Gay Marriage and Green Eggs & Ham

"The turkey's a little dry."

When I was young, my mom once made us some Chinese food for dinner. Well, “made” might be a little too innocent a word…. Concocted? Maybe “devised.” She devised us some Chinese food. It should be noted that my mom is normally an awesome cook. I love just about everything she makes, but this one time when she attempted to fix us some “Sweet & Sour Chicken,” it did not get fixed–It got broken. I can still remember struggling to chew pieces of chicken that somehow had astringent properties…. Chicken so dry it made my hands feel like they needed lotion. I marveled at how something so surrounded with an awful, wet sauce could manage to stay so dry. After making about four trips to the bathroom to spit out mouth-fulls of unswallowable chicken into the toilet, I swore off Chinese food forever. Not only Chinese food, but ALL FOOD whose origins were from Asia, as a continent capable of producing a people capable of consuming such filth was NOT to be trusted.

Then came College, with all its annoying people saying annoying things like, “What do you mean, you ‘don’t like Chinese food?’ Have you ever tried Chicken & Broccoli? Do you like chicken? Do you like broccoli? THEN YOU’LL LIKE CHICKEN & BROCCOLI!!!” and things of this sort. Finally, (after much coercion, harassment, and unwanted readings of Green Eggs & Ham) I tried a bite…. I spent the next year saying that the only kind of Chinese food I liked was Chicken & Broccoli.

"Thank you. Thank you, Sam I Am!"

But a question started eating away at my stubborn soul–like some sort of Chinese water torture drip, drip, dripping on rationality: If I was wrong about Chicken & Broccoli, what else might I be wrong about? Before I knew it, I had tried sushi. SUSHI!!! I tasted it once and said, “It’s not that bad.” The second time I had it, I was a little disappointed when it was gone. After that, I started to think about it when I drove past the Sushi place near my apartment. I began to crave it–Like a junkie. Sometimes I would drop $20-$30 on a meal. FOR MYSELF!!! To this day, it is my absolute favorite thing in the world to eat. To think of all that time I wasted not eating Sushi…. What a shame.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about a lot of things. Annoyingly passionate–Everything from “Shut up while this song is playing,” to “You’ve got to see this youtube video,” to “Try a bite of this,” to “Seriously, shut up while this song is playing.” As annoying as this can be, one of my gifts is being able to take my excitement about something and transfer that to another person. But if you think I am passionate about regular issues, that is NOTHING compared to when someone changes my mind about something.

Well…. My mind has gotten changed recently about the issue of gay marriage–Not so much my mind as my heart. I have gotten it wrong all these years…. And I can’t wait to tell you about it.

These guys look WAY too normal to be gay. I'm sure that, just out of the shot, they are wearing rainbow speedos instead of tuxedo pants.

I think that most people would say that the government shouldn’t be in the business of discriminating against people. There are laws to prevent systemic discrimination, but many people work very hard to keep discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation a legal thing to do. This is almost entirely due to the belief that being gay is wrong/immoral/sinful, and I think it’s safe to say that most of the opposition (in this country, at least) to equal rights for our homosexual brothers and sisters comes from Christians (Which is strange, because we don’t take away rights from adulterers, liars, blasphemers, Sabbath-breakers, or coveters–And those are in the 10 Commandments). This fact makes me ask this question: Should followers of Jesus Christ be in the business of trying to enforce their  ideas of morality on others? If you are a reader of my blog, then you probably already know that my answer to this question, and if this is your first time reading, I’ll help you out–The answer is no. The goal of evangelism is not getting enough people to make sin illegal–the goal of evangelism is a changed heart.

Speaking of which, my heart was recently changed about about the issue of a Christian’s response to homosexuality by a documentary called “For The Bible Tells Me So.” It introduces you to five Christian families who had gay kids, and the range of reactions to their kids–everything from complete acceptance and love, to complete rejection and abandonment. And it shows you the fruit of those reactions–everything from a healthy, supportive family relationship, to a life that was tragically ended by suicide…. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you which parental reaction bore which fruit (The Church’s reaction to gay men and women bears the same fruit, by the way). The families in the movie really struggled with a child/spouse/sibling coming out of the closet because they had been taught their whole lives that being gay is simply a choice. One that will send the chooser to hell…. This movie is so amazing and even-handed. I can not recommend it highly enough.

IT'S ADAM AND EVE, NOT ADAM AND STEVE!!!

Christians are usually very certain about their views on homosexuality–right up until someone they love lets them know they are gay. I have a good friend whose father recently came out of the closet. This was a really hard thing for the son to hear, as his father had spent almost his whole life as a leader in the Church, and the son had been (wrongly) taught his whole life that being gay was a special sort of sin. When he told me about it, he had had some time to work through it, and I listened as the son described what a good father his dad had always been: He was loving, and he was present, and he raised his son to love the Lord. And I was a little jealous–My dad wasn’t around when I was growing up, and I’m still muddling through what it means to be a man. Many times he was angry and violent and out of control…. If only my dad could have traded some of his own demons for something simple like being attracted to dudes.

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum, showing the appropriate amount of space to be left for the Holy Spirit while dancing.

Here’s the thing (I know, I say that a lot): The Bible is not as clear on the issue of homosexuality as we have been taught (It is seemingly WAY more clear about systemized misogyny and limiting a woman’s role in Church leadership than it is about the issue of the inherent sinfulness of being gay, but we easily chalk that up to cultural and historical differences). There are many, MANY things in the Old Testament that are described as “abominations” other than just homosexuality. The Bible has been translated over the years with a very anti-gay bias. For example, when Paul uses the word “Sodomite,” it’s translated as “homosexual,” even though the Bible says that the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality, but Ezekiel 16:49 says, “Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.” And even more, when the men from Sodom asked to send out the angels “so that we may know them” in the story of Sodom’s destruction, it was not so much about homosexuality as it was about rape.

Usually, when I want the right view on things, I check what Jesus had to say about it…. Unfortunately, Jesus never said anything about homosexuality (or, if he did, it was not written down in any of the Gospels), but we can still learn some things about this issue from his life and words.

"Wish I could help you, man, but I've got to get to Church. If I don't get there early, the line at the coffee shop is so long...."

Just like there are today, there were many big debates going on during Jesus’ time. The other Rabbis would ask Jesus questions to see which side he was on (in today’s terms, it was like trying to find out if he was liberal or conservative). The Rabbis of that time were very aware (as we should be today) that there were many things that appeared to contradict each other in scripture. For example, they might be like “Hey Jesus–Scripture says that I shouldn’t work on the Sabbath, but it also says I should help my neighbor who needs help. Let’s say my neighbor’s donkey falls in a hole on the Sabbath…. Should I help him?” (This, by the way, proves that even in Biblical times, people still had trouble with assholes) The question boils down to this: In questions of LAW versus LOVE, which one wins out? And here’s the thing: EVERY TIME JESUS IS QUESTIONED LIKE THIS, HE SIDES WITH LOVE. Every time. “Who’s my neighbor?” Love–That’s who. Not those two religious men that left the guy bleeding in the road trying to keep the law, but the dirty, sinful Samaritan who helped him. You guys have ears? Well, let them hear!

SINNER!!!

Well, I have heard! And I am giving up my right to judge someone else’s heart based on their sexual orientation. Paul writing to some freaky Romans (who were going to fertility temples and having sex with everything that moved) about sexual immorality does not inform my opinion of the “rightness” or “wrongness” of a committed, loving, monogamous relationship between two people of the same sex. I’m done with bull shit phrases like “Love the sinner, hate the sin” (especially when the “sin” in question might be in the same category as eating shellfish or wearing two types of fabric at once).  What if that person’s “sin” is having both sexual organs? What if their “sin” is Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome? What if being gay is not something from which a person needs to be delivered?

If I'm wrong and we should all be boycotting JCPenney for having a lesbian as its spokesperson, I believe God will forgive my decision to shop there more than ever--which is to say, at all.

Then again, maybe it is. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong (it has happened before), and the Church should be telling gay people that if they want to be Christians, they need to be straight. Maybe Christian parents should be turning their backs on their gay kids and kicking them out of their houses. Maybe the Church shouldn’t put gay people in positions of leadership. And maybe the Church shouldn’t bless the union of a man and a man or a woman and a woman…. But if we get it wrong, what are we worried about? If we aren’t supposed to freely accept everyone into the Church and leave the judging up to God, are we worried that God is going to send us to Hell for getting this wrong? Is that the kind of Father to which we pray–a father who send his kids to Hell for getting the wrong interpretation? Of course, if he is, we might already be damned for allowing women to talk in Church…. This is a situation (like a neighbor’s donkey falling in a hole on the Sabbath) where Jesus-loving, Bible-believing people of good conscience have come to different conclusions. From now on, if I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of love.

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45 Responses to Gay Marriage and Green Eggs & Ham

  1. Evan Dailey says:

    You already know my thoughts about all of this so I won’t comment on that. But that asshole joke seriously made me laugh out loud for about 5 mins. Well done. I miss you already.

  2. Nathan says:

    There are some of us that opposed gay marriage based upon scientific literature that indicates that it is pathological and harmful for children raised by same-sex parents, and not because it is “sinful”.

    • theboeskool says:

      Thanks for reading, Nathan. I haven’t seen any of the scientific studies to which you are referring. I would still say that most people who are opposed to gay marriage are opposed to it because of moral/religious reasons instead of scientific ones.

      Here is one example of one of those young men who was harmed by committed, loving gay parents: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMLZO-sObzQ

      Here is another example of a heart that was changed by a loved one coming out of the closet (A republican, even): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eH5egFXHJnQ

      Peace.

      • Nathan says:

        Dear Theboeskool,
        Let me preface this by saying that I am a formerly gay man who has significantly benefited from a scientific understanding of homosexuality and has made a successful change from a gay sexual identity to a straight sexual identity while making a partially successful ongoing change from a homosexual orientation to a heterosexual orientation. With that said…

        If you would like scientific information regarding the pathology of homosexuality, may I point you in the direction of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. They have some excellent materials available which can help you grasp the scientific side of things. Also, anecdotal examples are all well and good, but they get us no where as any and all sides have them to pit against each other.

        There have been a number of things at work to create the present quagmire surrounding this issue and trying to sort it all out is not for a feint of heart.

        First, with the arbitrary declassification of homosexuality at a pathology by the APA, people were left without an understanding or frame of reference for the phenomenon of having a homosexual identity or orientation and the inner turmoil that it creates. Instead, assaulted by the arbitrary and value-laden opinion that homosexual identities and orientations are normal, when internally they have this intuition that it is not. This leaves people with the need to somehow explain the phenomenon. If homosexual identities or orientations are not pathological, but not normal either, then what option left is there except for some spiritual or religious explanation, i.e. sin. Think back to the days before neuroscience and the understanding of how the brain works today. People with epilepsy and/or other forms of seizures were labeled as demon possessed. Was the problem of torture and possible execution solved by just insisting that the people love and embrace those with seizures as being normal and not having any kind of problem or deficiency about them? Maybe in the short run, but a more long-term solution came with the emergence of neurobiology and the understanding of what seizures actually are. I am fairly convinced that this approach will work as well for the majority of religious people. If we stop politicking regarding normalcy and rights, and get back to the understanding of homosexuality’s pathology, as in that it is no different than if they had a child born with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, a much more reasonable and loving treatment of it by religious individual will begin to occur as they will no longer be motivated out of fear and uncertainty. I believe that this is the central issue and if this one if resolved most of the rest will follow, but I digress.

        Secondly, there appears to be an automatic connection between behavior and identity or orientation when it comes to homosexuality. I do not see how you can equivocate on whether homosexual behavior is prohibited in the Bible. Leviticus 18 is quite clear. However, I will concede that a homosexual identity is not addressed in the Bible. So homosexual behavior is still sinful, even while a homosexual identity and orientation are not. Unfortunately this distinction is rarely thought of even practiced. It is normally assumed that one must be coupled with the other. This also influences that emotionality of the issue. When a gay person hears a religious person say that homosexuality is wrong, they hear that they are wrong. Since sexuality is such an intrinsic part of the human nature, it is hard for people to separate themselves from it. This makes the argument person for the gay individual, who then feels they must defend their homosexual identity and orientation to defend what they perceive as their very being. Think about this, just because a person says they want to kill someone, doesn’t make them a murderer. It is when they actually kill someone that they are considered a murderer. But when it comes to homosexuality, the thoughts, desires, and intentions are one and the same as the actions.

        It is this learning to understand and operate out of this distinction along with returning to a pathological understanding of homosexuality that will make great progress in repairing the rifts between LGBT and religious individuals.

      • theboeskool says:

        Nathan–Wow, thanks for the time and effort of your reply. Just a few things as a response: I doubt that the APA would call their designation “arbitrary.” I don’t know that much about NARTH, but if it works for you, I say awesome! Though the fact that it worked for you might be filed under anecdotal as well. I’m sure that NARTH’s success rates are better with people who view their own gayness as a pathology, or a problem that needs to be solved. Probably not as good with people who are perfectly comfortable with their homosexuality…. Or maybe that comfort in their own gay skin can be classified as a disease too?

        But what do I know? Honestly–Nothing, really. If their help is making you happier and healthier, maybe it can work for other people too. I just suspect it might not work for everyone. Thanks again for your thoughtful contribution. I wish you the best.

    • BjBelcher says:

      Nathan, as a man if science myself, I have never come across said studies. Being a pediatrician, I have read numerous journal articles about the harmful effects of children being raised in unloving, abusive, or neglectful households. But no reputable scientific journal has published anything that I have seen or heard of outlining any ill effects of being raised by homosexual parents. There is nothing to back that claim.

      • Nathan says:

        Dear BjBelcher,
        May I introduce to you the American College of Pediatrics on their position statement on the issue. You will notice that they have a significant amount of research to support their position. http://www.acpeds.org/Homosexual-Parenting-Is-It-Time-For-Change.html
        Here is an excerpt…

        Research on same-sex parenting

        Studies that appear to indicate neutral to favorable child outcomes from same-sex parenting have critical design flaws. These include non-longitudinal design, inadequate sample size, biased sample selection, lack of proper controls, failure to account for confounding variables, and perhaps most problematic – all claim to affirm the null hypothesis.14,15,16 Therefore, it is impossible for these studies to provide any support for the alleged safety or potential benefits to children from same-sex parenting.

        Data on the long-term outcomes of children placed in same-sex households is sparse and gives reason for concern.17 This research has revealed that children reared in homosexual same-sex households are more likely to experience sexual confusion, engage in risky sexual experimentation, and later adopt a homosexual identity.18,19,20,21,22 This is concerning since adolescents and young adults who adopt the homosexual lifestyle are at increased risk for mental health problems, including major depression, anxiety disorders, conduct disorders, substance dependence, and especially suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.23

        Risks of the homosexual lifestyle to children

        Finally, research has demonstrated considerable risks to children exposed to the homosexual lifestyle. Violence between same-sex partners is two to three times more common than among married heterosexual couples.24,25,26,27,28 Same-sex partnerships are significantly more prone to dissolution than heterosexual marriages with the average same-sex relationship lasting only two to three years.29.30,31 Homosexual men and women are reported to be promiscuous, with serial sex partners, even within what are loosely-termed “committed relationships.32,33,34,35,36 Individuals who practice a homosexual lifestyle are more likely than heterosexuals to experience mental illness,37,38,39 substance abuse,40 suicidal tendencies41,42 and shortened life spans.43 Although some would claim that these dysfunctions are a result of societal pressures in America, the same dysfunctions exist at inordinately high levels among homosexuals in cultures where the practice is more widely accepted.44

      • BjBelcher says:

        I will reiterate what TheBoeskool said and thank you for your response. It is very evident that you are passionate about this subject. And being that you, at one point, identified yourself as gay makes this something that is much closer to home than it is for me.
        That being said, I read your article and looked into the American College of Pediatrians. Having gone through a credentialed pediatric residency, I am much more familiar with The American Academy of Pediatrics, which is the leading resource on pediatrics in the US, establishing practice parameters and policy statements for the profession. I am also a member of the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians, since I graduate from an Osteopathic Medical School and have a DO degree instead of an MD. In looking at the group you referenced, it appears to me, and I mean no disrespect, that it is full of right wing propaganda. On the first page I saw links to articles regarding the dangers of the morning after pill, how gender reassignment is not for children, and, of course, a link to a “study” concerning the ill effects of being raised by same sex partners. As I stated above, I have never seen these “studies” from a reputable source. And with you directing me to this site, I can say I still haven’t. Every major medical group has dismissed the notion that homosexuality is pathologic. And rightfully so. The official stance by the AAP is that homosexuality is not a disease and not a choice the person makes. And actually similar to what you said above, the only “choice” to be had is whether or not a person acts on their feelings. So I respect your opinions and thoughts, but I have to strongly disagree. Just because you have an official sounding name and a website doesn’t make you an authority on the issue. Again, the ACP seems to be propagating a right wing conservative agenda. And I would like to add that both the AAP and any psychology/psychiatry organization adamantly condemns the use of “counseling” to cure homosexuality, as it has been proven time and time again to be extremely harmful and dangerous, leading to an increased suicide rate among those who are forced to participate. Thanks for your time.

      • Nathan says:

        Dear BjBelcher,

        Since when is peer-reviewed journal articles “right wing propaganda”, or did you not look at the reference list?

        Also on what basis do you make the claims that the removal of homosexuality from the DSM was done “rightfully so”, or that SOCE does indeed cause harm/ suicide? Where is your scientific evidence to supportthese claims?

        And no disrespect, but your degree(s) mean very little to me. One of the authors and members of the ACP has no less than 8 post graduate degrees and spent decades working in the mental health field with homosexual individuals.

        I am sorry if I come off as antagonistic, but I have had years of dealing with people making claims such as yours, but then when questioned, they are unable to produce the evidence-based scientific reasearch to back it up. I sincerely hope that does not happen here.

      • BjBelcher says:

        Frank Rich, writing in the New York Times, described ACPeds as a “political organization peddling homophobic junk-science.”[12] In an amicus brief, the National Association of Social Workers described ACPeds as a “small and marginal group” which was “out of step with the research-based position of the AAP and other medical and child welfare authorities.”[4]PFLAG identifies the American College of Pediatricians as an anti-equality organization, describing the group as a “small splinter group of medical professionals who do not support the mainstream view of the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) that homosexuality is a normal aspect of human diversity.”[13]

        Gary Remafedi, a pediatrician at the University of Minnesota, found his research being cited by ACPeds to argue that schools should deny support to gay teenagers. Remafedi complained that ACPeds had fundamentally mischaracterized his work, saying: “It’s obvious that they didn’t even read my research. I mean, they spelled my name wrong every time they cited it.” Remafedi complained to ACPeds that his work was being misrepresented, but the organization refused to correct or retract its assertions, leading Remafedi to state that ACPeds had “deliberately distorted my research for malicious purposes.”[1]

        Responding to claims by ACPeds that same-sex attraction could be “cured”, Francis Collins, geneticist and director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, denounced ACPeds’ use of his work, noting it was “disturbing” to see ACPeds use his scientific work in a “misleading and incorrect” way by taking work from one of his books out of context to “support an ideology that can cause unnecessary anguish and encouraged prejudice” against school children.[9]

        Warren Throckmorton, an expert on sexual orientation, similarly complained that his research had been misused, saying of ACPeds: “They say they’re impartial and not motivated by political or religious concerns, but if you look at who they’re affiliated with and how they’re using the research, that’s just obviously not true.”[1]

        These are just a few of the references I have found denouncing the ACP. It was formed by a man who split from the AAP solely on the reason that they supported adoption by same sex couples. In almost every other stance they take, they sharply differ from what the actual experts say. So when you claim that a “study” they publish is peer reviewed, I guess you need to ask yourself who the peers are. The ACP has consistently misquoted, misaligned, and misused data from other reputable sources and twisted actual science to push their judeo-Christian agenda. I looked at a lot of the references used in that “study”, (and yes, the repeated use of quotation marks is completely intentional) and they were from journals with words like “Christian” and “conservative” in the titles. This group is the Fox news of pediatrics (and coming from me, that is an insult). If you want to research actual science and find truly peer reviewed articles on the subject, may I direct you to the American Academy of Pediatrics. And you may not care about my degrees, but they make me a physician, an expert in pediatrics, and I have dedicated my life to the care of children so please do not disrespect me or belittle the work I do. Because I do a DAMN good job at it.

      • Nathan says:

        Dear BjBelcher,

        No where in your litany of professional OPINIONS do I see any kind of scientific evidence to back up your assertions.

        May I point you to the APA Task Force Report regarding SOCE. Are you aware that there are a number of severe scientific problems with it?

        1) Every single task force member had an a priori vested interest in the “pro-gay agenda” while membership was denied to anyone with a positive view of SOCE, even those with decades of clinical experience. This presents an environment ripe for confirmation bias.

        2. The task force established criteria for the scientific research they would consider as evidence supporting SOCE, and discovered most of the studies suffered from one of sixteen methodological flaws. As such they questioned their quality and generality. However, when it came time to support a non-SOCE supporting position, the APA cited as authoritative studies that shared ten of the sixteen methological flaws cited to discredit SOCE studies. Along with that, the task force categorically refused to review non peer-reviewed journal literature in the support of SOCE, but were quick to use non peer-reviewed literature to justify a non-supportive position for SOCE. This is a flagrant use of double standards.

        The task force gives no scientific evidence to support its therapeutic position. The task force claims that they seek to “reduce sexual minority stress” and stigma by asserting a normative view of homosexuality. Besides the fact that this is a value judgment, the offer no evidence as to the safety or effectiveness of this approach. Does this approach actually reduce “sexual minority stress” and stigma or not? They have not any kind of clinical trial to demonstrate its efficacy, merely asserting that it must be effective due to homosexuality being a “normative evolutionary development”. And what harm may come of this approach to therapy? Without clinical trials, how are we to know that this is not causing more mental anguish for the patients? Again, we have a double standard here. They want SOCE to prove its effectiveness and safety while assuming the effectiveness and safety of its own ideology and methodology. As a psychologist trained in the importance of the scientific investigation of human psychopathy, I must cry foul.

        May I also point out that
        A) a third party Guttman analysis conducted by Hershberger, an established and highly respected pro-gay psychological statistician, that the statistically consistent outcomes of some methods of SOCE, primarily the psycho-analytic approach of reparative therapy, provides strong evidence for the effectiveness of SOCE. Hershberger goes on to assert that in his opinion, anyone against SOCE have yet to come up with comparable evidence to support their position.

        B) There have yet to be any good methodologically sound research demonstrating the harm of SOCE. The APA claims harm, but on the basis of the same methodologically flawed studies they discounted as support for SOCE. If benefit is not generalizable, then neither can harm. May I also point out that recent studies that have looked for significant psychological harm, have failed to do so. These include a Shidlo and Schroeder study conducted with a significantly biased convenience sample that was recruited on the basis of being harmed by SOCE. A statistical analysis of suicidality in SOCE patients conducted by Whitehead failed to find any significant difference in that group over the general psychopathic population.

        I am not trying to say that you are a bad doctor. I believe you when you say you are a damn good one. However, as your most recent response indicates, you are basing your position on “expert” opinions and not on the scietific evidence, hiding behind your/their eduation and authority.

        What I am trying to say is that you have believed an ideology based upon a political agenda devoid of scientific backing. If you read the APA minutes from the 1970s where homosexuality was taken out of the DSM, you will find that it was not done due to scientific evidence, but because pro-gay political activists had disrupted the proceedings and refused to allow them to continue until the matter was dealt with in a satisfactory manner. This was rationalized by the APA at the time by saying that cuture research should/would be conducted to confirm homosexuality’s normalcy and that this decision was merely pre-emptive of what science would eventually find. However, once the APA’s position was changed, very few if any had enough integrity to follow through with the promised research.

        If you want to make accusations of bias and political agengas, you have no further to look than your own “professional” organizations.

      • BjBelcher says:

        Dear Nathan,
        Please allow me to start by apologizing for my snarkiness in my previous comment. I had a bad day and took it out on this thread (which is why I would never make it as a debater, too emotional). my intent was never to sound confrontational or defensive, and that is exactly how I sounded, so I’m sorry.
        I have read your posts over and over. I honestly try very hard to be as well-informed and open to other opinions as I can possibly be. And I truly believe that you believe your convictions to be true, and I must respect that. I will say that I have done more research on the subject of same-sex marriage effects on children in the last week than I have, well, ever. I have read the articles on the subject from my previous go-to sources, like the AAP, APA, AMA, etc. I have also read with as much of an open mind as possible articles from sources I normally would not ever look at, including many conservative journals and the ACP.

        Here is the problem that I am faced with…each side of the debate has their own set of data and resources that support their view. Weird thing is that many of the resources are the same, just interpreted differently. This kind of dichotomy is what makes my head hurt. I am used to studies involving measurable data, for instance stating that drug X helps disease Y, with side effects of Z. I like those studies. No preconceived convictions, no emotion. Pure and simple fact. When we start to delve into matters of social or religious contention, the waters begin to muddy a bit. It is really difficult to have a purely scientific study done on a subject that so many people doing the studying have such strong opinions on.

        So getting back to the original subject (effects of gay marriage on children) this is what I do know. The resources that I use on a daily basis for a multitude of subjects have formed policy statements on the matter, each supporting the other. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians, the American Medical Association, the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and others, all state that children raised by same sex partners fare as well as those raised by heterosexual partners. Actually, there is one difference…the children of same sex partners have an increased risk of teasing from children of heterosexual parents due to their parent’s sexual orientation, which is actually a problem with the hetero’s kids if you think about it. There is no evidence, in what they present, that suggests that these kids raised by two dads or two moms have any issues with gender identity, homosexuality, promiscuity, poorer school performance or substance abuse that are more than those from the hetero’s kids.

        Now, I know that you disagree with this, and you have presented articles and pointed me to resources that say exactly the opposite. But if I have to chose between the sources that I feel have more credibility, I chose mine. I personally feel that the articles I have read warning of the ill effects of gay marriage on kids are extremely biased. But maybe I am too. When it comes down to it, this is what I have to do…I have to follow my conscience. I realize this may be an odd thing for a scientist to say, but as a Christian as well, this is what I must do. It is my opinion, and yes it is an opinion, that children of same sex partners do as well as those of opposite sex partners. I would rather a kid be raised by a loving, nurturing, caring gay couple than a straight couple who are not those things. I have several children in my personal clinic who are being raised by lesbian moms (no gay dads in my clinic, maybe an eastern Kentucky thing) that are thriving. they are being cared for, loved, encouraged, and nurtured and this is what makes their rearing work, not the sexual orientation of their parents. What makes me sad is that there is no legal protection for these families. if the mom that has custody dies or is incapacitated, then the other parent has no legal custodial rights to that child. This is wrong.

        If you ask me, and maybe you won’t, what makes a family is love. That is the foundation of a healthy home environment. For me, it doesn’t matter if its a mom and dad, a dad and dad, a mom and mom, a grandparent, and uncle or aunt or someone who is not blood relation but dedicates his or her life to the well being of the others in their life. Love is the food of life…life flourishes in the presence of love. And I can’t find any studies that can quantify how much love it takes to optimize a family dynamic, But that’s what it takes. And that is why I support gay marriage. Love is love, and love is from God.

        I wish you all the best in the world. And I hope that this has been presented with a lot more love than my previous post.

      • theboeskool says:

        There are no likes on blogs, but I just want to say that I really like what BJ just said. I’ll go back to what I said earlier and say, “Nathan–If this works for you, then great!” Psychiatric approaches (just like medicines) don’t work the same for every person. If you have a headache, a Tylenol might work just fine for you. For me, it might take an Advil. Or I might have a brain tumor….

        There are good straight parents and bad straight parents. There are good gay parents and bad gay parents. There are good closeted parents and bad closeted parents. I agree with BJ that the biggest determining factor (among others) is love.

        I have no medical data to back this up. But then, I couldn’t measure you out a pound of love either….

        All the best, Nathan. Keep up the good work.

      • Nathan says:

        Dear BjBelcher,

        If you have found the reason and conviction behind why you think and believe the way you do, instead of merely following the establishment, then I have done what I have set out to do. Best of luck to you and your practice. 🙂

      • Nathan says:

        Dear Theboeskool,

        Yes love is love, that is self evident. What is not self evident is what kind of love it is. Psychologists will tell you that there are many different types of “love” and some are very unhealthy. Yes, love is important but rules and standards are put in place to protect those who are governed by them, even if thier subjects don’t like it.

        Also, I must contend with your position on legislating morality, because that is all that laws are, the legislation of morality, what is right and wrong. The real question is who should get to decide the legislation, and on what authority. Currently, our country says that the majority gets to vote on what is right and wrong based upon our power as a democratic republic.

  3. MissMary says:

    Scooch your soapbox over a bit, and I’ll pull up mine beside yours. My brother is gay. (Have we had this conversation?) A few bits of my perspective:

    (A) On the idea that “it’s a choice”: if you believe that being gay is a sin, then this is like saying cancer is a choice. (Jesus, the Great Physician, comes to heal us of the disease of sin, etc.) Not only are you taking a very complex issue and simplifying it beyond reason, you are also insulting the intelligence of everyone who has come to this conclusion about themselves. My brother and his boyfriend, for example, are both nearing completion of Ph Ds. They are logical, rational, thoughtful. If there were any other conclusion that made sense, I’m sure they’d opt for it rather than inclusion in a set of society that is abused, risking relationships and reputation alongside.

    (B) On the solution of love: Change cannot happen without encountering something new. My brother, having grown up in a Christian home, learned that God is judgmental and hypocritical. By continuing to judge, we reinforce that perspective, adding our hatred, bigotry, and delusions of grandeur. But when Jesus heals people, He does so as a tangible encounter with love. He presents a vastly different perspective, and the result–well, love is much more compelling than anger. One affirms, the other breeds resentment. So if we take a population who, by Christian standards, is subscribing to an inferior set of beliefs in order to attain an inferior version of love, then fail to demonstrate a better alternative, we commit an even greater disservice: we reinforce the lies accusing the One WE love and allow Him to continue to be misunderstood by those He has a crush on. However, if we have the Holy Spirit in us, then anyone with a relationship with us has opportunity to have relationship with God (in the same way you have opportunity to know your coworker’s friends, but in a much deeper way), and it seems all God requires to do His part–because healing IS His part, not ours–is an open door for relationship. To illustrate, God is Steve Urkel, and we, or gays, or whomever you choose, is Laura Winslow. Laura tolerates Steve, but ultimately falls for him, due in part to his relentless, unchanging love and devotion to her and (and her unwillingness to attain a restraining order). If your goal as a Christian is to “lead people to Christ”, it behooves you to accurately represent this lover and give Him a fighting chance as His nerdiness is hard enough to swallow.

    (C) On “scientific literature”: Mr. B, provide me some search terms and I’ll see what the databases uncover. I’m dubious on finding anything that villainizes homosexuals, however, as the community of clinical psychology researchers, from those funding studies to those publishing studies, are doing all they can to keep religious bias out of journals. For the record, homosexuality has long since been stricken from the list of psychological disorders, though it was for a time included in the go-to diagnostic handbook (DSM-version number, etc.)

    I hope that the comments above are communicated clearly. Ambiguity about my personal thoughts on the topic, the emotion involved, the road we as a family have walked, is intentional. (Those in relationship with me have opportunity for elaboration, but I’d rather not take sides via the interwebs.)

    Thanks!

    • theboeskool says:

      I’m not sure if this is what you’re saying or not (and if you don’t want to do into more detail, I understand), but I’m not saying that I think Christians should love gays DESPITE their gayness (In some sort of sneaky, love-based plot to get them in love with Jesus and then healed of their homosexuality). I’m saying that we should love and accept gays WITH their gayness. There are way too many legit, Bible-based interpretations on what the Bible does and doesn’t say about homosexuality to take a hard stand on it–especially a stand that leads to alienation and enmity.

      When people come to know Jesus, He deals with us all in different way. In his role as “The Great Healer,” he many times has revealed parts of me that needed healing that I didn’t even know were sick. I don’t believe that every person who says they are gay is gay, just like every person who says they are straight isn’t straight. I think that trauma and abuse and even confusion can mess with people’s sexuality, and Jesus is the best at healing those wounds…. but I am even giving up the right to judge what “healing looks like. Church should be a place that is so free of judgement that, as some closeted people press into Jesus and rest in the love of God, he or she could be healed enough to be honest with the Church and the world about his or her homosexuality.

      I guess I’m saying that even the belief that healing looks like “restoring a person’s heterosexuality” is a form of judgement. We don’t know for sure what is right, and are almost always made LESS SURE when a loved one comes out, and since Jesus sets many precedents for siding with non-judgment and love, I’m going with that. : )

      Thanks for your thoughts, Miss Mary.

      • MissMary says:

        I think I’ve kept personal convictions out of the above, and I understand your perspective, but I’m not sure your emendation presents mutually exclusive conditions, or conditions exclusively relevant to gays (for example, I love my friends DESPITE certain behaviors and/or evidence of unhealed wounds and am not seeing how this differs from loving them WITH those wounds). However, if love is conditional on another’s change of behavior, well, I can see where the misunderstanding may come in. I’m certainly not advocating that. The thoughts I shared were intended to bridge the “traditional evangelical Christian perspective” with what you present, not to disagree per se but to offer another interpretation that pleads the cause of loving rather than judging IF your motivation is “fulfilling the Great Commission”. Essentially, determining whether or not homosexuality is “sin” is irrelevant. Either way, we love people. Period. (Does that make sense? I’ve been communicating with so many cognitive psychologists lately I’m not sure I’m still conversant with the general population, especially as pertaining to run-on sentence usage.)

  4. Unveiled Heart says:

    Hey there! First off, I’m friends with the Hagens and that’s how I found your blog. 🙂

    I loved this post. I grew up in a Christian home, and one of my siblings was gay for a few years after high school, but is not now…has been married for 10 years and has 3 kids. I just wanted to share that, as it’s an interesting set of variables that I haven’t seen repeated in other stories of gay people and/or gay people from Christian upbringing.

    Here’s what I have to say about your post and the topic: I agree that Jesus always sides with love. I’m 26 years old and my whole life until a year ago, I was the most religious, high-nosed, self-righteous person out there. I thought I loved people, but couldn’t understand why people didn’t feel loved by me. (It’s sad, but I still have to giggle a little at that thought.) Or why I didn’t feel loved back. Well at the age of 25 I separated from my husband and began going through a divorce. We have a little one who is 18 months old now. Needless to say, my religious bubble was popped big time, and I was forced to stare reality in the face.

    Over the last year, I’ve been to counseling and support groups, even a 12-step group in an effort to come out of denial and deal with all my issues. (I’m not into drugs or alcohol, but I do have a lot of emotional baggage.) I’ve undergone a huge transformation over the last year as I have sought, and found, the truth. The truth (you’ll find this in the Bible, too) is that we’re all messed up. Every single one of us. Religious people have issues with being real and authentic; they have a front because they want to impress people. You could call them dishonest in that way. And if I’m not mistaken, lying is one of the 7 deadly sins? So yeah, I think it’s safe to say that the ones of us who are pointing fingers at the gays, alcoholics, and prostitutes probably have less than perfect integrity.

    Jesus has a solution for this problem of sin. It’s called grace. Now, I wake up each morning and instead of beating myself over the head about all the sinful things I did yesterday, or think about how much better I am than Joe Cool down the street, I take a deep breath and smile. God’s grace is a free gift today. It means that even though I’m a filthy, rotten sinner, His grace has covered me and I get to be seen as right in His eyes. And it means that now I’m free, in the light of His love and grace, to love others rather than condemn them. Now my job is not to judge; it’s to offer a lifeline to others who are dying an emotional death like I was.

    Sorry this was so long, but I just had to share. Thanks for your thought-provoking post!

  5. theboeskool says:

    I’m sorry about your divorce. Thanks for reading, and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Jess says:

    Enjoyed the post, and while I am a minister all for accepting the LGBTQ community into the church (I don’t believe homosexuality is a sin), I must take a few issues with your hermeneutical movements.)
    1) The Sodom and Gomorrah narrative…not about rape either, considering Lot offered his daughters for rape instead of his guests.

    It’s a narrative about hospitality–a special kind of Ancient Near Eastern hospitality, where you do whatever you can for the guest under your roof.

    2) You can’t compare the argument of whether women should face oppression in the church with whether the LGBTQ community should face the same oppression. While the patriarchal bias of many texts come through very clearly in some instances, in many other instances there is the clear support of women as faith leaders (Deborah, Chloe, the women in Luke, etc). There are counter-examples supporting women in leadership for every instance in which women are deprived of leadership. This is not so for sodomy (which, by its definition, technically includes homosexual sex in that it refers to entering anal sex…which would then include anal sex between a male and a female, as well).

    3) You’ve set up a false dichotomy between law and love, likely due to a common misunderstanding of Pauline explication of law (because Jewish law is not nearly as rigid as a modern, English speaking reader of the Bible might try and have you believe). Additionally, Jesus very clearly follows what is better translated as “instruction,” e.g. what we call “law.” Jesus also takes the time to point out in the narratives the shades of grey in casuistic law when responding to the Pharisees (who get a bad rap, because they were actually pretty cool guys. Ah, biased biblical narratives). Most importantly, you make a false claim: Jesus always sides with love? Actually, in many instances, Jesus shows a clear bias, particularly in Luke, against the rich. Against the oppressors. Against the elite. And they’re as human as the rest! The authors of the Gospel portray Jesus using “us” and “them” language, especially in the parables, and I think it’s strange to say that the same Jesus who made a cord to whip people out of the temple is always a “loving” Jesus in the sense of love that you have built here.

    I did enjoy your article, and you made some good points. I clearly read this in the midst of grading some papers, though, and couldn’t help myself in offering a few critiques on which you can debate me 🙂 I just really think we have to be super careful in creating a sexual ethic for Christians that includes the LGBT community, because it is easy to do it without doing it well. And I would love for us to have a fairly well done model when we share it, yes?

    • theboeskool says:

      Okay, I’ll give you 1 & 2, but I didn’t say that Jesus is all sunshine and lollypops (or I didn’t intend to present things that way, at least). There were many times that Jesus was angry–righteously angry–about the things you’ve mentioned and more. If you read some of my older entries, you’ll probably get a better idea of how I feel…. I get angry too. : )

      My point was that when people challenged Jesus with questions of “overlapping” law, Jesus seems to side with the loving the people around you. We have Love God, and Love the People Around You As Yourself. The 10 commandments are split into laws about how we relate to God and how we relate to each other. And it’s not that those laws conflict with each other, it’s that our interpretation of keeping them sometimes conflicts with our call to love each other. Jesus, being the fulfillment of the law, was all about the heart of the law and not the letter of the law. And the beating heart of the law is LOVE–especially love for the poor, the oppressed, and the powerless. This post was about beating heart.

      Then we, as his followers, so this backward thing and we are empowered by becoming servants–It’s the difference that Greg Boyd talks about being “Power under” instead of “Power over.” Anyway…

      Thanks so much for reading! I’m glad I could give you a break from grading papers.

  7. Lindsay says:

    I came across this blog entry through a friend and must say that I strongly disagree. There’s a lot of stuff here and a lot of thoughts in my head, but I’ll try to keep the writing of my thoughts brief. It seems like, in the Church and world today, people have to choose one of 2 extremes to be on when it comes to homosexuality. “Love” (i.e., fully embrace and accept) homosexuals and their lifestyle, or hate, judge and ostracize them. I choose to be in the middle, as I believe both extremes to be wrong and un-Biblical.

    One of the main points of this blog seems to be that the Bible is not clear on homosexuality, and so, when in doubt, side with love.

    First off, I think the Bible IS clear on homosexuality and that it is a sin. We can sit around and talk for hours about all the sins in the Bible the Church isn’t addressing – that’s a separate issue. The sin that’s on the table is homosexuality, so let’s just stick to that – if it’s a sin and what our response to it should be. For me, there are verses all through the Bible that are clear in stating homosexuality is a sin and goes against God’s design. I’ll just state one – Romans 1:26-27 is clear & strong to me that homosexuality is a perversion of God’s creation – a sin.

    Second, if it’s a sin, what do we do about love? My main issue is with how people define love these days. Since when did love become turning a blind eye to the errors of the one you love? We have examples all around us of parents who “love” their children so much that the children grow up to be wild, rebellious, selfish, miserable adults, because their parents didn’t love them enough to correct them & train them in the way they should go. Love is not blind acceptance and allowing someone to do whatever they want and feels right to them. The sum of God’s love is this – a love so fierce that He cannot stand to see us spend eternity in hell, separated from Him; therefore, in His LOVE, He convicts us of sin, which leads us to repentance and salvation. Jesus showered people with love and healing, but then would leave them with “go & sin no more”. His love would not allow Him to stay quiet while they continued in any form of a destructive life. So many Christians have fallen for this false idea of “love”, that we have decided the loving thing to do is say nothing to a homosexual about their lifestyle and stand by while they destroy themselves. If they aren’t Christians, we are standing by, watching them go to hell. What kind of love is that?! If they are Christians, we are standing by, watching them live in unrepentant sin, thereby letting go of the abundant life promised them. What kind of love is that?! (Again, this goes for any sin, but the issue on the table is homosexuality.) Where are the true Jesus followers, who will say “go & sin no more”? Where are the Peters that will say “repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away”? Where are the Pauls that will say “God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent”?

    Even as one who believes homosexuality to be sin, I am still preaching to myself, too. I am constantly being convicted of my need to walk in boldness to preach the gospel. I allow fear to keep me silent. Yet, this is what I feel measures my love for people. Will I tell them the good news? The FULL good news? To non-believers: “Jesus loves you so much, He cannot stand to see your sin separate you from Him. Go and sin no more.” To believers: “Jesus loves you so much, He has called you to holiness. Turn from your sin and be restored to a full relationship with Him.” This is love!!!

  8. theboeskool says:

    Lindsay–Thanks you for reading and thanks for you thoughts. A few thoughts:
    1) I can tell that you haven’t watched the movie. Not trying to be a prick, I can just tell.
    2) Starting with your first point, that “the Bible IS clear on homosexuality and that it is a sin,” you are right that the passage you cited in Romans seems to make the best case for that, but the passage starts with the words “Because of this, God gave them over (or abandoned them) to their shameful lusts.” The “because of this” that Paul was refering to was idolatry. So the timeline that Paul is describing is 1st comes Idolatry, then comes this idea of God “abandoning” people who worship idols instead him, THEN “Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.” What does that mean, “even their women?” Do we have a theology that says that if people worship idols, God ABANDONS them? Hands them over to their lusts? This isn’t still around today.
    3) What the Bible says about other sins IS important in this conversation. The Bible is WAY more clear about divorce (for anything other than marital infidelity) is a sin, yet we are fine with welcoming divorced people into the church without referring to them as living “in unrepentant sin.” When people asked Jesus about divorce, the commonly held belief was that a man could give his wife a certificate of divorce for any reason and send her packing. Women couldn’t divorce their husbands, but their husbands could just say “Bye bye.” Jesus says that without marital unfaithfulness, adultery is what it’s called. But again, Jesus is not about the letter of the law, he is about the heart of the law.
    4) It sounds like your theology says that the only ones who get God’s abundant life are the ones who are living without sin. Is that what you believe? Because the Bible also comes down pretty hard on judging other people….

    But mostly, thanks for reading. Isn’t it cool that we can disagree and God still loves us both like we’re his favorite kids?

    • Cheryl S says:

      Boeskool,

      Our Culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they do or believe. Both are Nonsense.

      You don’t have to compromise your convictions to be compassionate.

      Rick Warren

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  14. Rose Aldridge says:

    I couldn’t believe it when I read in your blog the exact words I’ve said more than once: if I am wrong and being gay is a sin, then I’d still rather come down on the side of love. I am fortunate to belong to a church where we’re too busy loving God and loving others to worry about judging. We have several gay men in our church and I believe they would tell you they feel no judgement, just love. Is love not what our savior demands of us?

    At my church, we don’t really talk a lot about sin. We do talk a lot about love and how we can show God’s love to others, and how we can feel that love deep in our souls.

    I have wondered many times why homosexuality seems to be the worst sin imaginable to some people. Not even taking into account all those “sins” we obviously no longer give any thought to, like eating shellfish and wearing clothes made of more than one fabric, what about greed and gluttony? Why are these people so silent on these and so vocal about this one “sin”. And let me make it very clear — I don’t believe being gay is a sin.

    I have come to the conclusion that there is one primary reason why this is so. Most of the churches that put so much emphasis on the alleged sin of homosexuallity are the same male-led churches where women are kept “in their place”. Men of this sort are frequently homophobic. Therefore being gay is worst than all the other sins put together. This is the only conclusion I have been able to come to.

    I am not saying any of this to change anyone’s mind. I realize that if you believe being gay is a sin, I am not going to change your mind, just as you are not going to change mine. I will not engage in an ugly back and forth exchange. Can’t we all agree that God is love?

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  16. Hi there, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this post. It was inspiring.
    Keep on posting!

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  20. Tempest Rose says:

    I’m so happy I found your blog. I am not religious, and one of the main reasons is because of how I’ve been treated by organized religions and many religious people (and have seen how they treat others). Because of this, I don’t believe in God.

    However, I have slowly but surely been coming across more people like you — people who believe in and love God yet at the same time are accepting, tolerant, and loving to others, and I’m opening myself more to the possibility that there is a God. I’m still not there, but I’m not as closed-off to the idea of it as I was. I am trying to learn more about the Bible and Christianity, etc. etc., and don’t have the same hatred in me towards every Christian I once did.

    I myself am bisexual, and I can tell you personally this post matters to me. I can tell you that I am simply attracted to both genders (and those not on the binary gender scale, but that’s another topic), because I am attracted to people. Obviously not every single person, but I don’t see people by their looks or genitals, I see them for who they are. And if I fall in love with someone, it doesn’t matter to me what body they’re in. That’s “why” I’m bisexual, and I never made that “choice,” I just was. When I came out to my mother I was about 13 or 14 years old. She said, “I’ve known since you were 9.” I can guarantee you that I did not make a choice about loving women when I was 9 and only had crushes on boy bands. (I’m sorry if that seemed offensive to you — I didn’t mean YOU “you,” I just meant the world.)

    It’s nice to have more people on my side. If someone doesn’t agree with my life, fine. I don’t agree with people who won’t take the time to learn proper grammar. But I’m not going to fight to make it illegal to speak in slang. Great post=]

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