Category Archives: Sexuality

Thoughts on Gay Marriage

Pink on the cover of the AdvocatePink has a rather provocative quote in the latest issue of the gay and lesbian magazine, The Advocate, about gay marriage:

“If you’re a celebrity and you want to marry your sweetheart for 55 hours, go right ahead. If you’re J. Lo and you want to marry 18 people for six days each, go right on ahead! But if you want to marry your soul mate and make a life of it — and you just so happen to be the same sex — then no, how dare you! We’d rather you just buy gasoline and support our war and continue to consume and fear in our country so we can make money off you. But do us a favor: Don’t hold hands in public.”

I doubt anyone wants to revisit the gay marriage debate, but I found Pink’s comment intriguing. Regardless of your feelings on gay marriage, she makes a point about how as a society we trash marriage.

Celebrities and people in general have been abusing marriage for years, and no one puts up much of a fuss until homosexuals want to get married — and most of them are more committed than J-Lo or Britney. Maybe instead of (or in addition to) a gay marriage ammendment we should be considering a ‘respect marriage’ ammendment (or simply legislation), something that encourages, supports, and protects committed, loving marriages.

The Respect Marriage law could make pre-marital counseling a requirement for every marriage, make public dollars available for marriage counseling, and make divorce a harder proposition — possibly a fine for breaking marriage vows, or something less draconian like intense support and counseling for those considering divorce. A law like that could go a lot of strange ways, but I think if there were enough well-thought out and well-executed “carrot on a stick” measures (as opposed to just plain stick measures) to encourage marital faithfulness, maybe it would help make a dent in the 50% divorce rate.

While I certainly value marriage, I have to wonder what some people are fighting so hard to protect. Marriage is a broken institution in this country, and if you’re concerned about marriage it seems like gay marriage is the least of your worries. You have to draw the line somewhere, but how about the people trashing marriage, not the people eager to get married?

Randall Terry’s Son Comes Out

Interesting article in Out, a magazine about (what else?) coming out, about Jamiel Terry, son of Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, coming out about his homosexuality. The full article isn’t online, but there’s some interesting comments there.

Talk about having a black sheep in the family. Randall Terry’s had some bizarre dealings, but this really makes for a tabloid story. I’m especially curious to see where Jamiel stands on Christianity. (I’m even more curious as to why Randall and Jamiel look nothing alike)

Part of the article really made me wonder about the gay lifestyle:

“From a very early age I knew I was different. When I was 4 my favorite female was Miss Piggy. That alone was probably not much of a giveaway, but my soft voice and my mannerisms turned out to be signs that I was gay.”

Why is the stereotypical, flamboyant homosexual such an accepted norm? Why are certain mannerisms and a soft voice signs of homosexuality? These are blatant stereotypes, like southern white males being unintelligent rednecks or urban black males being able to dunk or rap or kick your ass. I expect mainstream media would further these stereotypes, but why would a gay and lesbian magazine promote the stereotype? If it’s a legitimate lifestyle choice, why can’t we move beyond the stereotypes?

Pete the Porno Puppet

Pete the Porno PuppetThose gutsy fellows at have filmed a public service announcement with porn director James DiGiorgio. The commercial features “Pete the Porno Puppet” encouraging parents to keep their kids away from pornography.

It’s an odd pairing, drawing flack from all sides, but it’s pretty cool. Pastors Craig Gross and Mike Foster of XXXchurch are prompting discussion about something no one wants to talk about, but so many people need help with. More power to them.

Best Christian Porn Site Ever

Look out. The word porn is in the title. This might be a scary entry. Better run away.

A few years ago I was at a Youth Specialties convention in Sacramento, Calif. I saw a few folks at the festival wearing T-shirts that said “ — the #1 Christian porn site.” They had a booth in the exhibit hall and attended many of the seminars and general sessions.

The entire time I thought they were whacked. What kind of people would come into a gathering of youth pastors and promote a porn site? They must be trying to tell people that porn is OK. What a joke.

Sadly, my reaction isn’t unique. is not what I thought. In fact, it’s a ministry targeting the pornography industry and helping people to kick the porn habit. If I’d only taken a few minutes to ask what their slogan meant, I would have heard the true story and been impressed.

Much later I did check out their web site and read a number of articles by the ministry’s pastors. Solid stuff. Pornography is something we’re so afraid to even mention in church, but it is so rampant. How many youth group kids know exactly what web sites will give them unlimited access to the pictures they know they shouldn’t be looking at? I was one of those kids.

Relevant posted an article by’s Craig Gross about his experience driving the “porn mobile” to church. The reaction of the typical church person is expected and sad at the same time, just like my reaction. We need to wake up. We need to open our eyes. We need to be less judgmental and more understanding. That can probably go both ways, considering all the comments on Craig’s article.

But methods aside, if the church isn’t addressing an issue like pornography, what’s the point?

The Right to Go to Hell

The Rev. Al Sharpton makes some interesting comments in a recent RollingStone interview. For those who don’t know, Sharpton is one of the Democratic Presidential candidates.

When asked about gay marriages, Sharpton had this to say:

“Asking about gay marriages is like asking about black marriages. It’s a human-rights issue. Gays and lesbians are human beings. You can’t support civil unions but not marriages — that’s like saying you can shack up but not get married. Either you’re for human rights or you’re not. You can’t say, ‘You have human rights up to here, but this part is not for you.’ [Former New York archbishop] Cardinal O’Connor once asked me how I could support a woman’s right to choose abortion. I told him, ‘God didn’t say you have to go to heaven — he gave you the option of hell. I think you may go to hell, and I defend your right to get there.'”

What an interesting take on politics and society. The typical Christian approach is to legislate morality. We tell you can’t do this or that based on the moral foundation of our religion. Of course if you’re not bound by the morals of a particular religion, things get kind of fuzzy. Sharpton seems to favor the approach of giving people the freedom to screw themselves. If you want to go to hell, that’s your choice. I think it’s a dumb choice, but it’s a choice you have to make, and I won’t make it for you.

Something about that approach really resonates with me, especially when dealing with homosexuality. I feel like it is a civil rights issue. While I don’t agree with homosexuality, that doesn’t mean I can impose my views on homosexuals. If they want to live in sin, that’s their choice. But that doesn’t mean I can deny them basic rights. I think some of the benefits that come with marriage would be basic rights, things like health care for your family and survivor benefits. While it certainly funks up the traditional model of marriage, I think it’s a slam to a homosexual’s face to tell them they don’t get health care for their partner.

Whether we want to admit it or not, homosexuality is something we need to deal with as a society. We can’t just thumb our nose at their lifestyle and hope they go away. They’re not going away. And if that’s how they choose to live, I think it’s better to accept their choice and move on. We can certainly disagree with their choice and love them and hope they change. But disagreeing with their choice and then moving to block everything they try and do in life is just wrong.

We don’t discriminate against other personal sins (by “personal sin” I mean a sin that primarily affects yourself). We don’t tell the greedy they can’t have survivor benefits. We don’t tell liars they can’t adopt children. We don’t tell hypocrites they can’t get married.

On the other hand, I’m not so sure about applying this perspective to abortion like Sharpton does. Being gay is a personal choice (on some level) that has little impact on the others in your life. It may make life harder on your children, but I think all our sins and faults would make life hard on our kids. In my view abortion ends the life of a child, not giving that child even the chance for a hard life. I don’t know if that road to hell is worth defending. I doubt Sharpton would defend a man’s right to kill, which is where this debate gets sticky.

Sorry to whoop some heavy politics on you on a Saturday morning, but there it is.

I also liked this comment from Sharpton: “Part of what bothers me about leadership today is we’re more poll-driven than we are moral-driven. And that we don’t want to be right — we want to be popular.” Oddly, I think George W. Bush and Sharpton would agree on this.


Why are we so messed up when it comes to sex? You can’t get a straight answer out of anyone. A teen in Florida was suspended for wearing a condom-covered costume on Halloween. She was trying to make a statement about safe sex.

What I don’t understand is why we can’t just go one way or the other on sex. There are two ways to go: 1) Either safe sex is important and we’re going to talk about it and be open and make sure teens who want to have sex can get condoms; or 2) Talking so openly about sex is potentially offensive and encourages at-risk behavior so we’re not going to talk about it, period.

But instead we just get jerked around. People flip out when you pass out condoms, yet that’s what you do in sex ed. Is consistency too much to ask?

They ruined all our best names like Bruce, and Lance, and Julian.

Today I finished Marva Dawn’s chapter on homosexuality in her book Sexual Character (or read my review). I like her explanation because she makes a strong case for homosexuality as a sin, but then backs that up with a stronger argument for why and how the church should support homosexuals. If you’re going to tell homosexual people that they’re living in sin, you need to help them out of that situation. Dawn argues that a homosexual should be able to live a celibate lifestyle with the support of a close Christian community. She deals with personal experience by noting that although this seems like an unfair position for the church to put homosexuals in, no human lives a temptation-free existence. When critics ask if it’s fair for a homosexual to be denied any possibility for sexual fulfillment, Dawn humbly asks if it’s fair for her to be denied the full use of her legs, eyes, and ears.

Difficult questions and difficult answers. But at least it’s a discussion of the real issues. I feel like so much of the debate over Bishop Gene Robinson has been two different arguments. One side declares loudly that homosexuality is wrong, while the other asks why you can’t just accept homosexuality. It seems like neither side really listens. I would have expected the Episcopal Convention to deeply scrutinize the biblical texts and come up with a biblical solution. Sadly, I’m not so sure if that happened.

I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my homosexuals fa-laming.

And the gay debate rages. Today I read a few bits and pieces by Andrew Sullivan, a columnist and blogger who happens to be a homosexual. He had some interesting thoughts in his Time magazine piece, and his blog is hitting nails left and right. It’s a bit overwhelming, leaving me wondering just how far I want to click.

But the few slices I’ve been reading have been proving my earlier point about getting to know a person in relation to a fiery issue. In addition to being gay, Sullivan is Catholic. If you thought it was rough being Episcopalian right now, try being a gay Catholic. One of Sullivan’s arguments is for basic civil rights for gay couples. Here I find myself wondering, why not? There’s a difference between the church’s sacramental institution of marriage, and a legally recognized marriage. Why do we wish hardship on a man because of what we perceive as sin in his life? Especially a sin that doesn’t harm us in any way. We’re not talking about giving health benefits to the spouses of murderers or rapists here.

Sullivan also has me thinking about the surprise summer TV hit, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” a Bravo show that NBC re-aired to rave reviews. If you’re still living behind plastic sheeting and duck tape, it’s a reality show where five gay men give a straight guy a total life makeover to help him win the girl. The liberals are cheering for sexual equality on TV, the conservatives are tearing for good old days when they only had to complain about heterosexual sex jokes. I’ve seen less than five minutes of the show, but I’m confused why homosexuals are championing a show that reinforces gay stereotypes. I would think a real triumph would be getting a character on national TV that isn’t flamboyantly gay, just regularly gay.

A few days ago I made the comment that I lean towards God’s initial design for sex, that doesn’t seem to leave room for homosexuality. It’s the old “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” argument. It’s the same argument that says marriage is for procreation, that is has to serve a productive purpose; therefore same-sex marriage doesn’t fit the plan.

I’ve been reading Marva Dawn’s Sexual Character (read my review), and she’s raising some issues that really sink that boat. Despite what society likes to think today, life isn’t all about having sex and making babies. What about infertile couples? Marriage still means something to them, despite the inability to bear children. What about paralyzed or otherwise handicapped couples? Marriage still means something to them, despite the inability to bear children or even have sex. There’s a marital relationship that is both unproductive and unsexual, by society’s standards. Yet I think you’d be hard pressed to say the marriage is invalid.

There is diversity within humanity, and I think sometimes we need to understand that. Christians don’t usually like the word tolerance, because we’re told we don’t have it, but quite frankly they’re right. We need to get it, simply to deal with our own.

He didn’t turn you gay, did he?

Well, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church confirmed the gay bishop. There was a one day hiccup in the process (in the form of some lame allegations), but now it’s over. Now the real fun begins. Everyone has to figure out what this means for them, and how disastrous this might be for the church.

I’m still unsure of what to think of the whole thing. On one hand, I think the loving acceptance displayed by the church is important. But on the other hand, if homosexuality is a sin (and as I’ve said before, I’m still debating that one) then letting a church leader knowingly and willingly continue in that sin is not a good thing.

I wish the debate on homosexuality were easier. I wish the Bible were easier to understand and we couldn’t justify all sorts of things by reading it in a certain context. I suppose if that were the case it wouldn’t be what it is. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if you ignored all of church history and could somehow look at the Bible with fresh eyes and start the church all over again. What would it look like? Would we have the fancy robes and incense? Would stained glass be important? Would there be pews? Or a step farther, would there even be a church building? Would men be able to have long hair? Would women be able to cut their hair short? Would women even be able to speak in church? Would there be a rash of end times fiction? Let’s hope not.

Yet church history is important. There’s a certain arrogance in ignoring everything those who have gone before you have learned and assuming you can figure it out all by yourself. Yet corruption still exists and reform is necessary.

I have my doubts about homosexuality. When I look at God’s original design, a man and a woman, and the symbolism that exists there and between Christ and the church, it seems odd that homosexuality would be acceptable. At the same time, marriage is not a requirement of the faithful. Paul lived a single, celibate life. It seems that Christ has overturned the old expectations and brought us to something new, where simple living arrangements are not as important as they were in the Old Testament. There’s something more important now.

I think when it comes down to it the homosexual debate makes me so uncomfortable because that is when Christians often tend to display their infamous qualities of hatred, judgment, and condemnation. We seem unable to separate religious beliefs from societal beliefs, simply in the form of tolerance, which is what this nation was founded on (of course the Puritans were never very good at tolerance).

I had this debate with coworkers when the pledge of allegiance debate was raging. In a civil society you have to make compromises to get along with everyone. You can’t acknowledge one religion to the exclusion of others in a public setting. Some of my coworkers disagreed to a degree that I was baffled. When I presented them with the shoe on the other foot argument (one nation under Buddah), they said that was terrible, yet one nation under God was still acceptable because that was right. I fear Christians have a reputation for always assuming they are right. There’s nothing wrong with thinking you’re right, but when someone else thinks you’re wrong, you have to find a way to live together. And a simple majority rules works fine when you’re in the majority, but when you’re the minority, it’s not so fun. America was founded by minority religious groups who wanted their freedom. Now they’ve become the majority and are abusing the power they once feared.

Sex is a very complicated thing. I said before that I think this is a personal issue, and that’s because you have to deal with it on a personal level. When you hear a person’s story of their struggle with homosexuality, it becomes much harder to judge them. There are many other sexual issues that Christians shy away from, and I think it cripples our approach to the world. What about transgender issues? Sex changes and people born with no sex? These things happen, and you can’t simply explain them away as someone’s perverted sexual problem.

Life is complicated, and I am rambling beyond control.

At the Exhibit Hall of the Episcopal General Convention, one booth was handing out condoms. As you would expect, outrage ensued. What is the Christian fear with condoms? They are a legitimate means of birth control and disease prevention. Granted many people use them outside of a committed marital relationship, but does that condemn the condom itself? If someone is lost and knows nothing of Jesus Christ, why are we down on them for using a condom? They’re being responsible and not spreading diseases around and at least taking some measure of protection to ensure that they’re not bring a child into that potentially unstable relationship. Sure, they’re sinning. But so what? Sinful people sin. We can’t expect abstinence from someone who has no moral grounding for abstinence.

Passing out condoms in church. Is this what we have to get upset about? Sheesh. At the least, it’s showing compassion on the unsaved person who’s going to have sex anyway. At the most, it’s promoting responsible birth control choices within the church. Our puritanical, uptight roots keep us from talking about anything, and thus a condom becomes shunned. And we wander why teens get pregnant, why abortions happen, and why sex is rampant.

This is what happens when you save up your thoughts for a week.