I am not interested in making common cause with non-Christians in my disapproval of the celebration of homosexual desires or acts. The reason is that truly Christian disapproval of sin is rooted in, sustained by, and aimed at spectacular realities for which non-Christians have no taste.
But homosexual desires are also unlike other sins. Paul calls them “dishonorable passions” because they involve “[exchanging] natural relations for those that are contrary to nature” (Romans 1:26). Homosexual desires are different because of the way they contradict what nature teaches. I think this may be seen most clearly if we reflect on the question, What is the moral significance of the emotion of revulsion at the act of sodomy?
I’m using the word sodomy not as equivalent to homosexuality, but as emblematic of the kinds of practices involved in homosexual relations — in this case, a man’s insertion of the organ through which life is meant to enter a woman, into the organ through which waste is meant to leave a man.
There is a natural fitness in revulsion at sodomy. In sexual relations, the penis was not made for the anus. It was made for the vagina. In sodomy, the distortion of that natural use is so flagrant as not to be a mere diversion of the male sex organ from its natural use, but a perversion of it. Revulsion is the emotional counterpart to that linguistic reality.
The natural fitness of revulsion at sodomy corresponds to our visceral reaction at the cowardly man, the callous mother, and the dehumanized miser. It is fitting to feel a visceral aversion to these distortions of natural good. To look on such detestable manhood and such repugnant motherhood and such dehumanizing greed, and feel neutral, is not a sign of moral health. Neither is indifference to sodomy, or its celebration.
We disapprove of homosexuality to the glory of God by assessing right and wrong by his word. We disapprove to the glory of God by honoring the way he designed the natural sexual functions of the human body. We disapprove to the glory of God by standing ever ready with eagerness to forgive as he mercifully forgave us. We disapprove to the glory of God by longing and praying for the everlasting good and Christ-exalting joy of all those whose desires and practices we disapprove of. We disapprove to the glory of God by being willing to sacrifice for others to show that God himself is a greater reward than all self-exaltation or vengeance.
Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.
Christian men, you know how you have a natural disdain for limp-wristed, soft-handed dandies with their coiffed hair, penny-loafers, and man-purses? Guess what? It’s not a natural disdain; it’s a supernatural disdain.
The reason why you have an instinctual contempt for men who double-up on fashion accessories and get manicures is that the Holy Spirit has led you to hate sin. You’re not a bigot when you despise effeminate men, you’re a Spirit-filled Christian. Don’t let namby-pambies tell you that you’re being a fundamentalist; you’re just reaching into your inner discernment and hating the things God hates. It makes you like Jesus, and it pleases God to hate sin.
Almost universally, the females of any and every culture spend a far greater amount of time in their personal beauty regiment than men. Women, because men are more visually impressed, naturally spend more time on their wardrobe, hair, and external beauty. When men do these things, it is right to presume they also are trying to impress men.
In other words, when a man aspires to dress for fashion, he’s acting gay (whether he is or not). The Bible calls it being effeminate, and God hates it. That’s right, God hates even acting gay. And regardless of how many times vapidly ignorant Christians argue that God doesn’t care how you dress, they have to overlook a hundred-plus places in the Bible where God gives explicit instructions on how to dress (including prohibitions about gender-bending in places like Deuteronomy 22:5) to do so.
Men, by God’s design, should be practical in their dress, not stylish. Manliness should be displayed in the outward appearance of men in the same way that femininity should be displayed in the outward appearance of women. While this doesn’t imply one thing or another about things like dresses or slacks, it does forbid men putting off a feminine vibe or women putting off a masculine one.
But most of all, I am sick and tired of being treated like my detestation of skinny jeans or stylish man-scarves is some kind of tawdry bigotry. It’s not; it’s godliness. God hates that garbage, too. In fact, if some men don’t man up a bit and stop prancing around like daisies, it bodes poorly for where they’ll spend eternity.
In some cases, godly men might need to help an effeminate new convert who’s been sissified from a soft-existence in 21st Century cosmopolitan culture learn how to unbend their wrists or how to replace their slippers with a good pair of boots. But that’s hard to do when – increasingly – evangelical leaders are taking their style advice from GQ to fit in with the cool kids who are, by and large, androgynous morphodites.
My wife and her mother talk via telephone every Sunday evening around 9:00 PM. One recent topic of discussion was the Winter Olympics. Polly and her Mom both shared what events they liked watching. Polly’s mom, a devout Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) Christian, shared one observation that left Polly and me laughing when she told me what her mom had said. There sure are a lot of gays in the Olympics now, Mom said, with, I am sure, a shaking of her head a low sounding, umm hmm — the sound she makes when something or someone doesn’t meet her approval.
Polly said nothing. She could have, of course, told her mom that there have always been gay athletes in the Olympics. Gays, gays, gays, everywhere gays, but for most of Mom’s life, they quietly hid in dark closets, so she didn’t see them. Out of sight, out of mind. Now that closet doors have been flung open, Fundamentalists are forced to see and engage people who are considered by them to be abominable reprobates. I have no doubt that Fundamentalists wish that gays would stop flaunting their sexuality — you know like heterosexuals flaunt theirs.
Mom’s youngest brother died of a viral heart disease at age fifty-one. Art was a wonderful man, a pacifist who refused to carry a gun during the Vietnam War. He was a telecommunications operator. Art lived in Michigan, hours away from his Fundamentalist family. When he traveled to Ohio to visit on holidays, he would attend church with the family at the Newark Baptist Temple. I never heard Art talk about God, Jesus, the Bible, or Christianity. He supposedly made a profession of faith as a boy, but I doubt that Art attended church other than when he was visiting his Fundamentalist family. After Art died, it was left to his two preacher’s-wife sisters to settle his estate and take care of his personal property. There were things “found” at his apartment that still can’t be talked about to this day. I’ve thought, over the years, surely everyone knew Art was gay. The first time I met Art was Thanksgiving 1976. I knew immediately that Art was “different” from the rest of us fine upstanding Christians. It’s too bad he died so young. I suspect he would have found today’s societal openness towards gays liberating. I would love to have had an opportunity to talk to him about life as a gay man in a Fundamentalist Baptist family.
I don’t fault my mother-in-law for being homophobic. She was raised in a Fundamentalist Christian home where human sexuality was defined by the Bible. Gay people were disgusting, vile cretins in need of old-fashioned Baptist salvation. Getting saved turned sinners into saints, homosexuals into heterosexuals. This is how I was raised too. From my elementary school years forward, I heard pastors, youth directors, and Sunday school teachers say that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah over the sin of ho-mo-sex-u-al-ity (shout the word loudly, enunciating each syllable while pounding on the pulpit). Gay people were viewed as sexual predators. No child was safe when near homosexuals. Church was considered a safe haven because there supposedly weren’t any gays in IFB churches.
I didn’t personally know a gay person until high school. I knew a lot of people who were called queers and faggots, but these slurs were often hurled towards boys who refused to participate in gym or who acted in ways deemed unmanly. They may or may not have been gay. In ninth grade, my gym teacher decided to teach us how to square dance. My pastor got wind of this and made a fuss. Dancing? In school? This resulted in me sitting on the sidelines while everyone else, save two other boys, learned to do-si-do and swing their partner round and round. The other two boys? Yeah….the two “queers” who refused to participate in gym. I was thoroughly embarrassed by having to sit with these boys. (Please read Good Baptist Boys Don’t Dance.)
I am sure my mother-in-law, along with her fellow Christians, is upset and alarmed over how out-in-the-open gay people are these days. Why, there’s even gays kissing on TV! Umm hmm. What Fundamentalists fail to understand is that there have always been gay people. Religious oppression kept them from openly expressing their sexuality. Now, LGBTQ people are out of the closet and openly living their lives as they see fit. Their openness scares the Jesus right out of Fundamentalists. They genuinely believe that homosexuality is a sin above all sins, and that societies which endorse and support such behavior will be judged and destroyed by God. This is why Fundamentalists opposed same-sex marriage and continue to threaten boycotts of companies that support the “gay agenda” or the “gay lifestyle.” The problem now, of course, is that anti-gay Fundamentalists make up a small and shrinking percentage of Americans and tend to live in southern or rural communities. They no longer have the political power necessary to turn back the Sodomite horde. As the United States becomes more inclusive and tolerant, Fundamentalists are forced to admit that Christianity no longer rules the roost; that even some Evangelicals now think it is okay for people to be gay; that come the next Olympics there will be gay athletes. Umm hmm…..
About Bruce Gerencser
Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.
Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.
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Warning! Snark ahead! Evangelicals easily offended by having their bigotry exposed should NOT read this post!
Monday, the American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine Journalreleased a report detailing the health problems faced by LGBT people. CNN reports:
Researchers now have a broader understanding of the health disparities suffered by gay, lesbian and bisexual people. A recent study found that these groups are more likely to suffer psychological distress, heavy drinking and heavy cigarette smoking.
The study, published in the American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine journal on Monday, sheds new light on such disparities in a population-based sample of adults in the United States.
“This study was one of the largest, most comprehensive studies of its kind to find differences in health and health behaviors by sexual orientation,” said Carrie Henning-Smith, health policy researcher at the University of Minnesota and a co-author of the study. “Our findings should raise concern that lesbian, gay and bisexual adults experience health disparities.”
The researchers analyzed data collected from more than 68,000 [67,150 survey respondents were heterosexual, 525 lesbian, 624 gay and 515 bisexual. The average age was about 47] adults nationwide as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2013 and 2014 National Health Interview Surveys. The surveys included questions about sexual orientation, chronic conditions, mental health, alcohol consumption, cigarette use and overall health.
The researchers discovered that gay and bisexual men were more likely than heterosexual men to suffer severe psychological distress, heavy drinking and heavy cigarette smoking. Lesbians were more likely than heterosexual women to experience psychological distress, poor or fair health, and heavy drinking and smoking. Bisexual women were more likely to suffer multiple chronic conditions.
“The data did not allow us to identify specific causes of health disparities in this study,” Henning-Smith said. “However, we know from other research that the experience of being part of a stigmatized minority population can lead to chronic stress, which, in turn, can have negative impacts on health and health behaviors.”
The researchers hope that the data could help to inform and encourage clinicians to be more sensitive to and aware of the specific psychological and physical needs of gay, lesbian and bisexual patients.
Evangelicals have quickly and viciously used this report as “proof” that being LGBT promotes unhealthy lifestyles. Evidently these homophobic bigots missed the line that stated “The data did not allow us to identify specific causes of health disparities in this study.” One such person is a woman by the name of Denise who spends a lot of time “anally” reporting on the vile, wicked, sinful behavior of people she labels sodomites. Denise is a Calvinist, a female of version of Steven Anderson. Unlike Anderson, Denise doesn’t show her face on videos nor does she let readers know her last name. That said, theology and her obsession with oral and anal sex and STDs is very Andersonesque. In a post titled, Survey: excessive health problems among deviants , Denise opines:
Sin has consequences. Trying to go against God’s created order, suppressing the Truth with their unrighteousness (Romans 1), will have physical ramifications. They blame those who reject their deviant behavior, for their physical problems which is irrational. The problem is enslavement to sin, and the solution is to repent of one’s sins, confess one to be totally depraved with original sin, and cry out to God our Creator, for mercy and forgiveness. He is quick to forgive and save those who come to Him through Jesus Christ the resurrected Lord for salvation. Those whom HE sets free through faith in Christ Jesus alone by His blood, are made free indeed by Him.
Denise thinks that the reason LGBT people have certain health problems is due to the fact that they are sinful deviants. Denise totally rejects the notion that gay-haters such as herself are part of the problem. In Denise’s world, LGBT people are sick for one reason — sin!! According to Anderson’s comrade in the war against “sodomy,” if sodomites would just repent of their sins (which means becoming as God made them — heterosexuals) and cry out to the Calvinistic God for mercy and forgiveness, all would be forgiven and their health problems would disappear. Now, I am sure Denise would say, No, LGBT health problems are the consequences of their deviancy. Yes, Jesus will save them and deliver them from their wicked desires, but former LGBT people still have to live with the physical damage done by lifetimes of wrong-way fucking. I suspect Denise would also say that LGBT deviants should repent while they are young before sexual “sins” ravage their bodies. Get out while you are young, Denise likely would say. Live the best years of your life in service of the heterosexual God.
If Jesus is the “cure” for LGBT health problems, why are so many heterosexual Christians sick? Churches are filled with people who are sickly, suffering the ravages countless diseases. Perhaps Evangelicals are sick due to heterosexual anal sex and blowjobs, Denise might say. Only married missionary position intercourse is permitted!Grandma Grace, why do you have cancer? granddaughter Evangeline asks. Grandma Grace shamefully hangs her head and says, I gave Grandpa Joseph a blowjob in 1983. Cancer is God’s punishment for me swallowing. If you want to avoid cancer, Grandma Grace says, never, ever put anything but food in your mouth, and never, ever let your husband come through the back door.
I know, I am being silly now, but the very notion that LGBT people have certain health problems due to sin is ludicrous. I am sure that in the years ahead, researchers will continue to investigate exactly why LGBT people are more prone to certain illnesses. I suspect that researchers with find that AIDS, unrelenting persecution by Evangelicals, Mormons, and conservative Catholics, and lack of medical care contributed to many of the LGBT health issues detailed in the aforementioned study. For those of us who are heterosexual, perhaps we should ask ourselves how our health might be affected if we had to live in circumstances similar to those of LGBT people. I wonder, would we turn to substance abuse, suicide, and have increased mental health issues? Those of us who were savaged by Christian Fundamentalism (see Are Evangelicals Fundamentalists?) understand how constant assaults on your humanity can lead to mental health problems and thoughts of suicide. Those waging war against all things non-heterosexual are the very same people who preach and write against any and all behaviors they consider “sins” against their version of the Biblical God. It should be clear to all who dare to see that Evangelicalism, Mormonism, and conservative Catholicism breeds hate — hate not only of those they deem “sinful,” but also hate of self. Knowing who and what they really are, these defenders of virginity, heterosexuality, and Christian America rail against the very secrets they hide from their fellow Christians. As is often the case, people who scream and preach the loudest against this or that behavior are often secretly doing the same. Stay tuned. Perhaps we shall someday learn that Denise is really into making her own clothes — which is hard to do without a good bit of scissoring.