (Hell, it's his blog!) However, a number of people (myself included) argue that his position on bigotry is inconsistent depending on what group is being discussed.
"i'll be damned"
You said that, I didn't. I don't happen to think you will be, but it's not my call. : )
"if someone told me that i'm not allowed to criticize chrisianity because i'm hurting a 'believer's' feelings.""
You demonstrate your ignorance by assuming that all Christians would agree with the tenets of your (assumedly) strict Catholic upbringing. I am absolutely certain that my spiritual journey is very different from yours.
If you wish to hurt peoples' feelings, that is certainly your prerogative. I just think it's kinda low-class.
Argue philosophy, not religion.
@31 i was a little more flip than i should have been in my post . yes dan should be able to say whatever he wants because of free speech not b/c he was merely raised catholic. the broader point i was trying to make (poorly at that)is that dan spends more time criticizing christianity than other religions because that is what is closest to home and that is what humans generally take closest to heart. why wouldn't he be busy pointing out hypocrisy among his neighbouring christians rather than among animists in the amazonian jungles ? ... because it is what is most relevant to his own experience. he spends a lot of time criticizing christianity because they spend a lot of time criticizing him. it not an attack out of the blue. i don't understand what all the controversy is about.
and i know it does not come across in my post... it was rant more than i would have liked (ahh the lure of anonymity) but i generally do not try to actively hurt people's feelings when i'm discussing religion .... a courtesy not generally extended to me by born-again in-laws!!
@27 Jews aren't the main force behind military funding for Israel. AIPAC is fantastic at lobbying, but demography just plain doesn't back us, considering that Muslims are equal to our numbers, and will soon exceed them in the US. Support should be trending away from support for Israel as more politicians chase Muslim support, as is happening in Europe.
But, thanks to 27 million Evangelicals who are to the right of Lieberman (Avigdor, not Joe) on Israel, our demography isn't as important, particularly since American Jews overwhelmingly prefer a two state solution. If Congress were to cater exclusively to American Jews, yes, there would be military support, but it would be used as leverage, as previous administrations used it, as when Nixon, Carter, and Clinton threatened reductions in aid if Israel failed to make concessions. If the full force of the American government were following the wishes of American Jews, the Oslo Accords probably would have worked.
Further, our concentration in urban, coastal areas limits our influence even more, since American politicians are elected by defined geographic reasons. Why would a Republican from Montana, with a negligible Jewish population be so fiercely pro-Israel? Again, it's all about the Evangelicals, who are widely distributed throughout the nation, politically active, and fervently pro-Israel. Neocons may have a bias against Arab states, but Evangelical Zionists view any attempt to reduce support as actually Satanic.
Ah, found some actual statistics on the geographic distribution of Jews in the US. Only 19 of the fifty states and DC have a Jewish population of greater than 1%. Of the remainder, 18 have Jewish populations lower than .5%, leaving 14 states with Jewish populations between .5% and 1% of the population. I think you'd have a hard time convincing me that Montana's 850 Jews are the determinant force behind Congressman Rehberg's -2 rating from US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Jews aren't the main force behind military funding for Israel.
Yeah, that's great. Show me where I said "main force." I didn't; I said, "Huge influence." Hopefully you can spot the distinction.
Also? Your demographic data? Cheap dodge. I specifically mentioned campaign contributions, and I mentioned Charlie Wilson because, as I said, he's a good example of how this works. There were something like 50 Jews in Wilson's Texas congressional district, but he got huge campaign contributions from out-of-state Jewish organizations for his role in helping to arm Israel. It's not about votes, its about money.
So basically your arguing with stuff I didn't say. If you'd like to make a point relevant to what I did say, I'll check back here later.
@35 Fine, but keep in mind that David Geffen ain't sending his money to the GOP, but the GOP is far more anti-Palestinian than the Dems.
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