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Tag: Evangelicalism

My Response to IFB Pastor Patrick Holt’s Letter to the Editor of the Defiance Crescent-News

bible baptist church grover hill ohio (1)

Earlier this week, the Defiance Crescent-News published Patrick Holt’s response to my letter about his previous letter.

Here is what I had to say:

Dear Editor,

Patrick Holt is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preacher. Stuck in the 1950s, Holt thinks America would be great again if we just returned to the homophobic, racist, misogynistic 50s; a return to the days when Evangelical Christianity ruled the roost. Holt looks at our culture and sees decline, decay, and godlessness. He blames these failures on the removal of Bible reading, prayer, and the Ten Commandments from public schools. If only our progeny were led in daily prayer and Bible reading by their teachers and taught the Ten Commandments, our culture would magically return to the glory days of the 1950s.

That ship has sailed, never to return. The 1950s were hardly what Holt intimates them to be. Racism. Homophobia. Misogyny. Patriarchalism. McCarthyism. Criminalization of birth control and abortion. Shall I go on? Those of us who value social progress, equality, and equal protection under the law have a very different view of the world. We intend to push back when Evangelicals try to drag us back to the “good old days.” Evangelical Christianity is dying on the vine. Younger Americans are abandoning organized religion in record numbers. The number of atheists, agnostics, and nones continues to grow, now equaling Evangelicals as a voting bloc.

Holt would have us believe that the only thing keeping him from being a thief and murderer is Jesus. Is that not the conclusion we must come to when he says “Godlessness leads to lawlessness?” I don’t know about Holt, but I murder all the people I want to. I burglarize as many of my neighbors as I want to. I just don’t want to. The unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world have moral and ethical values — no God needed.

This Saturday, Defiance will have its first Pride Walk. I have no doubt that Holt will see this event as yet another sign of decay and depravity, a sign of the soon return of the dead Jesus. I plan to be at the Pride Walk. I am sixty-five years old, by all accounts a curmudgeon. Yet, I know that a better tomorrow requires justice and equality for all. I have thirteen grandchildren. I want a better future for them. I understand Holt’s beliefs. I once was an IFB preacher, an Evangelical pastor for twenty-five years. I also know that it is possible to break free from the narrow, bigoted, anti-human beliefs of Evangelical Christianity.

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

Holt, the pastor of Bible Baptist Church in Grover Hill, Ohio, replied:

Dear Editor,

I recently wrote a letter concerning the past and recent mass shootings in schools. I mentioned that when I was in school that there were no shootings and that prayer, the Bible and the Ten Commandments were then present. People wanted those three removed and now our schools have mass shootings.

Also mentioned was the attempt at removing those three from our society. The published response never mentioned anything about the school shootings, just a number of accusations that the writer perceived in his mind.

The author did a “Wizard of Oz” trick. Remember when Toto pulled back the curtain? The wizard said something similar to this: “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” Otherwise, divert attention away from the obvious.

The author, a former preacher and pastor, claims to know what I think and believe. Sorry, that’s not possible, unless you are prophet, a mind reader or the Lord Jesus. What do we have now? Mass shootings everywhere. Murder and crime are increasing rapidly.

The author states that Christianity is dying and that those without God are taking control. So in his words what we have today is a result of those without God taking control.

Remember you can decide what you want or do not want, but you cannot change what the result will be. Look around you folks. What is going on, according to the author, is a result of those without God.

Patrick Holt
Grover Hill

Tonight, I submitted a rebuttal to the newspaper.

Dear Editor,

What follows is my rebuttal of Patrick Holt’s recent letter to the editor.

I never mentioned Pastor Holt’s school shootings “argument” because it is absurd. Holt sees a connection between banning school prayer, Bible reading, and the Ten Commandments in public schools, and school shootings. When he and I were in school, cell phones had not been invented. There were few school shootings. Now virtually every public school student has a cell phone and we have frequent school shootings. Using Holt’s logic, I could easily conclude that cellphones caused the increase in school shootings. I can make the same argument with birth control. Absurd, right? Holt should stop reading the Bible, and read up on the “correlation implies causation” fallacy. Holt wrongly thinks that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between prayer/Bible reading/Ten commandments and school shootings. He provides no evidence for this claim other than he thinks it’s true.

Holt forgets the discussion we had on my blog. He is not a stranger to me. Further, Holt is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preacher. I am generally considered an expert on the IFB church movement. I was raised in the IFB church, attended an IFB college, married an IFB pastor’s daughter, pastored IFB churches, and I continue to closely follow the machinations of the IFB church movement. I know Holt’s beliefs quite well. Holt made no attempt to rebut my claims. I assume, then, that my assessment was spot on.

Holt’s soteriological and eschatological beliefs force him to see the world as fallen, in a continued state of decline. I reject his beliefs out of hand. The current attack by the religious right on women, LGBTQ people, religious minorities, and the separation of church and state rests squarely on the shoulders of Holt and his ilk. The “godless” have no power. While we “godless” are rapidly increasing in number, seven out of ten Americans identify as Christian. If Holt is looking for someone to blame, I suggest he look in the mirror. As a humanist, my goal is to make the world a safer place to live. Instead of blaming atheists for school shootings, put the blame where it belongs: non-existent gun laws, easy access to weapons of mass carnage, and our nation’s continued worship of the AR-15. The solution to school shootings is right in front of us. Or we could just keep praying . . .

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

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.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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Lorraine Schaefer Responds to My Recent Letter to the Editor of The Defiance Crescent-News

abortion
Cartoon by David Fitzsimmons

I recently wrote a letter to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News:

Dear Editor,

Patrick Holt is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preacher. Stuck in the 1950s, Holt thinks America would be great again if we just returned to the homophobic, racist, misogynistic 50s; a return to the days when Evangelical Christianity ruled the roost. Holt looks at our culture and sees decline, decay, and godlessness. He blames these failures on the removal of Bible reading, prayer, and the Ten Commandments from public schools. If only our progeny were led in daily prayer and Bible reading by their teachers and taught the Ten Commandments, our culture would magically return to the glory days of the 1950s.

That ship has sailed, never to return. The 1950s were hardly what Holt intimates them to be. Racism. Homophobia. Misogyny. Patriarchalism. McCarthyism. Criminalization of birth control and abortion. Shall I go on? Those of us who value social progress, equality, and equal protection under the law have a very different view of the world. We intend to push back when Evangelicals try to drag us back to the “good old days.” Evangelical Christianity is dying on the vine. Younger Americans are abandoning organized religion in record numbers. The number of atheists, agnostics, and nones continues to grow, now equaling Evangelicals as a voting bloc.

Holt would have us believe that the only thing keeping him from being a thief and murderer is Jesus. Is that not the conclusion we must come to when he says “Godlessness leads to lawlessness?” I don’t know about Holt, but I murder all the people I want to. I burglarize as many of my neighbors as I want to. I just don’t want to. The unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world have moral and ethical values — no God needed.

This Saturday, Defiance will have its first Pride Walk. I have no doubt that Holt will see this event as yet another sign of decay and depravity, a sign of the soon return of the dead Jesus. I plan to be at the Pride Walk. I am sixty-five years old, by all accounts a curmudgeon. Yet, I know that a better tomorrow requires justice and equality for all. I have thirteen grandchildren. I want a better future for them. I understand Holt’s beliefs. I once was an IFB preacher, an Evangelical pastor for twenty-five years. I also know that it is possible to break free from the narrow, bigoted, anti-human beliefs of Evangelical Christianity.

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

Lorraine Schaefer, a resident of Payne, “responded” to my letter. Here’s what she had to say:

Lesson one about extraction. There are two such procedures, medical with label “embarrassment, inconvenient or choice” using a longer instrument to enter the cavity, the uterus.

The dental procedure entitled “infection uses a small instrument to enter the cavity named “mouth.”

Both procedures may require crushing the crown, ugh and looking at a picture of an extracted molar you sometimes see four roots. Christian “bigots” might equate them to the medical procedure as two legs and two arms. Hands at the end of those teeny weeny arms once were pictured encircling a surgeon’s finger during a pre-natal surgery.

Suction is always necessary during these procedures — no bits of molar left in the gums to cause problems and often the patient feels a thump, thump there, the same feeling holding a medically extracted red thing you see on Feb. 14 cards called Valentine’s stating “I love you.”

Just as dental, medical suction pieces must be counted and accounted for, even that tiny double sack. Remember your first accordion lesson when no music came out, only air? Those pieces counted prevent infection and sometimes death after a medical procedure.

Neither procedure is a happy one, and some memories last forever.

Two years after adding two beautiful babies to our family I was blessed with another beautiful daughter from my womb. Years later I cried at the grave of my fourth beloved child’s biological mother’s grave in undying gratitude that she had the courage to give my son life and to me.

Mr. Gerenscer, your “dead Jesus” is very alive in our family.

Lorraine Schaefer

Schaefer, who is in her nineties, ignores the bulk of my email and focuses, instead, on my brief mention of abortion. Of course, if she is a regular reader of the Crescent-News over the years, she knows that I support women’s bodily autonomy and reproductive rights. She knows that I am no friend of forced birthers.

Most abortions occur in the first trimester, (Abortion Facts, Lies, and Contradictions) at a time when the human tissue growing in a woman’s womb looks like this:

two weeks
Two Weeks
five weeks
Five Weeks
eight weeks
Eight Weeks
thirteen weeks
Thirteen Weeks

Schaefer, as forced birthers are wont to do, ignores the medical abortifacients and goes straight for the procedure that often elicits heightened emotional response from people: Dilation and Curettage (D&C). Oh my God, they are hacking the baby to death! forced birthers such as Schaefer say. I’m surprised she didn’t try to graphically describe late-term abortion. Regardless of Schaefer’s graphic description, the fact remains that no woman should be forced to carry tissue/fetus to term.

Schaefer objects to me suggesting that Jesus is dead, yet she provides no evidence to the contrary except personal faith. Further, she bristles at being called a bigot, but forced birthers, along with anti-LGBTQ crusaders ARE bigots, so I intend to keep labeling them this way until they show that I am wrong. I’m done playing nice with hardcore Evangelicals, conservative Catholics, and Mormons. I have received countless emails, comments, and social media messages from Christian zealots who object to something I’ve written about abortion and LGBTQ issues. Most of them were nasty, violent, and hateful people uninterested in honest, open, thoughtful dialog. Such people are bigots. If such Christians don’t want to be called bigots, I suggest that they change their tack and humbly LISTEN to people different from 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.

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.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Evangelical Pastor Gary Hamrick Says Christians Shouldn’t Affirm LGBTQ People

gary hamrick

If you really believe the Bible is the basis for your belief system, then you are going to recognize that God calls homosexuality sin.

And if you operate from that standard, from that description, from that definition, then it’s a matter of ‘how do I communicate truth In love?’ 

Being loving is not denying the truth. That’s a very unloving thing. Being loving toward somebody is figuring out a sensitive way to communicate the truth. It’s a very unloving thing to say: ‘Well, I’m just going to affirm them [LGBTQ people] and not really tell them the truth.’ So you’re not doing them any good, and you’re not being honest before the Lord or to yourself.

….

It’s really easy to confront someone, even if you do it in a loving way, about something that the culture and God both agree on” but challenging when “the culture is saying the opposite.

Just the fact that you might hold the belief that homosexuality is wrong, you’re going to be labeled a hater, intolerant, a bigot.

You can’t control that. All you can control is: ‘I want to honor God and I want to always be truthful, and so I’m going to look for a gentle and sincere way to communicate truth when necessary when it comes up. 

….

If somebody is a pathological liar, [and we tell them], ‘Well, that’s OK, everybody lies.’ Why are you saying that?

Or somebody is a gossip, or somebody is in premarital heterosexual sex, [and you say], ‘Well, that’s OK. You know, we all have urges.’ … Why are we compromising the truth for the sake of just appeasing people?

— Gary Hamrick, pastor of Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, Virginia, The Christian Post, Megachurch pastor says it’s ‘very unloving’ for Christians to affirm friends’ LGBT lifestyles, June 8, 2022

Hamrick’s intellectually challenged son, Austin, got in on the lovefest, saying:

The phrase: ‘Love is Love’ is not a very stable motto to stand on. I mean, I love a lot of things that are not beneficial for me. My daughter, she’s 4. She loves to run in the middle of the road. And if she just said, ‘Hey, love is love. Why would you infringe on what I love to do?’ Well, it’s because I know that there are harmful consequences to her love for running in the middle of the road.

“You love Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Now, to indulge in a lifestyle of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, there might be some harmful consequences to that.” 

[The younger Hamrick said Christians should look to the Bible to find what is truly “good love.”]

God says [about] how we should flourish in our sexuality and in relationships. 

Love is love means you should affirm everything that I want or desire. … It’s not true love. True love is to will the good of another.

Sure sounds like the elder Hamrick dropped his son on his head when he was young.

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.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Jason Keller Convicted of Engaging in Sexual Conduct with a Student

jason keller

Jason Keller, pastor of Freedom Family Church in Liberty, North Carolina, and former elementary school principal of Union Grove Christian School, was convicted last week of six counts of felonious sexual offense with a student and two counts of taking indecent liberties with a student. Keller was sentenced to four to five years for five of the counts of felonious sexual offense with a student and thirty months on supervised probation after being released from prison.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports:

A prominent businessman, educator, and pastor has been convicted in Davidson County of engaging in sexual activity with a student.

On Wednesday, Jason Wesley Keller, 42, was convicted in Davidson County of six counts of felonious sexual offense with a student and two counts of taking indecent liberties with a student, according to Assistant District Attorney Marissa Parker. Keller was sentenced to four to five years for five of the counts of felonious sexual offense with a student. He will spend 30 months on supervised probation after he is released from prison for the other three counts.

….

Keller was charged with engaging in sexual acts with a student and taking indecent liberties with a student, according to his indictment.

….

The investigation began in 2009, but charges were not brought against him until 2019 when the student, now an adult, reached out to law enforcement to re-report the alleged sexual misconduct and press charges, arrest warrants said.

Keller was the acting elementary school principal and assistant principal of Union Grove Christian School where the victim also attended, the warrants said. He engaged in sexual activity with her between August 2008 and May 2009, according to the warrants.

Keller continued to be active in civic and church groups after being charged.

Keller also served as a pastor at Freedom Family Church in Liberty. The church did not respond to a request for comment. It was unclear Thursday if Keller still worked at the church.

According to a 2019 article in Forsyth Family Magazine, Keller said he was on an advisory committee that worked with high school students in Forsyth County. Spokesman for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Brent Campbell said it would be difficult to confirm Keller’s role with students in the district.

Keller is listed as the lead ambassador for the Lewisville-Clemmons Chamber of Commerce Chamber Ambassadors. Interim director of the Lewisville-Clemmons Chamber of Commerce Denise Heidel did not respond to a voicemail request for comment about Keller’s status there.

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: Socialism Leads to Sexual Perversion

e calvin beisner

Back in 1987, World magazine published an article by veteran journalist Garry John Moes that asked, “Is there a connection between Socialist doctrine and the homosexual rights movement?”

That striking lead disturbed me. While the article presented clear evidence that there is, in fact, such a connection, it didn’t answer a corollary question: Why is there a connection between homosexuality and socialism?

Why, for instance, did Plato endorse both socialism and homosexuality? Why, today, are many homosexuals — and others in the LGBTQIA+ movements — also socialists?

Back then I set out to answer that question in another article in World titled “Denial of Distinction: Socialism’s Roots and Sexual Deviance.” Its lessons are even more relevant today than they were 35 years ago.

….

A fundamental biblical doctrine revealed here is that there are real, abiding, basic distinctions in this world. Some religions — Hinduism and Buddhism, animism and spiritism — believe that all is fundamentally one, that there are no distinctions at the root of reality. Not Biblical Christianity. For the Bible, one is not two; evil is not good; light is not darkness; bitter is not sweet.

When God’s vineyard becomes indistinguishable from the wild vines around it, He tears down its hedge or wall. He will not permit a false distinction to remain. That is why God insists that evil and good, light and darkness, sweet and bitter not be confused with each other.

To those who deny such distinctions — who say that the Church can be like the world, who obscure the distinction between good and evil — to them, God says, “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and clever in their own sight!” As if to say, “They may be wise in their own eyes, but not in Mine. I am the Judge before whom they must stand. They may overlook distinctions, but I will not!”

What joins socialism with homosexuality and all forms of sexual perversion? They all run against, consciously or subconsciously, of the biblical doctrine of fundamental distinctions.

Biblical thinking recognizes a distinction between Church and world. The church is God’s private property, “a people for God’s own possession” (1 Peter 2:9), and it has a hedge or wall of doctrines and ethics built around it to distinguish it from the world. It must not do what the world does, but must perform God’s judgments and statutes, in which it finds life (Leviticus 18:3-5).

Just as the Bible insists that God has property in the Church, so it insists in the commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” that people have property that must be distinguished from everyone else’s property. Socialism denies that distinction, claiming that everything belongs to everyone. In so doing, it breaks down a wall of distinction by which God orders reality, and to avoid chaos it reverts to another kind of order: totalitarianism. The Bible also insists that property is a just reward for work, not to be divided equally among all people regardless of their contribution to its production (Luke 19:12–26; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). Again, socialism denies this fundamental distinction, insisting on an impossible equality of economic condition.

What of sexuality? The Bible insists that God made man male and female, and that the distinction must be upheld. Neither adultery (Deuteronomy 22:22), nor fornication (Deuteronomy 22:23-29), nor transvestism (Deuteronomy 22:5), nor homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22), nor bestiality (Leviticus 18:23), let alone transgenderism, may be condoned among the people of God. Adultery and fornication, polygamy and polyandry, and polyamorism, deny the distinction between one’s spouse and all other members of the opposite sex. Homosexuality and transgenderism deny the distinction between male and female. Bestiality, with its religious roots in polytheistic evolutionary doctrines of the origin of the world and mankind, denies the distinction between human beings and animals.

Socialism and all forms of sexual perversion have this in common: they attack fundamental distinctions God has built into creation. Where they come into closest ideological contact is in denying the exclusivity of certain relationships. Socialism denies the exclusivity of property as belonging to one person or family and not to others. Sexual perversion denies the exclusivity of sexual relations to marriage between one male and one female.

Distinctions are fundamental to biblical thought: distinctions of order and chaos, light and darkness, good and evil, animal and human, female and male, saved and damned, Church and world, holy and unholy. So are distinctions of work and sloth, individual and community, private and communal property, freedom and slavery, lawfulness and unlawfulness, variety and uniformity.

Each in its own way — socialism and sexual perversion — denies such distinctions. They rebel against the fundamental orders of God’s creation. They must not be countenanced among God’s people — now, any more than 35 years ago.

— E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D.,Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, The Christian Post, Denying the binary: Why socialism and sexual perversion go hand in hand, June 24, 2022

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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.

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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.

Bruce Gerencser