Menu Close

Category: Politics

Dr. David Tee Says Abortion is Wrong, Even for a Pregnant Ten-Year-Old

dr david tee


There is no other answer. Abortion is not for young girls or older women. Rape and incest are sins of the father or mother or both not a sin of the unborn child. They should not be punished for sins they have not committed even if the mother is as young as 5.

— Derrick Thomas Thiessen (AKA Dr. David Tee)

Christian Fundamentalism robs its adherents of the ability to think and reason. When a literalistic interpretation of a book that is believed to be inspired, inerrant, and infallible is the driving force of one’s life, out goes love, kindness, and common sense when it conflicts with “thus saith the Lord.”

One such person is Fake Dr. David Tee, whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen. Tee is known for defending rapists, child molesters, and other miscreants. In the past few years, he has defended Bill Cosby, Ravi Zacharias, Bill Gothard, Bill Hybels, and other Evangelical degenerates. I have yet to read a post where Tee resolutely stands with victims of clergy sexual misconduct. I have long believed he defends such men because of his own scandalous past. Tee hides behind the “grace” of God, the “forgiveness” of Jesus, and the “sanctifying” power of the Holy Ghost.

Just when I think I have heard it all from Tee, he swims farther and deeper into the shit-filled cesspool of Bible literalism. Recently, the news reported a story about a pregnant ten-year-old child. (How she got pregnant remains unknown at this time.) Unable to get an abortion in Ohio, the girl planned to travel to Indiana to have her pregnancy terminated. Tee, of course, is outraged over this girl “murdering” her “baby.” Tee, a forced birther, makes no exceptions, even for rape or incest. Once the egg is fertilized by sperm, it is a human life that must be carried to term regardless of how it was conceived or what harm it may cause to its mother. I found myself saying, what kind of man is so loveless and heartless, that a zygote is more important than the life of a child? A Fundamentalist Christian who values his literalistic interpretation of the Bible more than the life and welfare of a young girl, that’s who.

Here’s what Tee had to say:

We are expanding on a conversation we have been having at the Christian Post under the article- What the Church Must Do Post Roe— The topic is not Dr. brown’s content but about a 10-year-old girl getting pregnant. This discussion is related to the content found in this Fox news article that was published earlier in the week or last week- Gov. Kristi Noem asked if South Dakota will force a 10-year-old to have a baby on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’

For some people, this is a real dilemma and also a good excuse to continue abortion practices.

….

This may sock you and this is where the supposed moral dilemma comes in for some people. This is also where those who are pro-abortion use this scenario to promote the idea that abortion needs to be available and legal.

Should young girls who are raped or had sex at this young age be allowed to have abortions? We already know that most unbelievers will disagree with what we will say here but our view is that age is not permission to kill.

The Bible is very clear when it says thou shalt not kill. There is no age limit on that command and no exceptions are made for children. They are not allowed to kill and their parents cannot make that decision for them.

No matter how old the woman or girl is, abortion is wrong and sin.

….

We are and God is in our right minds as biblical instruction is very clear. The problem doe snot come from the age of the child but the sinful behavior of the adults around her.

….

Whether these young girls are ready or not to handle the changes their bodies and lives are going through is also due to the fact of the behavior of their parents.

….

It is also immaterial to the discussion. Why, as crimes and other events happen when people are unprepared for them in all aspects of life. This one does not make it special but may be used to draw more sympathy from the readers of that article. The failure of the family and relatives is exposed in these situations.

This is something that needs Christ and Christians to get involved and change. But that is not part of the moral dilemma. What is part of the moral dilemma is should these child mothers carry to term or have an abortion.

….

The lustful actions of the father, the rape they committed, and other things they did to have sex with the child are what make the father guilty and he should be punished. The child should not. Since people already know the risks of a childhood pregnancy, they also know how to care for the expectant mother and the unborn child.

Abortion is not part of that care. It is the easy out for most people and one they can sweep it under the rug and forget about. But the mother will not forget about the rape nor will they forget about the loss of their child.

This will take years for them to get over the trauma which is much worse than any so-called trauma of carrying the baby to term. With the right help, this ‘trauma’ is not really trauma. But rape and abortion are real trauma with the addition of the guilt or other feelings that they committed sin.

That is something no one in their right mind should put a young child through. The comment we got in response to our point about going after the father was not only that trauma issue but the prospects of death for both the mother and the fetus. Their exact words were “the fetus you seem to worship.”

For the first part, death from pregnancy or birth has been a part of this life since the beginning of time. It is a fact of life that even 20 to 40-year-old women must face. It is not a monopoly held by young girls. Death happens and we must be prepared for it.It is the line that we quoted that bothers us as we and every pro-life person are not worshipping the fetus. Trying to protect them and let them be born is not an act of worship but an act to stop people from sinning and killing innocent children.

But that is how unbelievers or believers in abortion will phrase their arguments. It is a moot point that distracts from the topic. The same person came back with the line ‘spoils her childhood’.

We have run into that term n South Korea as one person we disagreed with through newspaper articles, said he wanted his child to ‘a have a childhood.’ Whatever that means. There is no such thing as a childhood as children are born into different circumstances.

Plus, this concept of ‘having a childhood’ is very subjective and defined by people in different ways. There is a hint of hypocrisy to that attitude. These same people only care about ‘a childhood’ when their preferred method of taking care of a bad situation is excluded.

They do not apply that concept to the children of Bangladesh, Africa, or other countries who lost their childhood due to hunger and a lack of food; war, crimes, and so on. it is only selfishly applied by those who want the child to have an abortion.

There is no thought for the child that has yet to be born. Why are they not allowed a childhood? The reason people have a moral dilemma is that their morals are not rooted in God’s word but in their own concept of morality.

We have run into that many times as atheists, unbelievers and nominal Christians think they are greater than God when it comes to moral thinking. Or they think that dying is a punishment robbing them of life. They dismiss heaven and God’s salvation so they have no reward to look forward to.

Thus aborting an unborn child is not a problem for them as long as those women who are alive get to live a little longer or even pursue the accepted goals those people groups have decided are okay.

Having a 10-year-old carry a pregnancy to term is not wrong nor is it sinful. Nor is it a moral dilemma as technology has made so many advances that the care of these child brides is done properly and protects the life of both the mother and the child (forgoing any complications).

The unbelievers believe in technology and medical advances, they should be applying that belief to this subject as well. Instead of heaping lots of trauma on a little girl by forcing them to have an abortion and having them sin.

What Christians and unbelievers should be doing is going after those fathers and their sinful decisions that put the young girl in this position in the first place. That is the cause of all the problems and it is those men or boys who should be punished not the innocent unborn child.

The Bible supports that last point. To solve this problem we do not commit more sins, we fight to get rid of those sins and let Christ redeem those men and lead them to better moral behavior.

There is no other answer. Abortion is not for young girls or older women. Rape and incest are sins of the father or mother or both not a sin of the unborn child. They should not be punished for sins they have not committed even if the mother is as young as 5.

My friend from over the pond, Ben Berwick, took Tee to task for his forced-birth position for children regardless of how conception took place. Here’s what he had to say:

I’ve refrained from commenting directly on a certain conservative Christian’s posts, however their latest post, on the subject of abortion, more or less demands a response.

David’s post relates to this article from Fox News, which discusses the case of a 10-year-old girl from Ohio, who was raped, and fell pregnant as a result. She cannot get an abortion in Ohio (under draconian new laws), and so is hoping to travel to Indiana, where the law would still currently permit her to get an abortion.

David has quite a few things to say on this subject:

Should young girls who are raped or had sex at this young age be allowed to have abortions? We already know that most unbelievers will disagree with what we will say here but our view is that age is not permission to kill.

The Bible is very clear when it says thou shalt not kill. There is no age limit on that command and no exceptions are made for children. They are not allowed to kill and their parents cannot make that decision for them.

Hang on, is David suggesting what I think he is suggesting? Is there absolutely no room in his heart to consider the impact of a rape-derived pregnancy on a child?

Whether these young girls are ready or not to handle the changes their bodies and lives are going through is also due to the fact of the behavior of their parents.

Wait, what?! The behaviour of their parents won’t magically make it safe for a 10-year-old to carry a baby to term! Pregnancy and childbirth kill adults on a regular basis, much less a child’s body, and there is no level of parental preparation that can physically ready a child for all the physical and hormonal chaos of pregnancy. Even assuming that a child is physically capable of birthing a baby, how does a parent prepare their child for the psychological impact of having a baby, especially one born out of rape and abuse?! There seems to be absolutely zero empathy or sympathy in David’s position for children, which is incredibly ironic for a supposed champion of life. It’s very clear that David cares only about forcing birth, not about quality of life (indeed, some recent allegations lend weight to this attitude of his, if they are true).

David quotes from elsewhere:

The trauma of what has happened to these girls, many too young to understand what was happening to them and some who had never heard of contraception, is etched on the faces of the mothers (Ibid)
In response, he has this to say:

It is also immaterial to the discussion. Why, as crimes and other events happen when people are unprepared for them in all aspects of life. This one does not make it special but may be used to draw more sympathy from the readers of that article. The failure of the family and relatives is exposed in these situations.


See what I mean? David has no room in his heart for kindness, even to victims of serious, horrific crimes. The young girls in these situations appear to be irrelevant to him; their pain, their suffering… it’s as though he’s shrugged his shoulders and said ‘oh well, bad things happen, now get over it, you’re not the real victim here’.

Our next point in our conversation was the person who should be gone after and dealt with is NOT the unborn child but the person who created this problem in the first place. We are not blaming the pregnant child here.

The lustful actions of the father, the rape they committed, and other things they did to have sex with the child are what make the father guilty and he should be punished. The child should not. Since people already know the risks of a childhood pregnancy, they also know how to care for the expectant mother and the unborn child.

Abortion is not part of that care. It is the easy out for most people and one they can sweep it under the rug and forget about. But the mother will not forget about the rape nor will they forget about the loss of their child.

This will take years for them to get over the trauma which is much worse than any so-called trauma of carrying the baby to term. With the right help, this ‘trauma’ is not really trauma. But rape and abortion are real trauma with the addition of the guilt or other feelings that they committed sin.

How can David possibly believe that forcing a child to proceed with a pregnancy they did not want (and that will physically and emotionally destroy them) is less traumatic than getting an abortion? Children — and this might sound shocking to David — should have a childhood. The child in this situation is a victim and already subjected to more anguish than any child should have to go through, but he would inflict more upon her, because her life matters less than the embryo inside her. David says he’s not blaming the child, and that the child should not be punished, but forcing them to go through with the pregnancy (I wonder if David is aware that globally, the leading killers of girls under 17 are pregnancy and childbirth) would be a punishment. David cannot begin to understand what it would be like, he is not a parent (well, allegations notwithstanding, though if they are true, he abandoned those responsibilities long ago), and he cannot get pregnant, so he will never be at risk from all the complications pregnancy can bring, especially for a child. His lack of any form of compassion for the victim of sexual assault is horrifying, and stands at odds with all his claims of being a good Christian.

There is no other answer. Abortion is not for young girls or older women. Rape and incest are sins of the father or mother or both not a sin of the unborn child. They should not be punished for sins they have not committed even if the mother is as young as 5.

I didn’t include this paragraph in my earlier version of this post, as I did not read to the end (why would I?). Upon further reading, I came across this horrific finale to David’s post. To put it bluntly, fuck the notion of sin. It is used to justify inflicting horrible pain on children, and David is so consumed by how important sin is, that he is no longer capable of any expression of sympathy or empathy, even with victims of abuse.

Updated 9th July: David left a comment here (I have no inclination to share his comments anymore), advising he’d left a response on his post. Here is his response in its entirety:

We did a lot of thinking before approving this comment. MM’s post shows zero empathy and sympathy for the unborn child so he has no moral or responsible argument. His words are moot. It also shows that MM believes 2 wrongs make a right

David is a hypocrite. He cares nothing for the ten-year-old. In a hypothetical scenario, where she stood in front of him, frightened, in pain, already traumatised from the assault against her, what would he say? He’s already hinted at this, earlier in his post. ‘Why, as crimes and other events happen when people are unprepared for them in all aspects of life. This one does not make it special but may be used to draw more sympathy from the readers of that article.’

Emphasis mine. Would he say something like that to the scared child if she were stood in front of him? Why does her life not matter?

— end of Ben’s post —

Tee responded to Ben’s article with a post titled Is it a Moral Dilemma? — Part Two.

Ben wrote another response to Tee’s post, forcing Tee, under the direction of the Holy Spirit and his warped sense of “morality” to respond thusly:

They Do Not Choose Right.

Or they just use bad logic. MM made a short response to our last post and underneath it was this comment:

“After thousands of years, the unbelieving way has not produced any solutions to the problems of this world.” – Yet we’re living in the same world, so that would mean the “believing” way hasn’t produced any solutions either.”

The unbeliever does not see the forest for the trees. Yes, we live in the same world but that does not mean we believers do not have solutions. It means that the unbelieving world, like unbelieving scientists, do not want God a part of their world.

They exercise their free choice and choose wrong.. We know this as they want government to be secular. not Christian. There was a recent article where unbelievers were complaining that some of the Supreme Court justices were praying with other Christians.

The unbelieving world does not want God or Christians bringing the solutions that trouble the world. Instead, they rather follow deceived, lost people and complain about the world’s state and create more laws impeding people’s rights.

They continue to choose the wrong paths because they think they are better and know more than God. We can point, as another example, to how unbelievers try to thwart Christian adoption agencies, universities hamper Christian groups, or how different atheist organizations continue to interfere with Christians being a part of government, or using schools for Christian activities.

If anything, the unbeliever gets in the way of Christians implementing the answers the world needs today. They are too arrogant, stubborn, deceived, and blind to see they are the ones responsible for the way the world is as well as too proud to admit they are wrong and ask God humbly for help.

True Christians have been teaching the answers for millennia and the thanks they get is martyrdom, persecution, (See recent stories about Justice Kavanaugh, the Roe v. Wade protests, threats made against pro-life people, and so on), loss of employment, (see the cases against the different bakers, florists, the coach praying at midfield, and more).

Do not blame the Christian blame the unbelieving for the state of the world.

I commend Ben for trying to thoughtfully respond to Tee. Not that there’s any hope of changing Tee’s mind. He believes God lives inside of him; that he has the mind of Christ; that his words are the same as God’s. When someone has a God complex, there’s not much you can do to reach him. While both Ben and I have refrained from responding to Tee’s nonsense since the start of the year, his words in this instance were so egregious that they required a response.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Atheist-Socialists Are Trying to Destroy the United States From Within

atheism

“It happened gradually, and then it happened suddenly, as Hemingway would put it,” Pete Hegseth explained.                                                  

Hegseth is a best selling author, and co-host of Fox and Friends Weekend. His co-author, David Goodwin is president of the Association of Classical Christian Schools. They write that educational reformer John Dewey advocated progressive teaching in the 1920’s. And in 1935, after they fled Nazis Germany, Marxists from the Frankfurt School of Social Research introduced their views to students at New York’s Columbia University.

“These were all atheists. These were all socialists, or almost all of them were and their goal was social change, and they knew the schoolroom was the place they could do it. And it started with the removal of God,” Hegseth said.

David Goodwin believes the biggest change sidelining Christian education occurred when the U.S. Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, removed God from the classroom.

“They gradually took prayer out of school, they then took the Bible out of school, and they then forbid really any teaching of Christian instruction in school, ” explained Goodwin. “But that was the kind of the capstone of a long effort. It wasn’t the beginning, it was really the end.”

Also, Goodwin and Hegseth contend that progressives intentionally replaced classical Christian education with American nationalism. 

“We look at our Pledge of Allegiance – at least we do as conservatives and patriots and say, ‘Hey, that’s a great thing under God.’ Well, the original pledge was written in the late 19th century by a socialist who ultimately wrote it without under God, because the pledge was meant to shift kids away comfortably from God at the center of the class, from the cross, at the center to the flag at the center of the classroom, which was an easier sell to parents at the time,” Hegseth explained. “And now, of course, fast forward to today, and they’re happy to get rid of the flag.”

So, do Hegseth and Goodwin believe that America’s elites possess a well-devised spiritual strategy that transcends politics? 

“You see, we fight in terms of politics now and may win incremental battles here or there. What the left understood is they had to go to the heart of what made us who we are. What do we value? What’s our vision of the good life? What do we consider our virtues?” Hegseth explained. “And when they targeted that, they targeted at the foundation of who we really are, really the current underneath the top waters of the stream of cultures, the top waters, the current is paideia underneath, and they targeted that.” 

— Gary Lane, CBN News, ‘It Started with the Removal of God’: How Atheist-Socialists Have Fought America from Within, July 5, 2022

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

After Roe v. Wade….Title IX?

title ix

A Guest Post by MJ Lisbeth

In a cruel irony, the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade on 24 June 2022; one day after the 50th anniversary of Title IX becoming enshrined in American law.

Roe v Wade, which guaranteed the right to an abortion, and Title IX, which mandated equal funding for male and female students in educational institutions that receive Federal funding (just about all of them, including the priciest private universities) have long been linked in my mind. For one thing, a very different Supreme Court decided Roe v Wade only seven months after then-President Richard M. Nixon signed Title IX into law. But, even more importantly, one helped to make the other, if not possible, then at least practicable.

I am not a legal or constitutional scholar or even, for that matter, particularly knowledgeable about the history of women’s rights or equality. So, take what I am about to say for what it’s worth:  While Title IX opened opportunities for girls and women their mothers could only have imagined, Roe v Wade, if indirectly, made it possible for them to take advantage of—or, at least, not to lose—many of those new-found opportunities.

To be sure, there is still nothing like gender equality in most areas of American society.  Most educational institutions aren’t even in compliance with Title IX. Still, today’s young women can—at least, they have been able—to not only aspire to what their elder sisters, mothers, and aunts have achieved, but so much more. In the most visible manifestation of Title IX, ten times as many girls and women participate in school and college athletics as participated at the time the law passed. That, of course, has led to more women, pursuing careers, not only in sports, but also in other previously male-only or male-dominated fields: as a result of Title IX, medical, law, and other graduate schools, and undergraduate programs like engineering, could not continue their quotas or bans on female students—which were imposed with the rationale that women would “get married and drop out of the workforce” and the education and training were therefore “wasted.”

But many women would not have been able to take advantage of those new opportunities if they could not regulate when they became pregnant and gave birth—or, for that matter, choose whether they wanted to become mothers at all. Before Title IX, schools and colleges often dismissed students who became pregnant. Even after the law passed, many employers fired pregnant employees or shunted them to “mommy tracks.” While Title IX could not affect this practice, it probably led, if indirectly, to laws against it. And access to safe and legal abortions—a legacy of Roe v Wade—made it possible for many women, not only to stay in school and jobs, but also to determine the trajectory of their careers.

Just as Title IX has had secondary effects, so did Roe v Wade. You’ve probably seen the slogan, “Abortion is women’s health care.” It’s true in more ways than one. Of course, an abortion is sometimes necessary to save the life of the woman or to prevent disabling or destabilizing conditions from worsening. But not for nothing are Planned Parenthood centers the go-to places for other kinds of women’s health care. In some areas, it is the only provider of such services for several counties. More to the point, though, is a reason why PP centers perform procedures and treatments that are now routine for girls and women but were rarities or privileges, if they were available at all, to their mothers and grandmothers. 

While there is still much room for improvement in women’s health care, and it’s still nowhere near the standards of care for men, it can be argued that the availability—and, in some circles, acceptability—of abortion has led to vast improvements. Much of that has to do with an attitude engendered by the availability and acceptance of abortion.  Until the modern feminist movement, which sparked the fight that led to Roe v Wade, women’s bodies were seen mainly as incubators. In other words, a woman’s health was seen mainly in terms of her fitness for bearing and rearing children. (That meant, of course, that women’s mental health care was all but non-existent or women were actively pathologized.) In part because women could now choose when or whether they would become pregnant, they could exercise other choices—and insist that they were, as sentient individuals, as worthy of high-quality health care, for their own needs and their own quality of life, as men. As women could get better care and take better care of themselves, they were better able to pursue their dreams and goals. To me, this change was analogous to, and as revolutionary as, the Renaissance idea that the human body is beautiful and intrinsically worthy of aesthetic or scientific study.

Such an ethos is anathema to religious conservatives, who led the fight to seat the judges who voted to overturn Roe v Wade. So is the freedom to make choices, whether in one’s career or life. If the history of slavery has taught us anything, it’s that if laws or decrees limit people’s agency over their own bodies and their freedom of movement, it doesn’t matter whether or not they have any other rights. The Taliban have certainly learned that lesson well: They didn’t have to bar girls and women from school or jobs; they only had to mandate cumbersome clothing and forbid them from going any place they might want to go without the permission or accompaniment of a male relative in order to reverse the gains in education and work they made in the previous two decades. Likewise, passing similar laws in Saudi Arabia, and forbidding women from riding bicycles or driving cars, left that country’s females at the mercy of their fathers’, brothers’, and other male relatives’ caprices. Such restrictions also make it more difficult, if impossible, for women and girls to get the healthcare they need: Sometimes men think women don’t really need such care, or they are unwilling to bring their sisters and wives to male doctors, the absence of female doctors notwithstanding.

One particularly disturbing aspect of the reversal of Roe v Wade is that some states, if they haven’t done so, will ban abortions even in cases of incest and rape. Why do I, as a transgender woman (who will never become pregnant), care about that or, for that matter, about abortion law in general? I was sexually abused as a child, by a priest and a family friend. I can’t help but to wonder how my life might be different if the nine-year-old boy who experienced the abuse had been a thirteen-year-old girl. Imagine how that could have constricted her choices, and how it could have affected her life in other ways, if such an experience could shatter the reality—not to mention the career and family—of a thirty-year-old woman.

Because, as I said previously, I am not a legal or constitutional scholar, I can’t say whether overturning Roe v. Wade will lead to the evisceration or repeal of Title IX. But it’s hard not to imagine that the repeal of Roe v Wade could lead to many girls and young women not taking advantage of, and furthering, the opportunities Title IX afforded their mothers. White Evangelical Christians—who are to the Republican Party as African Americans have been to the Democratic Party —could hardly have hoped for more.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Quote of the Day: Guns Now Have More Rights Than Women in Ohio

Wade Kapszukiewicz

We now live in a state where guns have more rights than women. Ohio doesn’t trust women to make smart decisions about their own bodies, but yet it does trust 18-year-olds to make smart decisions about their AR-15s. This is both hypocritical and unacceptable.

— Wade Kapszukiewicz, mayor of Toledo, Ohio, ABC-13

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

My Journey From Homophobia to a Supporter of LGBTQ People

bruce gerencser pride two

Recently, a friend of mine — also a former Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preacher — asked me about my journey from homophobia to a supporter of LGBTQ people:

How long did it take you to come around to your current views of acceptance of homosexual folks, not simply tolerating or being kind to them? Also, if there was one, what was the “catalyst” that led you to become as accepting and even accommodating as you now are?

I ask because while I no longer consider it damming or “evil” I simply have a hard time wrapping my head around it and / or not being grossed out by those I come in contact with who I learn are of that lifestyle.

My friend asks several questions I hopefully (and adequately) can answer. I will attempt to do so, as I often do, by telling my story.

I was born in 1957. As was common for men of generation, I was homophobic. I didn’t meet my first gay person until I was thirty-eight years old. Oh, I “knew” gay men in the sense that, based on their mannerisms, I considered them to be a fag, queer, light in their loafers. Polly’s single uncle was a gay man, as was one of my cousins. I knew these men from distance. As far as lesbians are concerned, I didn’t meet a lesbian until I was in my forties.

In ninth grade, we were taught how to square dance in gym class. My pastor threw a fit over me dancing, and this led to me sitting in the bleachers while my fellow classmates danced. Sitting with me were two boys who refused to shower at the end of class. It was assumed by me and my fellow students that these boys were “faggots.” I have no idea whether they were actually gay. Just being different was enough to get one labeled with the “faggot” label.

In the mid-seventies, I casually knew a man my age who was gay. It was believed that he was preyed upon by a much older gay man who ran one of the local funeral homes. This young man, in the 1980s, died of AIDS.

I never heard much preaching about homosexuality as a teen. Oh, I heard the typical talking points about “queers” or “sodomites” having tattoos or wearing earrings in their left ears — both stereotypes of which were patently untrue.

By the time I left Bible college in 1979 and started pastoring IFB churches, I was a full-blown homophobe, a man who reveled in his heterosexuality and excoriated LGBTQ people. On several occasions, gay people visited one of the churches I pastored. I made sure they felt unwelcome. I viewed them, at the time, as child predators — another untrue stereotype.

This brings me to 1995.

In March of 1994, I left a church I had pastored for almost twelve years and moved to San Antonio, Texas to co-pastor Community Baptist Church. This move proved to be a disaster, and in the fall that same year, we packed up our belongings and moved to Frazeysburg, Ohio. With the help of Polly’s parents, we bought a newish manufactured home — a $25,000 upgrade from our previous mobile home.

We lived in Frazeysburg for six months. Needing immediate employment, I turned to restaurant management. I was hired by Charley’s Steakery (now called Charleys Philly Steaks) to be the general manager of their franchise at the Colony Square Mall in Zanesville. I continued to work for this restaurant until March 1995, when I assumed the pastorate of Olive Branch Christian Union Church in Fayette.

bruce gerencser pride

The restaurant I managed had a drink refill policy for mall employees. If employees stopped at the restaurant with their cups, we refilled them free of charge. Some employees would stop every day they worked to get their large plastic cups refilled. One such employee was a man who worked at a nearby store.

This man was in his twenties. The first time I personally refilled his cup for him, my infallible, never-wrong (I am joking) gaydar went off. I thought, “OMG, this guy is gay. What if he has AIDS?” Quite frankly, I am surprised he didn’t see the disgust on my face. Maybe he did, but ignored it. I dutifully put ice in his cup, filled it with pop, and handed it back to him. After he walked away from the service counter, I would quickly run to the kitchen and thoroughly wash my hands, fearing that I might catch AIDS.

Over time, this man and I struck up casual conversations. He was quite friendly, and truth be told, I liked talking to him. As I got to know him better, I found that I no longer was disgusted or worried about getting AIDS. I even stopped washing my hands after serving him. What changed?

My theology didn’t change. And neither did my irrational fear of gay people. Coming to where I am today, a supporter of LGBTQ rights with numerous gay and transgender friends, took years. What needed washing was my proverbial heart, not my hands.

My first step, then, in moving away from homophobia was actually getting to know an LGBTQ person. The more gay people I met, the less I could continue to hate them. I also learned that at least five children raised under my preaching were gay. These poor children had to listen to me rail against LGBTQ people. There was nothing I could do about the past. I apologized to them, and, thankfully, they completely forgave me. Does this mean I was finally free of homophobia? Nope.

The past decade has brought numerous LGBTQ people into my life, forcing me to confront what my friend called “wrapping his head around it [gay lifestyle] and/or not being grossed out by those he comes in contact with who are LGBTQ.” First, I had to learn that being gay was not a “lifestyle,” any more than being heterosexual is a “lifestyle.” We are who we are. A decade of intense counseling has taught me a lot about “self.” Good, bad, and downright ugly. Second, I came to believe that ALL people, regardless of their sexual orientation, were deserving of justice and equal protection under the law. Thus, when it came to same-sex marriage, I found that there was no rational, ethical reason to prohibit gay people from marrying. Not one. I also realized that I had to make my pro-same-sex marriage view public. Public sins require public penance. I did so by writing letters to the editor, publishing blog posts, and putting LGBTQ-friendly signs in my front yard — a heavily trafficked state highway.

Over time, I became more and more open about my unreserved support of LGBTQ people. I even offered to perform same-sex marriages. Over the weekend, Polly and I attended Defiance’s Pride Walk, proudly walking with LGBTQ family, friends, and acquaintances.

Video Link

What a day! Does this, however, mean that I am finally free of homophobia? While I am not far from the kingdom, I know that buried deep in the recesses of my mind rests bigotry of all sorts. As is common for all of us, we struggle to understand people “different” from us. I am an alpha male, 100% heterosexual, a Type A workaholic and sports addict. I am a typical man for my generation. However, I know I don’t want to be a “typical” sixty-five-year-old man. People like me ARE the problem. Quite frankly, we need to die off, and soon.

The struggle that remains for me is truly, without reservation, accepting and embracing people who are different from me. I must work on this every day, pushing my bigotry farther back into the recesses of my mind. I will never “arrive.” All I know to do is to be better today than yesterday.

I would encourage my friend to genuinely befriend LGBTQ people — without reservation. When homophobia rears its ugly head, ask yourself, how would you feel if gay people treated you this way? Confess your “sin,” and do better. Practice what you preach. Participate in groups and events that challenge your bigotry. This is hard work, and you will fail many times. If, however, you believe in justice and equality for all, then you must try again.

I’ve been blogging for fifteen years. I have met countless LGBTQ people. Some of them I consider friends. Listening to their stories — the harm caused to them by homophobic preachers (seeing myself squarely in the mirror), churches, and families — helped me not only confront my own bigotry but also develop genuinely empathy for LGBTQ people. Understanding someone’s journey will go a long way in combating homophobia

Here’s what I am saying to my friend: becoming a tolerant, accepting man requires a lot of pain and struggle. We must not rest until we have rooted every last bit of bigotry out of our lives. While we will never “arrive,” we can be better men (and women) than we were yesterday.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Are Marriage Equality and the Right to Obtain Contraception Next on Right-Wing Supreme Court Justices Agenda?

handmaids tale
Cartoon by Mike Luckovich

Article by Julia Conley, Common Dreams

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas made clear in his concurring opinion regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade that the high court has no intention of stopping its rollback of Americans’ rights, naming cases that centered on marriage equality and the right to obtain contraception as previous rulings that should be revisited.

“It does not end at abortion. Republicans will not stop until they have stripped away every freedom they can’t load with bullets,” said MoveOn Executive Director Rahna Epting, referring to this week’s ruling by the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority that New York’s restrictions on carrying concealed weapons were unconstitutional.

In his concurrence, quoting Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion, Thomas wrote, “I agree that ‘nothing in [the court’s] opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.'”

“For that reason,” Thomas wrote, “in future cases, we should reconsider all of the Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.

The 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut ruling affirmed that the government cannot interfere in people’s procurement of contraceptives, while Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 overturned a Texas law which had effectively made sexual relationships between people of the same sex illegal in the state. Obergefell v. Hodges, decided in 2015, affirmed that same-sex couples can legally marry.

Like the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Friday, the overruling of the decisions listed by Thomas would be deeply unpopular with the American public.

That is unlikely to stop the right-wing majority from overturning those rulings, said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“It is clear he and the court’s majority have no respect for other precedents that have been won in recent decades,” said Jayapal. “This Supreme Court is out of touch with the American people and increasingly suffers a legitimacy crisis.”

The three liberal justices who dissented against the ruling denounced Alito’s claim that the decision would not have an effect on other rights previously protected by the court.

“They are all part of the same constitutional fabric, protecting autonomous decision-making over the most personal of life decisions,” the dissent reads. “The lone rationale for what the majority does today is that the right to elect an abortion is not ‘deeply rooted in history.'”

Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer added:

The same could be said, though, of most of the rights the majority claims it is not tampering with… So one of two things must be true. Either the majority does not really believe in its own reasoning. Or if it does, all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid-19th century are insecure. Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other.

Economist Umair Haque said the ruling handed down Friday was “just the beginning, sadly, of the theocratic fascist project reaching its culmination in earnest now.”

As progressives called for legislative and executive action to codify the right to abortion care into federal law, attorney and Democratic U.S. House candidate Suraj Patel called on Congress to “move now” to ensure the right to contraception, same-sex relationships, and marriage equality are protected.

“Congress has that power right now. Hold the vote,” said Patel. “For 50 years Republicans told us their playbook, they attacked Roe at the edges, we didn’t codify it. Let’s not be naive and not anticipate what’s coming.”

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Quote of the Day: What’s Behind the War in Ukraine

noam chomsky

From 2014, the U.S. and NATO began to pour arms into Ukraine — advanced weapons, military training, joint military exercises, moves to integrate Ukraine into the NATO military command. There’s no secret about this. It was quite open. Recently, the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, bragged about it. He said: This is what we were doing since 2014. Well, of course, this is very consciously, highly provocative. They knew that they were encroaching on what every Russian leader regarded as an intolerable move. France and Germany vetoed it in 2008, but under U.S. pressure, it was kept on the agenda. And NATO, meaning the United States, moved to accelerate the de facto integration of Ukraine into the NATO military command.

In 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky was elected with an overwhelming majority — I think about 70% of the vote — on a peace platform, a plan to implement peace with Eastern Ukraine and Russia, to settle the problem. He began to move forward on it and, in fact, tried to go to the Donbas, the Russian-oriented eastern region, to implement what’s called the Minsk II agreement. It would have meant a kind of federalization of Ukraine with a degree of autonomy for the Donbas, which is what they wanted. Something like Switzerland or Belgium. He was blocked by right-wing militias which threatened to murder him if he persisted with his effort.

Well, he’s a courageous man. He could have gone forward if he had had any backing from the United States. The U.S. refused. No backing, nothing, which meant he was left to hang out to dry and had to back off. The U.S. was intent on this policy of integrating Ukraine step by step into the NATO military command. That accelerated further when President Biden was elected. In September 2021, you could read it on the White House website. It wasn’t reported but, of course, the Russians knew it. Biden announced a program, a joint statement to accelerate the process of military training, military exercises, more weapons as part of what his administration called an “enhanced program” of preparation for NATO membership.

It accelerated further in November. This was all before the invasion. Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed what was called a charter, which essentially formalized and extended this arrangement. A spokesman for the State Department conceded that before the invasion, the U.S. refused to discuss any Russian security concerns. All of this is part of the background.

On February 24th, Putin invaded, a criminal invasion. These serious provocations provide no justification for it. If Putin had been a statesman, what he would have done is something quite different. He would have gone back to French President Emmanuel Macron, grasped his tentative proposals, and moved to try to reach an accommodation with Europe, to take steps toward a European common home.

The U.S., of course, has always been opposed to that. This goes way back in Cold War history to French President De Gaulle’s initiatives to establish an independent Europe. In his phrase “from the Atlantic to the Urals,” integrating Russia with the West, which was a very natural accommodation for trade reasons and, obviously, security reasons as well. So, had there been any statesmen within Putin’s narrow circle, they would have grasped Macron’s initiatives and experimented to see whether, in fact, they could integrate with Europe and avert the crisis. Instead, what he chose was a policy which, from the Russian point of view, was total imbecility. Apart from the criminality of the invasion, he chose a policy that drove Europe deep into the pocket of the United States. In fact, it is even inducing Sweden and Finland to join NATO — the worst possible outcome from the Russian point of view, quite apart from the criminality of the invasion, and the very serious losses that Russia is suffering because of that.

So, criminality and stupidity on the Kremlin side, severe provocation on the U.S. side. That’s the background that has led to this. Can we try to bring this horror to an end? Or should we try to perpetuate it? Those are the choices.

There’s only one way to bring it to an end. That’s diplomacy. Now, diplomacy, by definition, means both sides accept it. They don’t like it, but they accept it as the least bad option. It would offer Putin some kind of escape hatch. That’s one possibility. The other is just to drag it out and see how much everybody will suffer, how many Ukrainians will die, how much Russia will suffer, how many millions of people will starve to death in Asia and Africa, how much we’ll proceed toward heating the environment to the point where there will be no possibility for a livable human existence. Those are the options. Well, with near 100% unanimity, the United States and most of Europe want to pick the no-diplomacy option. It’s explicit. We have to keep going to hurt Russia.

You can read columns in the New York Times, the London Financial Times, all over Europe. A common refrain is: we’ve got to make sure that Russia suffers. It doesn’t matter what happens to Ukraine or anyone else. Of course, this gamble assumes that if Putin is pushed to the limit, with no escape, forced to admit defeat, he’ll accept that and not use the weapons he has to devastate Ukraine.

There are a lot of things that Russia hasn’t done. Western analysts are rather surprised by it. Namely, they’ve not attacked the supply lines from Poland that are pouring weapons into Ukraine. They certainly could do it. That would very soon bring them into direct confrontation with NATO, meaning the U.S. Where it goes from there, you can guess. Anyone who’s ever looked at war games knows where it’ll go — up the escalatory ladder toward terminal nuclear war.

So, those are the games we’re playing with the lives of Ukrainians, Asians, and Africans, the future of civilization, in order to weaken Russia, to make sure that they suffer enough. Well, if you want to play that game, be honest about it. There’s no moral basis for it. In fact, it’s morally horrendous. And the people who are standing on a high horse about how we’re upholding principle are moral imbeciles when you think about what’s involved.

— Noam Chomsky, TomDispatch, Chomsky and Barsamian, In Ukraine, Diplomacy Has Been Ruled Out, June 16, 2022

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

The Future of America: What I Learned at the Ohio License Bureau Troubles Me

voting

Today, we drove to the Ohio License Bureau in Defiance to renew the plates for our SUV. When we arrived, the place was crowded. We watched others come to the counter to do their business with the state as we waited our turn. During our time at the bureau, four young adults heard their number called and came to the counter to get their driver’s license or plates. Each of them was asked, “are you registered to vote?” and all said no. When asked if they would like to register to vote, these young adults said no. I saw in these young people the future of America. The oldest was twenty-nine, the youngest eighteen. Yet, they had already checked out of the political process. Why is that?

We know that young Americans are generally more liberal, more tolerant, and less religious than their parents and grandparents. They are the key to defeating Trumpism and fascism in this country. Yet, many of them have no interest in participating in the political process. Polly and I have six children. Mom and Dad have voted in every election since they were eighteen (1976 and 1975). We modeled to our children the importance of voting. Yet, two of our children have never voted. This distresses me to no end, especially when they bitch, moan, and complain when politicians do things they don’t like. Both of them tell me that they think the system is broken; that there’s no difference between the two parties; that nothing changes.

While it would be easy to rebuke these young adults for not doing their civic duty, perhaps we should spend our time listening to their reasons for not voting. Perhaps the system IS broken. Perhaps both parties ARE the same. It’s easy and convenient to look at the Republican Party — the party of fascism and Trump — and self-righteously list all the ways the Democratic Party is different from the Republicans. Different how? Both parties are in bed with corporate America. Both parties are warmongers. Both parties are out of touch with working-class people and people of color. I am not suggesting that the two parties are equivalent, but I refuse to buy the notion that the Democrats are the party of the people.

Joe Biden was elected for one reason: he wasn’t Donald Trump. He wasn’t my first choice, my second choice, nor was he my third choice. When I hear that Biden plans to run in 2024, I say, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Biden and the Democrats have bungled their way through the first two years of his term. Most galling are the unforced errors such as Biden’s indifference towards the effect of inflation, rising gasoline prices, and higher rent on working-class and poor people. Brittney Griner, a women’s professional basketball player, is being held in Russia. She was supposed to have a phone call recently with her spouse, a call that never happened. The state department fucked up this call, so it had to be rescheduled. Last week, the Biden administration threatened public schools with withholding money for school lunch programs if they didn’t comply with its interpretation of Title IX guidelines for LGBTQ students. Nice look. Submit or we will take away funding for providing free and reduced lunches. From the border problems in the south, to its mishandling of refugees, to the withdrawal from Afghanistan, to the war in Ukraine, all I see is incompetence. We liberals and progressives like to hang on to the morsels the Democratic Party throws our way, ignoring the decay, dysfunction, and rot.

Granted, there are structural issues that are strangling the life out of our Republic: the filibuster, the conservative Supreme Court, the military-industrial complex, global warming, and laissez-faire capitalism. Maybe these young adults see what we lifelong voters can’t or won’t see. We keep thinking the next vote will change things; that the next president and next congress will usher in a better tomorrow. And when that doesn’t happen, we repeat the same worn-out process over and over again. Maybe it is time for us to get off the merry-go-round.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Saying the Quiet Parts Out Loud

guest post

Guest Post by ObstacleChick

Recently, my husband and I were taking a walk when we passed by a neighbor’s house. The neighbors are a couple who have kids close in age to our own kids. Sam* coached our kids in baseball and served a term on town council, and Deanna* volunteered at the elementary and middle school. Both are active in the town’s Catholic church as well as in the community. Sam and Deanna were outside as we were passing by, so they came over to talk with us. Their older son Dan* just finished his junior year of college, and the younger son Nate* is a senior in high school. Dan chose to go to a Catholic university located about an hour and a half away from home, and according to his parents, it was the right place for him. We discussed how our kids were doing and asked where Nate was planning to attend college in the fall. Sam and Deanna talked about the pros and cons of the different schools that Nate had visited. Nate was initially interested in a particular large university, but he thought it was located “in the middle of nowhere” and was not thrilled about being stuck on a campus without access to a wider community. While another school located in Boston had a fantastic business program that Nate wanted to attend, he thought there were “too many Asians” at the school. Another school in Boston was ranked highly and had a great location, but there were “too many Jewish students” at the school. Deanna said that Nate really wanted to go to a school “where most of the students look like him because he’s not used to being in the minority”. Deanna and Sam stated that Nate needed to attend school where he would feel comfortable, “you know what I mean?”

Holy f&*%, that was out loud. Outside. In public.

My husband and I were stunned. I was speechless, and being quicker on his feet than I am on mine, my husband talked about our daughter’s college. Just days before we had returned from attending her college graduation. While located in the South, her university reports that 39.5% of its students are white while the remainder of the student body is composed of a wide variety of students from other races and ethnicities. Our daughter’s friend group reflects the diversity of the school. She loved having friends from a wide array of backgrounds, leading to deep, meaningful discussions. We told Sam and Deanna that our daughter had benefited tremendously from her friendships with a diverse array of people, and that we believed that particular university was the right choice for her. Sam and Deanna nodded along, but I could feel their skepticism. We quickly and politely wrapped up our conversation and moved on our way.

As we walked away, we saw Sam and Deanna’s Asian neighbor kids outdoors playing. We hoped that the kids didn’t hear that conversation. I was second-guessing myself – should I have spoken out more forcefully, directly calling them out on their racism? Also, I was disturbed by the fact that they assumed that because we were white that we would **wink wink nudge nudge**agree that our kids should attend schools with students who look like them. My husband and I knew that this couple had been Trump supporters in both the 2016 and 2020 elections. For a couple of weeks, they had placed one of those juvenile “Let’s Go Brandon” signs in their yard, and currently they have a “thin blue line” sign. We knew that they were die-hard Republicans, but we did not have proof that they were racists. My son had said that he knew Dan and Nate were Trump supporters, lumping them in with the “football guys” who were either overt Trump supporters or “libertarians” who secretly supported Trump but wanted to pretend to straddle the fence. Now we know.

In the couple of weeks since this interaction, we actively avoid walking past their house. A handful of families that we have known for years through our kids’ school and sports had supported Trump both times around. These are all seemingly respectable white families, active in the community, active in their Catholic church. They have coached my kids. They have volunteered at the school. They keep their lawns neat and are polite when we run into each other around town. Now I question how deeply they have absorbed the more extreme, nasty side of the GOP base. The racism, the misogyny, the anti-LGBTQ sentiment, the xenophobia, the Christian nationalism – how much of that is ingrained in their belief system now? They feel empowered to say it all out loud now, and we should listen. As Maya Angelou said, when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. I believe them.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Bruce Gerencser