The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Does Faith Unite Us? Do Republicans Divide Us?

When will I ever learn?

I continue to read The Western Star.

Dale Jones, the editorial writer for the Western Star, is again off base with his opinion column this week. He continues to bring an anti-gay message to his paper, condemning Barack Obama for being a member of a denomination that endorses same sex unions (as well as for his views on using faith to bring people together). So many people that go out of their way to express their anti-homosexual views turn out to be suppressing their own homosexuality. This study completed at the University of Georgia supports this position. Warning, this is a scientific paper and does not mince words. I got this link from Trey at The Human Animal. Just read the abstract at the first of the paper, you will get the idea.

UGA Study

Dale, it’s OK.

But…to the column at hand. Using the same terms that Jones uses in describing Barack Obama, I will describe Jones as “claiming to be a Christian.” I actually think it is non-productive to be guessing at the validity of one’s relationship with God, but since he did it, I felt I could. Jones is right, though when he says “Faith is about bringing individuals closer to God.” But he is wrong when he criticizes Obama for saying faith is supposed to bring us together. Faith does both of these things.

How odd that he make this assertion in a column about patriotism and the Fourth of July. Does he not realize that our country was founded as the United States, after we were brought together as “peoples” of differing faiths, in spite of our differences? Because the various religious and political leaders of the time had faith that the union of the various states with their differing religious and political would succeed, the United States was formed. Does he not know that religious freedom was one of the reasons our country was formed? That we are free to worship as we please, and that we are united by our faiths even though they may be different?

So typical of conservative republicans is their propensity to be divisive, so it should not come as a surprise that Jones does not understand unity. That is how they win elections, by dividing the electorate and inducing fear. Be afraid of terrorism, don’t vote democratic. Be afraid of gay marriage, don’t vote democratic.

Jones is afraid of the people of this city being united (thus his criticisms of the gay community). He is afraid of the people of this country being united, as well. He says he is “frightened by an individual who claims to be a follower of Christ, yet refuses to actually follow what the scripture teaches” and “frightened by the fact that we seem to continue on this path…” There he is, spreading fear, as he tries to persuade readers to agree with him.

I don’t know what denomination or religious affiliation Jones is affiliated with. But this is obvious: his view is that there is only one way to interpret the Bible, and his way is that way. From his statements, he asserts that he understands every verse, and nothing in the Bible is open to debate. In questioning whether Obama is really a Christian or not, he asserts that those who do not follow his own view are also not Christian. He says later in the article that he is “not going to judge the spirituality of Barack Obama,” after spending three paragraphs doing just that.

He says to fly the Stars and Stripes, but not rainbow flags this Fourth. I say fly both. The Stars and Stripes to show your patriotism and your rainbow flag (whether you are gay or not) to show that you support unity and inclusion for all in our city.

What we should really fear is a government that picks apart our constitution, beginning with the First Amendment, as just happened in the Bong Hits for Jesus case in which the Supreme Court recently ruled against free speech. Read what Trey had to say: The Human Animal


Here is a crepe myrtle, one of many.

36 comments:

Dale Jones said...

Ah...You got it Joe. I'm suppressing my own homosexuality. YEAH RIGHT.

You know, it is pretty pathetic and extremely GUTLESS that you continue to be critical of me for the VERY REASON that you say I am critical of others. You don't agree with me, so you write blogs arguing what I write about.

But since you started this (AGAIN) let me set you 'straight' on a few things.

The BIGGEST MAJORITY of the citizens of this country ARE NOT IN FAVOR of gay marriage. Why would we want a president who is?

Secondly, you CANNOT take the Bible and try to 'spin' it to make it read like you want it to read. There are indeed areas of the Bible that are, to some extent, open for debate, but HOMOSEXUALITY is NOT one of them. I am inclined to list SEVERAL VERSES for you to look up, but am confident that you would only spin those to fit what you want to believe.

I take offense MOSTLY to when you say that I am afraid of the people of this city being united. I am ALL FOR this area coming together to move our communities forward. You ASSUME that because you lost an election by somewhat of a narrow margin, that this entire town is PRO GAY. Yet the election had LESS THAN 30% voter turnout. You don't have a clue Joe. We need to push this area forward. We need people of all ages, sexes, races and economic levels to join together to make this area the best it can be. But YOU have ONE OBJECTIVE...and that is constantly pushing your GAY AGENDA. Look at the blogs on this site. It is ALL ABOUT PUSHING THE GAY AGENDA, Joe. That is ALL it is about.

Bottom line is this, if you have a problem with ANYTHING I write, you need to be 'man' enough to come to my office and talk to me about it. I've told you many times and I'll tell you again, my door is open to ANYBODY. Stop hiding behind this pathetic blog and come talk to me face to face.

I don't think you can.

I would ENCOURAGE you to make sure that this is the LAST TIME that I am the subject of a blog on this site.

Dale Jones

twoseekingplaymate said...

I am not sure I know where to begin – I am quite troubled by the tone, anger, and bitterness that is present in Mr. Jones’ reply to this entry. One of the things that make this country great is the freedom to have differing opinions. Judging (…judge not less ye be judged…) by how aggressive Mr Jones’ replay is – I would have to feel he is afraid of people who are different from him.

I also subscribe to The Western Star – however, not for much longer – I have yet to read any comment, opinion or statement that would make me as a gay man, trying to live my life peacefully, feel invited, wanted, needed or appreciated in Mr. Jones’ Bessemer. I hate to be the one to point it out to Mr. Jones’ but the world is NOT full of heterosexual, white, republican men who “read” the bible and “tell” everyone else how they should live their lives. This is a free country. I am sure that the message Jesus left for all “who believe” was not: “be like me or go to hell” – IT WAS: “Love your neighbor as yourself”!!! No where in that sentence does it say “make your neighbor like yourself” – it says “Love your neighbor”. God created everyone with different personalities, different looks, different abilities, different interests, and different fingerprints. Why is it so hard for some people to believe that God would create people with different tastes in other ways? And as a result – you are commanded to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. No where does it say …. Except….

Quoting Mr. Jones - “But YOU have ONE OBJECTIVE...and that is constantly pushing your GAY AGENDA. Look at the blogs on this site. It is ALL ABOUT PUSHING THE GAY AGENDA” Yet again, I do not want to be the one to point it out but EVERYONE has an agenda. Someone who smokes “pushes” the cigarette lobbyist agenda. Someone who drinks “pushes” the alcohol lobbyist agenda. Someone who gambles “pushes” the gaming agenda. Someone who sits at home says and does nothing “pushes” the conservative right wing agenda. Some show themselves more than others but everyone whether they care to admit it or not is actively pushing or pursuing a cause. If people like Joe Openshaw do not pursue the fabled “Gay Agenda” who will. Can we depend on heterosexual, white, republican men who “read” the bible to forward the cause of unity, inclusion, fairness and justice for all? History would say no.

Joe said...

Dale,
Barack Obama is not in favor of gay marriage. He opposes them; however he is in favor of civil unions.

Polling: CNN Poll May 2007…51% favor either same sex marriage or civil unions, 43% say neither
Newsweek Poll: March 2007…50 % say yes on marriage or civil union

Fox News Poll in May 06….60% favor either marriage or legal partnership for same sex couples


Bible: Evangelicals spin the bible to say what they want all the time. Everyone who interprets it does the same. You can’t throw any verse at me that haven’t been before, and I will email you the verses you are talking about and why they do not bash homosexuals.

I do not assume that the entire town is pro gay, any more than I assume the entire town is non-racist.

You say I have one agenda, the gay agenda. “Look at the blogs on this site. It is ALL ABOUT PUSHING THE GAY AGENDA, Joe. That is ALL it is about.”
I looked at every blog this month. June is gay pride month, and of 21 blogs I have posted, only four even mention anything gay. However, I have posted regarding public safety and violence several times, environmental issues several times, political issues several times, The Western Tribune several times, recipes, satire and Sopranos.

I write a column for the Tribune, and of the 7 I have written; only one mentioned a gay issue.

I do not think gay issues are the most important issues facing our city or our country. Lack of leadership is the most important issue in both cases. Next I would say environment.

And is that a threat at the end?

Wayne said...

As Joe points out, the balance of those favoring civil unions or marriage for gays is rapidly approaching a majority, if not actually become one (and that's a *FOX* news poll).

I am curious about this statement from Dale Jones:

You don't agree with me, so you write blogs arguing what I write about.

Well, duh. What's wrong with that? It's kind of like, American to do so, isn't it?

Joe Openshaw said...

Wayne,
Dale does not seem to realize that blogs are a recognized media outlet. Newspapers large and small (as well as cable televeision news services)are turning to online reporting through digital editions and blogs and paper circulation is dropping. People get their news in different ways now. Blogs are a way to present breaking news (Birmingham Blues often does this),
opinions, (many of us do this),science (you do this) and links to news stories (we all do this, too)in entertaining fashion. It doesn't bother me that he calls my blog pathetic, at least he appears to be reading it every day, so it must be somewhat successful. But one thing is clear, I am not hiding behind my blog, I am standing with my blog.

Wayne said...

Joe -

Well that would explain it. Dale isn't keeping up with things, probably. Dale doesn't realize that blogs have become quite a democratic force, and therefore objects to them. They *are* threatening to him, and so more power to them, I say.

Much as he isn't keeping up with the very large number of Americans who approve of gay marriage or civil unions. More power to them too.

Dale Jones said...

So, all of you are for FREEDOM, right? Everyone should have FREEDOM to say, and think, and ACT as they please.

Explain to me, then, why there is presently a bill being considered by congress (Senate bill S. 1105) that would basically make it illegal for a Pastor in a church to preach against the sin of homosexuality. The proposed bill would make it a "hate crime" if a Pastor preaches from Romans Chapter 1 or 1 Corinthians, Chapter 6. Wait a minute...what about the separation of church and state. You can't bring a Bible to school anymore. Can't pray before a football game. But NOW the government is going to come inside the walls of the church and tell the preachers what they can and cannot preach?

There is a California lawsuit which is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court that would make the use of the words "natural family," "marriage" and "union of a man and a woman" a "hate speech" crime in government workplaces.

CNN and The Washington Post both reported that General Peter Pace, former chiarman of the Join Chiefs of Staff, was fired because he publicly expressed MORAL opposition to homosexual behavior.

Basically, we are getting to the point where if you are OK with the sin of homosexuality, you have a right to say so, but if you OPPOSE it, you better shut up or go to jail. GOD FORBID.

Wayne, blogs are not threatening to me AT ALL. But the IGNORANCE that is shown on them, does scare me a little.

It is true, Joe, that Obama is opposed to same sex marriage, but does indeed support civil unions and also in giving same-sex couple full rights. What an idiot! He supports a constitutional ban on flag desecration, stating "...not because I condone desecration of our flag, but because I celebrate the VALUES our flag represents." He doesn't seem to understand that those VALUES are MORAL, CHRISTIAN values that our founding fathers believed. NOT the "everyone is free to believe whatever they want to believe, and nobody is right or wrong" value system of today.

There IS RIGHT and there IS WRONG. And it is the ultra-liberal activists that are making every attempted to make fun of conservative Christians and portray them as hatemongers. I am not a mean guy. I love everybody. I am all for a free America, where people can live, and work, and play. BUT, we must follow the LAW and we must abide by the Christian principles that our LAWS WERE BASED ON!!!

Joe, my door is still open. Use it whenever you wish.

Anonymous said...

who even decides what'christianity' is these days.
what we really NEED to do is unite. this is no longer the 'united' states ...our ruler just calls it 'mairca'. every tom dick and harry has their own splinter group and that includes christianity and if they can afford it a lobbiest. that plays right into the government hand. the people as a whole are not heard. all lobbiest should be run out of washington and montgomery and forced to live without insurance or affordable healthcare until they can get a regular job.
we elect people to represent us but they truely represent the people who can afford to be represented. thats because people are off in their own corner.
we need to UNITE and TAKE BACK our government.
90% of these 'causes' are nickle dime and most would be settled if we concentrated on human rights and the environment and such. why should i care about anothers religion color sexuality and so on. why should there be any legislation based on those things. we need to see people as people and let individuals just be and it isnt happening.
thats what we NEED to do.

Trey said...

Oh my. This dude is a newspaper columnist? jeepers!


Reading his comments, one is tempted to rebuke his spectaculaly inane sentiments. But I'm sure I would fail miserably to make a greater fool out of him than he so sublimely makes of himself.

But i suppose I'll point out a couple of the more juicy examples of his abysmal idiocy, if I may.

"it is pretty pathetic and extremely GUTLESS that you continue to be critical of me for the VERY REASON that you say I am critical of others. You don't agree with me, so you write blogs arguing what I write about."

Right. Read that again. If you have any clue what he's talking about. Please see a licensed professional very soon.

"Bottom line is this, if you have a problem with ANYTHING I write, you need to be 'man' enough to come to my office and talk to me about it."

Yeah joe, let's be a "man" about it, eh? Besides, dude sounds like a barrel of laughs. If you do go, I'd love to tag along with a six pack and a bag of dorritos.


"I would ENCOURAGE you to make sure that this is the LAST TIME that I am the subject of a blog on this site."

Yeah joe, sounds like a threat to me. Obviously Dale is quite averse to civilized discourse. And what's up WITH all the random capitalized words?? This dude is a JOURNALIST???? wow. Also, Dale, after I finish this, I'm gonna make a post about you on my blog. But don't worry, i have a much smaller readership than joe. But before you go threatening me, I am a "REAL MAN" (heterosexual) and I have "REALLY BIG DOGS" too.

"Wayne, blogs are not threatening to me AT ALL. But the IGNORANCE that is shown on them, does scare me a little."

LMAO! Please... just stop! Oh the irony! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

"I am all for a free America, where people can live, and work, and play. BUT, we must follow the LAW and we must abide by the Christian principles that our LAWS WERE BASED ON!!!"

Got that everybody? We must abide by the LAW!!
Okay then. Dale Jones MEANS BUSINESS! So no more funny stuff!
One small Historical correction: most of the Founding Fathers were Deists, not Christians ( i know you don't know what that means, but please just go look it up. My time is limited.)


""everyone is free to believe whatever they want to believe, and nobody is right or wrong" value system of today."

That's not what we believe, Dale. I beieve, for example, that you are dead wrong. You stand opposed to equality and justice and freedom: three principles upon which our country was founded.

And yeah, joe, dude is totally in the closet. Either that, or he's just a run-of-the-mill psychopath. Where else does all that incoherent anger come from?

Jennifer said...

Here are my comments on the this topic... ISN'T there more interesting and less offensive things to discuss in a hometown paper than hot button items that are really only going to serve the purpose to divide readers. I don't happen to feel passionately about gay rights, but duh, its probably because I am not gay. But I very much support it and applaud people like Joe for his efforts to inform and enlighten those who still believe in our country that it matters about sex, race, gender, etc to have equal rights under the law. This blog is about the broader issues of equal rights. Somehow, right-wing extremists like Dale, feel that by honoring equal rights to all, that "his people" are being punished. Its simple-minded. I don't think Dale should bother to defend himself anymore. The more I read, the more angry and indefensible he sounds. I am not about a liberal agenda. I was raised in the baptist church. I have been shown and told many times growing up where homosexuality is a sin (like smoking, sex, rock-n-roll, etc) but its not, and its not a choice one has, its who they are... but even though I am not gay and I was raised conservatively, I still feel that the scriptures are being abused and god's love is being distorted. I am concerned with the context of how we interpret the Bible... There are broad lessons about love and tolerance that supercede how we interpret the vagueness and timeliness of statements relating to homosexuality. Since Dale does not understand that type of complexity then he can keep his current stance of hate that the church he goes to seems to endorse and encourage. I am ashamed that my fellow christians are often so simple-minded. The country, as a whole, is moving forward but Dale will remain in the past. Thank God most people don't approve of the use of the Bible anymore to condone abuse of women, children and animals and support such awful embarassments as slavery.
Frankly, I find Dale's articles and opinions offensive, but I would be less offended if he printed ALL views and opinions. Not answering emails does not mean they were never sent. I sent some for use in the paper and I have been denied access to an editorial by use of the clever tactic of "no response". Even more sad is that our non-profit club, BHHA, with no religious or political basis and that is focused on improving Bessemer, has also been victim of "no response". Dale denies it but I can quote him that had "too many political articles" to support our home tour before the event last October and since then he has ignored emails with club meetings for the calendar. I quit sending emails since I got "no response". This comment to the blog about Dale is long and laborous and I apologize because its more about my venting than anything BUT TRUELY, its about SOO much more than just homosexuality or supporting George W. that offends me about Dale. I think most of us on this blog disagree with about every moral fiber in Dale's existance. Dale is censorship and bigotry at its finest. He's the person that condemns and judges others "the sinners" but turns around and sins in private or denies that what he does is a sin and thinks he's the "rightous" know-it-all. We are all the same in God's eyes Dale, you are no better. Jesus died for all of us that believe and you are no better than us. That's all I have. Thanks!

Dale Jones said...

Jennifer,

WOW...you didn't mention that we did NOT ONE, BUT TWO articles about your HOME TOUR last year. Do you not REMEMBER ME PERSONALLY SPEAKING TO YOU upon my ARRIVAL????

SECONDLY, I have a homosexual writer here at the star. You didn't seem to mention that either. If I am so "homophobic" why on EARTH would I allow that?

I have NEVER ignored your emails. But you also must remember, I get as many as 200 emails a day. I apologize if I don't answer every one of them.

I am very sorry that you feel the Bible is being abused. But it is only abused when it is taken OUT of context which is EXACTLY what the homosexual community does in order to justify their lifestyle. Plain and simple.

Here's what is interesting, in regards to this article I wrote. I have had about 2 dozen phone call in TOTAL SUPPORT of what I said. In contrast, I received ONE LETTER, in opposition. A letter with NO NAME and NO RETURN ADDRESS. Gutless. Probably came from Trey. I would respond to "dude's" comments, but it'd be pointless.

Susan F said...

I am perplexed at how Christains pick and choose which scriptures to emphasize. It would seem to me that heterosexual people committing adultery (which is rampant in our society) creates a bigger threat to tradition family values in this country that other issues -- such at homosexuality. Why is it that Christains decide to take homosexuality and decide it is such a sin that they devote such hatred toward homosexuals -- but adultery is addressed in the ten commandments but I don't see anyone attaching people that commit that sin? Just my thoughts . . .

Susan F said...

Sorry for the typos -- can't type well when I am frustrated at peoples bigotry . . . Thanks for the forum Joe. I think such dialog is good for everyone. Peoples true spirit comes through

Joe Openshaw said...

Dale,
The American Family Association, from which you copied your alarmist comments, is full of it. The Hate Crimes bill does no such thing. That group is just another right wing homphobic group that will stop at nothing to put their lies out there to promote their AGENDA (using caps inappropriately on purpose). The next three paragraphs are copied and pasted off their site, so it is clear that is where Dale gets his information:
"A California lawsuit which is now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court would make the use of the words “natural family,” “marriage” and “union of a man and a woman” a “hate speech” crime in government workplaces. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has already ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.

CNN and The Washington Post both reported that General Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, was fired because of his publicly expressed moral opposition to homosexual behavior.

A bill now before Congress (H.R. 1592 / S. 1105) would criminalize negative comments concerning homosexuality, such as calling the practice of homosexuality a sin from the pulpit, a “hate crime” punishable by a hefty fine and time in prison. This dangerous legislation would take away our freedom of speech and our freedom of religion."

Homosexuality is not a sin, just as it is not a sickness (as it used to be labelled). It is a natural part of who many people are, and I will be addressing the Bible and Homosexuality in future blog posts this week.

Susan Lehman said...

Dale,
I don't see why we can't leave the judgements to God. I don't understand why you don't follow the scripture that says, "Judge not lest ye be judged."
Susan Lehman

Dale Jones said...

I don't mind you telling folks where I got the information Joe. I encourage folks to check out the AFA.
But I'm sorry. Homosexuality is INDEED a sin, Joe. You can spin things any way you want to spin them. You can call me whatever you want to call me. But if you study the Bible, there can be no denial of that.
Susan, I am not JUDGING anybody. But I will stand up for what I believe, just as all of you are doing.
I'm not telling anybody what they can or can't do inside their own house. That's up to them. But when it comes to our country, when it comes to giving benefits to homosexual couples, when it comes to legalizing homosexual marriage, that's where I draw the line. Obviously I"m not going to get anywhere on this BLOG because most of you are part of the homosexual community.
But homophobic, I am not. As I stated, I have a homosexual employee.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Joe, you and any of your "friends" are welcome to come by my office ANYTIME and discuss ANY of this. Heck, I'd even let you take me to lunch (your buying).
I'm not angry! I'm not mad! Most of the time when I read these responses, I laugh...OUT LOUD.
But Joe wants to dis one of my articles because he says I'm "off base with my opinion column this week."
Joe, the key word here is OPINION, and I am entitled to one. It's not off base if it is my opinion. And as I've stated before, I've had about 2 dozen calls in support of this very article. The ONLY person who contacted my in a negative way was not willing to give his name or a number.
I guess I should thank Joe. At least he has the guts to put his name on his opinion.
Everyone have a nice evening, and Happy Fourth to all.

Jennifer said...

As far as you saying you have a staff member that is gay, are you saying you have an admittedly gay staff member or a member you suspect is gay and you haven't threatened their employment so therefore you are not homophobic. Just because you are not scared of gays, doesn't mean that you on the moral and ethical high road. You are probably acting within laws you don't agree with which makes you lawful, not honorable. But, its my feeling that you may not have an admittedly gay employee.

AND, I have to apologize. I should not have implied that you did not cover our home tour. There was some coverage of the BHHA home tour but the only real A section feature was AFTER we had 500+ people in attendance. Very few that we polled when they signed in noted that they came as a result of the WS... most came from the large articles in the Bham News that printed the week of the tour. I had hoped for more from the WS (ie weekly reminders/community calendars and features of the homes as articles) but its been that way since Mike Oakley left the Western Star. Dale should not be singled out on this. In 2004 we had over 500 in attendance for the home tour and we probably had one lead up feature in the paper from Dan, it was a real feature though, but not as much as could have been done. I have not had much luck yet at the Trib getting BHHA news and calendars published either. I just wish that the agenda of the BHHA was seen as more important to our hometown newspapers.

Dale, I will be sending you our monthly meeting schedule for community calendars and BHHA club news and hopefully you will publish since you mentioned that your circulation is as high as its ever been. BHHA is a great club that has been instrumental in alot of ways that have led to positive changes in Bessemer. I would love to have the full support of the Bessemer papers in our efforts. Thanks!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dale Jones said...

Jennifer,

I look forward to working with you. Please keep in mind that MOST of the emails that come to the Western Star come to our graphic artist. Unless specifically for me, she usually handles all the emails. Just be sure you mention that you are bringing this to my attention. I'll make sure your meetings and events are covered.

As for the gay thing. I have, in the past, hired openly gay employees. Again, people on this blog think I hate gay people and I DO NOT. What I hate is those who feel that this is not a sin, that they are born this way, that spin Bible verses in order to justify their immoral behavior, and who attempt to push their "gayness" on the world. THAT bothers me.

Joe said...

Dale, if you will read my post on July 3, titled Homosexuality and the Bible, you will see why homosexuality as an orientation, or in committed relationships, is not a sin. No spin, but no sin. Certain acts may be sinful, read the blog to learn.

Dale Jones said...

I read the Blog, but realized, WOW...you really CAN spin the scripture. It's sad Joe.
Tell me this, if homosexuality is not a choice, if indeed one is BORN this way, why are there so many men who were once married, even have children, yet left their wives and children, and now claim to be gay. Know anybody like that Joe? Seems to me if they were BORN that way, they would have NEVER been married. Never had children.
Also, you didn't mention (in your Biblical explanation) Adam and Eve. God created a partner for Adam. A woman. Created her from one of Adams ribs. Why didn't God create Steve instead of Eve.
Also, you didn't mention Genesis 2:24
- For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Why doesn't it say a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his male love and the two will become one flesh?

All of the verses you decided to spin are black and white.

You go ahead and justify your lifestyle anyway you want to Joe, but you cannot ignore the truth.

Joe said...

Seems that way, Dale, but the truth is, society pressures gay men in to trying to be straight. I can not speak for the thousands who have struggled in that way, but I can say that at least some of us at some point realize that we are deceiving ourselves, deceiving our friends and family, and deceiving God when we try to be something other than the way we were “created.” For some, once they ask God to straighten out their lives, and look at things honestly, they realize that gay is the way God made them, and gay is the way they should live their lives. Then they have been brought closer to God, because they do not have the burden of that false life separating them and God.

As society puts less and less pressure on gay men and lesbian women to be straight acting, less of this will go on.

For those who believe all are equal in the eyes of God, and that God created all of humankind, it is no stretch to believe God created Steve as well as Adam and Eve. Only those with prejudices and bigotry would believe God created only the heteros.

And in the New Testament, Jesus himself addresses the question of marriage. Jesus affirms homosexuals in the very same passage that people often use to disclaim them. In Matthew 19 Jesus speaks of God making male and female, and they being joined and the two become one flesh. But in this same chapter in verses 11-12 (But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this (referring to marrying a woman) saying, save those to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were born from their mother’s wombs: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.) He speaks of three classes of men who should not marry women: eunuchs who have been so from birth, eunuchs made that way by others, and eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. This third category are those who forswear marriage to better serve God. The second reference is to castrated males. The first, those who have been so from birth, refers to men who are not attracted sexually to women, which would include homosexual men. So from this passage we see that most people are created for heterosexual marriage, but Jesus acknowledges that some of us are created by God to follow a less common path, made that way by God. Jesus understood.

Sometimes the truth is buried and must be searched for. It is not always plain and simple, until you find it, then it seems it has been there all along.

Dale Jones said...

OMG JOE. He's talking about NOT being married. It is not a green light for men to be in a sexual relationship with other men. It is amazing how you twist these verse to make yourself feel better about what you are doing.
Look, I've said it over and over and over again.
If YOU want to be gay. FINE. Be gay. But stop trying to force everyone to accept it. Stop thinking that MOST of the people in Bessemer Alabama accept it because I ASSURE you, they DON'T. Maybe your inner circle of gay friends support you, but trust me Joe, on the outside, you are in the extreme minority.
Also, maybe you should take a look at this website.

http://www.stonewallrevisited.com/pages/alan.html

be sure to read his story.

There is hope!

Joe said...

Dale, I have heard stories like his before. I feel for men like that,who can not accept the way God made them. By far, most men who try to become ex-gay do not make it. Anyone can change their behavior to not act gay but their god-given orientation remains the same. Science says so. The AMA says so. The APA says so. That is why ex-gay ministries ae not accepted.

I can not help how the people of Bessemer feel, but I know as more and more people become educated, they will become tolerant and accepting of everyone. The people of Bessemer are not all accepting of people of different races either, we we can just hope and pray that the bigotry and hatred of racism and homophobia will lessen and lessen.

Perhaps you will look at this website: http://www.faithinamerica.info/newSite/

Then you will learn that religious bigotry has been used against women, blacks, the poor, and now gays, when really you would think the faithful would be there to lift these people up.

Susan Lehman said...

It's hard to argue with people who think that they are right because God is on their side. These are the same sorts of people who fly airplanes into buildings and think that it is justified.

Joe said...

Susan,
I think we need to worry whether we are on God's side, not whether he is on our side. Didn't Abe Lincoln say that? And Barack Obama quoted him? Oh wait, "he" said Obama was an idiot. I guess he thinks the same about Lincoln.

I just feel like God's side is accepting everyone the way He made them. I never thought God makes mistakes. he must think so.

Dale said...

Susan,
That is a pathetic analogy. And I assume you are comparing me to a terrorist? You are out of your freaking mind.
Joe, your homosexuality is NOT God given. It is very unfortunate that you feel that way. And this tolerance of everybody and "whatever you believe is right for you" view is what is KILLING our society. You can't compare being racist to your situation. Nobody has a choice about what race they are. You can't decide that you no longer want to be white or black. That's just the way it is. If you are gay, you CAN CHANGE...there are MANY who have proven this. But somewhere in your heart there has to be repentance. I'm praying for you Joe.
GOD BLESS AMERICA. (although at this point, I think our founding fathers would turn over in their graves)

"The propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained."
(George Washington, 1789 Inaugural Address)

"Of the 22 civilizations that have appeared in history, 19 of them collapsed when they reached the moral state America is in today."
(Attributed to Arnold Toynbee, acclaimed historian who died in 1975)

Joe said...

Dale,
You mean Arnold Toynbee thinks there have been only 22 civilizations in history?

The poor moral state in America has nothing to do with homosexuality. You think that is the biggest problem in the world. There are more adulterers than homosexuals. Not providing universal healthcare coverage for all Americans is immoral. Ignoring man's role in global warming is immoral. Institutional racism is immoral. Treating people different because of their God given sexual oreintation is immoral. Alabama's tax structure is immoral. The sewer fiasco in Jefferson County is immoral.

Dale, you truly, truly show your ignorance on the subject when you make such statements as "Joe, your homosexuality is NOT God given." Even the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist leadership are realizing that.

You are right Dale, gay people can change...their behavior. But not their sexual orientation. I changed my behavior, when societal pressures convinced me to ignore my natural feelings and to conform to heterosexual standards. But my orientation did not change. Those natural feelings were just that...natural. I did not sit down one day when I was seven years old and say to myself, "I think I am going to be interested in these people and not those people like every one is doing. I want to be different when I grow up. I want to be discriminated against, and hated by society. So I am going to like men."

Later, after my children were born, I changed my behavior back to what is natural. Back to the behavior that I was dealt.

I am not comparing being racist to "my situation." I am comparing being racist to "your" situation.

What is killing our society is the continuing assaults on our liberties and on the very constitution that grants us those rights by the current administration.

Not everyone who is homophobic accepts the radical views that you are posting. Some are willing to learn. But you, Dale, are scary. I feel that you are a dangerous person.

Susan Lehman said...

Dale,
If you think the terrorist comparison causes me to be "out of my freaking mind" let me use one that may make you more comfortable. What about those who disagree with abortion vehemently and bomb abortion clinics? Do you consider these so called "Christians" to be justified in these acts of murder for standing up for their belief?
I have to agree with Joe that your dogmatic attitude toward homosexuality is a dangerous one. I think you would be much more productive if you worked on answering the questions from the 7th Chapter in Matthew that states
"Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, Let me remove the speck from your eye and look, a plank is in your own eye?" I am going to pray for you Dale that God would speak to your heart and help you to see that your attitude breeds intolerance and hatred. The antithesis of the attitude of Christ.

Jennifer said...

I think we are singling out Dale on this but I am afraid he is just the only person brave enough to give us a dissenting opinion to what we are offerring on this blog and I personally enjoy the debate. I feel like he should change his mind on his stance that its a choice and not a god-given disposition. I think that is the crux (sp?) of this issue. Just like abortion, we probably differ on when is a person a person. Its not that anyone debating abortion would say that its OK to kill another person but its about when do we define a person as a person. We are all passionate about living a life pleasing to God but I am often very frustrated that the Bible is such a difficult book to draw God's true intentions from. Dale, of course, will say that its clear in the bible. That we spin the truth. Truth is, there is a lot of vagueness in the bible that gets interpreted in many ways by many people. I have heard there are missing books of the bible (some written by women) that I would like to know why they are not there. There are contradictions where the old testament was superceded by the grace and forgiveness we all have in the New Testament. I, not being homosexual, have seen the Bible used in so many ways in history to support many bad things that we humans have committed to doing in the name of God and righteousness. I find Dale's articles in his paper to be difficult to read because he seems to think that his interpretation of our war in Iraq and homosexuality is the only one that is right and deserves to be heard and that he should insist that we all have to endure these "opinions" which is different than a true "editorial" in order to be supportive of the local paper. Susan made a great connection with the abortion activists and terrorists. I don't put Dale in this category though b/c he is outspoken in his beliefs about right and wrong but I don't sense that he isn't tolerant of others and I feel that he is tolerant and forgiving because its the Christian way. Where we differ is that if he realized that homosexuality was not a sin, he would not have to remind us that he doesn't hate homosexuals nor is he scared to associate with them. He's not scared of them, he just thinks they are sinning based on his interpretations of the Bible.

Thru this blog, I have given more thought to this subject than I have in many years. I was initially very angry with Dale for his pro-war and anti-homosexuality articles. Now, I feel stunned that he can still support this war for so many many reasons, and saddened that he views his fellow humans with different sexual orientation than him as sinners and different than him in an inferior way for that reason alone. I don't believe that he actively would discriminate or hurt another but I feel that he doesn't want to see any other way of looking at the issue except for what he knows to be true up to this point in his life. I don't know if that is ignorance or stupidity. Its sad and its common and Dale does have plenty to support him in his way of thinking on the matter. I wish God would work on these people and soon.

Susan Lehman said...

Jennifer,
I agree with most of what you have said on this blog except to put Dale and tolerant in the same sentence is to create an oxymoron like "Icy Hot" and I'm just not buying it. I do think it is time to stop picking on him, however, and just accept him so I am not going to post any more on this issue.
I appreciate the dialogue Dale and hope that you will reconsider your stance on certain issues of love and acceptance.

Dale Jones said...

On Abortion
Believe it or not, I have mixed views. I think there are some extreme instances where abortion is a decision that must be made. I don't feel that ANYONE who blows up an abortion clinic in the name of God is much different than someone who flies and airplane into a building in the name of God.

ON THE WAR
Yes I support it (as did Hillary Clinton...she voted for it). I will be the FIRST to say that "W" has made some mistakes. He's angered me at time.

But:

HIS IS THE PRESIDENT of our country, and while I don't always agree with him...I support him.
He did remove a tyrant who was killing MILLIONS of his OWN PEOPLE. Every evening when I watch the news, they give the death total, but never follow it up by saying that MOST OF those deaths were cause, NOT BY THE U.S., but by Islamic extremests.

Bottom line on the war is, if we were to pull out now, it would be worse than ever in that region and for us. People act like Muslims only hate the U.S. because we helped remove S.H., but they hated us YEARS before that.
I support our President, I support our Troops, and I support finishing the job. Just like most of you, I think we made some mistakes, but if we pull out now, it will be the biggest mistake of all.

Joe, the poor moral state of America has A LOT to do with homosexuality. I agree there are a lot more adulterers.(see-we agree on something) Not good. As for global warming....PUHLEEZE!!! You know..at one time we had an Ice Age. What happened? Global warming is a natural thing that has been going one WAAAAY before there was an SUV on I-65. You've been listening to Gore again. The sewer problems, major (how 'bout that, I agreed with you TWICE in just this one post) But homosexuality has had MUCH to do with or poor moral state. Stop calling it God-given. Although, Susan, I"ve not called ANYBODY inferrior to me because of it. Also, I have MANY sins that I'm not proud of, and have never said that I am more spiritual or holy than anyone on this blog. But if I DO have 'sin' in my life, rather than trying to justify it, I repent and try to make sure I don't do it anymore. THAT is the difference.

Joe said...

Why do you keep giving me commands. Stop this. Stop that. Dale, how can you say that homosexuality is not God given when you (supposedly) don't know the feelings of same sex attraction. Where else could it come from? I did not have the analytical and logic following mind when I was 7 that I have now. And how can you say that homosexuality is not God given when in animals it happens quite regularly and according to most Christians animals do not have free choice like people do.

To be so adamant about it being a choice leads me to believe only one thing. You must have tried it, and afterwards you felt such guilt that you could not for a moment think that the desire, the attraction, came from God. So you convinced yourself that it was your own choice, since humans are sinful anyway, to participate in such a sinful act. You could not imagine anything "sinful" coming from God.

I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that for me and those like me, it is natural, and because of my faith, I believe it can only come from God. I know, because I have lived it. You only know, because you have been told such and are convinced of such.

I am sorry you can not see. Over time, you will understand.

Dale said...

No Joe. I haven't "tried it". I've never tried marijuana, nor do I desire to. I"ve never done drugs. Never been "drunk". But I'm not perfect. I've sinned MANY times. And I've asked for repentence. And unfortunately...I've sinned again.
It is NOT NATURAL. One can take a look at the human body and see immediately that it is NOT NATURAL. You try to justify it to make yourself feel better about it. But the Bible, despite your spinning of the scriptures is CLEAR. I'll just keep praying for you Joe.

Joe said...

This is the last comment to be posted, since we are getting nowhere. Dale refuses to accept and believe what science has learned about sexuality. He refuses to believe what medicine has said about sexuality. He refuses to believe what recent biblical scholars who understand ancient languages and cultures have published about the verses in the Bible that deal with the subject. Without using these words, he is calling me a liar, because I know for a fact it is not a choice. What are we to believe when he writes all these things he has not done and then immediately writes "and unfortunately...I've sinned again". That he just that moment sinned? In denying those things? He lied?

He avoids my question about animals. He avoids my question asking where the attraction comes from if it is not natural.

It's not a question about "feeling better about it." I'm not the one who has a problem with it and needs to feel better about it.

How could I feel any better? I am proud of who I am, and I feel that being gay actually makes me a better person. Not you, not everyone, I am speaking for me. It gives me a better perspective on so many subjects. It is so much more than the sex that Dale seems obsessed with. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

All comments will be moderated (meaning that I have to review them before they are posted) until I learn if I can just slose comments for this post. If anyone knows, let me know). In the meantime, post comments on the other posts..I will send them on through, as long as they adhere to my guidelines of no profanity or accusations of criminal activity, etc.

Joe Openshaw said...

Ok this really is the last. I meant "close" not "slose."