Dear Margo: Bigotry Dolled Up in Biblical Verse

One readers difference in beliefs causes Margo Howard to break one of her own rules

Bigotry Dolled Up in Biblical Verse

Dear Margo: Today was the last day I will ever read your column. I am 37 years old and do not agree with your beliefs. The Bible clearly states in several places that being gay is wrong. There is no way to misunderstand it. I imagine God looks down on us shaking his head with a tear coming down his face. You are telling people it’s OK, and it’s not! God help us all. — Melissa in Ohio

Dear Mel: I have never run a letter like yours before because I have chosen not to get mixed up with responses to particular letters. Yours, however, is such a perfect exemplar of what I think is wrong with the world … in politics and in social life … that I’ve broken my own rule.

For one thing, I find it insular and intolerant to demand that everyone agree with you, about either the meaning or the validity of the Bible, let alone whether or not it’s “OK” to be gay. Your Bible isn’t everyone’s Bible, and your Bible is not my government. You are free, certainly, to follow your beliefs, but why wouldn’t you cede other people the same right?

The fact that you say you will no longer read someone with different views from yours seems narrow-minded. If you read only things that you already believe, how will you ever learn anything or broaden your horizons or, heaven forefend, change your mind? You might ask yourself if perhaps God is not looking down, shaking his head with a tear coming down his face and wondering why some of His children are casting stones at some other of His children. — Margo, charitably

Troubling Situation with a Son

Dear Margo: I have a grown son who lives in another state. When I started visiting him at my oldest daughter’s house (back when he was 18), he always brought a girlfriend. I found it difficult to communicate with him because of a stranger being present, so hardly anything was discussed. He would say he’d see me again in a few days, but then he would never call or visit again. I also tried to communicate and ask questions via MySpace, but got no responses whatsoever. I would send birthday cards and Christmas gifts — and again no reply. Since he lives in a rural area, I sometimes wondered whether he even received them, but then I started using “return receipt requested” and found the things were received.

He is only 26 and is getting married for the second time. I basically know nothing about his life. Our birthdays are the same day, and he never, not once, has wished me a happy birthday, a merry Christmas or a happy Mother’s Day. I am totally lost as to how I can solve this terrible problem. — Really Crushed

Dear Real: It’s always very sad when a parent wants to have a relationship and the grown child does not. Something is causing him to keep you at arm’s length. You may know what this is; you may not. The most constructive thing to be done — and it may not bring you any answers — is to directly ask what has caused his excluding you from his life, explaining that it is a source of pain for you and something you would like to remedy if it is within your power. Worst-case scenario would be no response to this plea, in which case I urge you to understand that some things are not within our control and must be accepted as such. As I have said in other circumstances involving family difficulties, DNA and being related by blood are no guarantee of anything. Whichever way this goes, I hope you can find some measure of peace and acceptance. — Margo, philosophically

* * *

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to dearmargo@creators.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.

COPYRIGHT 2011 MARGO HOWARD
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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232 Responses so far.

  1. avatar David Bolton says:

    LW1: People in glass houses shouldn’t throw 6,000 year-old stones.
     
    LW2: I get the feeling there’s a lot more that has gone on here than this letter implies, since unbalanced relationships are rarely the fault of one person.

    • avatar Lea Holland says:

      I agree with Margo on both counts. There are so many Christians who insist it’s their right to believe how they want, but if anyone believes differently than them at all, they treat them like absolute garbage. (Sadly, I’m related to a lot of people like this…)
       
      And I think the mother in letter two must have done something to push her son away from her. My dad remarried for the second time when I was twelve…forcing me to move away from my grandparents and friends, and the school I had been going to for only a year…and his wife treated me like garbage, so when my grandparents moved to the same town as us, I moved in with them as soon as possible. My dad had stopped talking to me by that point…actually, almost as soon as they left on their honeymoon, since his wife hated me and made his life hell if he paid attention at all…and he’s barely spoken to me since. When I moved away, my aunt threw a party for me, so the family could come say goodbye, he came over long enough to eat, said hi, and then left. My 24th birthday was this year, and while the majority of family and friends who usually wish me a happy birthday called or messaged me on Facebook, I didn’t get a single message from him. I’ve given up on talking to him, and I would honestly be perfectly happy if I never saw him again, this mother…depending on what happened…is lucky she even knows her son’s getting married.

    • avatar Lea Holland says:

      Shoot, I’m sorry, David, I meant this to go in a new comment, but for some reason it got added to yours instead.

  2. avatar Dan Patterson says:

    There are so many lovely Biblical “rules” that people happily ignore – eating shellfish, wearing blended fabrics, not stoning their non-virgin daughters – that sort of thing.  But ask these “believers” to confront their own prejudice about gays and you get Leviticus thrown in your face.  While the Bible is a wonderful book, it was written by men and reflects the worldview of a patriarchal tribal society of 8000 years ago.  I believe the Bible can be an inspiring book with deep spiritual significance for many people, but I don’t believe it should be used as club to beat other people to death with.  For that matter, I believe Jesus would be deeply ashamed of LW1.  

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      My question has always been why these god-fearing, Bible-thumping, fire-and-brimstone “Christians” aren’t out picketing a Red Lobster restaurant although I suppose if they did that they’d have to give up that nice honey-baked ham…

      • avatar Lea Holland says:

        Blech…if I didn’t love seafood so much, I’d be picketing Red Lobster, but I can gladly give up ham of any sort! 😛 I think it’s gross, and I hate eating it. (Good question for the ‘Christians’ who insist that gay marriage is wrong because of what’s said in the Bible  but eating shellfish or wearing two different fabrics at once isn’t wrong, by the way.)

        • avatar cl1028 says:

          The short answer is that Jesus is considered the fulfillment of the Old Testament / Hebrew Scriptures, therefore the New trumps the Old. And since homosexuality is condemned in the New Testament, but not mixed fabrics, those are the rules most Christians follow. (There were also political factors in the early Church which led the first Christians to abandon some of the Jewish laws, such as circumcision, in order to not discourage converts.) It’s not perfect logic, I know, and there are many discrepancies, but the average Christian doesn’t have a terribly high theological education, either.

          Also, the fact of homosexuality being a sin is as clear as Paul’s condemnation of women speaking out in public (i.e. not that clear at all) – but there are denominations who take a very black-and-white approach to Scripture, and others who favour a more loosey-goosey interpretation, and everything in between. Oy! It is what it is.

          • avatar John Lee says:

            I could be wrong, but since the Book of Mormom was written well after the New Testament, I believe Mormoms feel that it trumps the New Testament.

            The Koran was also written after the New Testament and I’m pretty sure Muslims think their book trumps it as well.

            I’m going to write one too, maybe in the next few years when I have some time and maybe it can trump all of the others!  Until a newer latest and greatest version comes out I guess…

          • avatar cl1028 says:

            Haha, good point. I wasn’t trying to promote supercessionism, just offering an explanation I’ve heard before.
             

          • avatar Briana Baran says:

            cl1028: In another post you made, you argue that most Christians do not have the time or means to actually study (in opposition to simply reading, or blindly following the opinions of a religious leader’s opinions regarding) the Bible.
             
            In order to know that the New Testament in any way supports the condemnation of homosexuality, one would have to be a Biblical scholar. I have never, and I do mean never, heard a fundamentalist Christian quote from 1 Corinthians, 1 Timothy, or Epistle to the Romans when condemning homosexuality based on Biblical dogma. This may well be because the original language is completely unclear (in that the actual words have several connotations, and have been translated in numerous ways), that “Paul” was simply drawing directly from Leviticus, as the wording is peculiar to only a single passage in Romans, and is atypical of the period…but identical to that found in Leviticus…or that Paul may have been referring specifically to the act of anal sex…not homosexuality at all.
             
            But, as I’ve said, no one ever quotes from Paul when they’re laying down the Word according to Biblical dogma regarding the ungodly nature of being gay. Only Leviticus. You’re the first person I’ve ever heard mention good old misogynistic Paul (who, it seems, just didn’t care for sex of any kind…but then, I’ve studied the cranky old fellow…or prostitutes…or anybody, except, well, Paul) and his very peculiar, derivative, and mysterious words condemning homosexuality. But also, remember, Paul’s “gospel” was extremely self-referential, and had little or nothing to do with the words or teachings of Jesus Christ. He is the New Testament dissenter, preaching the word of the reactionary.

          • avatar cl1028 says:

            Sorry, I don’t know a lot of fundamentalist Christians, so I can’t comment on their use of Leviticus. But a lot of Christians I do know are familiar with the idea that Jesus somehow fulfills and supersedes the Old Testament (presumably taught to them by their pastors), and that’s one common reason, that I know of, why many Christians ignore the obscure laws of the Hebrew Scriptures. As I said, not perfect logic, and I am not trying to promote these ideas – I am just offering one explanation as to why some people say/believe/do the things they do.

          • avatar Briana Baran says:

            You must be Catholic…and I say this because I was raised in, and permanently left the Roman Catholic Church…and it is the only denomination that commonly takes the position that the New Testament supercedes the revised Hebrew text of the Old (and it is very much revised from Torah).
             
            In any case, I have never heard any Christian, including those followers of Catholicism, quote Paul as a source for their Biblical convictions against homosexuality. Not even a priest…even a Jesuit…and they are some of the most scholarly. Only, and always, Leviticus.
             
            I think, rather than stating that people aren’t aware of the other laws that appear directly adjacent to the popular cry against the homosexual, one would be more wise in stating that, having discovered that the very proscribing Leviticus offered them an excuse for their own fear and hatred, people simply quote from the source to affirm their godly and religious right and duty to despise, condemn and judge those whom have in no way harmed or insulted them. People don’t mind committing adultery, and don’t really know when women are menstruating (and, after all, everyone knows that it’s socially unacceptable to shun women for that)…and who doesn’t wear silk-cotton, or polyester blends (now, that is a crime) from time to time?
             
            But it’s still perfectly tolerable in far too many places to hate gay and lesbian people…because people do hate the things they fear…and do fear what they fail to understand, even if it’s due to their own blatant, willful ignorance. What better than to have god’s word to back you up…especially the fearful Yahweh of the Old Testament?
             
            Jesus never said anything about homosexuals, in any case, so that rather takes the linearity out of your dubious logic. and there isn’t anything logical about religion. Only atavism and irrationality.

      • avatar Deirdre Cerasa says:

        Baby Snooks, An agnostic friend once said to my “God save us from born again Christians”.  Thought it was great then and have used it on several occasions since.  Think it is a really good response here.

        • avatar barney says:

          Not every born-again Christian behaves that way.  I’m not pushy, I don’t preach to or at my friends and family.  Everyone has the same knowledge of the basics that I do – it’s a personal choice and I respect everyone’s right to make their own choices.
          It’s frustrating for me, because I don’t think that ANYONE casting judgment on lifestyle choices is in the right, and that’s what so many people do to Christians as a whole.  I don’t care if people are Atheist, Agnostic, Jewish, Buddhist, whatever.  I may not personally agree with it, but I don’t push or try to persuade – that’s a right we all have.  Why are we not afforded the same luxury of not being pidgeonholed?  Let people put their foot in their mouths and think what you want of them on a case by case basis – don’t stereotype all of us based on a few obnoxious idiots…

          • avatar RS Gar says:

            I’m glad that you respect individual rights, but being gay is not a lifestyle choice. People don’t choose to be gay any more than you chose to be straight.

          • avatar Lym BO says:

            I believe barney was just asking people not to stereotype. 
            As for gays making a choice. They do choose whether to follow their biology -or as so many did before them conceal it. I think that is where “life style choice” is coined.
            AND I do know a few ??sexuals who claimed to be gay, lived it for a while then went back to hetero. That confuses the issue (and people) even more.  I’m not sure if these people I know are bisexuals or perhaps they are homosexuals who couldn’t deal with the lifestyle and chose to live hetero. 

          • avatar barney says:

            Thank you, Lym BO.  I am absolutely amazed at the negative reaction I’ve gotten here when I’ve repeatedly stated that I don’t care what people do, and I don’t sit in judgment of anyone!  Once I said I was a Christian, it became a free for all on me.  Nice way to display the “tolerance” that they preach to everyone else.  At least I practice what I preach.

          • avatar Raddoc says:

            Hey Barney, good for you for being a christian, and at the same time being tolerant.  Somehow a few idiots who loudy proclaim themselves to be “Born Again” think they have the right/obligation to preach to the world.  I am proud to be born again, I am also tolerant of those who choose a different faith or none at all.  It is not my job to judge anyone.  I also like a good drink, a good porno, and enjoy the swinging lifestyle with my beloved wife.  If others don’t agree with me that is their issue.  I don’t need their approval and don’t accept their condemnation.  Jesus preached love and tolerance, not hate.  If one doesn’t want to follow Christ, fine–but if you do then love one another. Far to much evil has been done in the name of God.

          • avatar mjd4 says:

            Whoa there Barney, how about not being so quick to interpret  “negative reaction”?  RS Gar was just stating a fact.  Your initial comment sounded like it was saying that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, and Gar was pointing out that it is not.  That’s not exactly an attack.  What is the deal with teh lecture on tolerance? 

            As for the choice of following your biology, the extroardinary number of right wing politicians caught in gay sex scandals should show us that denying yourself is not as simple as many people would like to think.  I am sure that they all fully intended to deny what they were and live in heterosexual relationships, and they must have known how utterly ruinous it would be for them to be caught, and yet…  

            Note, the second parapgraph is my giving my own opinion on being gay and choice.  It is has nothing to do with you being a Christian.  It was simply a response to the points that were made in this thread.  I feel the need to point this out lest I be accused of being intolerant.  

          • avatar Tonto says:

            Where is the “like” button! I totally agree, well said.

          • avatar Tonto says:

            My “like” statement was supposed to be for Barney’s original post on not all Christians behaving like hypocrites – my words, not his.

        • avatar Rita@ Goldivas says:

          Thank God I’m an atheist! :-)

          Margo, in asking, “how will you ever learn anything or broaden your horizons?”, you are assuming these people want to learn. That is not the case. I saw a video where fundamentalist Christians were asked if they were aware that other religions that preceded Christianity also had myths of common Christian themes such as a virgin birth and resurrection of the savior. Most of them answered, no, they didnt know about that, and then they would comment, “it’s just as well”.

    • avatar Jennifer juniper says:

      Well said.
       

    • avatar BethanyA says:

      I’m sorry–what authority do you have to say the bible is authored by men? Have you ever opened it up and read it?

      II Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

      21: For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.   

      • avatar chuck alien says:

        i think you emphasized the wrong part of that sentence.

        move the italics back 4 words and you just answered your own question. that was efficient.

  3. avatar central coast cabin home says:

    LW 1:  Thank you Margo for it is hard to imagine it being said any better. Truly the words of what I believe to be the real meaning of Christianity.
     

    • avatar John Lee says:

      I am not being facetious but I really do wonder about what people mean when they say the “real meaning of Christianity” or claim that so-and-so is not a “real Christian” because of their behavior.

      I mean, there are so many contradictory (oh, I remember Christian don’t like that word, how about, er, “complex and seemingly opposing”) ideas in the bible, why do you Christians always say so-and-so is not a “real Christian” if he wants to kill/discriminate against gays, or Muslims or whatever when there are many verses both support or condemn these types of actions?

      I know plenty of nice Christians who say, well, those who hate gays are not “real” Christians because god is loving.  But then, I know just as many “real” Christians who say that gays are going to hell and they must be stopped and not allowed to desecrate the concept of marriage.

      Why do you people bother claim to be “real” Christians when just as many self-proclaimed “real” Christians think the opposite?

      • avatar chuck alien says:

        Jesus said “love your brother as yourself” and “treat others as you want to be treated.”
         
        if you’re not doing those things, then you aren’t being a good christian.

      • avatar Irreverent says:

        Matthew 22:36-40
        New International Version (NIV)

        36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
         37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (My emphasis)

      • avatar Lym BO says:

        I think each Christian sub-group has its’ own ideal of what a “real Christian” is. My definition would be along the lines of “What would Jesus do”. By definition a Christian is someone who believes Jesus was the only begotten son of God. Hence, they typically follow what he purportedly said or did. The Old Testament contradicts some of these actions/words so it gets confusing. Case in point: No one, even those who have devoted their lives to studying the bible, can make sense of many issues in the Bible.  

  4. avatar Lamponcina says:

    Very very well said, Margo, in response to the first letter. I think this was a great time and fashion in which to break your rule. Good job! Thank you!

  5. avatar emma manderson says:

    Oh dear, letter 2 really chimes with me, except I am the child. I haven’t spoken to my father in over a year, only emailed him a few times. My parents split up when I was six, so we did pretty well keeping in contact as long as we did- until I was 28- but every time we spoke or saw each other I ended the visit feeling battered. He was constantly criticising me in such a nice way, all for my own good. My weight, my political beliefs, my mental stability all had to be pored over and improved. I have never felt comfortable with him, even as a child- always felt I had to perform. It’s so hard to put my finger on it because he’s not an ogre, but whenever I asked him to just lay off me and try to have a nice, normal conversation about pleasant things he would say I was trying to lobotomise him. I still feel guilty about the fact I stopped contact, but at the same time I feel so relieved to not have to deal with those exhausting encounters that would leave me in tears. He’s not getting any younger and he’s not going to change, so what the hell can I do? He still emails me and send me books but I feel like they’re always saying “be more intellectual. Be more like me”- I am far more engaged in politics than most people my age, or any age, I volunteer, I don’t have a TV, I sing in a choir and sew and knit my own clothes: I’m trying to participate in the world ethically and avoid passivity. Why isn’t that good enough?

    • avatar Susan Thomas says:

      It will never be good enough because it is not about you at all, it is about him and his own insecurities. Whether he was criticized too much as a child and can only deal with people when he is criticizing them may be his way of dealing with people. But there is no reason for you to have to deal with his shortcomings. Sometimes we just cannot have a relationship with the people in life that we are supposed to, it is definitely his loss. Be strong and only give up to him what you are prepared to give up, you do not have to destroy yourself to make anyone else happy.

    • avatar Sweet Dream says:

      Thank you emma manderson for your comment. I am well on my way to be just like your dad and am trying to stop. My 11-year-old daughter already brought it up to my attention before but as ussual I thought I knew better.

    • avatar sophia622 says:

      Emma, your letter really resonates with me and I felt much as you do when I was a little younger.

      Of course you are good enough.  As Susan Thomas said, it isn’t about you, it’s about him.  Many parents continue to act as if they know what’s best for their child long after it’s remotely appropriate (not that it ever is, entirely).  Also, some people need to build up their own self-esteem by finding fault with others. You’re right, you can’t fundamentally change him.

      I think you know this, but you still let your interactions with him upset you. It’s hard to break out of a parent-child dynamic, where the parent is still viewed on some level as all-powerful and all-wise.  Try to put on a new set of glasses and view these interactions as being not about your shortcomings, but about his. When he criticizes you, when he can’t stop even though you ask him, when he can’t see a person different from him as being good enough, he is simply showing his own limitations, his own lack of wisdom. Think about it: if he were really that smart, would he be doing this, even knowing it’s costing him a relationship with his daughter?

      You sound like a really nice person.  I think if you’re able to achieve this change in perception, you will be able to treat his shortcomings with understanding, humor, and kindness. When he starts criticizing you, you’ll be able to deflect it with humor, or change topics without getting upset. And chances are that he will let you.  Because you will no longer be acting even remotely like a child in this relationship, and he’ll have no choice but to adjust, at least somewhat.

  6. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    I think Margo and others have said all that needs to be said about Letter #1. 

    Letter#2:  I cannot help but wonder why your son, at age 18, was living so far from you and if whatever led to those circumstances may have something to do with your estrangement.   Starting a dialogue with your son may or may not bring about a closer relationship with him but it is the only way to understand what went wrong and repair it.  I would do it before or after the wedding and not at the wedding. He may believe you let him down somehow in the way back days and maybe you did and need to make amends.  Or he may just be a completely selfish young man with no deep feelings for anyone.   Clearly, he is not going to make the first move so you must.      

  7. avatar Amanda ECW says:

    Letter One sounds like most of the people I went to college with and a good portion of my in-laws! I went to a Christian college, naively thinking it’d be full of loving, accepting people.  Except for a handful (including my now-husband) the majority of people I met there were bigoted and intolerant of anything that wasn’t in line with their interpretation of the Bible.  The final straw was when I was told, loudly and clearly by another student, that I was going to Hell for being pro-choice and believing that gay people deserve rights too. 
    “Christians” like that give the rest of us a bad name.
     
    Letter Two: so when she starts visiting her son, he’s 18 and living far away from her.  Why?  She says she doesn’t know him~if he didn’t move to his sister’s until he was 18, she had those first 18 years to bond with him~was he living elsewhere then, too?  Was she unable to see him during those formative years?  He’s 26 now, and it seems like she’s trying very hard to create a mother/child bond (in only 8 years) with an adult when she failed to have that bond with him as a child.  It isn’t surprising that he’s resistant to the idea!  He may of many issues with her regarding his childhood, or he may just not feel the need for that bond with her, having gone so long without it.  She needs to stop pushing the issue and learn to accept what she can from him before she alienates him completely.

    • avatar Debbie Ciaravino says:

      Amanda, I agree with you on LW #2. I was wondering myself where was the mother for the first 18 years and why was she visiting her son at her older daughter’s house out of state? There’s much more than what is being explained in the letter.

      It’s unrealistic for the mother to expect her son to welcome her with open arms. He had to harden his heart in order to live with his mother not being a part of his life. Whatever kept her away, he came to terms with it the only way he knew how. She is expecting too much too soon. Time heals all wounds. It took 18 years to create this one, you can’t expect it to be undone in 8 years.

      Continue reaching out to him, let him know you are there whenever he is ready. But, don’t push too hard. Don’t be surprised if it takes having children of his own before he is ready to accept you.

  8. avatar Chris Glass` says:

    Letter 1 – You can read anything you want to into any religious book by taking passages out of context stringing them together. That is done frequently by preachers to keep a congregation in line and tithing. However if you are a Biblical scholar you will read and learn that the real messages in the Bible are those of tolerance, He who has never sinned cast the first stone, Judge lest you not be judged etc. 
     
    Maybe this writer needs to read a variety of religious texts to see that the real words of the Bible and other religious works stress love, helping others and forgiveness. They have never advocated intolerance – that is a spin job by those seeking to fire up a congregation for their own purposes. Over the centuries the enlightened masters taught that God’s message to them was one of peace, acceptance for all and above all else love for our fellow man.

    • avatar Lucy Baty says:

      chris, i could not agree more… instead of reading the bible and asking God to let them know what he wants them to know, “christians” listen to one persons interpretation of it.  they cannot think for themselves.. christians sure know how to shoot their wounded. imho..:)

  9. avatar Lisa Cornell says:

    LW#1  The views held by the letter writer is why I have absolutely nothing to do with organized religion. I am however, a Christian. I believe in living my life as Christ taught. That means to embrace all men, regardless of faith or belief. As for gay marriage, I firmly believe this is a civil rights issue. I believe that gays should enjoy the same civil rights as non-gays and that any effort to deny them so, is bigotry at its worst. I do not understand why anyone who calls themselves a Christian or an adherent of any faith for that matter, would promote an agenda that is exclusive. Civil rights are something that all of us must enjoy equally. Finally, I believe that all marriages should require civil ceremonies in order to be legal. If someone wishes to have a marriage rite performed in a church of their faith after the civil ceremony, so be it.
    I am one of those few people I suppose who truly believes in a separation of church and state. I believe that civil and secular issues should not be dealt with by the church, and faith-based practices belong in church. I believe that churches who lobby the government to promote their agenda should lose their tax-free status and I believe religion has absolutely no place in politics or the government. I don’t agree with preachers delivering homilies at inaugurations, nor do I believe it is my business nor anyone else’s what faith my politicians are. 
     I want to take a moment and thank my parents. They are almost 80 and yet they instilled this sense of equality and tolerance in me. My mother always had gay friends for as long as I can remember. My father is a Buddhist, and one of the most gentle souls I know. I remember asking him years ago about his thoughts on homosexuality and he said, “as long as they don’t make it compulsory, i have no problem with it”. He was the one who first told me that he thought gays were born that way, and so for me I always grew up thinking so.

    • avatar ann penn says:

      There are churches (United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist to name two) that share your sense of tolerance and are open and affirming.  It’s the intolerant ones that give people the impression that all so-called Christians are like them.  Alas, most of these intolerant ones do not follow what Jesus taught, but preach a very different message in his name.

      • avatar martina says:

        I belong to a United Church of Christ church and it pains me to hear many of these posters say that they would not belong to organized religion because of intolerance and hate.  Our church is open and affirming and grows weekly because of this.  One of our lesbian members served as deacon and is much loved and admired.  Our church does not teach that homosexuality is a sin but we do have members who believe that homosexuality is a sin and still treat all members with tolerance and love.  This came out in a very dramatic two part Adult Study.  The first week there were those that passionately stated that it was stated clearly in the bible that homosexuality was a sin – no if, ands or buts.  Those same people came back the next week and made it very clear that even though they considered it a sin, in no way would they love or tolerate a gay person any less than a straight person.  They have basically agreed to disagree.

        So, not all organized religion is bad.  You just need to find one like ours that tells you at the end of the service to now go out and be a disciple of Christ.

         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         

    • avatar flyonthewall says:

      Lisa, I too have problems with organized religion for the reasons you mentioned.  As Ann mentioned there are some churches that share a sense of tolerance.  I don’t think there really can be a true separation of church and state.  Religious beliefs have been used over the centuries as a means of governmental control over the populace.  I often see religious leaders being ones who are not truly practicing the beliefs and rules of the religion, but seeking political power and control in and of itself.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        I have zero need for organized religion. When I want to talk to God, I talk to him. I don’t need to dress up, or go to a fancy TV studio—I mean, church—and it can be at anytime, on any day of the week.
         
        And I don’t need a middleman to get me closer to God. Priests, fathers, pastors and the Pope himself have a zero percent success rate of getting anyone into Heaven. Therefore, why on earth would I want to trust someone else with what happens to MY soul?

        • avatar flyonthewall says:

          Yes, David, I am the same way.  It angers me to no end when some self serving religious leader tries to imply that I have no relationship with God because I do not attend services.  Who is he or she to tell me how my relationship with God is?  God and I get along fine and dandy, thank you very much.

          • avatar Carib Island Girl says:

            Agree with you both.  And you don’t need religion to have a strong moral center.

          • avatar shoeshine says:

            Of  Thoreau— When his aunt Louisa asked him in his last weeks if he had made his peace with God, Thoreau responded: “I did not know we had ever quarreled.”

            One’s quest for GOD is one’s own. 

            The addendum is that you MUST respect anyone else’s

            Yelling about sin that is not your own, does no good, and in fact harm. To yourself and your relationship with GOD.

          • avatar Deirdre Cerasa says:

            Beautiful! 

  10. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #2: Imo there might be a little hint in her letter: “When I started visiting him at my oldest daughter’s house (back when he was 18), he always brought a girlfriend. I found it difficult to communicate with him because of a stranger being present, so hardly anything was discussed.”

    Why consider the girlfriend “a stranger”? Sure, she technically was at that point. But the attitude *seems* to be: Oh. Another female present. And one I don’t know. Well then, I’ll just clam right up because I can’t talk to my son because of HER.

    Unless the topic for discussion would have been extremely personal family business, I can’t imagine why his naturally wanting his girlfriend along would create this sort of dilemma for mom. Mom, are you the sort who is jealous of son’s attentions to other females? Maybe you’re wanting a level of control which is unreasonable and unfair? Might want to think about these possibilities… 

    • avatar cl1028 says:

      Precisely what I was thinking…

    • avatar amw says:

      The same thought occurred to me…AND the fact that she only visited him at her sister’s house.

      I am all too familiar with that scenario…except in the reverse role.

  11. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: I wasn’t going to address this but have changed my mind (because I grew up in a home with an outlook like yours). Even if you disagree with Margo’s stance on gays, gay marriage, etc., there are still plenty of other types of letters, and her responses to them, to read. To entirely shut out Margo because of 1 issue? I find it childish and doing YOURSELF a disservice. Margo is an excellent advice columnist; Margo, I wouldn’t give you up in a million years for anything! *hug*

  12. avatar Anais P says:

    Melissa in Ohio (LW1), the Old Testament (as Christians call it) had several cautions against homosexuality, but JESUS said NOTHING about it in the New Testament. He hung out with many people Jewish society of the time considered lower folks: the lame, the poor, lepers and the Canaanite woman. What would JESUS have done? I think he would have been quite tolerant.  And we know nothing about the sexuality of Christ’s himself; he never married. But we do hear about John, the apostle Jesus loved …

  13. avatar Sue Fawcett says:

    Letter #1 was well-stated, Margo. Many Christians use the Bible as a weapon to reject those unlike themselves, in the process defining themselves as hypocrites and bigots. Unfortunately, they are often able to mix church and state, and society ends up with laws such as the Defense of Marriage Act, which federally defines a marriage as solely between a man and a woman. Although the Obama Administration declared it unconstitutional and said it wouldn’t be enforced, it is important to work towards its repeal.

  14. avatar J. Lovely says:

    It is precisely because of people like LW#1 thatI don’t bother setting foot inside a church or read the bible.  It is very sad that the one place you think you would find loving, open-minded folks is actually filled with hypocrits, starting with their religious leaders.  If you are going to preach about loving and respecting others and their beliefs and then you turn around and say nothing but hateful things about a particular group, then you are going against the very priciples that the bible teaches.  Granted, I personally believe in a marriage being between a man and a woman, but I’m not about to say gays are going to hell just because they have different preferences from mine.  They have the right to be with whomever they choose and it’s not our place to say that they are wrong for following their hearts. 

  15. avatar Dani Smith says:

    Aren’t these “Christian” bible thumpers referring to mandates that appear in the Old Testament?   For that wrathful god of the Jews named Jehovah or something?  And as somebody else pointed out, it’s funny how many of the rules and regulations of the Old Testament these bible thumping Christians selectively ignore, like stoning non-virgin daughters to death, killing your family, owning slaves, and sacrificing animals and such.   The Old Testament law was given to the Jews, or at least, was written/created by the Jews, for the Jews.  Not modern Christians.   “Silly rabbit, the Old Testament is for Jews!” 
     
    A site I found that outlines all the Old Testament laws, complete with Lego Land people to illustrate!  😀

    http://www.thebricktestament.com/the_law/index.html

  16. avatar Sweet Dream says:

    For LW#1: You’re a very unhappy person. You sound bitter. I bet you if Jesus ever came back to this world he would be so appalled at how his teachings are practised and even turned upsidedown. When I think of Jesus, I think of one thing : LOVE. When I think of Christianity I think of many things except : LOVE

  17. avatar Jrz Wrld says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t help but picture God in an ad similar to that one with the elderly Native American and the single tear rolling down his cheek over pollution. So help me, it’s making me giggle. Are people like LW1 even remotely sane? Have they actually READ the Bible? Beyond Leviticus, which Christians don’t appear to pay much attention to, there aren’t really any unambiguous condemnations of homosexuality that I recall, and as Anais P points out, JESUS HIMSELF never brings it up.
    As for LW2, I thought I would fall into the chasm left by the information she had selectively not provided. I’m very suspicious of anyone who so deliberately portrays herself as the completely wronged party. But her son is deliberately trying to keep her at arm’s length, and she should respect that at this point.
     
     
     

  18. avatar Lila says:

    I am sooooo SICK of “Christians” who cannot be bothered to study and understand their own holy book in a scholarly fashion, and especially when they use their willful ignorance as approval for their own hateful practices.  Very Christ-like, Christians.   Very Christ-like. 
     
    WHERE does JESUS say it is wrong?  Nowhere.  Christians, if this issue was so soul-damningly important, why was he silent on it?  Or at least, why did the early Church not put those words in his mouth?  Jesus loved and forgave adulterers and prostitutes and his own executioners.  What ever makes you think he would have condemned gays?  And even if it were wrong, who appointed you the almighty judge and executioner?  Christ calls for love, forgiveness, and non-judgment lest ye be judged.  So do what Christ says, stop judging, and love your neighbor.
     
    Re:  Paul’s letters to the Corinthian and Ephesian congregations.  These are NOT the teachings of Jesus, they are the teachings of Paul.  Yes, this author was supposedly an apostle and knew Jesus in his lifetime but this gives him NO authority to “supplement” Jesus’ teachings after his death (see how quickly that happens?).  No more than a church full of pedophile priests has any authority to tell me a DAMN thing.  These are the hateful, misguided, controlling teachings of MEN, millennia removed from their figurehead.  Flawed human beings with all their flawed human nature, greedy and hungering for power.  Step back and think hard about Jesus’s teachings.  Then think hard about the difference between Jesus and the Church.  It is vast.  You should be able to spot it.
     
    Christians, you follow the hateful teachings of your church of man, because it is spoon-fed to you.  You ignore the real teachings of Jesus because you are too damn lazy to do the hard intellectual work of separating Jesus’ lessons from those of your Pharisees, and too morally cowardly to question the difference.
     
    “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits.  Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?”  Matthew 7:15-16
    “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name?  And in Thy name have cast out devils?  And in Thy name have done wonderful works?  And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  Matthew 7:22-23
     

    • avatar cl1028 says:

      Ouch! 
      I hear your criticisms and you make some good (and scathing!) points. Here are a couple thoughts in response:

       – many Christians, and Catholics in particular, believe in the apostolic character of the Church, i.e.: teaching authority is passed down directly from Jesus to apostles, to subsequent leaders. Therefore Paul (who was actually not an apostle) IS a legitimate Christian authority, even when he teaches things that Jesus doesn’t explicitly address.

       – I’ve spent my whole life in the Church and Catholic school system, and now that I’ve started my graduate theology studies, I realize how much more I need to learn about my own faith. I wonder about people who only have a cursory religious education, but still desire to be devout followers. My point is that “the hard intellectual work” of theology is just that – hard work. Most people simply don’t have the time, resources, energy, etc. to pursue it to a greater degree, so they put their faith in the clergy to put them on the right path. Sometimes the clergy do a good job of this, and sometimes they don’t.

       – I hope you’ll reconsider your opinion of all Christians as lazy, macho, hate-mongering ignoramuses. There’s a whole new generation of bright young lay theologians coming up, guided by some pretty amazing contemporary writers. (Thomas Berry, Elisabeth A. Johnson, and Rosemary Radford Ruether are my absolute favourites right now.)

      Peace. 

      • avatar Lila says:

        CL1028,  I don’t consider this of ALL Christians, but I have met very, very, very few people who both consider themselves Christians, and act like it.  By far, in my experience, it is more likely that a person who self-identifies as “Christian” is anything but, and ignorant of the Bible as well.
         
        It is just stunning to imagine that anyone could believe that their salvation depends on the teachings of Christ, and then put that salvation in the hands of others.  Seriously?  If I believed that this life was only a waystation on my way to eternity, and my destination in eternity depended on making the right choices here – I would be tearing that Bible apart every DAY looking for the right answers, I would be studying every detail, every origin, what might have been tampered with or not, — I mean, come on, this is my immortal soul we are dealing with here!  The fact that so many just wander into church once a week and let someone spoon-feed them is just…. unimaginable, and tells me that at their core, they don’t believe.  They just want an excuse to separate “US” Christians from “THEM” sinners.

        • avatar jamie says:

          Lila –

          Your objections are in many ways, completely valid. You have the heart of a prophet, like John the Baptist, calling out the Pharisees for their hypocrisy.

          I hope you will find a church – one that digs into the history of the faith, that empowers its people to minister to the people of the world and truly walk out the teachings of Jesus. Please consider doing that – you have great potential as a leader and reformer in the church.

        • avatar cl1028 says:

          Sounds like you’ve had some very bad encounters with Christians… :(

          As a final note on this “spoon-feeding”:

          Up until relatively recently, most Christians were uneducated and even illiterate. You learned the Bible by studying the stories in the stained-glass windows in church, and listening to the readings and preaching. That is, you had no choice but to listen to what somebody else was telling you. 

          For modern people to whom the (written) Bible is accessible, reading, scouring, and questioning it are still time- and energy-consuming tasks. In an ideal world, we would all attend daily mass and Bible study. But then there’s the laundry waiting, and the fridge is empty, and the kids need to be driven to soccer, and my boss doesn’t really appreciate it when I break into praise & worship hour during lunch-time…So we have division of labour: lay people take care of the tasks of everyday living, and religious people (priests, nuns, monks, etc.) study the Bible and disseminate their findings with us on Sunday. It’s really that simple. As Christians, we simply have to believe that we can’t do everything at once, and we have faith that God accepts our sincere, though imperfect, attempts. 

          I’ll also point out that it’s a very modern thought to question clergy or Scripture itself. Until rather recently, it was simply unimaginable. We have more reason to be cynical today, but I try to give people the benefit of the doubt…

          • avatar Briana Baran says:

            Your’s is an interesting reply. I would counter with the fact that the United States is staggering under the weight of the new and growing mass of fanatical, reactionary, fundamentalist Christianity who base most of their dogma in selective interpretation of the Old Testament, which has absolutely nothing to do with Christ…and everything to do with oppression, repression, chattel law for women, Christian Dominionism, and a jihad-like response to not only Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism…but also guarantees the removal of every practitioner  of Judaism from this country, by force of arms if necessary. These are the people responsible for revisionist history in public school textbooks, for forcing the issue of teaching Creationism, Intelligent Design, and New Earth Theory in public schools, for keeping allowing pharmacies and physicians to refuse women birth control, for keeping alive outdated practices such at Christian prayer in school and swearing on Christian Bibles in courts of law.
             
            No other Western country has our degree of involvement between church and state…and it is supposedly strictly forbidden here. I do not hate all Christians by any means…but they are dividing this nation, and rending the very fabric it was based on.
             
            As for all of that unmitigated rot about having no time to study and question and critically analyze (I read the entire Bible, for the second time, while attending 18 hours of college, maintaining a 3.75 gpa, and working 45 hours a week. I thought is was awfully morbid and dreary for a set of myths and legends)…so you put your trust in god and clergy…have you never heard of just…here it comes…thinking for yourself?
             
            I knew you hadn’t.

          • avatar etiennewestwind says:

             I would counter with the fact that the United States is staggering under the weight of the new and growing mass of fanatical, reactionary, fundamentalist Christianity who base most of their dogma in selective interpretation of the Old Testament, which has absolutely nothing to do with Christ…and everything to do with oppression, repression, chattel law for women, Christian Dominionism, and a jihad-like response to not only Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism…but also guarantees the removal of every practitioner  of Judaism from this country, by force of arms if necessary.
             
            It is amazing the people who are attracted to this “Christianity”, and how they don’t seem to realize what it means to them…

          • avatar cl1028 says:

            I am actually a graduate-level theology student, so yes, I’ve thought, researched, and written an awful lot about the Bible and general Christianity. My point was that not everybody else has the luxury to spend as much time as I (and some others) do thinking about this sort of stuff. It’s the same reason we have division of labour in every secular field: not everyone can become a tax expert, so we trust our accountants to do most of the work, and we can’t all be lawyers, so we hope policy-makers will make sound decisions on our behalf. That doesn’t mean we don’t do as much as we can (ask the accountant pertinent questions, write to government representatives to voice our opinions), but at a certain point, we’ve done all we can. 

            And just to clarify, reading the Bible is not the same as studying or praying the Bible. 

          • avatar cl1028 says:

            I’ll also point out that I am not American, so the political-religious situation here in Canada is a little different than yours.

          • avatar Briana Baran says:

            “And just to clarify, reading the Bible is not the same as studying or praying the Bible.”
             
            Excuse me, but I would think that if one is going to be a practitioner of Christianity, which uses the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, as its sole written referential text, guide, and book of dogma…then it would behoove one not only to become a student of said written testament (ergo: to study the Bible), but also to spend a considerable amount of time in analysis both critical and personal….ie: how do these words relate to me, societally, culturally, personally, ethically and theologically? Otherwise, one is simply basing one’s belief on blind faith…or hearsay…or the words of people for whom no proof of life exists except the Bible, whose ideas are at best 1500 (the New Testament was not penned until about 400 years after the “death of Christ”) and at worst 6000 years out of time.
             
            O, and cl1028, when I said I had read the Bible, that would, in my case, mean that I had studied it, compared it to other mythologies, considered it in view of the cultures, societies, geology and technology/science/medicine of the times (both Old and New Testaments), addressed the historical and archeological facts surrounding Christianity…not the dogma and myth…and the forgotten gospels and their significance, as well as the politics, plus the number of translations through the centuries (again, 6000 years, and everything from Aramaic and Hebrew, Ancient Latin versus church Latin, and English in its various incarnations and German) that have undoubtedly irretrievably altered content. Does that clarify what I meant by reading? I am a student of theology, archeology and and anthropology…and have been bending my mind to these fascinating studies for 44 of my 52 years.
             
            Which is why I am a cynical iconoclast.
             
            And by the way, when I have a serious legal issue, even when I was working 50+ hours a week and raising my toddler son virtually alone…I still made the time to research my problem thoroughly before seeking out a lawyer. The same goes for tax issues, property laws…why, just any old thing. It isn’t a matter of time, cl1028, it’s a matter of inclination.
             
            And, my dear, you must be studying to be a priest, because I smell, “Just relax and accept…The Mysteries Of The Faith” all over your posts. It isn’t just in Ye Bad Olde Times that the Mother church deliberately sought to keep the unwashed masses ignorant. You’re preaching it right now. Soothingly…as in, “People really don’t have time to study the Bible, or religion, and anyway, it isn’t their job to do it…that’s for the friendly priests…the professionals…so don’t worry your little head over it. Everything will be fine. Just accept, and give it over to god, and be good little sheep…”.
             
            Riiight. Uh-huh. I’m just not susceptible to that kind of snake oil salesmanship. So very sad that so many people are. And Canada is far from immune.
             
             

          • avatar cl1028 says:

            I think I was unclear in my previous posts, but I certainly do NOT believe people should just coast by in life; Lila, I actually completely agree with you, and Christians have a moral obligation to not let their religious education stagnate at a sixth-grade Sunday school level. I didn’t say that people have no time to read the Bible, EVER. But I think it’s fairly obvious that a cloistered monk has more time to this than a single working parent. I also think it’s fairly obvious that you are an exceptionally gifted person, BB, and I am trying to be compassionate when I say that not everyone is capable of the same level of achievement as you, and therefore it is reasonable that they seek the guidance of others in their religious quests. I realize I made it sound like lay people just passively go along with whatever their religious leaders say, so I apologize, because that wasn’t my intent. (Although, unfortunately, that often does happen.)

            Also, if you’re interested, I am actually specializing in eco-feminist theology, so I love controversy and debate, and I support all forms of scholarly inquiry and criticism. I am also a married female, so alas, no priesthood for me. And sorry for my previous “snippy-ness” with you – my emotions got the best of me!

          • avatar Lila says:

            CL1028, if one truly believes that there is a narrow door through which only a few will pass, it is the height of arrogance and sheer laziness to think that one can leave all the effort to others and still get a pass to Heaven.  Maybe I have an accountant, but by God, I sign the tax returns and it’s my butt in jail if the accountant leads me astray.  Think I might want to check out the books sometime and see if the math adds up?
             
            However things were in the past, today we have a very high literacy rate; and thanks to scholars like yourself who study the historical and cultural context of the Bible and publish it in annotated form, serious believers can spend a few bucks and a few hours a week on their own eternal salvation.  There is NO excuse whatsoever for the abysmal levels of Biblical ignorance and hate-spewing, false, out-of-context and out-of-control rhetoric we have today.  Anyone who is too lazy and ignorant to learn about the Bible has no business thumpin’ it.

          • avatar cl1028 says:

            Thanks for your response, Lila. I actually totally agree with you. I think I was unclear in my previous posts. I didn’t mean to justify Christians who take no responsibility for their faith, simply to offer one possible explanation as to why not all Christians are expert Biblical scholars. I hope that clears things up.

          • avatar Hannah Smith says:

            well-said briana. I hate to point people to other advice columnists (and I’m well aware that the crossover between Margo and Mr. Savage may not be at the 100% level), but for those who HAVEN’t I urge you to view his speech at Rhodes “Good Christian Churches.” youtube.com/watch?v=IrEsHtSSWfs (if they let me post a link here). While I myself know many who I would consider “good” Christians (or at least open-minded, embracing, loving, and generally practicing Jesus’ teachings as far as love thy neighbor), I have to ask even them – how many more children have to kill themselves before you will stand up and say “this hate is wrong, this fear is wrong, this demonizing is wrong”? How many more? Where are the left-leaning Christian radio pundits, where are the left-leaning Christians protesting against the Westboro Baptist Church? Why is it that anytime I turn on ANY network it’s ALWAYS to hear about the right-wing fundamentalist Christians doing or saying something or other hateful? Where are those who disagree WITHIN the Christian community not just studying theology and quietly publishing papers but SPEAKING OUT and saying NO, we will not be taken over by this hate and this intolerance, NO we will not allow ourselves to be grouped in with the others, YES, we will embrace love and acceptance and we will do so as LOUDLY and as VOCALLY as the others. Because as a kid, I never saw ANY Christian tolerance preached. As a kid, I never saw ANY Christian embracing-of-the-gay community. And while I’ve certainly seen some as an adult, it’s few and far between, and it’s quiet. Until it becomes prevalent, until it becomes equivalent to those that preach their hate and their hellfire and their damnation, you are part of the problem. And part of the reason why LGBT children are 9/10 times MORE LIKELY to be bullied than straight kids, and why they are killing themselves and cutting themselves and burning themselves and hating themselves. How many more need to die before more of these so-called “good Christians” stand up and be counted?

          • avatar shoeshine says:

            Hannah, point well taken (and I am an avid Savage Love reader)

            I will however throw out that whatever we do,  messages of tolerence and inclusion simply do not make for good sound bites.

            My congregation led the effort in coordinating votes against prop 8 here in california.  We have an active LGBTQ  cohort at our church.  As much as our political ambitions reach, we can only reach those who in a larger forum who will let us.  I can give you a long laundry list of interviews and public speeches that we have made.  unfortunately on youtube with 20 views.

            I heard a word in your post that begs addressing.  “quiet”

            With the difficulty getting the mesage out in public channels.  what we DO do is “quiet”. 

            The “it gets better project”  is being disseminated among the kids who need it in our community.  In fact we have had our own version for going on 30 years.

            We provide a safe haven for those who choose to have some spiritual faith and get lost in the dogma of the mainstream church.

            But  I understand your frustration.  I know it too.  I no longer self identify as “Christian”  because of too many demogogues.  Though most of the teachings I hold dear come from the new testament.

            I am as loud as I can be, and I am drowned out by those devisive voices.

            better media play.

            just some thoughts

            Shoe

          • avatar stateoflove_N_Trust says:

            It is not hard work to study the Bible, but it is time-consuming.  What is not hard work is to think critically to the best of your ability about the nature of God; what makes sense to you and not relying upon what people tell you or an old book tells you.  Does it make sense that a 70-year life damns someone for eternity or that certain “sins” are actually immoral or unethical conduct?  Everyone has time to think about these issues. 

          • avatar MKE says:

            I just want to say thank you cl1028, for your thoughts. They give me hope.

      • avatar jamie says:

        Well-said, CL1028. You said much of what I was thinking.

    • avatar Mimsy says:

      Small point, though it matters little: Paul never knew Jesus personally.  He began his life and career as Saul, a persecutor of Christians.  It was on the road to Damascus that he had a bad acid trip…..I mean….a bolt from Heaven came down and struck him blind and he heard the voice of Jesus asking him why he wasn’t hip with the Gospel.  He changed his ways, changed his name, and (according to some) changing the words of Jesus to conform with the congregations he was currently speaking to.
      I could go on about his teachings about women, how they differed from Corinth to Rome, (“my brothers and sisters in Christ” to “My Brothers,”) or his treatment of foreigners….but that’s another topic and another Dear Margo letter. :) Peace!

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Mimsy: acid trip…o my. I’ve always wondered if the writers of the gospels that Constantine actually approved for the New Testament were A) insane, B) poisoned by ergot (very common in those times), C) partaking of hallucinogenics (yes, there were any number in use back in the day), or D) all of the above. After all, they considered the Gnostics to be insane, and much of what appears in the New Testament is not a bit less disturbing or fanciful.
         
        And Saul into Paul was not an improvement. O, well…

      • avatar Sandy B says:

        That’s what I was going to say.  Paul did NOT know Jesus while Jesus was alive.  According to the church he gets his credibility from Jesus speaking to him on the road to Damascus AFTER Jesus was dead.

        • avatar Lila says:

          Oh, even better.  I stand by the upshot, though – I don’t recognize any authority for others to “supplement” Jesus’ teachings.    For the Church to claim that they have a “teaching authority” passed down to them is purely self-serving.

  19. avatar teppy1954 says:

    To Melissa in Ohio:
    There is indeed a tear rolling down G-d’s cheek. It is because his creation,  has taken it upon himself to hate and kill in his name.

  20. avatar smile 2 says:

    If going to church and/or reading the bible makes you a Christian….

    then standing in a garage makes you a CAR.

    If you agree, BEEP twice!

    • avatar Chris Glass` says:

      Beep Beep

      • avatar Chris Glass` says:

        Sorry I meant to agree with you Smile 2. To me Christianity is action not words – actually doing a good deed not talking about one. Feeding the poor instead of criticizing their diets or making a difference without drawing attention to what we do. It is putting ourselves in the shoes of others  before judging.

        • avatar Deirdre Cerasa says:

          Beep,Beep
          I just choose for the most part to keep it to myself because it’s one of the things I consider private; a lost concept in our world today. 

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Gosh, I’ve read it twice. The first time, at the tender age of 8, was the final part of my decision to never attend church again (I was reading at some stratospheric beyond college level, so yes, I did understand what I was reading. My book report the first half of third grade was on the unabridged Moby Dick, just for reference). The second time convinced me that Christianity was firmly rooted in power-mongering, ignorance, violence, control and human sacrifice…primarily because 6000 years after the Old Testament’s creation, and 2000 years after the New Testament’s rather awkward editing by Constantine, people still believed so much of the unadulterated and anachronistic idiocy contained therein.
       
      O, and reading it once more, for a total of three times, hasn’t made me a Christian…
       
      I’ll be standing in my garage soon. Let me know if you hear my tires spinning…

      • avatar butterfly55 says:

        People need religion, gods and the books that go with them.  Their egos do not allow them to conceive of a world where “this is all there is”.  They must have a greater meaning because obviously they are meant for something more.  If people believed in this world they would try to make it better instead of killing others to save them.  They can do what they want here and “find god” at the last minute and all is well, why not find humanity when you are born and love it.

      • avatar Mimsy says:

        Vroom, vroom!

    • avatar barney says:

      beep beep

  21. avatar Deborah Key says:

    I’ve always thought that if God were that anti-homosexual, he would have put it in the Ten Commandments “Do not be Gay!”  But He did not – and its not because He forgot.  And like some other posters have stated, Jesus did not mention homosexuals one single time.  

    He talked a lot, a lot, a lot about the poor.  Would that Melissa would focus on that!

    Melissa and the people like her give Christians a bad name.   

    • avatar Pinkie says:

      I love what you said about the Ten Commandments; like you, I don’t see any mention of homosexuality in there at all. I do see something along the lines of, “Don’t take My name in vain,” which for me has always meant, “Don’t use Me as an excuse to treat other people badly.”

    • avatar Sweet Dream says:

      Then it would have been The Eleven Commandments, don’t sound too appetizing. But truthfully, the ten commandments don’t belong in Christianity only. They belong to humanity. Other religions just don’t put them in such a dramatic manner, but intertwine them in everyday life and their stories and legends.

  22. avatar Lin says:

    To the So-Called Christian:

    See ya.  Wouldn’t want to be ya.

  23. avatar Drew Smith says:

    OMG Margo,

    Thank you for breaking your rule, the rampant intolerance that seems to be growing in this country is frightening.

    The Puritans came to America to escape the “tyranny of the majority” and hundreds of years later it seems as if nothing has changed. I often wonder what the framers of the constitution would think.

    Standing on faith, is not the same as standing on the truth.

    For millennia faiths have been evolving, reinterpreting the scriptures for changing times. Any faith founded in the last two thousand years, has reinterpreted the scriptures, can just one be the absolute truth, were there no (fallible) human intermediaries who cast light on their meaning?

    We live in a world of diverse opinions and experiences, to turn one’s back to the rest of the world is in my humble opinion, quite selfish. Many scriptures have some version of “love thy brother as thyself” “what is hateful to you do not do unto others” “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” but you do not get to choose who is your br(other), it is all of us.

    Please, promote tolerance, celebrate diversity, otherwise you may laugh and you may cry, but you will have shut yourself out of the larger world and in closing yourself in will never laugh all your laughter nor cry all of your tears.

    • avatar VJ Dark says:

      @Drew Smith: “The Puritans came to America to escape the “tyranny of the majority” and hundreds of years later it seems as if nothing has changed.”  
      When I was about 11 I read a Mad Magazine that had a comic saying “The Puritans came to America for the freedom to worship as they chose. After that, everyone had better worship as the Puritans chose  — or else!” So yep, nothing has changed. (I can still quote some of those Mad Magazines by heart.)
      So I quote you once again to add my voice to this: “OMG Margo,
      Thank you for breaking your rule, the rampant intolerance that seems to be growing in this country is frightening.” It’s downright terrifying. And people on the news discuss party and candidate’s policy as if it actually were, instead of blatant hatred with an ulterior agenda. 

  24. avatar Paula says:

    LW1, whether you agree with or approve of an individual’s behavior (or think God does), or not, I believe the Bible is clear on this one fact:  We are NEVER supposed to mistreat, oppress, or victimize one another!!!!  This is why I just don’t get the violence against gays and lesbians, or violence against ANY group or individual, in the name of Christianity!  People who do things like that are using their so-called religious beliefs to carry out their own personal agendas.

  25. avatar Jennifer juniper says:

    As others have already pointed out – there is something odd about that second letter.  She says that he has never wished her a happy birthday or Happy Mother’s Day, etc…  But she raised him.  And it sounds like she and her husband taught him very clearly that she was nothing; that she wasn’t someone that you had to remember the birthday of, or thank for being a good Mother on Mother’s day.  Is it really any surprise that now that he’s an adult he is continuing the same dismissive behaviour that he was raised with?  We teach people how to treat us, and unfortunately for this woman, she taught her son poorly.

  26. avatar Mary says:

    For many of the reasons already written I do not participate in organized religion.  My beliefs are such that I basically believe in good vs evil and the struggle of overcoming evil.  I don’t believe that any church is a good model of what Christianity realy is or represents . Man is it’s own enemy and interpretation is done by mere mortal men who have taken liberties in making a smorgasboard of what the individual church believes and practices.  There are probably at least a hundred rewrites of the Bible as it pertains to the author, the interpretor and the reader, It’s crazy.  Yet, I am grateful that my parents insisted that I am my siblings attend church because they believed that the experience gave us a basic understanding of being better people.  When we were older we were free to make our own choices regarding beliefs but my Dad wanted us to do that with some amount of research and background.

    Religion provides many with excuses for their personal feelings of hate, vindictiveness, and moral superiority. It feels good for the person to go to a building, give money, listen to a sermon, pray and learn how wonderful the church was in providing for the needs of that churches so called mission.  It is a personal pat on the back for being in the same buidling with others who are there for the same feeling of doing something right this week to right the wrongs they did the second they left the same building the week before.  All in hopes of entering within the golden gate.

    Many I am sure will have a shocking enlightenment when that time comes. 

  27. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Letter #1 – Although you may not get the chance to read this response, unlike others on this thread of conversation, I agree with you.

    Not your stance that you believe homosexuality is wrong and a sin, for it is not. We do indeed CHOOSE who we have sex with but we do not choose how we are born and who we lust for. That comes hard-wired in our DNA. If a man wants a man, he can CHOOSE to have sex with women, but in his heart and loins, he knows he wants to be with a man.

    But your decision to exclude Margo’s column from one of your sources of online entertainment…..there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  What to many people forget or choose not to acknowledge is the Bible is unlike any other book ever written. It is a book where 1 million people can line up and each take turns reading the same passage from the Bible, and all 1 million people turn and walk away interpreting the words in it, in a completely different manner and context.

    You choose to read passages as condoning homosexuality while others can point (and then counterpoint) other passages where the Bible speaks lovingly of accepting others regardless of sexual leanings. You are someone that picks and chooses the sections of the Bible you want to focus on and hold up as justification for your beliefs, biases and actions. While others accept that the lessons, stories and instructions of the Bible do not always apply to today’s lifestyles.

    I have news outlets I don’t look at, columnists I don’t follow and actors and actresses I choose not to listen to or watch because I don’t approve or agree with how they think and feel about issues. So I 100% agree that it is perfectly fine to slice and dice people from your life. Especially in this instance where Margo is not going to lose sleep over you dumping her, nor do I doubt others will choose not to read her column because you have decided you don’t want to follow her. It is what it is. God Bless you.

    Letter #2 – As others have indicated, there is clearly something more at play in this letter writer’s relationship (or lack thereof) than she is willing to admit to Margo. And at the risk of sounding as if I am attacking the letter writer (that truly is not my intent regardless of how I sound),  I find it odd that she writes of the superficial aspects of wanting to connect with her son and not a deeper and more profound attempt to connect.

    “He won’t say Happy Birthday to me….He doesn’t send Christmas gifts…..we won’t respond on MySpace….” What?  Your 26 year old son has cut you out of his life and you are writing in to Margo and essentially whinning about him not sending you a card? Maybe this act itself is partly to do with his choice not to communicate with his mom.

    Something is not right with this letter writer and the circumstances. Goodness knows I understand the letters are edited for print, but unless there was a huge paragraph deleted from her letter, something does not sound right.                  

  28. avatar flyonthewall says:

    Margo, I absolutely love your response to L#1, especially your last sentence.  That is exactly how I feel about the matter.  From what I know about God, God is love.  Jesus came to teach that.  I have studied the Bible extensively and Jesus never spoke out against homosexuality.  It is my belief that God would never condone the persecution of any homosexual person.
    As for L#2, only the son can divulge why he chooses to be so distant from his parent.  It has been my experience that some people are just quirky like that and keep to themselves. I like Margo’s suggestion, but be prepared to not really get an answer because the son may not know himself why he is like he is.

  29. avatar Amy says:

    Dear Melissa,

    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I
    have learned a great deal from you, and try to share that
    knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend
    the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that
    Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

    I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other
    specific laws and how to follow them.

    1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a
    pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors.
    They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in
    Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair
    price for her?

    3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in
    her period of menstrual cleanliness – Lev.15:19-24. The problem is,
    how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

    4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and
    female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend
    of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can
    you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

    5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus
    35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated
    to kill him myself?

    6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an
    abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than
    homosexuality. I don.t agree. Can you settle this?

    7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I
    have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading
    glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room
    here?

    8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair
    around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.
    19:27. How should they die?

    9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes
    me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two
    different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing
    garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester
    blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really
    necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town
    together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn.t we just burn them to
    death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with
    their in-laws? (Lev.20:14)

    I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident
    you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is
    eternal and unchanging.

    • avatar Drew Smith says:

      Amy thanks for the chuckle,

      I think your last comment is the clincher, since history has taught time and again that man’s interpretation of God’s unchanging word, indeed has changed many times, in the many varieties of the Christian faith alone.

      • avatar Amy says:

        Hehe admittedly it’s stolen from a forum post in response to Dr. Laura’s constant anti-homosexual ramblings.  But it just fit so, so well here. I get so saddened by false Christians like LW#1 who opt a dogma of “scriptures a la carte”.

    • avatar amw says:

      Thank you Amy! Fantastic response!

    • avatar barney says:

      Amers, the problem with your borrowed verbiage in an attempt to smack down Christians is that the scripture that you are quoting comes from the OLD TESTAMENT.  If you had a clue, you’d understand that the NEW TESTAMENT is what CHRISTIANS follow (Jewish follow the Old) and is COMPLETELY different from the Old in that Jesus came and died to break the hold of the OLD LAWS.  If it’s too much for you to understand, I’m sorry, don’t know what to tell you.

      Perhaps you should have directed your quotes at a bunch of homophobic Jews.  It would’ve made much more sense. 

      • avatar barney says:

        I, myself, as a Christian, do not sit in judgment of others for their life choices.  If it doesn’t affect me, I DON’T CARE what people do.  I’ve read many of your posts throughout Margo’s many threads, and you, my friend, are a HYPOCRITE.  You love to give people hell for things they’ve done, so your credibility is shot.  Unless…. YOU are the Perfect One?

      • avatar Mandy McNalis says:

        Barney:  Then why, pray tell, is the Old Testament even included in the Christian Bible then?  You seem so full of knowledge and smarts, so school me on why a religion would bother putting a very large chunk of Jewish mythology into their own holy book if they don’t plan on abiding by it?
        What you’re really saying is just what Amers was getting at: Many Christians like to pick and choose what they follow and believe.  Nowhere in the New Testament (save for by Paul who we should all realize by this point in history was using his words to push his own twisted agenda) does Jesus condemn homosexuality.  Only Paul does that and last check, they weren’t called Paulians.

        • avatar barney says:

          Mandy, if you don’t even understand the basics of how the Testaments are intertwined and how important they are to each other, I can’t argue with you.  I can’t argue with someone who doesn’t have the knowledge to know what they’re talking about, or more importantly, what I’M talking about.

          • avatar Drew Smith says:

            “Pray” tell Barney, why do you choose to “argue” in the first place?
            That the scriptures are interpreted differently by different Christian faiths is a reality and the “basics” as you call them are not basic at all if one compares how different parts of the Old Testament are being “used” in a variety of Christian faiths.
            How is it that some are tolerant of Homosexuality and others are not? How is it that one faith “believes” that is stands on more hallowed “ground” than another?
            What is the answer, in one word, it is a matter of “faith.” Hmm, I have yet to hear a plausible explanation of how one religion’s level of “faith” is superior to another. Because when the intellectual veneer is removed, it all comes down to the same thing, which I have heard time and again with one believer after another from religion after religion, “it’s a matter of faith.”

          • avatar Mandy McNalis says:

            I’m still waiting for your response.  If you’re so concerned that I don’t have the knowledge to understand what you’re talking about, educate me.
            I’d guess the reason for your dismissive response is that you have no clear answer and would rather be condescending than actually try to answer because you know you’ll look like a fool when you do.
             
             

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Um, barney? What Christians do you know…besides yourself? Because I grew up surrounded by Christians, and I live surrounded by Christians, and I’ve been to churches of more different denominations than I can even remember, and read and studied the Christians Bibles carefully, and with the exception of Roman Catholicism…all Christian Denominations use the Old Testament…some of them, especially the Baptists, certain Methodists, and most of the evangelical churches, very, very heavily, while only referencing the New Testament occasionally, just to remind themselves about Jesus’ involvement in the general scheme of things.
         
        Just what country do you live in?

  30. avatar Elizabeth L says:

    Margo, as the Mom of lesbian who is I might add a wonderful human being I just wanted to say Thank You for your response to the narrowminded and misinformed Melissa.

  31. avatar Linda Myers says:

    The Antiquities of Josephus sits on the shelves of many who have studied the theology of the Bible, but tells a very different side of that time and the lives of those inlcuded in the Bible. Both books written by man – one from a historical sense and one from the passing down of stories from the past. To stand with a Bible as a shield of bigotry is not doing a service to any path of belief. To stop reading a column because of something that was said rather than being open to what is yet to be said, says it all in living in a closed desire for an open mind.

  32. avatar Mandy McNalis says:

    Margo: I wouldn’t worry about losing Melissa in Ohio as a reader.  I just sent the link to this page out to all of my lovely, tolerant friends.  Looks like you should be getting a fresh influx of open-minded, kind people reading your column.  VAST improvement.
    So thanks, Melissa!  You’ve brought Margo’s column to a whole new slew of people who appreciate tolerance and acceptance of others.  Your bigotry and condemnation have only further spread Margo’s message of love.  Deal with it.

  33. avatar amw says:

    LW1: There’s nothing else to add here. Margo…sensational response! The other commenters have also brought up some valid, excellent points as well.

    It’s a shame that Melissa dislikes to ready any column that disagrees with her beliefs, but that is her perogative. I personally enjoy a healthy debate as it gives you the opportunity to learn new things and perhaps broaden your ideas and views.

  34. avatar Artemesia says:

    Jesus Christ had nothing to say about homosexuality, although he was pretty clear about divorce.  Anything Paul said is pretty suspect since his major efforts seem to have been to turn Christ’s message into Paul’s message complete with his closeted desires, misogyny and authoritarian needs.  Born again Christians are some of the most evil people in America — and Christ is probably looking down with tears streaming down his face at the way they have distorted his message from one of love to one of hate.

    • avatar amw says:

      I completely agree. How sad that they may interpret God’s word to fit into their narrow minded lifestyle while judging us from their ever present superiority complex for interpreting God’s word in a more loving, accepting way. Quite interesting…yet a bit of knowledge that has ended my quest to find a church. Organized religion (in my experience) is such a mockery…full of self-absorbed hypocrites. The division of church and state served a purpose…our founding fathers/mothers must be rolling in their graves.

    • avatar flyonthewall says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more, Artemesia.

    • avatar Lila says:

      Artemesia, yes, yes, yes.  Check out Chapter 5 of Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.  It is called “The Grand Inquisitor,” is fairly short, stands alone, and is easily found on the internet.  That captures it quite well.

  35. avatar Debbie Ciaravino says:

    LW #1, I feel the need to add my 2 cents. Your views are very narrow and small minded. You do not have to agree with homosexuality in order to be an open minded, compassionate person who loves all of God’s creatures equally. Just look at all the scandals regarding Priests and boys, or preachers stealing money in God’s name, etc. You didn’t abandon the church because some preachers turned out to be homosexual or theives did you? It doesn’t change God’s messages of love, no matter whom the deliverer of the message is.

    So, in the spirit of being a Christian, I would like to say that Margo and the others on this message board would be willing to turn the other cheek. We would welcome you back in the hopes that you might learn a little something about yourself and how to treat others. If you chose not to, then I will put you in my prayers that God opens your eyes, heart and mind to what he is really trying to teach you and that he has mercy on your soul if you chose not to listen.

    • avatar Drew Smith says:

      What makes you think that any of us don’t already have our eyes, hearts and minds open to what God has to teach us?
       
      Who is this “we” you speak of? Your family, congregation, religion? Why would we, have a need for acceptance by all of “you.” We have our own family, congregation, religion and I preach not only tolerance but celebrate diversity.
       
      When all of “you” can say the same, then you and I have common ground.

      • avatar Drew Smith says:

        Debbie, apologies, I misread your post, so I guess you can take my response as ironic if you wish.
        I picked up on the tone which I have heard so many times from a more “exclusive” brand of Christianity, where what you say is based on “buying-in” on the tenets of a specific church with the requisite our way or the highway…, to Hell.

  36. avatar BeanCounter says:

    Thank you Margo.   Thursday and Friday mornings are my favorite and I love coming into work to read your column first thing with my coffee.  :)

  37. avatar Margo Howard says:

    Dear Bean Counter: Thanks so much. That’s nice to hear.

  38. avatar Jay Gentile says:

    Why don’t any of the 10 Commandments mention gay sex? There’s one about adultery but nothing about sodomy. One can assume it’s acceptable as long as sodomy occurs outside of marriage? The krist kult cracks me up!

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Curiously, Jay, the confusion over Paul’s words in Romans. 1 Corinthians, and 1 Timothy, refers to just that…whether he was referring to homosexuality, homosexual prostitution, those who were heterosexual but turned to homosexuality for pleasure…or, specifically, anal sex (be mighty careful when using the word “sodomy” as the actual laws of various states interpret the word differently…some actually define it as referring to “any ‘unnatural’ sexual act”). This is because the original Greek contains a number of words that cannot be translated because they had several dialectical meanings at the time…and because different translations of Paul give them different meanings over the centuries.
       
      There is direct reference to Paul to “unclean” sexual acts in conjunction with the alleged probation of homosexuality. This is referred to roughly as “sex as it is between men”. Since there was no hygiene to speak of in those somewhat dark and disease ridden days…such sex would have been deemed…unclean. It still is today by many. Curiously, if you bother with history through the ages…even from that time period and moving forward…you will discover that humans knew perfectly well just what activity caused babies to be conceived, and willingly took part in sodomy (named after Sodom…) to prevent pregnancy. Hence, perhaps, the proscription against this form of birth control.
       
      Of course it wasn’t put in the Ten Commandments. Eleven wasn’t an even number and would have been awkward…and it might have given the ignorant masses ideas.

  39. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    Charitably is right Margo.  My first instinct with that person was to lash her with a wet noodle (or, you know, a bullwhip).  Thanks for reminding me that a clear, polite response is always the correct way.  As my dear Mere used to say:  “I have taken the high road and I have taken the low road.  I have never regretted taking the high road.  I have frequently regretted taking the low one.”.  Smart cookie, the Count’s Mere was.

  40. avatar MKE says:

    GIANT *sigh*………..

    LW1: it is people like you that give christians a bad name. not all of us are like that you know, and I hope those of you that know “crazy, bible thumping, maniacal, and FALSE” christians realize that there are normal, healthy, accepting, great people out there that are christian, and actually do practice what they preach. My father, for example, is a good, honest, calm, accepting, giving, loving, amazing man who is my hero and the reason I continue to be a christian today. He is a good father, volunteers his time for the homeless, works hard everyday of his life for his family, is curteous to absolutely everyone, finds value when others don’t bother to look, and has always been my rock. Its because of the example of men like him that I can continue to believe in the merrit of religion and a moral foundation. This lunatic (LW1), however, doesn’t speak for all of us.
    and P.S. the world is full of such sh*t that I think if God is looking down crying at anything, its probably not Margo and her column…. I’d assume he has more important things to worry about, like child molesters, or terrorist, or Justin Beiber :(

    LW2:My guess is that there must have been some sort of rift….but if you really can’t understand or think of anything that would cause him to act this way…sometimes, regardless of how great your childhood was or how awesome your parents were, people just dont see the importance in family. Maybe he just wants to branch out, which I hear is normal for mid 20-somethings. Or maybe he is just a flighty person…after all, second marriage before hes 26? quite a feat.

    • avatar Lila says:

      MKE, hmm, you just reminded me of someone… think she was about 26 or 27 at the time and getting married for the 5th time!  She used to tell anyone who would listen about the sexual abuse she endured as a child.  Seemed like her many marriages and even more boyfriends were some kind of repeated, failed attempt to have a connection with someone.  She certainly was not interested in any connection with her family.
       
      Not saying that LW2’s son was sexually abused, but maybe for whatever reason his childhood home life was unsupportive or somehow unloving or neglectful, and the Mom doesn’t see it.  Yeah, second marriage by age 26 combined with a lack of interest in any relationship with his mother – makes me wonder…

      • avatar MKE says:

        also true. and sad, your story I mean. sometimes the parents just can’t SEE what they did “wrong” (whether its abuse, etc.) and therefore can’t understand why the child they spent so many years “loving” (smothering, abusing, whatever) doesnt want contact anymore….
        I wonder as well.

  41. avatar David Bolton says:

    And you know bitch went out right after writing her letter to Salon Daniel to get her roots done. She always insists on Daniel himself because he knows his color better than anybody. And it looks so natural!

  42. avatar barney says:

    Re LW1:  I am a Christian, and while I don’t agree with the homosexual lifestyle, I do believe in the addage “live and let live”.   I have good friends who are homosexual and I wouldn’t give their friendship up for anything, or pass judgment on their lifestyle.  Their life, their eternity, etc., is not my responsibility.  I care about them the same as I do anyone else in my life and wish only the best for them.  Are they hurting me?  No.  Are they hurting others?  No.  Their personal decisions are one of my business then.
    Re LW2:  Buddy, you need to drop it.  You’ve done your best, shown your son that you care and that you want a relationship, you can’t force it.  Just hope that someday (sooner rather than later) he’ll have a change of heart and pursue a relationship with you.  I would get on with my life and stop agonizing over something I can’t change.  Focus on people in your life that DO care about having a relationship with you and not on those that don’t.  No matter who they are.

    • avatar chuck alien says:

      you’re the fun kind of christian who thinks they really aren’t that bad toward gay people… you’re a good person, right?  as you say, “live and let live.” 

      but… your words betray you.  you throw in a “I don’t agree with the homosexual lifestyle” and a “their eternity is not my responsibility.”

      you judge and condemn gays at the same time you claim “friendship” with them.

      you have an opinion on their lifestyle?  why? 
      you actually, literally decided at some point “i do not agree with their lives”?
      you have, in your mind, condemned them to hell and washed your hands of it?

      can you not see how judgmental and self-serving this is?  really?

      ask yourself why you have an opinion on their “lifestyle” at all.

       

      • avatar barney says:

        you’re the fun kind of christian who thinks they really aren’t that bad toward gay people… you’re a good person, right?  as you say, “live and let live.” 
        — Don’t create an issue where there isn’t one.  “not that bad toward gay people”…  what do you have before you to say that I am “bad against gay people”?  You’re making crap up based on your fantasy view of a Christian.
        but… your words betray you.  you throw in a “I don’t agree with the homosexual lifestyle” and a “their eternity is not my responsibility.”

        —  Yeah, I don’t agree with it.  I don’t understand it.  Do I care if they do it?  NO.  It’s none of my business.   I’m not judging.  I don’t care what your definition of judging is, I’m not accepting your definition of it.   If you don’t agree that I should wear a certain shirt with a certain pair of shoes, are you being an intolerant jerk?  No, we have a difference of OPINION.
        you judge and condemn gays at the same time you claim “friendship” with them.

        — Just like you are judging and condemning me, right?  Mr…. TOLERANT.  You have NO idea who I am or what my relationships are like.  My gay friends know EXACTLY what my beliefs are, we accept each other all the same, enjoy close relationships and that is good enough for me.  Not YOUR lame attempt to shame me out of my Christian beliefs.  
        you have an opinion on their lifestyle?  why? 
        –You clearly have an opinion of MY beliefs… WHY?
        you have, in your mind, condemned them to hell and washed your hands of it?
        –Um… I’m not God.  Thanks for giving me the power to actually condemn people, but I don’t have the power, the will, the motive, the desire, the ANYTHING to condemn ANYONE.  I’m glad that I don’t have that responsibility, I am responsible for MYSELF and I don’t allow people’s eternities to pile onto me as if it’s my responsibility.  I am a CHRISTIAN, I believe in the Bible as God’s word.  Clearly, you don’t.  Why can’t you just accept the fact that we disagree?  Why are YOU sitting in judgment of ME for MY beliefs, when I’m the one who has no tolerance for any of this bullcrap?!  Unlike you.  Your beliefs are your beliefs, I accept that, but you refuse to accept the fact that I’m entitled to mine.

        can you not see how judgmental and self-serving this is?  really?
        –No.  YOU are making an awful lot of judgments and accusations about ME without knowing a bloody thing about me.  Typical of you self-proclaimed “tolerant” types. 

        ask yourself why you have an opinion on their “lifestyle” at all.
        —You are absolutely ridiculous.  Hypocrite.

        • avatar barney says:

          BTW, I’ll have you know that as a Libertarian, I believe that people should live as they choose – however that is, as long as it does not infringe upon my rights.  Can you say the same?  And MEAN it, even about Christians?

        • avatar chuck alien says:

          you are, in fact, judging something if you don’t “agree” with it.

          you’ve taken the steps to form an opinion about it… you’ve literally “judged” it by having an opinion.

          i don’t claim to be your friend.  i didn’t say “he’s my buddy, i just completely disagree with the very core of his nature, judging him “wrong” on his very essence… but don’t worry, he knows i think less of him, and he’s still my friend for some reason.”

          i just pointed out the hypocrisy in your words. i wasn’t really trying to be tolerant of you. 

          (and you realize what “self-proclaimed” means, right?  like, i would have had to proclaim that myself, of myself.  see… “self” and “proclaimed.”   it’s easy.  someone not saying something therefore… wouldn’t be self-proclaimed.  or proclaimed at all.)

          all my judgements of you are based exactly on what you’ve said.  i’ve made no assumptions. you clearly stated some things, and i called you on them.  no hypocrisy on my side, man.

          and of course you realize…  saying i’m ridiculous and misusing the word “hypocrite” doesn’t answer the question:  WHY do you have an opinion of their lifestyle?

          i mean… i think through all my friendships… and there isn’t ONE that i would characterize as living a lifestyle i “disagree” with.  they live.  i live.  their lives aren’t mine, so having an opinion on them seems… ridiculous.  and strangely judgey.

          doesn’t it? 

          • avatar barney says:

            Chuck, I REALLY don’t care what you think.  Why I spent my time arguing with you at all annoys me.  

          • avatar barney says:

            Chuck, BOTTOM LINE is that I do not define my relationships with ANYONE based on their sexuality, or anything else for that matter.  Unless I’m married to them, I… DON’T… CARE….!!!!!

            You read waaaaayy too much into things and make things much too difficult.  Your life must be very complicated.  I choose to spend my time ENJOYING my life, my friends, my family, no matter WHO they are, what choices they’ve made, their sexual orientation, skin color, blah blah…  If they’re a part of my life, they know they can count on me for anything, whenever, wherever.  CASE FRIGGIN’ CLOSED!!!!!  Gawd. 

          • avatar Mimsy says:

            Then why are you bothering to reply?  Go away and spare us your odious presence.  Problem solved.

      • avatar MKE says:

        and how about you ask yourself why you have an opinion on this woman’s life at all, or how she thinks. big brother is bad, and there is no such thing as thinking, beliefs, or opinions being a crime.

        geez, do you agree with everything there is in the world? I’m going to take a wild shot in the dark and say no. there will be people who do agree with those things. then what. Would you like to be talked to the way some people are talking to christians on here?

        try to be like Jesus, love the sinner, hate the sin. the end. super simple. 

        • avatar barney says:

          Yep yep.  :-)  Spot on, Mike.

          • avatar chuck alien says:

            spot on?  really?

            because the jump from “judging people for being gay is bad” to “there is no such thing as thinking, beliefs, or opinions” is such a logical, well thought-out one?

            all i said was saying “oh, we’re such friends” on one hand while saying “i disagree with the core of your being” on the other isn’t “not judging.”  

            it is, in fact, judging. a lot. 

            i can understand “disagreeing” with someone going around killing people.

            i can’t understand “disagreeing” with someone quietly living their life with no impact on your own.

            what is there to disagree with? 

          • avatar MKE says:

            if being gay is the “core of your being”, then you have a very shallow being.   theres way more to people than who they sleep with. 

          • avatar chuck alien says:

            i figured the “more to people than their sexuality” would get dragged out… you’ve hit all the other nonsense non-arguments today.

            yes… your sexuality is a major, major component of your being.

            if it’s not… why do you have an opinion about other people’s?

            no, it’s not everything. duh.  people are a magical, myriad rainbow of complexity.  not the argument.

            “i understand, john, that there is more to you than your skin color. but… i hope you understand how much i disagree with you being black.  every moment, some part of me wishes you weren’t black, because i think it’s wrong.  but i manage to love the other, non-black parts of you. you’re welcome.” 

          • avatar MKE says:

            the bible doesn’t say being black is wrong, it says being gay is wrong. and christians are taught to love every bit of everyone, and allow God to be the judge. but when asked, a practicing christian can’t lie, they know that everyone sins. yet, somehow they accept and love them anyway. how about you try that with all these people you are trying to hate on.

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            The fantasy…
             
            “the bible doesn’t say being black is wrong, it says being gay is wrong. and christians are taught to love every bit of everyone, and allow God to be the judge. but when asked, a practicing christian can’t lie, they know that everyone sins. yet, somehow they accept and love them anyway. how about you try that with all these people you are trying to hate on.”
             
            the reality…
             
            “the bible doesn’t say being black is wrong (but you’d think it did seeing how men have—especially in the South, for hundreds of years, justified blacks as being inferior because of that little bit with Noah’s son. In fact, this was actually taught at the Church of Christ school I attended in Nashville.) it says being gay is wrong (well, I think you mean to say that someone in the Bible—a man—said that being gay was wrong. Just like men also said that women are inferior beings, plus a fair number of other rules virtually no one follows today. And yet amazingly—Jesus Himself spent a whopping 33 years here, came specifically to rescue man from his sins, and somehow forgot to mention the gay one in any shape, form or fashion. Odd.) and christians are taught to love every bit of everyone, and allow God to be the judge. (cough) but when asked, a practicing christian can’t lie, (well, except for Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard and several others…) they know that everyone sins. yet, somehow they accept and love them anyway (because this is so much more fulfilling than worrying solving our own problems—in fact, it happens so often there’s a psychological term for it). how about you try that with all these people you are trying to hate on. (I know, right? The nerve of some people.)

          • avatar Deborah Key says:

            Hi David

            When  did you go to Lipscomb?

          • avatar Drew Smith says:

            Yet there have been times when some Christ based religions said that being black was a mark from God and they were not accepted as equals in their church (I intentionally am choosing not to single out a faith and thus not naming the church).
             
            Yet another example of intolerance masquerading as faith.

          • avatar barney says:

            Mike, you are EXACTLY RIGHT.

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            Hey Deborah—actually it was Ezell, but I WAS thrown off the DL campus for wearing shorts while trying to use their library. Love the sinner, hate the shorts. 

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            Regarding the nature of “the core of your being,” by your own logic a black person is merely a white person with darker skin. Since I’m not black myself, I’ll invite Belinda Joy and any others to chime in and see if this is how they view themselves.

          • avatar MKE says:

            hahahahahaha, that is utterly ridiculous. being black is nothing like being gay, I don’t know why you think thats my logic, I’ve never said a word about race.

            how do you know I’m not black anyway? or chinese? or pakistani?  why does everyone make the argument that “well if you don’t think homosexuality is right, you must think being a different race is also wrong.” where do people get this logic? Its moronic and like comparing apples to oranges. 

          • avatar chuck alien says:

            ok then… how is race NOT like being gay?
             
            born that way?
            unable to change it?
            a superficial classification on which to judge people?
            subject to a culture but not necessarily enslaved to it?
             
            so, in all seriousness…. in what way is being gay NOT like being a race?
             
            it is, in fact, not moronic at all.  if you judge ONE group of people for something they were born as that has no effect on you whatsoever…. then why wouldn’t you judge OTHER groups of people with those exact same attributes?
             
             
             
             
             

          • avatar MKE says:

            thats only if you think people are born gay. I don’t. that is your opinion….so yes, i stick with my earlier post.

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            Your statement: “if being gay is the “core of your being”, then you have a very shallow being.   theres way more to people than who they sleep with.”
             
            Again, you show exactly how ignorant and intolerant you really are. By the first statement you infer that I’m gay simply because I have sex with men (and that it’s shallow at that). No, I’m gay because that’s who and what I AM, not what I DO. What’s ironic is that you make one statement that completely negates the next—by relegating “being gay” as merely an activity rather than a state of being, and then stating how important it is to look beyond appearances. Are you a Christian because you go through the motions of reading the Bible and doing things that Christians are supposed to do—or does it go deeper than that? (Actually, why I’m asking YOU about Christianity is absurd, but I’ll go with it for the moment).
             
            And really, what’s moronic is when people try to claim understanding and trivialize what it must be to be gay, or black, a nationality or something different than what THEY are. Why, it must be exactly like ME—only with different parts, skin color, different choices, etc. If anyone is trying to compare apples and oranges, and force everything into a “one-size fits all” mold, it’s YOU.

      • avatar Rita@ Goldivas says:

        Excellent reply, Chuck.

        • avatar Briana Baran says:

          @ MKE and barney: Here is a simple, hopefully clear explanation for you. A given human being’s sexual orientation (sexuality) is as integral to his being (no gender discrimination meant, I will not use the PC “his/her”…as I am not a PC mammal) as his race, ethnicity, color of his eyes, and genetics. It is not a choice, a lifestyle, or something that can be changed or cured. It is not a sickness or a sin.
           
          The fact of a given individual’s being gay affects no one anymore than that person’s race, ethnicity, gender or genetics do. His existence in the world as who and how he was born do not impact a single person…except himself. It is how other’s choose to perceive the empirical facts of this person’s existence that cause so much disturbance and pain.
           
          Now, barney, you spoke of disliking a “lifestyle”. Can you clarify? I do know, that at one time, many gay men and lesbian women felt heavy societal pressure to fit into certain cultural molds…the Screaming Mary, the Bull Dyke, the Drag Queen…it was expected…and it was done because freaks, being freaks, are given a pass, and allowed to live. No one ever considered giving freaks a pass into normal, polite society. But things changed, barney…because most gay men and lesbian women want lives, not fringe existences. They love, and laugh, and hold down normal jobs, have children, wanted their right to be actual citizens of this country…not garish amusements for the monkeys at the zoo.
           
          Almost every one of the gay men and lesbian women that I know, and have known, could not be identified as such by the stereotypical profiling that so many engage in…and certainly not by lifestyle. They are just people…who happen to hold a same-sex partner’s hand while out shopping. Whose right is it to condemn, or dislike them for whom they love? That isn’t a lifestyle, barney, that’s life, and living. And when you say you don’t approve of a “lifestyle”…which may be very close to what you consider ideal…house, family, job, love, affection, quiet evenings at home, children, security, comfort and love…what you’re really saying is, “I don’t approve of you, I don’t approve of what you are, what you were born with and as, and what you always will be”.
           
          And MKE, you are actually not precisely correct when you speak of there being no condemnation of the dark skinned races in the Bible. Many versions of the Old Testament refer to the Children of Eve as being the Dark Skinned people who were exiled to the Land of Nod…the product of the unnatural acts between herself and Adam (incest is implied, as Eve was created from Adam’s rib). Early condemnation of African Black people actually was based on Biblical texts…they were considered inhuman, unnatural, and “Black Devils”. These beliefs extended well into the 18th, and even 19th centuries, and early 20th century Jim Crow law was based on the supposition that Black people were a lesser species.
           
          In any case. there is absolutely no difference between condemning a person for being black, and condemning a person for being gay. One is born that way, one cannot be cured of it, and there is nothing sinful, unnatural, unfortunate, loathsome or involving choice about either. Also, it would not be so necessary to define one’s existence by either one’s sexual orientation or race/ethnicity of those who were filled with irrational hatred (always based in fear) did not make it such a crucial part of everyday life. It doesn’t matter if one condemns because of ludicrous proscriptions in a 6000 year old religious text created soley be controlling, dominating, ignorant men…or because one is a willfully ignorant racist who is terrified and threatened on some base level of anachronistic mentality that “they” are somehow better, stronger, “bigger” and more sexually competent than he is. 
           
          It’s all ignorant, willful prejudice. I can go along with acceptance…but what barney is talking about is not really acceptance…it is tolerance. When one accepts, one doesn’t qualify with statements such as “I don’t approve of the lifestyle”. Such comments are indicative of tolerance, as in, “I like your company, and that’s why I tolerate your unacceptable lifestyle”.
           
          You both might want to think a bit about what Jesus really said…

          • avatar MKE says:

            I do think about what Jesus really said. Which is why homosexuality is a sin. It’s really simple. I don’t know why people complicate things.

            Do I go around telling gays/lesbians they are wrong and sinners? No. Do I not hang out with/ befriend people because of sexual orientation? No. Do I join those stupid and ignorant rallies against homosexuals? No. Do I preach to people against them? No. Do I hate homosexuals? No. Do I think they are bad? No. Do I tell gay jokes or say derogatory things about them? No. I don’t see how believing homosexuality is a sin, yet still treating everyone the same, makes me a biggot or predjudice. Predjudice and biggotry implies that there is some sort of hostile feeling towards a subject that I just don’t have.

            The only thing I have ever said is the truth and my opinion. I have never personally attacked homosexuals, quite the opposite. If I am to be a christian, to try and live the life and do the best I can, I cannot condone sin (and yes, I am a sinner too. everyone is). That goes for gamblers, theives, adulterers, whatever. thats just the way it is. I just want to be treated the same way I treat homosexuals. Mutual respect and understanding. And yes, I do have understanding, but I also have a moral compass and a personal belief system that will not change, even if popular opinion opposes it. The path to heaven is narrow and difficult. I’m trying to get there the best way I know how.

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            I do think about what Jesus really said. Which is why homosexuality is a sin. It’s really simple. I don’t know why people complicate things. (Please show me in Scripture where it says that Jesus condemns homosexuality. Jesus said nothing of the sort—and you know for a fact that Jesus said nothing of the sort. Why you would even presume to put words in the mouth of the being you know as God for the sake of self-righteousness pushes the limits of arrogance.)
            Do I go around telling gays/lesbians they are wrong and sinners? No. (Wrong: you’ve repeatedly posted on this board of your belief that being gay is a sin.)
             
            Do I not hang out with/ befriend people because of sexual orientation? No. Do I join those stupid and ignorant rallies against homosexuals? No. (No, you just help perpetuate a bias towards people and give fuel to the fire.)
             
            Do I preach to people against them? No. (Wrong: again, you have stated repeatedly, “being gay is a sin.”)
             
            Do I hate homosexuals? No. (No, you just state again and again your hatred of the fact that they ARE gay, e.g. “love the sinner, HATE the sin.”)
             
            Do I think they are bad? No. (Wrong: you’ve repeatedly posted how being gay is the equivalent of sinning. By your own argument, being gay is bad. Do you not understand your own argument?)
             
            Do I tell gay jokes or say derogatory things about them? No. (Wrong: again, how many times have you posted that being gay is a sin?)
             
            I don’t see how believing homosexuality is a sin, yet still treating everyone the same, makes me a biggot or predjudice. Predjudice and biggotry implies that there is some sort of hostile feeling towards a subject that I just don’t have. (Try that with a black person: “You know, I like YOU, but I sure do wish you were white so you could join me in the Kingdom of Heaven.”)

            The only thing I have ever said is the truth and my opinion. I have never personally attacked homosexuals, quite the opposite. (Riiiiight.)

  43. avatar LCMom says:

    LW1 – remember, Jesus was with Mary… the… PROSTITUTE! Heaven, what have we gotten ourselves into with the self-proclaimed ‘son of God’ hanging out with prostitutes! It said that particular profession was a sin too… But it also says that “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. I guess you take that literally and just throw the million and tenth stone? I feel so sorry for you and everyone else who “buys” into a book as if it is the word of god… who is that anyway?!?!?  Signed, Recovering Christian turned Atheist and happier for it.

    LW2 – Have the conversation with your son in person. And don’t be afraid to ask the deep questions that will hopefully give you answers.

    • avatar barney says:

      LCMom, you had me agreeing with you right up until your crappy proclamation of feeling sorry for Christians.  You’re a hypocrite.  You condescendingly feel sorry for me, someone who has personally chosen to take the path of Christianity, yet just before that, you blasted people who sit in judgement of others.  What do you think your statement was?!  You’ve just contradicted yourself.  MY freedom of choosing my own beliefs is nothing to do with you, doesn’t affect you, or anyone else.  Don’t you DARE feel sorry for me.

      • avatar Jay Gentile says:

        You are certainly free to choose your own cult. You chose the cult of the water walker, so good for you. That doesn’t give christians the right to formulate secular social policy based on a book of allegorical fairy tales, nor does it give them the right to villify anyone who doesn’t follow the purported words of your invisible sky friend. Personally, I think people who believe in phantom spirits have a mental disorder, but I pity them because they know not what they do.

        • avatar barney says:

          LMAO at Jay…  Erm… come back when you actually READ my post.  Or, actually comprehend what I was trying to say, IF possible, my narrow-minded friend.  Good grief.

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            “Personally, I think people who believe in phantom spirits have a mental disorder, but I pity them because they know not what they do.”
             
            Oh, I think he comprehended it all right, Barney. This is nothing more than a rewording of “love the sinner, hate the sin.” Only the “sin” in this case is spending (or as Jay suggests, wasting) time with religion. I’m not exactly sure why this merits the label of “narrow-minded.” And as far as MKE’s rant—er, post—below, I have yet to have any atheist friends belittle me for any spiritual beliefs I have, or try to ram theirs down my throat. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that they don’t give a sh*t. And I think it’s rather ironic that in one breath MKE complains about those nasty liberals, and in the next espouses the most liberal of beliefs: believe what you want to believe, since this is America.

          • avatar MKE says:

            first, I’m glad you’ve never had any atheist friends belittle you for your beliefs, because I have. They give a shit, they try to convince me I’m the one with the problem for believing in a God. And I was aiming for irony David. Because I find them ironic. Thats the whole point.

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            Glad we cleared that up.
             
            One other thing: is this an example of “the people who go around flinging their derogatory nonsense that I don’t have patience for?”
             
            ““look at me! I’m progressive! I’m a mother f*cking atheist! I’m scientific and hip and edgy and angry all the time for no reason!”
             
            Or is this a better example?
             
            “the people who are most offensive, most judgmental, most arrogant, most self-serving, most stubborn, and least giving or warm, are those people who claim to be “open-minded” liberal, progressive, yadah yadah yadah. I’m sooooo sick of your whinning and your putting people down, and your sh*tty attitudes.”
             
            They both seem like good examples to me, but I just can’t choose.
             
             

          • avatar MKE says:

            what part of irony didn’t you understand? I’ll be happy to explain it to you.

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            My God—you’re an idiot.
             
            Done.

          • avatar Mimsy says:

            For someone who claims to be libertarian, you’re certainly tossing judgements left right and center.  Please remove the log from your eye (or….elsewhere, as the case may be) before you point out the splinters in others.

        • avatar MKE says:

          oh please. “look at me! I’m progressive! I’m a mother f*cking atheist! I’m scientific and hip and edgy and angry all the time for no reason! One whiff of something I deem moronic, like those idiodic christians, and I’m going to mount you like the stubborn donkey that I am and ram you until you stop believing in fairytales and agree with me!”

          based on personal experience alone, the people who are most offensive, most judgmental, most arrogant, most self-serving, most stubborn, and least giving or warm, are those people who claim to be “open-minded” liberal, progressive, yadah yadah yadah. I’m sooooo sick of your whinning and your putting people down, and your sh*tty attitudes.

          people get to believe what they want to. Welcome to America. enjoy dying alone and the nothingness that you believe comes after.

          However, rational people, atheist, muslim, christian, morman, hindu, whatever, are more than welcome to have their say. And I will listen respectfully and possibly learn something. Its the people who go around flinging their derogatory nonsense that I don’t have patience for.

          sincerely,
          a water-walking bush burner with an invisible sky friend. I call him Steve.

           

          • avatar barney says:

            *THUNDEROUS ROUND OF APPLAUSE!*

          • avatar Briana Baran says:

            Mmm…MKE…I was with you until this post. My husband is one of those “m****rf****ing atheists”. I am an agnostic. His best friend is also an atheist. My best friends are both Christian. Our very compassionate, gentle, loyal and brilliant son went to an excellent Christian pre-school, and all of his friends are Christian. He is an atheist, and has had hate letters left on his locker by quite a few Christian students at his very nice, exemplary middle school, and been hit, kicked and verbally abused for his his particular set of beliefs. He has been taught that you take an individual at face value…not because of religion, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. These things don’t matter. It seems that an awful lot of Christian parents don’t teach their children these same principles.
             
            We are much more liberal in our social views than many people, and we are, and always have been, followers of science. He is actually the more optimistic and gentler of the two of us. I am the iron-clad, cynical iconoclast. As a student of history, anthropology, archeology, sociology…and theology…in other words, all of humanity, which I love, and am never shocked and surprised by, I despise the institutions of organized religion.
             
            That does not mean that I would deny individuals their faith. Or tell them that they are wrong to believe what they believe. I will strongly enforce my right as a citizen of this country not to be governed in any way by religious dogma of any kind, nor to have the dogmatic beliefs of one group forced upon me. This does not mean that I hate all Christian individuals, or am intolerant of their beliefs…or all Muslim persons…or all Wiccans…I think you must see my point.
             
            But to me, religion, which I define as a set of rules (dogma) that determines what deity(ies) a given set of people will believe in, how, when and where they will worship. governs how said rules will effect their daily lives, what they will eat, wear, learn and think, whom they will associate with according to race, ethnicity, religion and even sexual orientation…and then condemns all others, determines that one set of worshipers is infinitely inferior to the other…because of gender, no, less…and keeps them bound as chattel, slaves, breeding machines, and even determines that they have no souls (and Christianity was just as guilty of this as Islam for centuries)…that is one of humanity’s cruelest, most devious, divisive, hate and ignorance mongering, murderous inventions of all time.
             
            As Christians say so often about so many different issues: “Hate the sin, not the sinner”. For me, it’s loathe and detest the institution…not the institutionalized. Though is the United States, at this time, far too many Christians (I find it intensely amusing that Christians are always saying that other Christians aren’t True Christians if there is some disagreement on actions, interpretation, behavior, or there is a question of, mmm, ethics and intent. You do realize that those supposedly Not-True-Christians would actually say that you aren’t a True Christian too…) have organized themselves into a vast machine of dogmatic fury aimed at impressing their Biblical Will upon…well…everyone. Millions. Concerned Women for America is the single largest woman’s social concern organization in the nation…and it is an ultra-conservative, Christian group bent on bringing an end to reproductive rights to women, ans reinstating chattel law. You swear at atheists…and talk about loneliness, illogic, and nothingness…but what will happen to those like Sandy Rios, Pope Benedict with his condemnation of condoms in HIV epidemic sub-Saharan Africa and protection on Holocaust denying and pedophile priests, Glen Beck who sees Nazis everywhere, and is a blatant racist, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman and their ties to Christian Dominionism, and Mrs. Bachman’s husband, who runs a clinic at which he claims to “cure homosexuality through the love of Jesus”? 
             
            I understand the psychology of religion very well…and I don’t think it’s moronic…I think it’s terrifying. I could never have blind faith in a 6000 years’ anachronistic book, or the teachings of a society dead for millenia. I could never despise people because a charismatic leader tells me to, because I think for myself (that goes for politics as well). I don’t know if I am progressive…you said that with such venom…are you against progress, and if so, what kind…and I don’t believe as I do, or live as I do to fit some society pigeonhole of hipness, liberal cool, or enlightenment. I’ve been the way I am for decades.
             
            Also…I thought that god decided where people go according to Christians. So, given that, how do you know that atheists will A) die alone (we have two sons, and family, and friends), and B) go to…nothingness? Aren’t you making god’s decisions for him?
             
            Watch out for lightning bolts…

          • avatar Lila says:

            Briana, it never fails to amaze me that God needs Man to make his decisions, enforce his will, and appoint his saints.

          • avatar MKE says:

            haha, again, that post was made in jest. you spent quite a lot of time and effort saying many things that I agree with, and tearing down many things that were a joke to make myself laugh.

            as I said to david, I was responding to the lunatic calling God my invisible sky friend. and nobody talks about steve like that!

            😉

        • avatar LCMom says:

          Jay, that’s exactly it! No judgment (BARNEY), just pity for you and all the rest of ’em.
          And Jay, I love the “sky friend” – I’m still laughing from that. <3

        • avatar LCMom says:

          Jay, that’s exactly it! No judgment (BARNEY), just pity for you and all the rest of ’em.
          And Jay, I love the “sky friend” – I’m still laughing from that. <3

          David Bolton, love your comments as well. Snappy!

          Barney, what exactly are you getting your panties in a wad for? Nevermind, I really don’t care, just like I don’t care what you believe in. To each their own, just stop pushing it onto others who want no part.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      “I guess you take that literally and just throw the million and tenth stone?”
       
      I rather like that argument.

      • avatar LCMom says:

        Thanks, David. I’m happy to have thought of it. (I rarely am able to say something perfectly suited when I need to, so this was a happy change for me.)

  44. avatar jbm44116 says:

    God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.
    *
    Religion is doing what you are told, regardless of what is right.
    Morality is doing what is right, regardless of what you’re told.

    • avatar barney says:

      jbm44116 – nicely put.  :-)

      • avatar chuck alien says:

        ah, now we just have to all agree on what “right” means.

        • avatar LCMom says:

          To each is own is what I say. Everyone has their own set of morals (or those handed to them on in a book written by men, who made very bold claims about it being more godly than that) – the Bible is is hearsay; it is not evidence.

        • avatar LCMom says:

          To each is own is what I say. Everyone has their own set of morals which they choose for themselve, or for some, they’re handed to them on in a book written by men. The Bible is is hearsay; it is not evidence of anything.

  45. avatar Paul Smith says:

    Why must you hold this woman up to ridicule? She is Christian and, when last I checked, it still does not endorse homosexuality.  The cowards who regularly attack Christians and their beliefs become mute before the Muslims whose atrocities against women and gays alike gets a pass.  

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      I love blanket generalizations.

    • avatar Drew Smith says:

      As to whether Christianity ACCEPTS homosexuality, it depends on which church you ask, which is the point of this tolerance and acceptance conversation, that one faith “believes” it has the corner on morality to the exclusion of all others is not rational, it is based on an insular faith.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Hmmmm…Paul, do you know any Muslim people at all? Do you realize that the violence of sharia law is not much different than the chattel law that the followers of the increasingly powerful fundamentalist Christian movement advocate? Have you ever heard of the IRA (becoming active once again), the Serbians and their abominable acts of rape until death, cutting the throats of little boys before their families, and defiling little girls then dragging them away to become whores until they bled to death…all perpetrated against Muslims, the Red Army? Timothy McVeigh? The Branch Davidians?
       
      I am very familiar with the Muslim community in Houston (it is sizable), and there is no support for sharia law visible…because most Muslims are moderates who are against such things as honor killings and infibulation. That’s why they live here, not there. I know of a number of mixed religious marriages between Muslims and Christians, Buddhists…and even one Islamic man and a Jewish woman.
       
      I’m no coward. I stand by my convictions. Try reading some of the posts, Paul. I don’t see cowards…I see critically thinking, educated, intellectual people who are actually very concise, coherent, and consistent when making their arguments.
       
      If anyone is a coward, it might be those hiding behind misdirection, diversion tactics, and sweeping generalizations. Ya think?

  46. avatar blubrojake says:

    Some of the best conversations I have had are with people who do not share my opinion on things.  While my opinion is not always changed, I respect where the other person is at and often find their prespective interesting.  We all come from different backgrounds and would be a much better world if everyone would accept that.

    • avatar barney says:

      THANK YOU.  That is so true and exactly my feeling.  I’m always glad to have a friendly, civil, MUTUALLY RESPECTFUL debate or discussion and finish it with a handshake.  However, I have no patience for people who won’t reciprocate the consideration of allowing me (and/or others) to have my/our beliefs without name calling and demeaning comments.  There’s too much disrespect and judgment… ironically from those who complain and accuse others of it the most.  I’m noticing a LOT of that coming from regular posters here.  

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        If there’s one thing I’m absolutely sick of in this country—it’s the rampant faux-pression that so many followers of Christianity seem to have adopted as their latest sis-boom-bah. Get real. You’re not oppressed—if anything you have your fingers in more pies than ever before.

        • avatar barney says:

          Really???  How so?

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            Seriously Barney, if I have to actually explain to you that there is no such thing as separation of church and state in this country—then I can state with all honesty that you’re an absolute moron. Between you and MKE—who took about three posts to turn from sensitive caring Christian into a raging bitch—your passive-aggressive manner of patting yourself on the back with “I’m a Christian” makes me absolutely sick. You and your ilk are exactly what’s wrong with Christianity these days—you want to talk the talk of “loving thy neighbor,” yet you reveal your true nature of bigotry through “it’s not US that’s the problem, it’s the sinful gay lifestyle (and while we’re at it, let’s take a potshot at the homophobic Jews and Muslims) statements that point blame in any direction except at yourself. You can try to dodge the bullet any way you like, but when you come out with a religion-based justification to disagree with a gay person’s “lifestyle” as you call it—what you’re really doing is calling that person’s very existence a sin. There are plenty of people who are gay who do not go to bars, do not have relationships and who do not have gay sex. They are still gay. Does that mean you still disagree with their lifestyle? Should they just disappear? Would that make you happy?

          • avatar MKE says:

            reduced to name calling? really David? Do I go around attacking you personally? no. I may not like everything you had to say, but atleast I had some kind of respect for you. And PLEASE stop putting words in my mouth. I never said gay people were a problem. BUT if I am going to call myself a christian I CANT PICK AND CHOOSE WHAT TO FOLLOW AND OBEY. I don’t half-ass things. This is what I’ve chosen to believe in, so how about you respect that as much as you aparently respect everyone else but.

            And to pretty much anyone:
            The old testiment is called the old testiment for a reason. A new one was written. a “revision” if you will. The old testiment isn’t negated in it, but we are given a “newer” set of rules in it. When I speak about what the Bible teaches, I am speaking of the NEW testiment. Yes, there are a lot of things in the old that are not a part of the new, and rightfully so.

          • avatar Briana Baran says:

            barney, please, accept the actuality of Christianity in the United States, Christianity, its institutions, and its followers, are far from oppressed.The Bible in full textual form, Old and New Testaments, is in every courthouse in the Nation, and everyone is made to swear on it…a fine irony if it has no meaning for a given individual, even finer when the so-called Christian then perjures himself. Our money is emblazoned with “In God We Trust”, and we are forced to declare, “…under god…” in our Pledge of Allegiance. These last are both developments of the last 150 years…and our Founding Fathers would be cringing. 
             
            Christians are trying to force the issue of teaching Old Testament dogmatic belief based soley on Christian faith…and completely contradicted by empirical scientific evidence…such as New Earth Theory, “Scientific” Creationism, and Intelligent Design in secular public schools…and to prevent the teaching of geological history, archeology, evolution and genetics. They are responsible for allowing pharmacists and doctors to refuse women birth control, amniocentesis testing, emergency pregnancy termination when the mother’s life is critically endangered, or the fetus is completely unable to survive outside the uterus and sterilization procedures. They are responsible for the replacement of actual history in public school textbooks with revisionist history.
             
            It is largely Christian dogma, drawn selectively from a few short phrases in Leviticus, that prevents same sex marriages and equality in civil rights matters from becoming legal for gay/lesbian people in this country. In fact, Christian dogma is the root source of some of the most censorious, repressive and intrusive laws regarding what goes on between consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes in modern culture. It is pervasive, suffocating…and the very thing that the Founding Fathers strove so mightily to escape, and prevent from taking over this brand new nation of theirs. And speaking of those Founding Fathers, it is Christians who would eradicate Thomas Jefferson from our history for referring to the institution of organized religion as oppressive, destructive and essentially worthless…along with many of his peers…many of whom were Deists (equivalent to agnostics), not Christians…as all of the fundamentalist Christians of this century would have one believe.
             
            Sickeningly, their everywhere…in the Tea Party, political candidates, the media talking head demagogues of the Righteous Far Right…and though they claim to be oppressed…it is they who are twisting the very Constitution, and the warp and weave of what the Founders of the United States desired for this country…and trying to turn it into a theocratical malign dictatorship based on absolute oppression, chattel law, martial law, ignorance, intolerance and hatred.
             
            That is how so.

  47. avatar teo82 says:

    Thank you, Margo for the comment that “your Bible is not my government”. Here in Murfreesboro, TN, people are up in arms about the building of a Muslim mosque. Apparently, people believe that all Muslims want to impose Sharia law. Thank you for the response that we don’t want a holy book law/government of any kind in the country.

  48. avatar Ar Mo Chroí says:

    My $.02 regarding LW1’s letter:  I attended a variety of churches growing up & was always disturbed on some level about the churches’ hypocrisy.  Because of this & other reasons, I choose not to label myself as a Christian but merely as Spiritual, because that is what I am–spiritual.  (Particularly so since most of what I believe in flies directly in the face of what the Church has taught since its inception.  I have no doubt that if this were the Dark Ages, I’d be declared a heretic.)
     
    Two things that have bothered me since I was old enough to understand the church’s teachings:  If God IS love, then why does He/She/It feel the need to send our souls to hell if we’re “bad” enough for all eternity (according to the Bible)?  After all, the churches I’ve gone to say God IS love, right?  So there’d be no room for anything other than love & all the good, warm & fuzzy feelings that go along with it.  Following that kind of logic, that punishment would be unbearably cruel & so unlike the God that the churches portray Him to be, correct?
     
    Going along with that last point:  Since there’s no room for any negative emotions that we humans tend to apply to our Higher Beings in (generally) each religion out there, why would people assign them to God, if God IS love?
     
    The God I know is love.  Pure, unadulterated love such as I’ve never felt here on this Earth.  That kind of love has absolutely nothing negative about it.  No feeling that I’ll be “punished” or criticized, because there’s no room for that kind of thing in the eyes of God.  In fact, Christ himself taught tolerance, acceptance, & LOVING each other for who we are: flawed beings.
     
    The God I know has no problems with me worshipping as I choose.  As many others have said, going to church (&/or reading the Bible) is not a necessity.  God is everywhere, within & without.  He is in each molecule of everything we lay our eyes on.
     
    Since many people believe that God created EVERYONE & EVERYTHING, who are WE–who are but little splinters of God–to take it upon ourselves to criticize HIS creation?  To decide for others that the religion/belief system they follow is completely wrong & we must convert them to our (“right”) faith lest they be sent to the awful place that is “hell” in the afterlife for all eternity? We’re quite arrogant beings, aren’t we?
     
    There’s more that I want to say, but what I’ve written so far is the gist.
     
    Finally, I wish each of you peace & happiness in your life’s path. :)

  49. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    Ok, The Count has had just about enough of all this fal-de-ral.  The Count was BORN homosexual.  At some point in time, he chose to accept and embrace that fact, and now identifies himself as a gay man.  Or gay Count.  Or whatever.  Point is:  Born this way.  Chose to live the life the Divine One gave me.  God does not make mistakes.  I am not a mistake.  God gets upset when you choose not to live your true life.  When that happens, you get busted tapping in airport restrooms, tell-alls from Meth bearing gay hookers, and unhappy Israeli closet cases.  I have a lifestyle.  It is a good one.  It has nothing to do with my sexuality.  My lifestyle is my choice.  My sexuality is not.  So to those who wish to think that they befriend me (you know who I am looking at in this thread) yet disapprove of my “lifestyle”, well go to hell.  I do not befriend you despite the FACT that you were born heterosexual.  I do not, not approve of your “lifestyle”, and overlook what you were born as in order to call you my “friend”.  And to prove to all the other straight people, that I am not “heterophobic”.  With friends like you, who needs enemas?
    Oh.  Sorry.  I went there.  Sometimes, even when the Count is in the midst of a compelling, and rational argument…I still end up committing Burly-Q.
    But what I said I stand by.
    So everyone just shut the hell up about this.  Be kind to each other.  Have love in your heart.  Treat as you would be treated.  And judge each and every person on themselves and themselves alone.  Sorry, judge is not the word I was looking for…KNOW each person as themselves.  Not as a stereotype.
    Let us be kind to each other.  After all, in the last analysis, we are all each other has.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      My grandmother, of good stock as they say, once commented about homosexuality by commenting that you don’t choose who you love but you do choose how you live your life. The latter of course applies to heterosexuals as well as homosexuals and so there is often great hypocrisy in the fingerpointing. Hedonism “goes both ways” so to speak.

      One of the things I didn’t like about Ann Richards was her signing the sodomy law which made sodomy legal between heterosexuals but kept it illegal for homosexuals.  Quite honestly she should have called several of the legislators who voted for the bill and told them “If it’s legal for me to do it it should be legal for you to do it” and then written VETO on the damn thing.  To paraphrase a popular real estate phrase, we have some great closets in Texas!

      My great-uncle who was sort of my surrogate grandfather used to always say if you want a peaceful dinner table you never invite a preacher or a politician to dinner.  I am reminded of that from time to time when I read the comments on wowOwow…

  50. avatar Jon T says:

    Is it possible to read Margo’s column more because of a response she gave?  Because right now I want to see more of her work appear on this site.  Thanks for breaking your rule for the sake of giving a lesson in compassion. :-)  

  51. avatar Jennifer Bowen says:

    LW1:  I’ve always believed that their is a special place in hell for Christians like you.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      She’s already there—it’s called “ignorance” and she’s created it for herself.

  52. avatar JCF4612 says:

    LW#1 The Bible has been rewritten so many times by scholars with assorted agendas, I’d be more inclined to take Little Black Sambo and Gone With The Wind as the Gospel Truth.

    Anyone who takes a myopic stand on anything “because the Bible tells me so” has got a bat in the belfry and should be pitied.

  53. avatar collier.k@att.net says:

    Melissa in Ohio – doesnt your bible say that God created us?  Just like he created you and me he also created ‘gay’ people.

  54. avatar Drew Smith says:

    Dear Margo,
     
    A heartfelt thanks for the courage and candor to shine a light on this issue and provide an opportunity for us to reflect on it.

  55. avatar weez03 says:

    Um, yeah!  Someone else mentioned it (but I had to make an account to comment and cannot bear to read through all the religious debate to find it again) – LW#2 TOTALLY ignores the fact that there is something serious going on in their relationship.  If my parents refused to tolerate a partner in their presence, I probably wouldn’t call, either – and you know that’s not the only thing she does, just the only thing that shone through in her letter.  Something drove that kid away by age 18.  Everyone’s a stranger until you get to know them.  He’s been married twice, and it doesn’t sound like she has met either of his wives.  Is this because they are still strangers?  Is everyone who didn’t walk out of your womb considered a stranger?  Just sayin’.  

  56. avatar TheTexasMom says:

    I previously wrote my mom of 79 is one of those people who wants to keep a nice green and trimmed yard no matter what whike I think you should give it a reast consider Houston has had 100+ temperature for 19 straight days.  

    Yesterday was her birthday and my youngest daughter and I went aftter school/work to take her to dinner.  Because of the hot weather our clay ground has a tendency to shift and a water main broke on the corner and a river of water was gushing in the street.  My mother, the neighbor, his wife and their four sons  were out in the street picking up water in buckets and throwning it in their yards equally between the two.  At first I thought them insane then I had to smile thinking that is what neighbors are all about.

    • avatar Count Snarkula says:

      @TheTexasMom – I love your Mother.  Please convey my best wishes for a very happy birthday.  And many more to come ! ! !

      • avatar TheTexasMom says:

        Thank you I will and I posted my comment on the incorrect board.  I meant to reply to Thursday’s column about the 6am rude gardeners!

        Oopsie!!

  57. avatar CanGal says:

    letter originally written to Dr Laura:
     
    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination… End of debate.
    I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.
    1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
    2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
    3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
    4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
    5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
    6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?
    7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?
    8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
    9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
    10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16.
    Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
    I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

  58. avatar Caramia says:

    I don’t get it.  God made this world, so then that must include homosexuals.  He made homosexuals, then is that part of the bible denouncing a homosexual lifestyle saying He made a mistake when He made those who desire that lifestyle?   

  59. avatar Jody says:

    Being at the tail end (for the moment) of this post makes me wonder if anyone will ever see it.  Either way, I don’t care.  I felt compelled to throw 2 cents in whether anyone actually reads it or not.
    In regards to LW#1:  It is my experience in coaching people through their stuff for the past 11 years that letting go of belief systems is one of the hardest things a person can do.  We have our filters we see the world through, are taught patterns by our parents, and develop our own ideals from youth.  All of that would be “okay” if we didn’t then begin to identify ourselves by those beliefs.  That’s the ego at work.  And the ego can rule your life if you let it.
    So, asking someone like LW#1 to change their mind or learn something new is seen by that person as somewhat hostile, and threatening their identity.  I’ve seen it over and over again in coaching. 
    The truth is, we should ALL be willing to question our beliefs from time to time.  It’s okay to change them.  Changing your mind doesn’t change who you are.  But, many people, such as LW#1 are too frightened by the idea.  I will continue to challenge myself.  It makes life more interesting!

    • avatar Lila says:

      Jody, I found your post very interesting, especially “All of that would be ‘okay’ if we didn’t then begin to identify ourselves by those beliefs.” 
       
      I have an inquisitive mind, I ask a lot of questions, and if something makes no sense to me, well… it makes no sense.  By age 9 or so I was already drifting off from religion because of all the contradictions and problems of logic, not to mention my own observations which would seem to indicate that most “believers” actually don’t.  The only answer I received in any case was, “It’s a matter of faith, you just have to believe.”  Highly unsatisfying.  My brain doesn’t work that way.  I can be convinced of new or different ideas, but I have to find them believable, I have to have evidence or a reasonable make-sense model.  And changing my beliefs certainly does not change my identity.
       
      Your comment about identifying with a belief system, at the ego level, was sort of a light bulb going on for me, as it probably explains how people can be such gung-ho “Christians” (or anything else) while actually knowing so little about it, and making no real effort to learn anything about it, either.  For them, I guess it’s more about the wearing the trappings of the label and thus belonging to the group: all the shared aspects – the weekly sermon, socializing through the church, the routines, the rituals, the core values and beliefs.  To discard some of the shared beliefs then threatens their core identity.   Is that your take? 
       
      I’m still trying to wrap my head around this because the concept is SO completely foreign to me.  I cannot imagine being presented with hard evidence and somehow managing to repel obvious facts from my mind in order to maintain some kind of internal identity.  Wow. 
       
      At any rate – I find it dangerous, in the US, that people who so fiercely yet ignorantly identify with a church, will then simply adopt the church stance on various social and political issues, as we have seen with LW1 here.  In essence, such people (or their egos, as you put it) are a direct hook of the church into the political system.

  60. avatar pris says:

    I find so much more intolerance in these times. It is so sad. I wonder if the advent of the Tea Party has opened the doors? The President is treated rudely by many. I don’t understand the basis of this intolerance unless it is fear. Sad commentary of our times.

  61. avatar june says:

    I saw your post Jody!  It’s kind of ironic, because it was the apostle Paul who said, “Keep on testing that you are in the faith.”  I thought your comment was insightful.
    I have seen that Dr. Laura letter posted a lot.  The law that the Israelites followed was a protection for them at the time and meant to help them understand that they could never really live up perfectly to the law.  They needed a propitiatory sacrifice for once and for all time.  That was the fullfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy.  Then Jesus said that the law was written on their hearts and that love was the greatest commandment. 
    Like Pris said, today it seems that we live in rude and harsh times.  More than just rudeness but intolerance and lack of empathy.  I like Margo’s down to earth advice, but I do find that the board tends to be a bit rough, even on the writers looking for help.  (Not everyone, thank goodness) For instance Letter Writer 2, reminds me of the saying, “A daughter is a daughter all of her life, a son is a son until he takes a wife.”  Traditionally it was the woman who kept relationships going with cards, letter and invitations.  Since the young man is already getting married again, he probably didn’t have the benefit of someone saying, “Don’t forget to call your mom back :)”  This poor mom is really suffering.  I feel for her and hope she can get her son’s attention.  He wiill benefit, as will she.

    I don’t have all the answers, but I have faith that God is love and I try to learn and study so that I may be included in the Kingdom of God.  Peace.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      Oh, and by the way—I may not agree with everything cl1028 has to say about Christianity, but I respect his (or her) opinion and the calm, collected way in which he (or she) presents it. 

  62. avatar shafterboy says:

    This really bothers me about religion and being gay. Most people have never even read the bible. I actually minored in college in world religion. First of all the first monotheastic religion was Zoariastic which was about 1000 years earlier than Judaism. If you look at the “stories” in the old testment 80 percent were taken from the Babalonian religion and if you look up and read the story of Gilgamesh you will see that this ancient religion that is written down is word for word with the judo-christian religion.
    The next point that you have to realize is that there  are many different versions of the bible and during this patricarcal society any theme that shows women and gays were taken out and burned, So basically, ou have a bunch of old men sitting around deciding what they think gods words mean and if god said something positive regarding women etc….it was conventatly left out.  The final problem is the translation of the bible from acient hebrew, babalonian, greek and lating into english. There are some words that just cant be translated. There is one particular verse where the original word ment locus but the didn’t know what that was and used the word demon instead.  Sorry for any misspelling, had a stroke so sometimes the words just dont come out right anymore. Now I will get off my soapbox and hopefully inspired some people to actually read and to question what was writtten. The words might be from god but it was written through man and man is falible.

  63. avatar bker0429 says:

    LW2
    You sound a bit judgmental. “He is only 26 and is getting married for the second time.”
    You also seem manipulative.”Since he lives in a rural area, I sometimes wondered whether he even received them, but then I started using “return receipt requested” and found the things were received.” You can’t just ask? You want to prove he’s ignoring you?
    You sound worth ignoring.

  64. avatar R Scott says:

    Lw1 – Yeah! What Margo said.

  65. avatar R Scott says:

    LW2 – I would just love to hear your son’s side of this story. Really, you send receipt requested letters to prove he’s getting them? Nice.

  66. avatar Ginna Gudgel says:

    LW2: My fiance has this same issue with his mother. He has told her he will call her when he’s not busy working and if she doesn’t hear from him every other day, she instantly panics and thinks he’s either avoiding her or he’s dead. When she’s asked him why he ignores her, he tells her he can’t chit chat on the phone all the time and the distance we live from her is not short enough to visit on a regular basis.

    This is him trying to be nice about it. When he finally has had it up to here with her, he tells her “Well mom, the reason I don’t call every day or answer when you call is because you’re manipulative, you always want to demand something of me, you guilt trip me and you constantly belittle me. I have my life. Let me breathe!”.

    If she offers us help with anything, we refuse and refuse and refuse until she guilts us into accepting and then it becomes something to hold over our head later on. “Remember when I did this for you?”. I choose to have no relationship with the woman because early in my relationship with her son, I assumed she genuinely cared about me and wanted to be my friend. If I said anything, she would take what I said and twist it around and turn it into gossip for the rest of the family. “Oh, she wants to trap him with a baby!” was picked out of me holding his newborn step-niece and saying “She’s so cute! I can’t wait til I get to be a mom!”. “She’s a lesbian!” was from “That actress is GORGEOUS!”. “She says you’re mean and abusive!” was from “We have our share of ups and downs.”.

    He’s 27 and throughout his life she never told him no. If he wanted something, she’d give it to him but then hold it over his head later on. When his best friend was dying in the hospital and he just wanted a ride to the hospital to see his friend before she died, his mother told him to quit being a baby and to stop crying like a girl and she slapped him as hard as she could. Bring that up now and she’ll swear she never laid a finger on him EVER.

    We’ve told her we want our distance. We’ve talked about moving state just to be away from the manipulative woman.

    LW2 needs to take a look in the mirror and see what she might have done in her son’s youth to give him the sense of needing distance from her. If she refuses to cut the cord and is hellbent on having her nose in everything her son does, she’d better be certain she didn’t actually do anything to damage their relationship in the past.

    In my fiance’s mother’s eyes, she’s nothing but a saint. In reality, she was an abusive alcholic who cheated on her husband, spent all their money like she lived in Beverly Hills (but really was living in the ghetto), hated all her son’s friends, talked behind everyones’ backs and smiled to their faces, accused her own son of “being a gay” because he and his friend would play video games and laugh with the door closed, and to this day constantly talks about how she’s dying, even though she’s been dying for the last 24 years.

    Figure out what your issue with your son is. Maybe you should call him on the telephone and leave a message. You sound desperate. If he wants to call you back, he’ll call you back. Sometimes all it takes is a message of “Son, I’m not sure what it is I’ve done to upset you but I’d just like to hear your voice. Call me back if you would like to. If not, I’m sorry about whatever it is that has placed me on your bad side and I hope in time you will come around. I love you.”. Hell, go see a family therapist on your own and figure out if there’s some sort of screw loose in your functioning. MySpace? Certified return receipts? TELEPHONE. Gah.

  67. avatar Lea Holland says:

    Ironic how so many people who insist they don’t care what anyone else believes, as long as nothing’s forced on them…both the religious and the nonreligious people here…are busy bashing others for their beliefs, and acting like they’re some of the worst people in the world for believing what they do, or believing in nothing at all.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Lea, it isn’t a matter of what people believe at all…it’s a matter of the outrageous, willful ignorance of historical and current sociological and cultural facts, complete and utter hypocrisy in stating acceptance…but actually barely preaching tolerance, and the reality of the current drive of the very powerful fundamentalist Christian movement in this country that is seeking to suppress the Constitution and bring theocracy and dogmatic law based mostly on Old Testament rule to the United States. 
       
      All of my friends are Christians, and I would never dream of attempting to dissuade them from their chosen faith, of ridiculing them, nor do I disapprove or disagree with their beliefs. I have had Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Wiccan, pagan, and Norse friends…and my husband is an atheist. Whether I personally believe is not important to what they believe…nor is the opposite true. It is not an individual’s personal faith or beliefs that I take issue with…it is the religious institutions in all of their abominable power-seeking, ignorance maintaining, divisive, hatred and bigotry promoting, and savage war mongering that I loathe completely and absolutely. These institutions were never about spirituality…they were about power, lust, avarice and control of the many by the few.
       
      And I firmly believe that if a person is going to commit to a religious organization, he should study it, and attempt to understand it to the full extent of his capabilities…because religion is irrational, and appeals to those atavisms related to fear and ignorance…which breed hatred…that lurk in every human being. Those that appeal to prejudice, separation, fear, guilt, repression and divisiveness are by far the worst…but there is no major organized religion that has not been responsible at some time for devastation, death and ruin.
       
      That isn’t “bashing others for their beliefs”. That is taking a long, hard look at the grim facts. If those who follow those religions deny the irrationality and agony of history and today…are they any better than Holocaust deniers? Just a thought…

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        Religion is a cultural/tribal belief system which serves one purpose – to protect the tribe. But it also serves another purpose. It provides the means to control the tribe. The word Christianity implies it is one religion. In fact it is many. There are many “churches within the church” and each has their own distinct belief sytsem.  Which is why the founding fathers intended that there be separation of church and state.  Freedom of religion implies freedom from religion.  Which is what the founding fathers intended.   It took us almost 200 years to be rid of chattel law based on Biblical law. We have a long way to go. But it was a start.

        Chattel law has been a part of the three religions who worship the god of Abraham. That all belongs to the man.  And eunuchs are spoken of in the Old Testament as well as the Q’uran. So how can homosexuality be a sin if the man is allowed to have a eunuch?

  68. avatar Kenhill46 says:

    LW1:  This woman is indicative of the Tea Party and every fundamentalist “Christian” in the south where I live.  I was looking through my daughter’s history book and found that they were teaching Moses and the story of the exodus as historical fact.  I called the school and forbade them from testing her on this and she spent a week in the library when this material was discussed.  I believe in God, I read other things though that do not have the word Holy in the title.  The book that I do read that has Holy in the title tells a story about a man who had a simple message: “Love one another”.  This man was a teacher and they brought a woman before him who was to be executed, the leaders of the time wanted to trick him into saying she should be let go.  He took a stick and drew in the dirt, perhaps he wrote words like, Thief, Murderer, Liar, Blackmailer, and said “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”  So look at that book before you start mouthing off your Sarah Palin ignorant beliefs to me!

    • avatar P S says:

      This attitude’s not just prevalent in the South. I live in the West and many people in my state are pretty tolerant and laid back. But there are some whose attitudes are staggering. There are a lot of Evangelical churches out here and a certain percentage are very fundamentalist, right-wing, downright spiritually abusive and crazy. The kicker is a lot of their opinions are very uneducated, and they seem to take pride in it. Try to steer them to factcheck.org and wow, watch the fur fly.

      I also used to live in a Western coastal state and have seen real ugly attitudes come out of some people who have gone the Tea Party route. It’s not as prevalent as where I am now but some of the acid tongue syndrome I see come out of people I know is staggering. I’ve literally had to drop friends over stuff like this – they’re entitled to their beliefs but when they turn hateful and mean toward people who simply disagree with them that’s too much.

  69. avatar NevadaFriend says:

    People certainly take on some funny notions. There were lots of things that weren’t known by people of biblical times. They thought the earth was the center of the Universe. They thought the earth was flat. They had no idea about germs or genetics. Obviously, I could go on and on. Being a homosexual is a biological occurence that happens in all cultures and is in no way a choice nor a sin. And there are varying degrees of hormones in all of us, which does cause some folks to be bisexual, also. These things that happen are not a matter of choice or sin. Would anyone say that of a midget(little person),  conjoined twins, a person with a harelip, a person born with webbed toes or fingers? Take a Biology 101 if you don’t understand these things. As for the Bible, remember that Jesus said to love one another as I have loved you. If you are saying and doing mean things to your fellowman/woman because of a biological thing that they can’t help and didn’t choose, then you are not following the teachings of Jesus.