Thursday, March 08, 2007

From the "don't confuse me with the facts" department

I'm offering this quote from Matt Kennedy's recent reflection entitled "Embracing Pelagius" as food for thought on just how long those advocating that we "refrain for a season" think that season will have to be in order to make a dent in the divide between those who oppose the full inclusion of all the baptized into the Body of Christ and those who embrace it.

"... were a conclusive study demonstrating the inherent nature of homosexual desire to be published tomorrow, it would have absolutely no effect on the orthodox argument. Rather, in some sense, the orthodox argument would be strengthened because biblical faith and classic Christian doctrine assumes that human nature is itself fallen."

12 comments:

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Anonymous said...

We're damned if we do (are gay due to biological/genetic factors) or if we don't (are gay by choice).

In other words, Mr. Kennedy is going to remain anti-gay even if its proven that homosexual orientation is an immutable characteristic not determined by conscious choice.

Rev. Robert Semes said...

I'm not surprised by any of this kind of thinking that I see on any blog, in any paper, or on TV/radio.
These people won't quit, give up, moderate, or change their views. Any further discussion of "refraining for a season," "fasting" (the PB's favorite expression) or any other such phrase is totally pointless. The leadership of the Episcopal Church must take a stand against this bullying or throw in the towel, losing most of the GLBT membership of the Church, if it hasn't happened already, and face a bank of empty pews.

Wayne said...

Ditto... what anonymous and the rev say above.

I can tell you that there will be a number of LGBT-friendly folks who will also throw in the towel -- or demand alternative oversight! Hmmmm...a new spin-off, the Inclusive Episcopal Church (USA and Canada and NZ and Scotland and... let's not leave anyone out!).

Mission: To worship Christ in all glory and to take the Good News of God's radical love to all humankind.

SometimesWise said...

Perhaps you missed Fr. Kennedy's point - well, perhaps not if you insist that he is "anti-gay". I think his point is this:
It has been determined that the average male is "wired" to have multiple sexual partners - monogomy is not a natural state. Did God create them that way? I don't think so. Men are called to be faithful in their marriages, or to be celibate outside of marriage. That is not going to change, no matter what psychology and science "discover" about men's sexual proclivities. I think Mr. Kennedy is saying the same thing about homosexual orientation. He believes (as I do) that no matter what our "natural" state is, it is fallen, and we are called to the relationships that God has put forth for us.

I also agree that the Presiding Bishop's call for "fasting for a season" is a bad one. I don't think that the church, or the wider Communion for that matter, is going to change its stance, and it would be agonizing for many to wait to see how long her "season" would be.

JCF said...

And since all have fallen natures, apparently Father Kennedy celebrates NO marital liturgies I take it? :-/

Rev. Robert Semes said...

Sometimes Wise refers to the corrupt Augustinian doctrine of "man's fallen state." I do not hold such warped nonsense and most people today see this doctrine as incredible. If there is anything innately wrong with humankind it is of their own doing: acting without reason and justice.

The Pilgrim said...

anonymous said...

"In other words, Mr. Kennedy is going to remain anti-gay even if its proven that homosexual orientation is an immutable characteristic not determined by conscious choice."

Father Kennedy is not anti-gay. I am not anti-gay. Now anti-sin: that's another matter.

How much of a free pass should gays get when it comes to "an immutable characteristic not determined by conscious choice?"
How much of a free pass does anyone else with an immutable characteristic get? Alcoholics? There's an "immutable characteristic" that many people are "hardwired" for. Do we let the alcoholics stay drunk, destroy their families and careers because "that's the way God made them?" Or do we confine their activities, help them into Alcoholics Anonymous and celebrate their sobriety when they achieve any abstinence from drink? "god made me this way" is a poor argument for continuing in any lifestyle that ultimately separates us from God's grace.

Anonymous said...

We're damned if we do (are gay due to biological/genetic factors) or if we don't (are gay by choice).

Happily, gays and straights are not distinguished. Sexual conduct outside of marriage is sinful, regardless of the gender of the participants.

As a hetero I am attracted to people of the opposite sex. Was the attraction biological or learned? It doesn't matter. If I act on the attractions with someone other than my spouse I am sinning.

And, more importantly to the current crisis, if I do so act, I should not be a priest or bishop. It's really that simple.

SometimesWise said...

JCF - no, I imagine he performs plenty of marriages that consist of a man and a woman who are willing to make a committment to eachother and God and work at it in spite of their natures, instead of demanding the blessing of a relationship that caters to the fallen nature of humanity.

Anonymous said...

The nature vs. nurture argument is irrelevant to the questions "Do LGBT persons deserve human rights?" and "Are LGBT individuals God's children worthy of respect and love?".

Any historian of biology/ medicine can cite the use of biological "facts" (true or not) and reasoning to deny rights and full personhood to given classes of people. Africans/African-descent, women, Jews, gays, First Peoples - all have been pronounced biologically inferior to Christian white European men of the middle and upper economic class. It has been this way since the ancient Greeks.

NancyP

toujoursdan said...

I would agree that the nature/nurture argument doesn't change the Christian debate much (other than putting all the ex-gay ministries out of business).

What needs to be done is better education on Biblical scholarship and exegesis, cultural studies and the changes that church has made regarding sexual ethnics over the centuries (Since most common people did not get married at all until the 19th Century but entered into "common law" relationships - aka shacking up - obviously the church didn't always oppose sex outside of marriage).

Many scholars believe that the Bible condemns same-sex cult prostitution. Reform, Reconstructionalist, Conservative and even some Orthodox Jews have issued statements that Leviticus 18 and 21 speaks to only one act - male-to-male anal sex (rather than "homosexuality" which encompasses many different sexual acts and relationships) - and then probably only in a pagan context. Christians in every denomination are starting to read the Romans 1 passage with particular attention to verses 1.23 and 1.25 which go to the trouble of describing the pagan gods that are being worshipped, and the 1 Cor 6.9 passage has been translated a dozen different ways. Martin Luther thought it condemned child molesters.

Unfortunately most Episcopalians don't know the Bible well and are susceptible to believing what their fundamentalist neighbours or leaders tell them. Adult Christian education - Bible Studies and Rector's forums need to be an essential part of every parishes ministry and the church needs to produce educational materials that discusses these things.