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5 reasons the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision is a victory for all Americans

Arguments at the United States Supreme Court for Same-Sex Marriage on April 28, 2015 - Image courtesy of Ted Eytan via Flickr creative commons -

The following is a guest post by Skye Jethani

The case of the Colorado baker who refused to create a cake for a same-sex wedding has been a topic of heated debate since 2015. My writings about the case have received criticism from both conservative Christians and marriage equality advocates because I sided with the cake maker (upsetting liberals) but not on the grounds of religious liberty (upsetting conservatives). Instead, I saw the case as a matter of free speech in which the “LGBTs vs. Christians” lens was largely irrelevant.

Nonetheless, many insisted that the case represented the front line in the culture war. The high court, both side hoped, would finally decide whose rights trumped whose. Did religious belief outweigh gay marriage, or did sexual orientation outweigh religious liberty?

This week, the Supreme Court finally ruled on the case in a surprising manner allowing neither side to declare a total victory or defeat. Here are my five reasons why we should see the decision as a victory for the common good rather than either side in the culture war.

1. The decision was not determined by the 2016 presidential election

We’ve become used to 5-4 split decisions from the Supreme Court on controversial cases including Burwell v. Hobby LobbyCitizens United v. FEC, and Obergefell v. Hodges which legalized same-sex marriage. So, when Justice Scalia died in February 2016, filling his vacancy on the court became a central issue of the presidential campaign with many assuming their vote for Trump or Clinton would make a difference in the battle between gay rights and religious liberty.

Image courtesy of Skye Jethani

This decision proved they were wrong. The court voted 7-2 for the cake maker with three of the justices who voted for same-sex marriage in 2015 (Kennedy, Kegan, and Breyer) siding with the conservatives. That margin means the outcome would have been the same even if Hillary Clinton had won the election and had appointed her own nominee to the bench. Progressives cannot blame the decision on Justice Gorsuch, Donald Trump, Russian interference in the election, or the Republicans in the Senate who stonewalled President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, for 10 months.

It also serves as a reminder to conservatives that the court is not as hostile to religious liberty as pundits and Republican fundraisers would have them believe. In fact, the court—including its more liberal members—has a very strong record of defending religious liberty.

2. The decision supporting the Christian baker was written by the same justice who wrote the decision legalizing gay marriage

In an inspired choice, the court assigned the task of writing the majority opinion to Justice Kennedy—the same moderate judge whose swing vote decided Obergefell and who wrote the opinion that legalized same sex marriage three years ago. Kennedy has become a hero to advocates of marriage equality for his principled articulation of the right of all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, to marry. Therefore, his equally principled defense of Jack Phillips, the Christian cake maker, cannot be dismissed as the biased logic of an anti-gay conservative. To his credit, Kennedy affirms the dignity and sympathizes with both sides in the debate.

Kennedy’s authorship of both decisions also means future generations of American legal scholars will have to weigh both gay rights and religious liberty together. These are not matters that easily fall along conservative and liberal fault lines. Which leads to my third point.

3. The decision sidesteps the culture war and identity politics

These days it feels like everything from the NFL to the latest Star Wars film is caught up in partisan divisions and red/blue tribal identity. The “us versus them” mindset has paralyzed Washington and prevented our political leaders from making headway on life-saving issues most Americans agree on like firearm safety and the opioid epidemic.

The Supreme Court’s decision yesterday avoided this trap and kept the court out of the scrum of the culture war by offering a narrow ruling specific to this case rather than a broad precedent. Although advocates on both sides were hoping for a knockout punch, the court refused to say whether religious liberty or gay rights had the upper hand. It did not go along with the winner-take-all mindset that has overtaken our public discourse. Instead, the court affirmed the value of protecting both religious belief and sexual orientation from discrimination.

The majority opinion understands that the real goal is not a victory for one side but respect, understanding, and tolerance from both sides. The language of the ruling subtly chastises those who view the tension between gay rights and religious liberty as a battle for total domination by the victor and unconditional surrender by the loser. As the decision states, “The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market” [emphasis added].

4. The decision condemns anti-gay and anti-Christian bigotry

If there was a loser in the case it was the Colorado Civil Rights Commission who exhibited contempt for Mr. Phillips’ Christian beliefs. The court found, “Some of the commissioners at the Commission’s formal, public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust. No commissioners objected to the comments.”

The First Amendment, Justice Kennedy said, guarantees “that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.” By comparing Mr. Phillips’ sincerely held religious beliefs to that of a slaveholder or Nazi, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was anything but neutral. This may be one of the most important parts of the ruling. By defending the legitimacy of Mr. Phillips’ religious beliefs, Justice Kennedy—again, the same justice who wrote the ruling legalizing same sex marriage in 2015—was declaring that holding a traditional view of marriage for religious reasons is not inherently oppressive, bigoted, or immoral. That isn’t just good news for Christians, but also for Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and followers of other faiths that have not endorsed same-sex unions for thousands of years.

At the same time, religious business owners should not interpret anything in the ruling as permission to deny goods or services to LGBT patrons. Kennedy wants to protect both gay and religious citizens from the “indignities” of discrimination, and I suspect the majority of Americans share that goal.

5. The decision represents hope for a divided country

The court’s opinion has been criticized by some as “kicking the can down the road.” Maybe, but I see a wisdom to the ruling that culture warriors on the left and right may not. Had yesterday’s decision been a decisive victory for either side it would have short circuited the opportunity to forge a more perfect union in which gay and religious Americans learn to respect one another and pursue the common good as fellow citizens rather than as enemy combatants.

Most Americans do not see the tension between religious liberty and gay rights as a fight to the death. Most do not believe it must be an either/or, zero sum conflict. There are very good, very thoughtful citizens occupying the middle who are not represented by the zealots on cable news and social media. Nor are they engaged by the politicians being pulled to the fringes of both parties who fear compromise more than they love common sense.

At its best the Supreme Court rises above petty partisanship and ephemeral trends, and it did so in this case. The framers of the Constitution gave the justices lifetime appointments so they could avoid the shortsightedness that plagues too many of our elected officials today, and so the court may call us back to enduring Constitutional principles and the founding aspirations of our nation.

I wonder if Justice Kennedy considered the unkind, divisive rhetoric of the current public discourse when writing his opinion, and how a broad, decisive ruling one way or the other would have enflamed the anger already burning in American society. Our country has embarked on a course of cruelty in recent years in which both sides view the court as a weapon against the other. By not offering a final ruling in the strain between religious liberty and gay rights, the court is leaving room for neighbors, local communities, cities, and states to come together around common sense solutions that respect all citizens. The court seems to be hoping that, given enough time, our present cruelty will break with a new dawn of civility.

Image courtesy of Skye Jethani

Skye Jethani (@skyejethani) is an award-winning author of five books including What’s Wrong With Religion?, co-host of The Holy Post podcast, a former executive editor at Christianity Today, and an ordained pastor. 

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Skye Jethani

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  • I really hate this whole article.

    It is not a question of religious liberty vs. sexual orientation, but a question of religious liberty vs. religious liberty. We have laws at every level of government, and have had these laws for 50 years, which forbid discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs, yours or mine. The baker clearly discriminated on the basis of religious belief, but is being given a pass because he has declared that his beliefs are “sincere.” He has declared that his business is the same thing as his religion. That’s nonsense. There is nothing in the Bible that says, “thou shall not big cakes for the people you despise.”The commissioner in Colorado stated nothing but the truth: religion has been used to justify any kind of bigotry it is desired to try. This was most clear in the Jim Crow laws and segregation in the old south.

    The Supreme Court failed to do its job.

    The great irony of the situation is that this case was just cited in an Arizona case, where another so called Christian decided that they had the right to ignore non-discrimination laws and not serve gay people. The court found against this so-called Christians, quoting this failed Supreme Court experiment at length..

  • Gay Christian writer Andrew Sullivan agrees with this writer in his column today (2nd of the three topics he covers):

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/06/traumatizing-children-is-the-new-weapon-in-trump-arsenal.html

    In a nutshell, he says,

    I’m worried simply about how this kind of contempt and mutual incomprehension spill over into civil intolerance. Which is why I still hope we can muster up as much respect for the homosexual person as we can for the faithful one.

    I have no such worries myself, considering that when it comes to civil intolerance, we’re already there. We’re already in the midst of an intractable civil war based on tribal “cultural issues” and the two sides are too deeply entrenched to let go now.

    I think the real issue is: to what extent will religion be allowed in intersect with public life in a pluralistic country. That is what this case dealt with, and I don’t think that having the court “punt” in order to appease the dominant religious force in this country is as good a thing as this author and Mr. Sullivan believe it to be. Sometimes people have irreconcilable differences which no amount of short-term accommodation can alleviate. Sometimes the only solution is going to war and see who comes out on top. I say this as a believer who, unlike certain other believers, does not think that my religion, Christianity, needs to be propped up by the state. It can either stand on its own two feet in the marketplace of ideas, or it can’t. And if it can’t it doesn’t deserve to be propped up. This case propped up Christianity for a little while longer as it continues its slow descent into irrelevance.

  • “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”1 Thessalonians 5:22 King James Version (KJV)

  • too late for you, with your lies and slanders. Except it isn’t an “appearance”.

  • The baker is not “being given a pass because he has declared that his beliefs are ‘sincere.’ ”

    The Supreme Court could not weight the merits of the case because the state of Colorado recruited members for its “Civil Rights” Commission who apparently read JoeMyGod and made one outrageous anti-religious comment after another ON THE RECORD, and the elected judiciary in Colorado decided to look the other way in the hope of GETTING REELECTED.

    Basically the decision concluded that a fair trial involves – now get this – fairness.

    In the absence of that, its hands were tied.

    I agree, however, that the author of this bit of humor read the result through rose-colored glasses while standing on his head and looking at mirror.

  • There is no question that religion is allowed to intersect with public life in a pluralistic country.

    In fact, it does so now less then at almost any time in American history.

    Your last sentence is wishful thinking and demonstrates why you ought to get out more.

  • Your feeding her persecution complex. More stars in her crown if she gets “prosecuted” at least once a day.

  • Ben, I have to disagree with your assessment. The baker didn’t win because of his sincerely held belief, but because the Colorado Civil Rights Commission members were rude and crude towards him and ridiculed his beliefs. Had they not done that, this decision may have actually been decided on the merits of the case. But they didn’t, so the court sidestepped that land mine.

    They have another chance at that landmine this week if they decide to take the case of a WA State florist who refused to sell arrangements for a gay couple’s wedding. In this case, there is no ridicule of her religious beliefs by the WA State entities which handled the case. I’m guessing that the court will choose not to take the case. I which case, this lady will lose, as all levels of WA State government has ruled against her.

  • David, I don’t see that they ridiculed his beliefs. They stated a fact: religion has been used to justify a great many wrongs and persecutions. Phillips himself stipulated it was about his religious beliefs.
    But we’ll just have to see what happens.

  • Your Christian faux sincerity is inspiring so many – to run in the opposite direction.

  • “…. I don’t see that they ridiculed his beliefs.”

    From the opinion written by Justice Kennedy:

    “At the time, state law also afforded storekeepers some latitude to decline to create specific messages the storekeeper considered offensive. Indeed, while enforcement proceedings against Phillips were ongoing, the Colorado Civil Rights Division itself endorsed this proposition in cases involving other bakers’ creation of cakes, concluding on at least three occasions that a baker acted lawfully in declining to create cakes with decorations that demeaned gay persons or gay marriages. See Jack v. Gateaux, Ltd., Charge No. P20140071X (Mar. 24, 2015); Jack v. Le Bakery Sensual, Inc., Charge No. P20140070X (Mar. 24, 2015); Jack v. Azucar Bakery, Charge No. P20140069X (Mar. 24, 2015).”

    “There were, to be sure, responses to these arguments that the State could make when it contended for a different result in seeking the enforcement of its generally applicable state regulations of businesses that serve the public. And any decision in favor of the baker would have to be sufficiently constrained, lest all purveyors of goods and services who object to gay marriages for moral and religious reasons in effect be allowed to put up signs saying “no goods or services will be sold if they will be used for gay marriages,” something that would impose a serious stigma on gay persons. But, nonetheless, Phillips was entitled to the neutral and respectful consideration of his claims in all the circumstances of the case.”

    “The neutral and respectful consideration to which Phillips was entitled was compromised here, however. The Civil Rights Commission’s treatment of his case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his objection.”

    “That hostility surfaced at the Commission’s formal, public hearings, as shown by the record. On May 30, 2014, the seven-member Commission convened publicly to consider Phillips’ case. At several points during its meeting, commissioners endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, implying that religious beliefs and persons are less than fully welcome in Colorado’s business community. One commissioner suggested that Phillips can believe “what he wants to believe,” but cannot act on his religious beliefs “if he decides to do business in the state.” Tr. 23. A few moments later, the commissioner restated the same position: “[I]f a businessman wants to do business in the state and he’s got an issue with the—the law’s impacting his personal belief system, he needs to look at being able to compromise.” Id., at 30. Standing alone, these statements are susceptible of different interpretations. On the one hand, they might mean simply that a business cannot refuse to provide services based on sexual orientation, regardless of the proprietor’s personal views. On the other hand, they might be seen as inappropriate and dismissive comments showing lack of due consideration for Phillips’ free exercise rights and the dilemma he faced. In view of the comments that followed, the latter seems the more likely.”

    “On July 25, 2014, the Commission met again. This meeting, too, was conducted in public and on the record. On this occasion another commissioner made specific reference to the previous meeting’s discussion but said far more to disparage Phillips’ beliefs. The commissioner stated:”

    “‘I would also like to reiterate what we said in the hearing or the last meeting. Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the holocaust, whether it be—I mean, we—we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to—to use their religion to hurt others.’ Tr. 11–12.”

    “To describe a man’s faith as “one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use” is to disparage his religion in at least two distinct ways: by describing it as despicable, and also by characterizing it as merely rhetorical—something insubstantial and even insincere. The commissioner even went so far as to compare Phillips’ invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust. This sentiment is inappropriate for a Commission charged with the solemn responsibility of fair and neutral enforcement of Colorado’s antidiscrimination law—a law that protects discrimination on the basis of religion as well as sexual orientation.”

    “The record shows no objection to these comments from other commissioners. And the later state-court ruling reviewing the Commission’s decision did not mention those comments, much less express concern with their content. Nor were the comments by the commissioners disavowed in the briefs filed in this Court. For these reasons, the Court cannot avoid the conclusion that these statements cast doubt on the fairness and impartiality of the Commission’s adjudication of Phillips’ case. Members of the Court have disagreed on the question whether statements made by lawmakers may properly be taken into account in determining whether a law intentionally discriminates on the basis of religion. See Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah, 508 U. S. 520, 540–542 (1993); id., at 558 (Scalia, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment). In this case, however, the remarks were made in a very different context—by an adjudicatory body deciding a particular case.”

    “Another indication of hostility is the difference in treatment between Phillips’ case and the cases of other bakers who objected to a requested cake on the basis of conscience and prevailed before the Commission.”

    “As noted above, on at least three other occasions the Civil Rights Division considered the refusal of bakers to create cakes with images that conveyed disapproval of same-sex marriage, along with religious text. Each time, the Division found that the baker acted lawfully in refusing service. It made these determinations because, in the words of the Division, the requested cake included “wording and images [the baker] deemed derogatory,” Jack v. Gateaux, Ltd., Charge No. P20140071X, at 4; featured “language and images [the baker] deemed hateful,” Jack v. Le Bakery Sensual, Inc., Charge No. P20140070X, at 4; or displayed a message the baker “deemed as discriminatory, Jack v. Azucar Bakery, Charge No. P20140069X, at 4.”

    “The treatment of the conscience-based objections at issue in these three cases contrasts with the Commission’s treatment of Phillips’ objection. The Commission ruled against Phillips in part on the theory that any message the requested wedding cake would carry would be attributed to the customer, not to the baker. Yet the Division did not address this point in any of the other cases with respect to the cakes depicting anti-gay marriage symbolism. Additionally, the Division found no violation of CADA in the other cases in part because each bakery was willing to sell other products, including those depicting Christian themes, to the prospective customers. But the Commission dismissed Phillips’ willingness to sell “birthday cakes, shower cakes, [and] cookies and brownies,” App. 152, to gay and lesbian customers as irrelevant. The treatment of the other cases and Phillips’ case could reasonably be interpreted as being inconsistent as to the question of whether speech is involved, quite apart from whether the cases should ultimately be distinguished. In short, the Commission’s consideration of Phillips’ religious objection did not accord with its treatment of these other objections.”

    “…. For the reasons just described, the Commission’s treatment of Phillips’ case violated the State’s duty under the First Amendment not to base laws or regulations on hostility to a religion or religious viewpoint.”

    Of course, as an over-the-top ridiculer of religion and religious beliefs you don’t see the ridicule.

    That’s how it is with bigotry – bigots never see it, as the so-called “Civil Rights” Commission demonstrated on the record.

  • To me, this is the relevant quote:

    “‘I would also like to reiterate what we said in the hearing or the last meeting. Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the holocaust, whether it be—I mean, we—we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to—to use their religion to hurt others.’ Tr. 11–12.”

    As far as I can tell, that is a true statement. ” And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to—to use their religion to hurt others.”
    But this is what the court turned it into.

    “To describe a man’s faith as “one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use” is to disparage his religion in at least two distinct ways: by describing it as despicable, and also by characterizing it as merely rhetorical—something insubstantial and even insincere. The commissioner even went so far as to compare Phillips’ invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust. This sentiment is inappropriate for a Commission charged with the solemn responsibility of fair and neutral enforcement of Colorado’s antidiscrimination law—a law that protects discrimination on the basis of religion as well as sexual orientation.”

    They didn’t disparage his religious beliefs. They disparaged hiding behind religion. There is a world of difference.

  • However you read it, Justice Kennedy, who wrote the decision, viewed that the commission was hostile to the man’s religious belief, rather than remaining neutral.

  • “Therefore, his equally principled defense of Jack Phillips, the
    Christian cake maker, cannot be dismissed as the biased logic of an
    anti-gay conservative. To his credit, Kennedy affirms the dignity and
    sympathizes with both sides in the debate.”

    Kennedy made it clear that had the case been evaluated on the merits of the arguments presented, Jack Phillips would have certainly lost his case. Talk about spin here!

  • “(Christianity) can either stand on its own two feet in the marketplace of ideas, or it can’t.”

    So, we finally agree on something. But if the Supremes had bashed and defeated Jack Phillips, if they had repealed our religious freedoms, things would be NO worse for Christians than in the days of the ancient Corinthians. Biblical Christianity ain’t scared to compete in the great marketplace of ideas.

    In 1 Cor. 6:9-11, nobody asks the government for permission before Jesus transforms the Corinthian gays into Corinthian ex-gays. If any seculars got angry, no matter. The Corinthian Christians would just have to take the heat and continue functioning powerfully, breaking people’s chains with Christ’s salvation and healing.

    Religious freedom is in the Constitution. So Christians have a right to insist that our government give it to all Americans, including us. But even if a future USSC says “Let’s Repeal It on Christians”, the Christians can still break the chains of gay slavery anyway, though it may carry a higher price.

  • Kennedy made nothing clear except that his connection to reality remains tenuous, and his conclusion to this Opinion:

    “The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”

    makes clear that Scalia’s assessment of Kennedy’s opinion in Obergefell as “the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie” and reference to the “”sweet-mystery-of-life passage” in “Planned Parenthood v. Casey” was a kindness.

  • The fact that the opinion was somewhat balanced in its wording is most likely the only way they ever got seven Justices on it. We are never told how many drafts these things go through. I’m betting this one had several with Breyer and Kagan threatening to jump off at any minute UNLESS it was clearly “a narrow ruling specific to this case rather than a broad precedent” (quoting this author).

    There would be a strong scent of impropriety in Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch and Kennedy doing a 5/4 end zone celebration ALONE on promotion of discrimination (given the religious teaching background they share). So, the 5 settled for a dodge and a “kick the can” opinion in order to get a 7/2.

    I’m guessing of course, but everyone HAS TO guess how opinions are “created”. They don’t tell you about the horse trading, but it’s there.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 has NOTHING to do with a change in Sexual Orientation. It merely means a change in some kind of outward behavior. Αρσενοκοιται does NOT mean directing sexual ATTRACTION towards males. At most it means sexual intercourse between males. It probably is symbolic for Male Cult Prostitutes, rather than persons with a Gay Sexual Orientation. It has nothing to do with what gender persons are attracted to. Therefore these verses DON’T mean these persons changed their sexual orientation, which is entirely a matter of feelings, which may or may not be expressed in acts.

  • I understand that. In this case, I– emphasize I– think the man’s statement was clear. I wonder if Kennedy would have said the same thing if Phillips had said “I don’t serve Jews because of their failure to accept Jesus as their personal savior.”

  • I’m ready now for your pop quiz, brother Skye Jethani – “former executive editor at Christianity Today”, you.

    TRUE OR FALSE: “Justice Kennedy … was declaring that holding a traditional view of marriage for religious reasons is not inherently oppressive, bigoted, or immoral.”

    FALSE. Because, “Justice Kennedy … [NEVER got around to] declaring that [IMPOSING ON OTHERS] a traditional view of marriage for religious reasons [IS] inherently oppressive, bigoted, or immoral.” And I know exactly why you didn’t criticize him for that. Like you said, it’s “because I sided with the cake maker”! Not me, though an Evangelical like you. For I judge our brother in Christ, Jack Phillips, guilty of wrongdoing against my brothers David Mullins and Charlie Craig, by defying The Apostolic Rule of Christian Conduct Outside the Church. What he did was a serious no-no.

  • Oh, but yes it DOES mean sexual orientation change too (and yes I saw this happen for real.) Jesus’s utterly mind-blasting power can heal, change, sanctify, and deliver people all the way to their innermost core being. He’ll unpack anybody’s root causes, and cleanse/heal ALL of it. No situation too difficult, and it’s never too late. HIS power is totally impossible & overwhelming.

    If folks have SSA “feelings” but are celibate, then we thank God for the celibacy, and sincerely rejoice with them for God is blessing them. BUT Christians can’t stop there, because the great Scriptures don’t stop there. See 1 Cor 6:11. Today’s pro-gay mantra, “sexual orientation”, didn’t stop Jesus at all. He totally cleansed them. Sanctified them. No more gay behavior NOR gay self-identity. All of it washed off. It may take some time, or take some help, but nobody has to stay gay anymore.

    God is NOT forced to play second-fiddle to pro-gay terminology like “sexual orientation.” Notice the words “cleanse” and “all” in 1 John 1:9 . Gay Goliath says God can’t overcome some aspects of this gay thing. God’s Word says yes, HE can crash and wipe out ALL of it.

  • Oh, but yes it DOES mean sexual orientation change (and yes I saw this happen for real.)

    You wouldn’t be talking about yourself, would you? Because that would be the ONLY way you could possibly know for sure since other people’s word on this subject has been shown over and over again to be completely unreliable. Nearly everyone who’s claimed to have changed their sexual orientation vis-a-vis some quackpot ex-gay so-called “ministry” later admitted that their orientation never really changed, they just simply didn’t act on it.

  • Ben, we have not spoken of late, and you have chosen not to reply to me as well. I can accept that, albeit with some pain. As usual we tend to differ on this issue; I think the article was well put. However, I’m more concerned by what seems to be an ever increasing tone of bitterness in your posts which cannot possibly be healthy for you. I post this in the most friendly spirit.

  • This is the same tired semantical argument functioning as window dressing to no practical effect in spiritual or theological terms

  • Try as I might, and the failure may lie with me, I often find it difficult to parse your arguments because your sentence construction is neither succinct or precise. Your position on issues seems obscure at best in many cases. My regret that it strikes me so.

  • Thank you for your kind thoughts, Edward. No, I’ve been fine, and I haven’t been avoiding you. I haven’t seen much of you, and that is all. And no, I’m not bitter. I am angry, however. That’s not going to stop until the Supreme Court comes up with the decision that says gay people may not be discriminated against anymore than cann Christians, black people, Jews, women, or anyone else

    I’m angry about this decision/lack of decision. I understand how some Christians frame the issue. I don’t agree with it, and I’m not going to. The issue for me is quite simple. As I have written elsewhere, we have laws in this country which are intended to prevent just the sort of thing that masterpiece claims is their right: discrimination on the basis of religious belief. Masterpiece admits this; his refusal to provide a cake is about his religious beliefs. Whether it’s about marriage, gay people, our place in society, doesn’t matter at all, becuase it is about his religious beliefs. The law says that this is not appropriate in matters of public accommodations; his business is a public accommodation by definition. I will not agree that such discrimination is perfectly OK, especially when it seems to apply to one class of people and one class of people only— gay people.

    Either we allow discrimination on the basis of religious belief, or we don’t. If we’re going to allow it, then we allow it for everybody. If we’re not, then these constant attempts to find the one group that it’s OK to discriminate against simply underlines why we have these laws to begin with. I’ve been called a bigot too many times by so called religious people because I resist their efforts to otherize me, the limit my participation in society, and goddammit, to not treat me as they keep insisting I ought to treat them.

    I do not have to be tolerant of intolerance.

  • Oooh can’t wait for the sequel, “Masterpiece Cakeshop 2”! Here’s the trailer from that silly USA Today article:

    “Kennedy likes to proceed cautiously at first while sending out signals to lower courts as to how future cases should be decided. And once those courts have dutifully complied, Kennedy then feels comfortable in administering the coup de grace based in part on the weight of that lower court consensus.”

  • Again, I do appreciate your concern. But I’m absolutely fine. Thanks you for sharing it?

  • There are other cases in the pipeline way ahead of any Masterpiece Cakeshop 2. The court was to decide yesterday whether to take a case from WA State of a florist refusing to make & sell wedding arrangements for a gay couple who have been her faithful customers for 9 years.

  • They sided with the majority, but Gorsuch & Thomas wrote their own opinions which were much more right-leaning than the narrow path of Justice Kennedy

  • I’m sorry that your reading comprehension isn’t so good. Kennedy’s quoted paragraph was easily followed and made perfect since. This case was decided as it was strictly because the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was hostile to the cake baker’s religious beliefs. Period. Had the Commission not been hostile, it would have been a case of other circumstances and would have fallen in favor of gay persons subject to indignities when seeking goods & services in the open market.

    It’s funny how both you and Edward Borges-Silva have reading issues.

  • And when/where does Kennedy come in to, per the point of that USA Today article, “feel[ing now all] comfortable in administering the coup de grace based in part on the weight of that [WA State] lower court consensus”?

    I can just hear him moaning & groaning, Leave me alone. Didn’t I make myself perfectly (un)clear the first time? No, no, no, I’m not doing this *again*!!!!

  • That, to me, is a sign that Roberts somehow managed to rein them in to get that 7/2 for appearances sake. There is also the chance that Kennedy told the other four conservatives that he would flip to the liberal side on this one for a 5/4 the other direction unless the group opinion was a narrow one.

  • A hardware store owner who is also a BAPTIST MINISTER in East Tennessee just celebrated the new Supreme Court ruling by putting up a sign that says “No Gays Allowed.” Jeff Amyx, the store owner, said gay and lesbian couples are against his religion. He told WBIR that he was celebrating a “win” after the Supreme Court narrowly ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

    Back in 2015, he started selling homophobic bumper stickers and hats. His Facebook page is filled with pictures of himself giving sermons, supportive cartoons of Trump, Jesus, and a picture of an outhouse with a sign stating “Transgender Bathroom: Out of Service Indefinitely. Break with a new dawn of civility? Not anytime soon.

  • The real losers of the case were the seven (not just one) couples that were thrown out of this business and told “We don’t serve your kind in here”. The Commissioners should have voted that he broke Colorado’s law on non-discrimination and left out the editorializing. And that is the bottom line – a business open to the public discriminated against a legally protected class of people, and violated Colorado law. That’s ok – the Commissioners will get it right the next time he refuses to sell to a couple and violates Colorado law. It’s coming.

  • Yeah, floydlee is completely obsessed with all things gay. He’s a notorious anti-gay bigot on this site. I’ve never met a straight guy that is obsessed with the gay like he is.

  • No matter how semantical the argument, the word just does not mean feeling, it means an action. Actions can be changed, not attractions.

  • You all have reading issues. Kennedy purposely gave no indication of what the ruling would otherwise have been.

  • Not in Colorado it’s not – not unless they fire their existing “Civil Rights” Commission and reform it with people who actually understand civil rights in an American legal framework.

  • Why is this newsworthy?

    Both sides are rife with extremists – nothing new, nothing to look at, move along.

  • I unblocked you long enough to explain why I blocked you a week or two ago.

    Here is Kennedy’s overall assessment:

    “The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”

    and here is your assessment of it:

    “Kennedy’s quoted paragraph was easily followed and made perfect since.”

    This from the guy that reports all is well in the Episcopal Church.

    Since I don’t wear your rose-colored glasses, responding to your wishful thinking doesn’t strike me as a good use of my time, speaking of reading issues.

    Fortunately Kennedy won’t be writing opinions much longer, and we may wind up with someone a bit more attached to reality than he has been.

    Back to blocked.

  • Exodus International made these change claims. It has closed down because no one in it changed their attractions.

  • The topic of attraction and its remediation is open.

    Both sides purport to have evidence supporting their positions.

    California, never particularly interested in reality, purports to know the answer already:

    http://thefederalist.com/2018/04/30/factcheck-org-wrong-californias-lgbt-therapy-ban-ban-bibles/

    On the other hand mind mavens of various stripes have purported to, made careers of, and formed professional associations remeditating eating disorders, a wide range of neuroses, and dangerous psychoses:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2659312/

    Let’s just say the jury is still out.

  • It is Amyx Hardware & Roofing Supplies store in Grainger
    County, TN, about an hour outside of Knoxville. “Pastor” Amyx owns the store and he appears to be the pastor of a Baptist church in the area.

  • We best settle our Perennial Evangelical Differences regarding this case in this manner, then, if you’re up for the Biblical Challenge. Why do you agree or disagree? – that:

    (1) Jack Phillips was supposed “to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before [his gay couple customers].” (Acts 24:14-16.)

    (2) Jack Phillips was not supposed to “judge [his gay couple customers] outside his church … [but only] to judge those who are within his church? … Those who are outside … God judges”. (1 Corinthians 5:1-5, 9-13.)

    (3) Jack Phillips’ “proud confidence [was supposed to be] … the testimony of [his] conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, [he has] conducted [himself] in [his gay couple customers’] world”. (2 Corinthians 1:12.)

    (4) Jack Phillips was not supposed to be “walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending [himself] to [his gay couple customers’] conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:1-2.)

    (5) “While [he had] opportunity”, Jack Phillips was supposed to “do good to [his gay couple customers]”. (Galatians 4:9-10.)

    (6) Jack Phillips was supposed to “do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that [he] will prove [himself] to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of [his gay couple customers], among whom [he’s to] appear as lights in the world”. (Philippians 2:12-15.)

    (7) Jack Phillips was supposed to “conduct [himself] with wisdom toward [his gay couple customers], making the most of the opportunity. … [His] speech [must] always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that [he] will know how you should respond to [his gay couple customers].” (Colossians 4:2-6.)

    (8) Jack Phillips was supposed to “to make it [his] ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to [his] own business and work with [his] hands, … so that he will behave properly toward [his gay couple customers].” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 7-8, 10-12.)

    (9) Jack Phillips was supposed to “as aliens and strangers … keep [his] behavior excellent among [his gay couple customers], so that in the thing in which they slander [him] as evildoers, they may because of [his] good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. … [He’s] not [to] use [his] freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all [gay couple customers]”. (1 Peter 2:11-12, 15-17.)

    (10) Jack Phillips was supposed to “keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which [he’s] slandered, those [gay couple customers] who revile [his] good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.” (1 Peter 3:15-16.)

  • Why? What happens?

    So he can write a book on this social casrat… I mean catastrophe and do a book tour in North Korea?

  • Kennedy has been dropping hints about retiring for a year.

    He will be 82 in July.

    Without Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who will be 86 in August, it is unlikely he’ll be able to form a consensus in any case, and she is not long for the Court.

    Once this President appoints their replacements, I expect a serious change in the outlook of the SCOTUS on what Kennedy likes to call “dignity” and which Scalia referred to as “sweet mystery of life” opining.

  • People can change sexual behavior, however attractions cannot be. Many of the former ex gays who claimed change of attractions admitted to “temptations.” If their attractions really changed, then they would be completely temptation free, or only have heterosexual attractions. The fact that many people who once said they had changed now say they haven’t is strong evidence that attractions cannot be changed. At one time I didn’t want to be Gay. I went to a lot of Psychotherapy and this did not change my feelings at all. However, Psychotherapy is very useful and was very helpful in other ways. I don’t think the jury is out. The evidence is overwhelming that change of attractions, esp of people who are strongly oriented towards gay or straight in their attractions, is impossible.

  • People can quit smoking. The desire for a smoke continues for years.

    People can quit drinking. The desire for a drink never ends.

    The change in behavior is the desired outcome, and whether that constitutes “change of attractions” or “self control” is a semantical tempest in a teapot.

    No, the “evidence is (NOT) overwhelming that change of attractions … is impossible”.

    This argument plays into a Western philosophical heresy that can be summed up as “I gotta do my thing”. It became de rigeur in post-WWII Europe and North America and is currently overwhelming clear thinking in both places.

    In this view people are compelled to act on urges, on “attractions”, on compulsions or they will apparently “blow up”, or at least be very unhappy.

    Were that true we’d up to our armpits in rapists, kleptomaniacs, pyromaniacs, and speed demons.

    The very essence of a civilized society is that we can control ourselves.

    That people can do so is an expectation of everyone, and as we undercut that expectation, the result is both obvious and expected.

  • Go read the entire opinion, rather than assorted opinions on the opinion. All of the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing sides are acknowledged. Spuddie already swung and missed; we’ll see if you do too.

  • Kennedy said that holding the religious or philosophical view rhat SSM is wrong is decent and honorable.

  • I never denied that many persons can refrain from acting on their sexual desires, either Gay or Straight. Just not acting on one’s desire doesn’t mean they have changed the gender to which they direct sexual desire. My point is that if someone only desires the same gender but not the opposite, then is no evidence that they can change which gender they desire. They only have to completely eliminate any desire for the same gender, but they must gain that desire for the opposite gender. Possibly bi sexuals have more fluid desire. I wasn’t debating whether people should act on their desire or not, or whether they should do their own thing or not, but rather whether they can gain attractions for the opposite sex when they didn’t have these desires before. There are persons in Ex Gay groups who have admitted no one gained heterosexual desires if they did not have them before.

  • I dedicate the following to The New Samaritans in My Lifetime, i.e. all the LGBTQ victims of my fellow born-again Christian people of faith.

    which in Polish means “Solidarność!”

    According to David Mullins and Charlie Craig, interviewed by Mary Louise Kelly, “Same-Sex Couple Reacts to Supreme Court Decision in Favor of Baker”, NPR, June 4, 2018:

    “The decision … was technically a lose, it’s really devastating … But there’s a lot of nuance to the decision that we’re still figuring out. … We gave each other a giant hug and said, it’s going to be OK no matter what. … The most important thing that we want people to take away from this ruling is that this did not in any way, shape or form invalidate the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. That remains in full force, despite our loss at the Supreme Court today. … And … just the fact that we’ve really gotten, like, a national dialogue going about civil rights protections has been a win for us. … This case was never about whether or not there was another place where we could get a cake. We pursued this case because we believe that LGBT people deserve to receive the same and equal service at a place of business that any other customer would be afforded.”

    And according to Jesse Paul, “‘We’re just human beings’: Gay couple at center of Masterpiece Cakeshop case reflect after U.S. Supreme Court ruling: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop and its owner, Jack Phillips”, Denver Post, June 4, 2018:

    “Charlie Craig and David Mullins … the married couple said they would gladly go through the ordeal again and urged others to take up their fight for civil rights. (They also said they have no hard feelings toward Jack Phillips – ‘This has always been about a policy and not about a person.’)”

  • Oh, but there IS a second way you can see orientation-change happen, Mr. E. Like when it happens right in front of you. Like when it happens to a gay man and a longtime friend at a time when you are convinced that he is surely homosexual for life.

    Like when you personally hear a man’s very voice, and see a man’s very facial countenance, altered. Changed. Literally. You know what he told me, Mr. E? “God unleashed a blast of Explosive Power that struck me…”

    During our 3-hour conversation (no breaks!), he reported two definite, impossible miracles. (The second one he asked it kept private.) But that first one, it destroyed his homosexual behavior AND his same-sex-attraction feelings, in one distinct nuclear blast of healing. Oh God, I can still see that man’s face. Hear that man’s Psalm-23-peaceful voice. Indelible.

    I know everybody’s different, I know it’s a process, and I never say God does exactly the same bells & whistles for everybody. But you shoulda seen THIS one, Mr. E. This event permanently altered my own life. I stopped disbelieving 1 Cor. 6:9-11 and 1 Cor.10:13. Nobody has to be gay anymore. He’ll wash it ALL off.

  • Apparently you’ve never met a guy who is obsessed with Jesus Christ (and there’s a lot of men and women who are, by the way), and with what HE is capable of doing for anybody.

  • But other Ex-Gays have pointed out that even their “sexual orientation” was indeed changed and put right by God. The situations that are too hard for us humans, are absolutely NOT too hard for the Lord (Gen. 18:14, Jer.32:17, Jer. 32:27, see link at end of post). Don’t give up.

    Gay Goliath seeks to exploit folks who are struggling or have “given up”, selling a lie that gay self-identity, those “feelings”, are too hard for God and Jesus. Here is Goliath’s message:

    “If you wanna be celibate, then okay, but Science says that your Jesus is helpless to change your ‘sexual orientation’, so you’re still gay just like us. Your temptations, your sins, your “feelings”, define who you are and what self-identity you should choose, and that’s a LGBT self-identity for you God cannot heal a person’s sexual orientation — it’s too hard for Him.”

    But that is a raw gay activist LIE. Totally unbiblical. Refuted by multiple testimonies today. Refuted even by past scientific researchers like Masters, Johnson, Kolodny. (“It is possible for ‘highly motivated’ people to experience … sexual orientation change.”, 1985 textbook.)

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+18%3A14%2CJeremiah+32%3A17%2CJeremiah+32%3A27%2CLuke+18%3A27&version=AMP

  • If sexual orientation can so easily be changed, then prove it by changing yours – and then get back to me.

  • Would you say that the former members of Exodus International are a “raw gay activist LIE?” Of course Exodus International started out absolutely NOT being raw gay activists and trying to prove what you are saying now. Everyone in this organization now realizes this was an illusion. I saw this one video on Youtube where this teenage boy was driven to suicide because he did everything to change his feelings because of his Evangelical parents, which of course never did. He prayed a LOT to change. And just WHAT kind of change was Masters and Johnson talking about? Probably that some gay men actually CAN function heterosexually. I can write with my left hand, but I am right handed. One person who was in an “ex gay” group stated that someone said in the group he had to think about men in order to have sex with his wife. Irving Bieber is also proof. The Psychoanalyst Irving Bieber was THE main source of the idea that 30% of gays could change their sexual orientation. The whole idea that homosexuality was caused by domineering mothers and absent Fathers came from him. I called him on the phone about 30 years ago, and asked him if these persons had actually changed their feelings and he said none of them. It was mainly that a certain percent could function heterosexually. So, IF you get THE main sources of the idea that Sexual Orientation can be changed or even that God really wants people to change to admit that no one had changed, then the notion that immutability of sexual orientation is verified. My main two sources, Exodus International and Irving Bieber certainly were NOT gay activists and had no bias in my direction.

  • The evidence that no one has ever changed which gender they desire is zero.

    The evidence that no one has ever chosen freely to be celibate is also zero.

  • Evidence for the first statement? Since Exodus International, which was founded for the express purpose of proving that people could change, now admits that no one, at least those who were exclusively attracted to the same gender changed their feelings, then I would say that is damn good evidence. As for the second, I am not debating that issue. I don’t agree that Gay people must be required to be celibate, but I don’t doubt that many could at least refrain from having sex with others. But not acting on feelings does not mean the person no longer has those feelings.

  • I don’t think he was saying that at all. He was just saying if he thinks it is so easy to change sexual orientation, that he should try to change his and see how easy it is.

  • As Usual, what people have to say agrees with you, you’re willing to accept just about anything.

    Plenty of people have claimed to have had their sexual orientation changed. And in a couple of cases it may even happened, though whether Jesus had a thing to do with it is another question entirely.

    But just as certainly, plenty of people have claimed that they had changed their sexual orientation, had sworn up-and-down that they had changed their sexual orientation, but later admitted that nothing of the sort happened. In the case of your friend, I have no doubt that he really wanted it to happen, and you really wanted it to happen. But that doesn’t mean that happened.

  • Apparently Exodus International was unable to demonstrate to whomever’s satisfaction that it could not do it. That’s called a negative proof, it is not a proof.

    I am not arguing that gay people should celibate.

    I am suggesting that your entire argument is based on assumptions rather than proof.

    I would also suggest that no one has to act on their inclinations, which more or less undercuts the notion that if you have an inclination, you’re entitled to act on it.

  • The comment was snark and my comment was a response in the same vein.

    His correspondent has no particular reason to change, and the only thing that an inability to do so would “prove” is that either he can’t change or whatever method he used was ineffective.

    You can’t prove the hypothesis with a sample of one.

  • Let us agree for the sake of argument that αρσενοκοιται (arsenokoitai) used in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is drawn from the language of Leviticus 20:13. It states “If a man lies (shakav) with a male like one would lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” Notice this verse says NOTHING about same sex attraction. It doesn’t even say anything about women. Arseno means male, koitai (greek word) means sexual intercourse and the male to male version would be anal intercourse , since shakav (hebrew word) was a term for sexual intercourse- not a term for attractions, but a sexual act. It also doesn’t mean oral sex, because in Genesis 19:30-38, Lot’s daughters lied (shakav) with their father AND they got pregnant. If they just did oral sex, they would not have gotten pregnant. If they just lied with their father just to be close to him, they would not have gotten pregnant. If you read verses 15 and 16 and 18:23 about bestiality, it also commands women not to commit bestiality, whereas neither Leviticus 18:22 nor 20:13 mention women. So the VERY most you could claim about 1 Corinthians 6:9 is that they gave up anal sex between males. Arsenokoitai does not mean oral sex, nor does it mean Lesbian, nor does it mean same sex attraction, but rather strictly an act and only between males with no females.

  • I wasn’t dealing with the issue as to whether someone is entitled to act on their feelings. Perhaps I would say that if one DOES act on their feelings that it must be done in a responsible way. Anger is a feeling that can be destructive is acted on in a negative way. However, there are peaceful ways to express it, such as through assertiveness. Say how we feel, rather than by attacking the other person. Paul said, “be angry but don’t sin.” Sexual feelings can be expressed if combined with a relationship is my view. Paul seemed to be saying that lust can be expressed in a marriage in 1 Corinthians 7, which I believe that Gay people can be married. But it is possible that some Gay and Straight people might be called to celibacy. It doesn’t bother me that much if a Gay person says they are celibate as long as they still consider themselves to be Gay and don’t claim a change in Orientation.

  • Thank you.
    Looked him up and…don’t plan on shopping or churching there any time soon.

  • I don’t understand these people; no one is asking them to participate in homosexual acts or to agree with them. I have gay male friends who just want to live their lives without some Baptist pastor “calling them out”.

  • “(W)hich I believe that Gay people can be married” ends my interest in this conversation.

    As a matter of law same sex marriage is a fait accompli.

    As a matter of exegesis interpreting 1 Corinthians 7 in justification of same sex marriage staggers the imagination.

  • I agree with you, i understand the disagreement someone might have but if you want your views respected learn how to express them respectively.

  • I guess it would “stagger the imagination” if you were under the illusion that Paul thought Heterosexual marriage was THE more important value, way above that than Love of Neighbor or “oneness in Christ.” I don’t know where either Paul or Jesus said such a thing.

  • I cannot fathom the reason anyone would have for attending a church whose pastor is this bitter, angry man. Jesus welcomed those people society rejected. If this man thinks he’s serving God, he’s mistaken.

  • I have no problem at all if you believe that Paul was actually an alien from Mars, or outside our solar system. But your belief would stagger the imagination.

    In the same way if you consider same sex marriage as compatible with Christianity, it staggers the imagination.

  • It staggers the imagination for you to think heterosexual marriage is the most important value for Christians, more important than Love or even the Body of Christ. If it were, then Jesus wouldn’t have spoken about hating our heterosexual spouse in Luke 14:26.

  • Actually it does not.

    The very first command that the deity gives Adam and Eve on their departure from Paradise is “go forth and multiply”.

    This so permeated Jewish thinking that every act against it was considered sinful: sodomy, onanism, abortion, you name it. Also considered sinful was any act directed against marriage, which was the building block of Israel’s society.

    This carried over into Christianity, which for the most part held a uniform front until the 1930 Lambeth Conference at which the Anglican bishops approved birth control.

    So, the queer exegesis you’re relying on is an invention of the fertile minds of proponents of innovation, in this innovation in favor of something they want, contrary to the entire body of Judeo-Christian belief before it.

    Luke 14: 26 does not suggest that we hate “our heterosexual spouse” – it demands that we hate everything that stands between us and the Kingdom.

    That, of course, would include hating engaging in sodomy.

  • If I said to brother David Allen yesterday, “Thumbs up / I owe you 1”, now I say to you, 2 thumbs up / way up / I’m indebted to you for loving your enemy.

    Check out Mark Shea’s latest blog on Catholic and Enjoying it, entitled, “Noodling the Cake Controversy”. A kindred spirited essay, I must admit, conservative Catholic or no.

  • You might be “right” that the Church Tradition agrees with you. But I would argue for instance, that the Onan story is one example of how the Tradition greatly exaggerated what many Biblical texts meant. The Onan story ONLY has to do with Onan not performing the Levirate duty spelled out in Deuteronomy 25:5-10, which was to raise up descendents for their dead brother. Onan spilled his seed because he wanted the descendents to be his and not his brother’s. This story has nothing to with masturbation, homosexuality or birth control as the Tradition supposed. “Be fruitful and multiply” would be a duty for humanity on the whole. It didn’t mean that every sex act must be procreative. Paul in 1 Corinthians 7, when he discusses marriage, never said anything about having children, but he did talk about sex. Would it be proscribed for two infertile people from getting married? Also, not every prescriptive passage about marriage in the Bible defines it as “one man, on woman.” Deuteronomy 21:15-17, a legal text, accepts that a man might have two wives. Deuteronomy 17:17 only prescribes that a king not have many wives, not that he have only one wife. Ruth cleaved (Dabaq) to Naomi in Ruth 1:14- same Hebrew word for a man cleaving to his wife in Genesis 2:24. And of course, Levirate marriage is not a conventional marriage.

  • Then you should tell floydlee that. He was convinced by a sample of one. And he can’t stop singing it’s praises.

  • So you insult them as not being able to learn from their misfire?

    The point of the matter is that the CCRC has gotten plenty of their decisions correct. Some members in their exuberance screwed up this one.

  • Because it was this homophobe’s reaction after he misunderstood the narrowness of the ruling. Perhaps his mental defect is a result of close inbreeding. 😀

    You move along. Just because you aren’t interested doesn’t mean no one else is. You must believe that you run this joint somehow!

  • What you are arguing is that the scriptures means whatever you wish them to mean.

    That, of course, means they are meaningless.

    You’re also arguing that the church is such a lousy interpreter of those scriptures that it cannot be relied on at all.

    That, of course, means that those who adhere to it are fools.

    And then you reinterpret everything to suit yourself.

    Why are you going through the bother of reinterpreting meaningless scriptures to claim that you’re still in some way a member of a church that only fools adhere to?

    Because, friend, that is precisely what you are doing.

  • I do not understand how the phrase “The New Samaritans in My Lifetime” could refer to “all the LGBTQ victims of my
    fellow born-again Christian people of faith”. Please explain.

  • Think of it with me like this: If Christ Jesus and His 1st apostles & disciples were to make their first appearances now here on earth:

    Luke 9:52 would read: “Jesus sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the LGBTQs to make arrangements for Him.”

    Likewise, Luke 10:30, 33 – “Jesus said, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. … But a Gay Man, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion”.

    Luke 17:16 – “The man fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a member of the LGTBQ community.”

    John 4:9, 39-40 – “A Lesbian said to Jesus, ‘How is it that You, being the founder of Born-Again Christianity, ask me for a drink since I am a Lesbian?’ (For born-again Christians have no dealings with the LGBTQ community.) … From that city many of the LGTBQs believed in Him because of the word of the Lesbian who testified, ‘He told me all the things that I have done.’ So when the (other) Lesbians, Gays, Transgenders, Bisexuals and Queers came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.”

    John 8:48 – “The born-again Christians said to Jesus, ‘Do we not say rightly that You are a Gay Man and have a demon?'”

    Acts 8:25 – “When the fired-up & die-hard followers of Christ Jesus had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the LGTBQs.”

  • If you were being serious, you have bigger problems than you are apparently aware of, beginning with some issues in logic.

  • Tell me, are you saying the Onan story has NOTHING to do with the duty of a brother to raise up descendants from his dead brother as in Levirate Marriage described in Deuteronomy 25:5-10? So you are saying that the express purpose of the story is to condemn Masturbation, Homosexuality and Birth Control? Remember Tamar was married to Er, who was killed, and Onan was told to impregnate Tamar to raise descendants for his brother Er. Onan refused to perform this duty and was killed. Tamar later tricks Onan’s father Judah into performing this duty by dressing up as a prostitute. My Harper’s Bible Commentary states that the Onan story is about Levirate marriage. Does Paul talk about procreation in 1 Corinthians 7? Does Deuteronomy 17:7 prescribe a “one man, one woman” marriage given that this command accepts that a man might have two wives? It is probably alluding to Jacob who had two wives, Leah and Rachel. Where was I mistaken that it refers to and accepts that a man might have two wives? Did I distort Deuteronomy 17:7 when I stated it only said that a King must not have MANY wives, not that the King must have ONE wife? Ruth 1:14 DOES use the word Dabaq, the exact same word used for a man to cleave to this wife in Genesis 2:24. Ruth is also about Levirate marriage. Ruth ended up marrying Boaz. However this was for the purpose of raising descendants for Naomi. This is described in Ruth 4:10 and 4:17. She didn’t marry Boaz out of love for him but rather for him to be a surrogate Father. Levirate Marriage can be unconventional because according to the Holiness Code a man was not to have sex with his brother’s wife. A person wasn’t supposed to have sex with their daughter in Law like Judah did. This is stated in Leviticus 18:15-16. I think it rather is YOU who want these texts to say what they don’t say. I told exactly what these texts say and what they mean in context.

  • I still can’t understand why your are going through the bother of reinterpreting meaningless scriptures to claim that you’re still in some way a member of a church that only fools adhere to.

    The underlying premise that condemns masturbation, homosexual behavior (homosexuality is the attraction), and birth control is that Man was created to populate and regulate the creation. In doing so mankind becomes a partner with the deity, who fashions the new human being in the mother’s womb.

    Interfering with that creation both defeats the first commandment and violates the deity’s work.

    Not only is that true, it is also contained in the Seven Laws to Noah, which bound all mankind, even the gentiles.

    If you want to play the rabbi and pick apart the levitical laws, the particulars of which bind no Christian but the essence of which is moral law, and you have the time, please feel free to do so.

    Your goal is to corroborate the modern interpretation of “go forth and multiply”, which is “sex is fun”.

    However, there is no need to share this futile parsing with me.

  • Taking this idea of “be fruitful and multiply” to the extreme as you do is one thing that is contributing to overpopulation and environmental degradation. You are the one who is distorting texts, by saying every Scripture states that sex is only about procreation. You never answered where 1 Corinthians 7 talks about procreation. You never answered whether marriage between infertile people would be forbidden. Even in tradition, it isn’t a Protestant tradition that all sex must be procreative. And also about the seven laws of Noah, I did see an Orthodox Rabbi as a Counselor and he said that homosexuality was not nearly as forbidden for Gentiles as it was for Jews. And apparently much of what was forbidden for Jews didn’t really come from the Bible, but rather the Tradition. THIS is one example of what I was talking about the Tradition adding laws to Scripture. This could be called a “fence around the law.” He admitted that Leviticus never spoke about Lesbianism and that was not forbidden for Gentiles. He said that Leviticus only spoke of Anal Sex between men and not Oral sex. At least Oral sex didn’t carry the death penalty. So I didn’t make this up, I also read another Rabbi who said Leviticus only referred to anal sex and not oral sex. If you think this is “parsing,” then there is a big difference in the risk between the two kinds of sex. But also saying “be fruitful and Multiply” is more of a command to humanity on the whole goes along with that the Old Testament is more addressed to a whole nation, the whole world rather than each individual. It speaks a bit more collectively than individually. You never make good arguments, so you resort to attacking my character. I have mainly just tried to explain my view without attacking you. You don’t seem to respect any opinion other than your own.

  • I certainly have little or no interest in the zany arguments you’re engaging in.

    It was a Protestant tradition that all sex must be procreative until the Anglican Lambeth Council of 1930, and it’s been a bobsled to h-ll since.

    I cannot imagine an Orthodox rabbi saying what you purport he said, and I can provide citations as to why I doubt it.

  • “What you are arguing is that the scriptures means whatever you wish them to mean.” Of course, that’s just standard procedure for Christians.

    “That, of course, means they are meaningless.” Correct!

    “You’re also arguing that the church is such a lousy interpreter of those scriptures that it cannot be relied on at all.” Yes!

    “That, of course, means that those who adhere to it are fools.” Yes! Yes!!

    “And then you reinterpret everything to suit yourself.” That’s very common.

    “Why are you going through the bother of reinterpreting meaningless scriptures to claim that you’re still in some way a member of a church that only fools adhere to?” Great question!

    “Because, friend, that is precisely what you are doing.”

    While I assume it was unintended, that was the most rational comment I’ve ever read from you. Or perhaps you had an epiphany.

  • I am sorry to read that you found one my posts rational.

    My conclusions were pleasing to you. My reasoning went over your head.

  • Schmuley Boteach is an Orthodox Rabbi also stated what my Orthodox Rabbi stated. I have read Jewish sources which states that not all sex must be procreative. It might be true what you said about Protestant tradition, in particular the Puritans, but I really don’t think this is Biblical. I have read somewhere that Protestants also emphasized the unitive aspects of sex. Taking your idea to an extreme would say that people shouldn’t even enjoy sex in marriage and that people should only have enough sex in marriage to have children and then they should stop. Many people did base this idea on 1 Corinthians 7, but in it Paul states in verses 3-5 that

    “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.”

    Where does Paul here say that sex should be procreative? He seems to say that it can satisfy one’s lust. The word “deprive” is αποστερεω or “to defraud, rob or despoil.” Therefore it was the duty of the married couple to give each other sex and Paul does not say for procreative purposes, but to satisfy each other’s desires.

    It is interesting that Verse 36 states, “If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong[b] and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married.” That the passions are strong, the Greek word is υπερακμος or uperakmos which means past the bloom of life , past prime. Perhaps this could mean past childbearing age? But the other reason of strong passions means it isn’t wrong to marry for the pleasure of sex.

    Yes, perhaps Paul isn’t talking about homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 7, but he certainly doesn’t at all say that the only purpose of sex is procreation. The extreme view that you advocate would state that even sex in heterosexual marriage shouldn’t at all be for pleasure, but only for procreation. Perhaps the Church tradition did say that, but clearly they misread scripture. The Church tradition also weakened what Jesus taught about violence, so certainly it wasn’t an infallible source of interpretation of Scripture.

  • Here is something that really refutes the false traditional idea you hold that sex, even within marriage must always be for procreation and never for pleasure. https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/marriage-and-family-the-missing-dimension/was-sex-intended-solely-for-procreation “The idea that sex was dirty and evil was an idea that crept into Christianity from early Catholic teachers. Their compromise with the obvious reality that sexual activity was necessary to have children resulted in their teaching that sex should only be engaged in by married couples when they wanted to have children. Yet there is no such instruction in the Bible.” This repeats what I have said that the tradition misread scripture.

  • “The idea that sex was dirty and evil was an idea that crept into Christianity from early Catholic teachers.” unfortunately for your argument is unsupported.

    In fact, the early Christians – all – considered marriage participation with the deity in creation. Marriage was held in such high esteem that the church was described – and still is – as Christ’s bridge with Christ the bridgegroom.

    There is nothing dirty and evil in cooperating with the deity.

    The United Church of God is more than a bit out of the mainstream of Christianity:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Church_of_God

    at least I think a belief that “people of Western European descent, primarily the original British colonies and the United States, are direct physical descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of the northern kingdom of ancient Israel” is not mainstream.

    Your mileage may vary.

    I appreciate the fun you appear to be having trying to construct a counter-exegesis to 3,000 years of Judea-Christian belief.

    Unfortunately I don’t find it particularly interesting, or useful, or well-considered, and don’t see much point in continuing this.

  • Boteach has faced widespread criticism from fellow rabbis across his career, especially following the release of his book “Kosher Jesus”. It was denounced as “heresy”. Jacob Immanuel Schochet, a Canadian rabbi, stated that the book “poses a tremendous threat to the Jewish community.” Former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks banned Boteach from speaking at the New West End Synagogue.

    Boteach also faced criticism by the Jewish community for his views on love and sex in his book “Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy”, stating that lust is more important than love. He has said “lust is the pinnacle of holiness,” and “if you put love and lust together, love stands no chance.”

    Martin Samuel Cohen is Conservative, not orthodox.

    You certainly have made an exhaustive search to find the fringe elements which support your less-than-orthodox views.

    Unfortunately I lost interest in your endeavor some time ago.

  • You yourself stated that the only purpose of sex was procreation and should never be for pleasure.

  • Why don’t you answer the question as to WHERE Paul mentions procreation as THE reason for sex in 1 Corinthians 7?

  • I am attempting to convey to you that you’re running down so many false roads at one time, discussing any one of the branches is not worth the effort.

    Here is a generic analysis of 1 Corinthians 7:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1_Corinthians_7

    I don’t see much to discuss, and since the fundamental question – whether same sex relations is lawful – is already answered in the negative, that seems to wrap this conversation up for me.

  • But at least Paul doesn’t make the argument at all that sex must always be procreative, which is the main argument you make against homosexuality.

  • The main argument that I make against homosexual behavior is that is specifically proscribed in both the Old and New Testaments, that has been the constant belief of both Jews and Christians until the 20th century, and Orthodox Jews and almost all Christians still retain that belief.

    I am very familiar with the modern and zany “reinterpretations” trying to support a contra position, and find without exception they are based on sophistry, bad translation, feigned ignorance, and outright lying.

    If you wish to pretend that things are otherwise, that is certainly your right and prerogative. However, in that I case I would stop conversing with me since if I respond, it will be to pull the arms and legs off this stuff you’re coming up with.

    So we’re done.

  • Yes you did, you stated, “It was a Protestant tradition that all sex must be procreative until the Anglican Lambeth Council of 1930, and it’s been a bobsled to h-ll since” You cited your approval for this Puritan idea here.

  • You yourself stated the main basis for being against homosexuality, as well as masturbation and birth control was the command to be fruitful and multiply.

  • Friend, it seems you have an urgent need to go on and on about these issues despite the fact that you appear to be without any information of significance at all.

    “It was a Protestant tradition that all sex must be procreative until the Anglican Lambeth Council of 1930, and it’s been a bobsled to h-ll since.”

    was in response to yours:

    “ Even in tradition, it isn’t a Protestant tradition that all sex must be procreative.“

    Notice that “should never be for pleasure” is completely missing.

    There are multiple reasons for having sex.

    That all sex must be procreative doesn’t preclude it being enjoyable. It is not only enjoyable, it is unitive. It can be good exercise if you’re serious about it.

    In order to get some time to deal with other things, with this post I am blocking you.

    I will not see your posts, they will not show up anywhere when I am logged into Disqus, and this will permit me to focus on somewhat more useful matters, and allow you to use your time more productively, possibly with someone who actually thinks your issues are worth discussing.

  • You talk about bad translation. Do you know Greek and Hebrew as I do? However, I do know Greek better. If you read the original languages, you discover that each word has many possible meanings. They are polysemous. They don’t have a rigid meaning as you claim they do.

  • That is patently false, (and I don’t say that as an attack). This issue, this struggle, is extremely important for a LOT of individuals & families, so I will reply to you both here and further down.

    The gay activist narrative is false. Exodus closed because its prez, Alan Chambers (who has NEVER retracted his own testimony of how Jesus changed him!), got discouraged and weary, under an unbelievable phalanx of national pro-gay hatreds and attacks.

    (Yes, Chambers threw out the baby with the bathwater; he let Gay Goliath win. But he correctly suggested that he and Exodus had been shouldering the huge national load which American Churches and Christians should have been carrying all along. 100% spot-on.)

    He had been powerfully withstanding ALL the pressure for years, but then he got exposed to a corrosive theological error commonly known as “Hypergrace”, which Chamber’s pastor had fallen into, and was giving to him. Alan drank the poison, and the rest is history.

    But not everybody drank that poison, and a lot of ex-gay folks and groups NEVER bought into sitting down and shutting up. They kept saying Jesus DID do it all the way for them. More below.

  • “Plenty of people have claimed to have had their sexual orientation changed.”

    Exactly. Precisely. Ex-gays did NOT sit down and shut up after Exodus was destroyed. The living Lord Jesus Christ did NOT apply for “Retirement Pension” after Exodus went offline.

    Gay bars and straight bars better increase their security, right now. Not because of today’s crooks and killers, but because a very peaceful and caring Jesus is calmly — and invisibly — sitting on the bar stools waiting for HIS next customers to repent their sins and get utterly transformed!!

    “And in a couple of cases it may even happened …”

    You must be on a roll tonight, Ben! You saying some crucial stuff there. The days of blindly suggesting, “No LGBT person has experienced full change and healing in their sexual orientation” are OVER. Science says so, even the pro-gay-funded science.

    Maybe you’re thinking about that pro-gay-funded Shidlo-Schroeder research study, yes? 202 folks mostly reported negative, but three percent of them “reported changing their orientation to heterosexual.” (Wikipedia). That’s right folks, the entire biscuit got baked. Hello Daniel?

  • Okay, by your own honest admission, you claim is “the notion that immutability of sexual orientation is verified.” In plain English, you are saying that “those LGBT feelings” are too hard for God. The incomparable Lord Jesus Christ, the Supreme Creator Of The Universe (Col. 1:16), is too weak and soggy to get rid of “those feelings.”

    There was a time when I would have shrugged and agreed with you. Because Exhibit A was sitting right in front of me. I told God (quietly!) that I had NO faith for sexual orientation change, I told God I never saw Him do it for anybody. I really didn’t believe this gay friend would ever get away from either “those feelings” or his long-time behaviors. I told God he should have told this gay man to ask somebody else to visit and pray with him, ’cause I was trash.

    But then the Lord Jesus unleashed HIS power. The unbelievable power. The F-5 Wipe-Out Power. At point-blank range, Daniel. The man’s feelings changed too, as well as his very voice and his facial countenance. Altered. No more gay identity. SSA gone. Gone.

    Don’t worry, I’m not ignoring Exodus, researchers, factors, etc. But you seemingly think you exhausted all God’s batteries when you bravely attempted to escape this stuff years ago. Somehow you were told that Jesus might let you do celibacy, but otherwise you be chained like a dog to the LGBT Orientation for life. Like me, you doubted 1 Cor. 6:11 and 1 John 1:9. You believed “Personal Experience & Feelings”, instead of believing “Nothing is too hard for God.”

    You think you know the power limits of Jesus Christ, The Autobasileia (and yes dude, you DO know what that Greek word means!), just because you spoke with Dr. Irving Bieber 30 years ago and he told you some discouraging things. Well that ain’t good enough for YOUR life Daniel. Not anymore. The impossible Lord Jesus Christ wanna talk to you, and give you some NEW data. Something you won’t forget. It’s not too late. It’s time to get your share.

  • Your doctored passages do not imply what you think they do, although I agree that Jesus might well eat and drink with LGBTQs. Let me give a example of how they don’t imply what you hink they do:

    John 8:48 – The Pharisees slandered Jesus as being a Samaritan and a demoniac. Because they did so did not make those two things in any way acceptable. Being possessed by a demon, or being a heretic (Samaritan), still remained very bad things. Your analogy would equate LGBTQs with heretics and demoniacs. I don’t think that conveys the message you intended!

    Now let me give you a modifed passage of my own;

    John 8: 1 – 11: “The scribes and Pharisees brought a women who had been caught in homosexual acts…They said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in a homosexual act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” He stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone.” But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, and Jesus was left alone with the Lesbian standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, AND DO NOT SIN AGAIN.”

    This is exactly how Christians should deal with LGBTQs. With compassion. Condemning the sin, not the sinner. Just like our Lord Jesus did.

    Luke 10:30 ff: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among spiritual robbers, the demons, who stripped him and beat him, and left him addicted to LGBTQ sins. Now by chance an LGBTQ advocate was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. …. But Jesus came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his spiritual wounds caused by his LGBTQ sins, pouring on oil and wine – the Holy Sacraments – and brought him to an inn -the Church – and took care of him.”

    As Jesus said at the end of this parable, we must “Go and do likewise.”

  • “If there was a loser in the case it was the Colorado Civil Rights Commission who exhibited contempt for Mr. Phillips’ Christian beliefs.” Why should matters of faith be given any deference in the public square? If religion is such a good idea then prove it. Maybe part the Potomac and let the justices walk across both dry and undrowned.

  • I don’t doubt 1 Corinthians 6:11. I have already explained how arsenokoitis has nothing to do with attractions. I did try to change long ago not because I thought it was wrong, but rather because I wanted children. I had these attractions from a very early age. I learned in Seminary that it was better to accept rather than fight our feelings. That helped me to come to terms with being Gay. I also realized there are advantages in not having children. I didn’t call Irving Bieber when I still wanted to change. I believed by that time that no one changes feelings and what he admitted validated my point of view. But he did claim these Gay Men were happily married even though they still had Gay feelings. Psychotherapy doesn’t eliminate feelings but rather helps people to accept their feelings and express them in a healthier way. Similarly, it doesn’t eliminate stress but helps people to manage stress. Paul stating, “Be angry, but don’t sin” is in this vein.

  • “Why should matters of faith be given any deference in the public square?”

    Why not? It’s their Constitutional right to freely exercise their religion in the public square, whether you agree with it or not. They don’t need to “prove it”; it is a protected right.

  • Excellent. Then you agree that those who favor abortion should have the not have the government cutting off funds for religious reasons. Good to hear.

  • “The very essence of a civilized society is that we can control ourselves.”

    Then, why don’t you live in accordance with that statement, and stop trying to control everyone else?

    If people are living in accordance with their own innate desires which have no demonstrable negative impact on others, then you have no legitimate business meddling in their lives just because they aren’t living in accordance with a particular ancient book full of ignorance, delusion, lies, and fraud.

  • “There are very good, very thoughtful citizens occupying the middle who are not represented by the zealots on cable news and social media. ”

    I agree, but these folks are seldom heard from. They’re just intellectually honest people with no “axe-to-grind,” so to speak. Unlike “the zealots on cable news and social media,” these thoughtful individuals have not constituency other than that portion of the general public, who appreciate the fact that they’ve undertaken the thankless job of trying to reduce the tensions between both of the extremes on this issue..

  • Abortion is not a human rights violation. Nice effort at conflation, though. But, look at those falling attendance numbers. Fewer and fewer people accept your views.

  • 1. What did I acknowledge as not being logical?

    2. I am not Catholic. Another swing and a miss!

  • Justifying the wanton killing of defenseless humans based on their developmental status, age, and capabilities, is indeed a human rights violation. It is a recipe for genocide, one which the Nazis used to justify the killing of those they deemed “untermenschen”, subhumans. You seem quite at home with it.

    Again I am not Catholic. But what is the implication of your statement that “Fewer and fewer people accept your views”? Do you think the truthfulness of something is determined by a popular vote?

  • I am neither complemented nor insulted at being called a Priest; it is simply what I am.

  • Attractions & desires, lead to actions and results. “Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.” (James 1:15). So in 1 Cor.6:9-11, none of the sins mentioned there, (including arsenokoites), can be quarantined from the attractions that led to them. The attractions & desires came first. Need a clean wipeout, inside out.

    “One day God took the taste of alcohol out of my mouth”, said my elderly, formerly alcoholic uncle. Clean wipeout. “Men and women cannot change themselves, but Christ can change them” –William Barclay. Battle not won yet? Feelings still in the quicksand? Don’t give up. God ain’t forgotten anyone. His compassions and mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23). Today may be the day. God (not the APA) can finish what God started.

    Meanwhile, most of the ex-gays and the researchers did NOT surrender after the fall of Exodus. In fact, most weren’t happy with the shutdown, but Chambers never allowed the individual members to vote on it. So they simply carried on without Exodus. (Two great examples below.)

    http://restoredhopenetwork.com/
    http://transformingcongregations.org/about/

  • Yes, a point-blank thermonuclear healing miracle from Jesus Christ, WILL tend to have a persuasive effect on a person, won’t it?

  • Goodness, is THIS a serious conversation or what? Much thanks. This is a time when many news sites have already shut down or lessened access to their discussion forums because they don’t want people really sitting down and hashing things out like this. Thank you sincerely, for being willing to take this time out of your schedule to have an extensive, considered dialogue like this one.

    You forgot to mention that Leviticus 20:13, like 1 Cor 6:9-11, likewise doesn’t talk about “attractions.” It talks about the sinful actions that derive from those attractions. and again James 1:15 makes clear that the attractions & desires & “feelings” are what leads to the actions. Genesis 3:6 even shows you how this principle worked in Eve’s case. We look at the Bible’s entire set of texts on this important issue, not just one or two in isolation. 1 Cor. 6:9-11 doesn’t discuss lesbians but Rom. 1:26-27 does.

    (PS… the wording of the Corinthian passage does NOT limit the behavior to anal-sex only. There’s no way to reduce or deflect the force of this prohibition. Same for all the other texts.)

  • If you were against trying to control everyone else, you’d have been rooting for Mr. Phillips.

    Now that we understand that is not controlling others that you object to, a bit of honesty and a lot less ignorance, delusion, lies, and fraud would be in order.

  • It is apparent from scripture ( I need not cite Book, Chapter or verse, as I am quite confident of your capacity to recognize the themes and doctrines expressed without citation) that the marriage union is representative of Christ’s relationship to His Bride, this concept is not negated in civil unions in my reading of scripture (You are free to disagree of course). Heterosexual unions are the natural and God ordained pattern inside and outside the Church. Scripture counsels us not to do anything against conscience, whether in eating, drinking, assembly, or etc. Christians are free to reject civil law when it violates conscience, though they must practically weigh the consequences of such action. A Christian may exercise every measure of consideration and application towards those outside the Church and are called to do so, but not at the expense of conscience. When Christians violate conscience for culture’s sake they harm the testimony of the Church. Mr. Phillips was prepared to perform any equitable service on behalf of his customers up to the point that his services would be engaged in a manner that conflicted with his spiritual sensibilities. Christians are called to be humble, generous, kind, and deferential to the enemies of God (i.e. :The World), but they are not called to (Again) violate their conscience. It is evident that you and I will not find concord on this question, I understand the framing of your argument, but I can’t agree with your conclusion.

  • Attractions can most certainly be changed in any number of events and circumstances when individuals so choose. While this fact is not without exception, for those who follow Christ there are compensations.

  • Thank you for your reply. As has been noted by others, this was in a sense a pretty narrow ruling, I’m certain this issue will be addressed by The Supreme Court again, albeit in another case where the details if not the basic question will be different. Be well.

  • Interesting. And appreciated. Just one problem with your un-“doctored passages” there, though. I don’t see your version of The New Samaritans at all. You know mine, but I can’t tell what yours is, other than that the Samaritans are the same as they ever were. Which tells me you lack practical understanding of the Samaritans of old in relation to Jews and Pharisees in Jesus’ time, and to Jesus Himself. Anyway, you not only get my meaning by those “doctored passages”, but you disagree. So let’s just leave it there.

    You have the last word next, and I welcome it.

  • That’s not true. The commissioner who said the quoted material said it AFTER the commission had ruled on the bakery’s case in an entirely different meeting of the commission about abuse of the claim ‘religious freedom’. This was misrepresented to the court and it slipped through. https://coloradopolitics.com/ex-colo-official-denies-bias-in-same-sex-wedding-cake-case/

    But I agree, the conservative justices waited a long time for Gorsuch to arrive so they could take this flawed case, they won’t want to take the Arlene’s Flowers LLC one, there was even an employee that quit when told to treat customer’s illegally that could have done the arrangements. It will be up to the liberal judges to accept the writ of certiorari, it remains to be seen if they will.

  • See, it seems the court has become far more sensitive. In the famous Piggie Park Enterprises ruling the court basically said the same thing the Commission did about being able to treat customers as if they shared the owner’s beliefs:

    Undoubtedly defendant Bessinger has a constitutional right to espouse the religious beliefs of his own choosing, however, he does not have the absolute right to exercise and practice such beliefs in utter disregard of the clear constitutional rights of other citizens.

    And though Kennedy explained how the Commission should have handed the claims of the specific images cakes vs the ones MC offered, the answer would have been the same and there is an objective difference between a cake with obvious offensive messages on them and one where, where even if the cake has been identical to the one previously sold, the owner would claim it was the very act of selling it that was offensive.

    Sorry, the conservatives tried to pull a fast one, but Kennedy pulled one even faster – by. making it about the Commission he was able to rule without it having anything to do with ciivil rights or religious liberty in the public arena at all.

  • Kennedy by no stretch of the imagination pulled a fast one.

    He didn’t make it about the Commission, the Commission made it about the Commission.

    In fact, their conduct was so egregious that any ruling other than the one the Court rendered would have been a ruling against due process and in favor of kangaroo court procedures.

  • Actually the acted like other courts had acted and a Commissioner just stated the truth. But it did just reset things back to square one. Next time Masterpiece Cakeshop illegally discriminates the same ball will start rolling down the same hill.

  • That certainly isn’t the experience of anyone that is more exclusively heterosexual or homosexual in their orientation. Bi sexuals may be different. A person might avoid situations that can trigger sexual feelings perhaps. Many so called ex gays talk about avoiding gay sexual stimuli. If their orientation really changed, then gay sexual stimuli wouldn’t phase them. Studies show that Gay Men don’t increase heterosexual feelings in marriage. Marriage, of course, can be a source of sexual stimulation. Rather it is that homosexual feelings increase in heterosexual marriage for Gay men.

  • As it turns out, thanks to the First Amendment, if a commissioner (not capitalized – the Commission itself is) attacks religion per se, it is a per se unconstitutional violation and a denial of due process.

    What I enjoy about your comment is that it makes it clear that denigrating other people is not a problem for you – you just prefer denigrating people you disagree with.

  • In your initial reference to Samaritans, I was thinking about Jesus’ parable (the “Good Samaritan”), so I was puzzled by your referring to him as a victim – since, of course, in the parable he was not the victim. But your subsequent posts clarified that for me.

    Be assured that I am indeed familiar with the Samaritans of Jesus’ time, in relation to both Jews and Jesus himself. Jesus was remarkable in having dealings with Samaritans.

    Perhaps the best window into those dealings can be seen in his encounter with St. Photini at the well (John 4). People’s attention is always drawn -and rightly so – to the fact that Jesus entered into conversation with a Samaritan heretic. What is often overlooked is that Jesus nevertheless soundly rebuked her heresy: “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews”.

    Likewise today we must treat LGBTQs just as Jesus treated that Samaritan woman: with openness, love, and compassion, while at the same time rejecting the anthropological heresy that they were created that way by God.

  • Ms. Rice didn’t attack religion, they commented on the abuse of the excuse of ‘religious freedom’ as if it somehow trumped the rights of others, which the Colorado and Washington state constitutions specifically says it doesn’t. Her comment was twisted and the court fell for it: https://coloradopolitics.com/ex-colo-official-denies-bias-in-same-sex-wedding-cake-case/

    And what person was denigrated by that comment made after the bakery owner’s case was already decided and gone? The comment was about how the excuse of ‘religious freedom’ can be abused not about any particular person.

    Buy your ad hominem against me is duly noted and publicly recognized.

  • No attorney or judge in his or her right mind would conclude that “Ms. Rice didn’t attack religion”.

    The fact that the Colorado courts blew right past it illustrated that an elected judiciary can be counted on to try to get re-elected rather than apply the law to facts duly ascertained.

    Since one of the issues before the Commission was whether freedom of religion – a Federal Constitution right – was at risk, a pre-trial outburst – and it was hardly a solemn exposition on the risks of one freedom outweighing another – on the part of what should have been an impartial trier spiked the case.

    Trying to spin “What I enjoy about your comment is that it makes it clear that denigrating other people is not a problem for you – you just prefer denigrating people you disagree with.” into an ad hominem illustrates the flexibility you exhibit when you want to bend facts to a purpose, proving my point.

    Btw, that last paragraph is simply a commentary on the abuse of the excuse of ”Colorado and Washington state constitutions” as if they somehow trumped the rights in the Bill of Rights.

  • The Commissioner’s statement was 100% true, the excuse of ‘religious freedom’ has been abused in the past and noting that is in no way denigrate it, but its abuse. And why would the appeals court have this information since it was not part of the ruling they were reviewing? You seem to love to blame people for things they didn’t do.

    There is no right to make fraudulent offers to the public in the Bill of Rights, in fact the right to for states to recognized rights not enumerated specifically is there in the 9th and 10th amendments. Every customer in both state has a right to have their civil rights respected by anyone making a public offer. That includes the right to accept that public offer without discrimination because of them.

    One person’s rights don’t trump another, even if it is the right to religious freedom. This is implicit in the federal constitution, explicit in many state constitutions since its first inclusion in the New York state constitution in 1777.

    …but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness…

    licentiousness The indulgence of the arbitrary will of the individual, without regard to ethics or law, or respect for the rights of others.

    Including their civil rights.

  • If you went on a trial before a judge, and the judge prior to opening statements informed the jury that you are an opinionated git whose statements cannot be relied on, the judge’s statement would be 100% true, but it would be grounds for a mistrial.

    That the excuse of ‘religious freedom’ has been abused in the past is a personal opinion, and it bore on one of the arguments on which the case hinged.

    The reason why the appeals courts had this information was that it was part of the record of the case before them. No appellate court examines only “the ruling they were reviewing”. You seem to love to back into conclusions you had before you began.

    There is no civil right to compel another citizen to make statements with which he or she disagrees. The government is compelled to refrain from doing so, so why you think two folks out to buy a cake have a right to do so is somewhat elusive.

    Yes, sometimes one person’s rights trump another person’s rights.

  • There is no civil right to compel another citizen to make statements with which he or she disagrees.

    No one even asked the business to do anything other than what they have offered to do – make pre-orderable customer-customizable wedding cakes from a set of stock designs. The customers were rejected for who they were since they could have requested the exact same ‘statement’ the business had willing made for a previous customer.

    Piggie Park was the same case – the owner refused to make the statement that the races could mix, against his sincerely held beliefs. The court said:

    Undoubtedly defendant Bessinger has a constitutional right to espouse the religious beliefs of his own choosing, however, he does not have the absolute right to exercise and practice such beliefs in utter disregard of the clear constitutional rights of other citizens.

    Whether the owner likes that other’s beliefs hold that the races can mix, or that couples can marry regardless of their genders is immaterial, they invited the public and must respect their civil right to NOT share the owner’s beliefs and still accept the freely made offer of sale.

  • The argument can be made – and the Supreme Court has not concluded on it – that when it comes to things which bear on people’s fundamental religious beliefs – and the heterosexual nature and sanctity of marriage is a fundamental belief in the vast majority of Christian and Islamic sects – a customer cannot compel anyone, business or not, to act against it.

    Piggie Park was not the same case. Race is not a sacrament in any belief system.

    Variations on your argument have been directed against Catholic hospitals to compel them to perform abortions, against businesses to compel them to provide contraceptives in their health insurance, and on and on and – without exception – those arguments have failed in court after court.

    Your analysis is skewed, your knowledge of the law approximates zero, your notion of rights is eccentric, and it is precisely this sort of nonsense that will result in a backlash.

  • Why would a business be offering a sacrament to the general public in the first place when the public is comprised of all beliefs? And why is wanting to act with out sin any less a religious act than a sacrament?

    Your string of straw men not withstanding that aren’t this issue and your faux self-righteousness amusing.

    The business made an offer to the public which can be presumed to be a legal one. If it isn’t legally compliant it is a fraudulent offer.

    Either they sell the service to the public respecting their right to their own religious freedom and the civil right to buy regardless of their beliefs or they shouldn’t be offering it to the public at all. Reserve their ‘sacraments’ to those to whom they are ‘sacraments’ with their freedom of association. Find the right people first and THEN make just them the offer of sale. Same way the Boy Scouts were able to not be held to civil rights laws.

  • I am afraid I am going to have to call it quits with you with your question “Why would a business be offering a sacrament to the general public in the first place when the public is comprised of all beliefs?”

    It makes clear that you’re not even reading opinions that disagree with your biases. It also makes clear you’re clueless as to how others view their religious beliefs.

    I have to be honest: I am banking on your reaction to see this turn around as the public tires of the crypto-fascist approach you and those like you will assuredly take to other people’s rights and beliefs.

    You’re the cure for the disease.

  • This is one of the best articles I’ve read about it, thanks. I figure the usual whiners have posted 100s of comments because rather than working in the states where you can still be fired etc it’s more important to fight over a damn cake. It’s not about rights to them at all, it’s about forcing all to conform. I won’t read the venom below, some of these people are really toxic.

  • Speaking as a Christian Fundamentalist, I was disappointed with the Supreme Court decision. The real issue that we must face is whether we will share society with others as equals. And this is where the Supreme Court decision failed despite the failures of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Many of my fellow religiously conservative Christians want to discriminate against the LGBT community as a way of taking a public stand or to keep themselves “pure.” But none of that includes the context in which the case is involved. Should businesses, regardless of the religious identity of the owner(s), be allowed to discriminate against different groups because they disapprove of the legal activities those groups practice. or the views they hold to? If we want to share society with others as equals, the answer is ‘no.’

  • David,
    The failures of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission aside, the issue here is equality. We can’t allow businesses to discriminate against protected groups and claim that we are for equality in society.

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