Menu Close

Tag: LGBTQ

Sorry Coach Chris Goodwin, the Real Issue is Bigotry, Not Basketball

basketball

Chris Goodwin is the girl’s basketball coach at Mid-Vermont Christian School in Hartford, Vermont. Mid-Vermont is an Evangelical institution.

In a February 2023 game, Mid-Vermont played a team with a transgender player. Rather than infect his players with transgender cooties, Goodwin forfeited the game.

When asked about why he forfeited the game, Goodwin said:

The team was not on our schedule during the year but we did see we might have the possibility of playing them in the playoffs,” he said. “As the season came to an end, that is the scenario that worked itself out. After discussions with our administration and players and parents, we decided that instead of going against our religious beliefs, … we decided to forfeit that game and withdraw from the tournament.

I’ve got four daughters. I’ve coached them all at one point in their careers playing high school basketball. I’ve also filled in for the boy’s coach when he can’t make a practice, and I run those practices, and boys just play at a different speed, a different force … than the girls play.

Goodwin also said that he was worried that one of his players could be hurt if they played against a biological boy.

Vicky Fogg, the head of Mid-Vermont, stated:

Allowing biological males to participate in women’s sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women’s sports in general.

While Goodwin wants people to think that he forfeited the game out of concern for player safety, the real issue, as Goodwin himself stated, is the school’s beliefs about transgender people. In other words, the real issue is religiously motivated bigotry, not basketball. Having watched girl’s high school basketball since the 1980s, I can tell you that the girl’s game is every bit as physical and violent as the boy’s game. Yes, the boys can run faster and jump higher, but when considering physicality itself, the girls’ game is quite physical — especially when players hit the floor over a loose ball or when playing aggressive full-court man-to-man defense.

There’s an argument to be had about transgender girls/women in sports. Many transgender people agree. However, the place to have that discussion is not the gymnasium, right before the start of a game. Goodwin thoroughly embarrassed the transgender player and her teammates — was that his intent? — and robbed his own players of the opportunity of playing in a tournament game. Why? The Bible says ___________.

And people such as Goodwin wonder why an increasing number of people think Evangelicals are bigots.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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:

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

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: LGBTQ People Deserve the Electric Chair Says IFB Preacher Robert Larson

robert lawson

That’s what faggots deserve, is the death penalty! And they should do it publicly for everybody to see.

What does God say the homos deserve? In Leviticus 20:13, a famous verse, it says, ‘If a man also lie with a man as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.’ That’s what faggots deserve.”

Every single sodomite, every single homosexual should get the electric chair. And they should do it publicly for everybody to see, so that they know that’s what happens to these freaks! These rapists, these child molesters.

They are God-haters. It’s the reason why they’re even like that.

You know, a couple of my friends in the New IFB, they got in hot water because they said that they should line up all the faggots and, you know, and put them in front of a firing squad. I think that’s too easy. I think they should get the electric chair, make it a little more painful.

— Robert Larson, Bible Believers Baptist Church in Union Gap, Washington

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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:

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

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Ohio Republican Lawmakers Voted to Take Away Parental Rights

Ohio Representative Gary Click, an IFB pastor in Fremont Ohio. Click, a homophobe, wants to ban all transgender healthcare — minors and adults

By Marilou Johanek, Ohio Capital Journal, Used with Permission

Busted. Ohio Republicans love to grandstand on parents’ rights and protection of children when they’re pushing culture war crazy like banning books, whitewashing history, or canceling nonexistent gender indoctrination in grade schools. They’re fighting for your parental rights to be in charge of your child and to protect that darling from all the fearful imaginings invented on Fox “News.”

All for show. A charade to justify mindless legislation on made-up crises. But the gig is up. State lawmakers masquerading as champions of parents and protectors of children just voted against parents deciding what’s best for their children and against protecting Ohio children from harm. Busted.

The supermajorities of gerrymandered Republicans in the Ohio Senate and Ohio House voted to replace parental authority with political control. The radical fundamentalists running state government with an iron fist know better than you parents when it comes to your child. Simple peasants with kiddos can’t be trusted to do the right thing. They need to be told by unaccountable authoritarians in the Statehouse.    

We tell parents what to do all the time. So this isn’t any different. Sometimes the General Assembly has to step in and tell them what to do,” said Republican state Sen. Stephen Huffman.

“The same government that requires you to send your children to school…has the obligation to prevent parents and physicians from chemically castrating and sterilizing their children,” said Republican state Rep. Gary Click, sponsor of the extreme anti-trans bill becoming law in less than 90 days.

“The governor has said we should let parents make these decisions. Well, that’s nice as a headline,” but “there are parents making bad decisions, as parents always do,” said Republican state Senate President Matt Huffman.

What the impossibly arrogant and outrageous Republican overlords in the Ohio legislature are saying is that parents aren’t up to the job of raising their children without right-wingers calling the shots. Clearly the extremists believe parents with transgender minors are inadequate to the task of providing health care for them not proscribed by politicians (without medical or psychological training). 

When MAGA Republicans overrode Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of an anti-trans bill that bans gender-affirming care for minors and restricts transgender participation in sports, they mocked parents of this state under the pretext of protecting their kids. They trotted out the same fearmongering delusions and alternative realities parroted in scores of other Republican-dominated legislatures to beat up a strawman unable to hit back.

They legislated away the rights of Ohio’s transgender youth and their parents not for any credible, medically-valid, evidence-based rationale, but because exploiting transgenderism is politically expedient in MAGA world. State Republicans enacted a gender-affirming healthcare ban — despite overwhelming opposition from physicians, children’s hospitals, counselors, parents, patients, and every major medical association in the country — because polls backed indefensible cruelty. Republicans stopped Ohio parents, relying on the best medical advice and long-established clinical practices, from giving their trans children gender-affirming treatment that could well save their lives.

The governor relayed parental concerns when he vetoed the bill Republicans restored. “They told me their child is alive only because they received care,” he said. “Ultimately, I believe this is about protecting human life.” Ultimately, Republican lawmakers believed targeting the transgender community with discriminatory legislation was worth sacrificing human life to score ideological points.

They broadly dismissed trans youth as “kids doing something stupid” and portrayed their parents as pushovers who succumb to “the culture that has been created behind this movement.” (?) Ohio Senate President Huffman — presumably a scholar on gender dysphoria, its diagnosis and treatment — also argued baselessly that “parents are being pressured” to accept their transgender children who are being “encouraged by a lot of people” to be trans so “of course, they’re gonna latch onto it.”

With that tortured logic, Republican leadership gaveled a sweeping anti-trans bill into law and ignored DeWine’s warning that the consequences on “a very small number of children … would be profound.” Collateral damage. The price of maintaining a MAGA Republican grip on power through hate-baiting. 

After putting vulnerable transgender youth in unnecessary danger by denying their parents the right to save them with health care, Republican state senators joined their counterparts in the House in refusing to protect Ohio’s kids and communities from tobacco addiction. It’s the leading cause of preventable death in Ohio, according to the state’s health director. 

However, the GOP supermajorities sided with Big Tobacco over local efforts to reduce the high rates of tobacco use among young Ohioans. So flavored tobacco products, hugely popular with high schoolers and young adults, will soon be back on store shelves after Republicans overrode the governor’s veto of a bill that prevented Ohio cities from banning their sale. 

Lawmakers voted not in the public interest or as proponents of kids, many of whom start vaping with widely available flavored products that target children with fruit or candy flavors. They legislated away the home rule rights of people trying to improve public health and prevent kids from becoming nicotine addicts at 14, 15, or 16 years old. Protecting the tobacco industry and businesses was more important.

Ohio MAGA Republicans can wail all they want about the protection of children or the rights of parents but truly the gig is up. The gerrymandered frauds have been exposed again. Busted.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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:

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

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Why Can’t Ohio Republican Legislators and the DeWine Administration Leave LGBTQ People Alone?

christians attack lgbt people

By David DeWitt, Ohio Capital Journal, Used by Permission

I’ve lived in Ohio for nearly four decades and for that entire time, LGBTQ+ lives have been treated by our politicians as little more than a convenient political punching bag. Every year I ask myself, why can’t they just leave us alone?

I turned 18 in late 2002, so my first non-local election as a voter was in 2004, when the George W. Bush campaign juiced his reelection prospects by putting same-sex marriage bans on the ballot and passing them in 11 states, including Ohio.

Welcome to politics, kid, you’re a second-class citizen. That’s the message Ohio welcomed me with as a voter.

It was easy in 2004 to scapegoat and victimize the entire LGBTQ+ community, not just segments of it as we largely see today. We were going to destroy traditional marriage. We were — by seeking the same legal benefits of marriage afforded to opposite-sex couples — going to destroy the entire country. Marriages to farm animals are coming next, they shrieked. “Fire and brimstone… Forty years of darkness… Dogs and cats living together — mass hysteria!”

It took 11 years for Ohio’s same-sex marriage ban to be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, a case originating out of Ohio.

The state of Ohio, under then-Attorney General Mike DeWine, cost taxpayers more than a million dollars working to keep myself and the rest of my LGBTQ+ family second-class citizens, undeserving of the same legal protections as everyone else.

But over those years, the tide had begun to turn. One of the most significant things I learned after 2004 was that many people changed their minds on the issue of LGBTQ+ rights when somebody close to them came out as LGBTQ+. Of course, plenty of others reject their LGBTQ+ family members: disowning us, kicking us out of our homes, or even doing violence to us. But as enough of us came out and showed that we are normal, everyday people with real humanity, the mood of the country slowly changed.

Ohio’s same-sex marriage ban of 2004 was passed by 61.7% of voters. A 2012 poll by the Washington Post showed 52% of Ohio residents saying that same-sex marriage should be legal. A 2016 Public Religion Research Institute poll showed a 56% majority in favor of same-sex marriage in Ohio. A 2022 survey by the same institute showed 70% of Ohio respondents supported same-sex marriage.

And yet, still, Ohio Revised Code Section 3101.01 states “Any marriage between persons of the same sex is against the strong public policy of this state. Any marriage between persons of the same sex shall have no legal force or effect in this state.”

So if the current right-wing U.S. Supreme Court decides to overturn the Obergefell decision and return it to the states, LGBTQ+ Ohioans would once again be relegated to second-class citizenship against the wishes of 70% of the public.

In the last several years, because of this shift in public opinion, right-wing operatives have decided it’s more politically convenient and publicly palatable to shine their spotlight of hatred, lies, and intolerance not on the LGBTQ+ community broadly, but on our transgender brothers and sisters specifically.

Since 2015, the U.S. has seen a sharp increase in anti-trans legislation, with record-breaking numbers the last four years. In 2023, 550 anti-transgender bills were introduced across the U.S., more than in the past eight years combined.

Ohio’s unconstitutionally gerrymandered state legislature has gone full-bore into the play: introducing anti-trans athlete bills, anti-transgender health care bills, and even anti-drag and bathroom ban laws. They passed the youth athlete and gender-affirming care ban just before the end of the year. DeWine vetoed it, but the lege now looks to make their first order of business in 2024 attacking trans people next week with a possible override of DeWine’s veto.

DeWine said during his press conference last week that, “Parents looked me in the eye and they said, ‘My child would be dead if they had not received this care.” DeWine did his research, he listened to families and doctors, and he showed more honesty and compassion in a 30-minute presser than I saw out of Statehouse Republican lawmakers in all of 2023.

The fact that this is a matter of life and death is obvious to those of us who know and love and care about trans and other LGBTQ+ people in our lives. I’ve heard too many awful stories. My heart has been broken over and over knowing what those in my LGBTQ+ family have had to endure: the fear, the lack of safety, the horror stories of pain, violence, and rejection from a society that has historically not given a damn about us or our lives.

But our LGBTQ+ family is strong. We’ve created communities for ourselves. We’ve worked with medical professionals to create health care spaces for ourselves, when much of the rest of the world was dismissing us and laughing at us, even amid the AIDS epidemic. We created spaces for ourselves where we could live in peace, not fearing for our safety and security, but lifting each other up in acceptance and love.

So no matter what happens next week, I want to send a very clear message to my LGBTQ+ family and especially our trans sisters and brothers: You are loved. You are accepted. You are appreciated. You are wanted, needed, and valued in our communities and in our families. Your individuality is a gift, and your lives are precious. I will never abandon you and I will never stop fighting for all of our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

To our allies, thank you. Truly, thank you. Your strength and alliance carries far more weight than you might conceive.

And to the small-minded, closed-hearted bigots who seek to rob us of our inalienable rights, to scapegoat us, to ostracize us, to “other” us, to exclude us, to lie about us, to victimize us, to use our lives as a political cudgel whether out of cynicism or ignorance — perpetuating or being duped by propaganda: You’ve never cared about us, and we don’t need you, so honestly, why can’t you just leave us alone?

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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:

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

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Don’t Fall For This Evangelical Con: Welcoming, Not Affirming

anti-gay-to-affirming

Recently, The Christian Chronicle published an interview with Rubel Shelly, the author of “Male and Female God Created Them: A Biblical Review of LGBTQ+ Claims.” One question and answer stood out to me. Shelly is a Church of Christ preacher

B.T. Irwin asked:

Your book introduced me to a phrase I’ve never heard before in reference to Christian congregations, and that phrase is “welcoming, but not affirming.” Is that just a nicer way of saying hate the sin, love the sinner? How can congregations really be welcoming of people who identify as LGBTQ+ without affirming their behaviors?

Shelly replied:

I welcome my friends who are alcoholics. I welcome my friends who are drug addicts. I welcome my friends who have addictions of various sorts. In fact, a church that I served for 27 years here in Nashville at one point had 41 groups — accountability, reorientation sessions — going for people with all sorts of addictions, most of them around alcohol and drugs. 

We welcomed every one of them, but not in a single case did we ever affirm the addiction, the alcoholism, the meth, gambling, whatever it was that was their addiction. We welcomed them because that’s what the church is — the church is a recovering community of sinners. 

Here’s my point: If a church creates an atmosphere of redemption through the grace of God … we feel safe to admit, “Yes, I do need redemption, and I must throw myself on the grace of God for my gambling addiction, my alcohol addiction, my pathological lying, whatever it may be,” and that church welcomes them. Not to encourage them to continue the behavior, but they are welcomed into a penitent community where there is acceptance, accountability and nurture into spiritual health and recovery. 

Let’s follow that through with sexual issues in particular. Let’s talk about the teenager who is caught up in what now has the name “gender dysphoria.” 

Men have cooked and done needlework a long time. Women have been truck drivers and farmers. 

Gender dysphoria is one set of issues, but let’s suppose a teenager is dealing with what this culture is telling them: You may need to consider puberty blockers. You may need to consider dressing differently. You may need to consider surgery and changing your genitalia because you’re probably a woman trapped in the man’s body or vice versa.

Most teenagers — if they feel those things — don’t have a safe place to go to deal with it. 

Back in the 1980s, there was this new disease that was called AIDS. I had people asking me, “Do you think it’s safe to drink from a water fountain at church?” A neighbor warned my wife against going to a laundromat with some of the big bedding that she was going to dry in one of the big dryers. People were terrified.

So what Dr. Roy Hamley and I did was set up an accountability group, not for alcoholics or drug users or people caught up with gambling or pornography, but for people who were HIV-infected. We didn’t know if anybody would show up, but we had established a community of grace and healing. And sure enough, probably four or five the first night we met showed up, and before long the group grew large enough that we had to divide it into two different groups. 

We welcomed people who had AIDS. We welcomed people who were gay into the context of the call of Christ, to purity and repentance.

So this is not new territory for me. This is not abstract and academic. This is also pastoral for me. I think what people are looking for is not so much sex as intimacy, and by intimacy: safe people, safe places, acceptance, love. 

Where love is defined in the Christian sense, it’s the self-giving interest in one another. And yet in this culture, we don’t know how to do intimacy apart from groping or viewing or having intercourse with a woman, a man or both or a group. 

Intimacy doesn’t mean having sex. Intimacy means having a deep, meaningful connection within this male-female community that God has created to be the human race in his own image and likeness and, in that context, serving the kingdom of God. The point of life is not to have sex. The point of life is not romantic fulfillment. The point of life, if we are  Christian, is the kingdom of God. 

Our churches have to be welcoming, but not affirming, to people from all kinds of backgrounds, so that the church really is a Christ-focused place where acceptance with accountability — not simply acceptance to affirm, but acceptance with accountability to truth — can take place. We’re not centers to dispense judgment. We are centers to dispense grace within the context of the truth of the Gospel.

Shelly states: Our churches have to be welcoming, but not affirming. Many mainline Christian churches are welcome and affirming. Shelly will have none of that, saying that everyone is welcome, but they must conform to the church’s teachings to be truly accepted by the church. This is little more than a novel take on “loving the sinner, but hating the sin.” As readers of this site know, Evangelicals rarely hate sin without hating sinners too. Preachers are fond of saying that Christians should love what God loves and hate what God hates. God certainly hates sin, but the Bible says he hates sinners too. Thus, honesty demands that Evangelical preachers tell the truth to those whom they are “welcoming.”

LGBTQ people need to know before entering the doors of the church that they will be loved and welcomed, but an ulterior motive lies behind the kindness. LGBTQ people will be accepted for a time, but they will be expected to conform and change (by the grace of God, of course). These deviants will be permitted to attend services and fellowship with God’s chosen ones, but they will not be allowed to be members or serve in the church in any meaningful way. If LGBTQ attendees refuse to conform, pressure will be put on them to do so, and if they refuse to comply, they will be encouraged to move on. After all, you can’t paint LGBTQ people as perverts and pedophiles and be okay with them being around church children. Once word gets out that someone is gay, bisexual, or transgender, church members will not be comfortable having such people in their midst. LGBTQ people will be tolerated for a time, but only if they eventually repent of their sins, forsake their perversion, and live according to the teachings of the heterosexual Bible.

Churches are free to believe whatever they want regarding LGBTQ people. Churches are essentially membership clubs. They have every right to set membership rules. However, it is deceitful to feign love and kindness in the hope that the “mark” will repent of their sins and get saved. But, Bruce, we really do love LGBTQ people. We want what’s best for them. Sure, you do. Ask LGBTQ people if they feel your love, preacher. Maybe the LGBTQ people who read this blog will let you know what they think of your “welcoming, but not affirming” con.

Anthony Venn-Brown was right when he said:

Whilst some Christian leaders have preached hatred and the media given oxygen to the fringe lunatics of Christendom, many others hoped if they just closed their eyes or buried their head in the sand, eventually the issue would go away. I’ve often said that the problem is not so much homophobia but subjectaphobia; they would rather just not go into the volatile space of the faith and sexuality ‘debate’. It’s such a divisive issue.

But now churches are having to come to terms with the fact that in a growing number of western countries marriage equality has or is becoming a reality. This means that gay and lesbian couples may come into their churches who have a nationally or state recognised, legal marriage. Some will be parents. They are no longer gay, lesbians or “homosexuals” they are believers, committed church members and families.

The longer churches put this issue on the back burner the further behind they become. Considering the progress made in scientific research, changes in the law, acceptance of diversity in the corporate world and that since 1973 homosexuality has not been considered a mental disorder; some churches are 40 years out of date on the issue of homosexuality. Church, you must catch up and make this a priority. Every day delayed means that LGBT people are harmed and lives lost.

If churches continue to hold on to the outdated Christian belief that homosexuality is a sin then it makes them increasingly irrelevant to those who have gay and lesbian friends, family members and work colleagues. The previous Christian labels of unnatural, perverse, evil and even abomination not only do not fit, they are offensive to LGBT people and their friends and family.

My hope and prayer is that this will be an ongoing conversation that takes ALL churches to a place where LGBT people are treated with respect and equality. Not just welcoming churches, or accepting churches but truly affirming churches.

Welcoming = you’re welcome BUT…….

Accepting = we accept you BUT……..

Affirming = we love you FULL STOP.

It’s a journey we MUST go on if we profess to serve humanity with unconditional love.

People of colour were once told to go to the back of the bus. Women were once told their place was in the home.  The paradigm shift in understanding that happened in the western world regarding people of colour and women’s equality, is now happening in regard to sexual orientation and gender identity.

It’s important to remind churches that having a conversation about us without us will usually be nothing more than a recycling of preconceived ideas and misconceptions. Imagine a group of male church leaders discussing the role of women in the church without females present? We would call that misogyny. Or church leadership discussing indigenous issues without consulting indigenous people themselves. How could they have any insight into what their life experience is really all about? We would call that white supremacy/racism/elitism. The church has done a great deal of talking about us but rarely has spoken with us. So when church leaders discuss LGBT people, relationships and the community without speaking with or spending time getting to know LGBT people it does beg the question why. What is there to fear? Why the exclusion? Is this further evidence of homophobia that is regularly denied?

It’s time for the church to invite LGBT people into the conversation. For some this is a conversation about their thoughts and beliefs but for us it is about who we are.

My therapist asked me today how my view of LGBTQ changed over the years. I recounted to her the story I shared in the post Bruce, What was Your View on Homosexuality When You Were a Pastor?

My view of LGBTQ people began to change in 1995. I was between pastorates, so I took a job with Charley’s Steakery as the general manager of their Zanesville, Ohio location. Located in Colony Square Mall, we offered mall employees free refills on their soft drinks. Several times a week, a gay man would come to the restaurant to get a free refill. The first time he handed me his cup, I panicked, thinking, I am going to get AIDS! For the first few times, after I refilled his cup, I would vigorously wash my hands after doing so. Had to wash off the cooties, I thought at the time. After a few weeks of this, I began being more comfortable around this man. He and I would chat about all sorts of things. I found out that he was quite “normal.” This, of course, messed with my view of the world.

While I am sure numerous LGBTQ people came through my life before I refilled this man’s drink cup, he was the first gay man I had really engaged in friendly, meaningful discussion. And it was at this point in my life that my view about homosexuality began to change. I didn’t stop being a homophobe overnight, but step by step over the next decade, I stumbled away from the homophobic rhetoric that had dominated my life for many years.

Accepting LGBTQ people as they are is the first step in changing our minds about them. They are not the problem, we are.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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:

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

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

The Rise of Conservative Atheists

atheist dan piraro

Most atheists tend to skew to the left socially and politically. However, that doesn’t mean all atheists are liberals/progressives. Atheists are not a homogenous group. There’s a diversity of opinions on all sorts of things. Some atheists voted for Donald Trump and think his present legal troubles are a witch hunt. Other atheists are hardcore libertarians. Atheists as a demographic comprises all sorts of people with diverse beliefs.

In recent years, I have noticed a rise in conservatism among atheists. Just today I read a rant by an atheist who attacked “wokeism,” particularly transgender ideology and people who refuse to stand for the playing of the National Anthem. This particular atheist believes that there’s no such thing as transgender people. Another atheist was glad the U.S. women’s team lost their World Cup match. Why? Many of them refused to participate in singing the national anthem. Jesus, some of them didn’t put their hands over their hearts!

Many atheists have had to deal with Evangelicals who deny that they are atheists; that atheists don’t really exist. Want to piss an atheist off? Just tell her you deny and reject her self-identification. When someone tells me she is an atheist, agnostic, Christian, Buddhist, or some other self-identifying label, I believe her. If someone tells me he is gay, bisexual, pansexual, heterosexual, asexual, or transgender, I believe him. How someone identifies himself doesn’t materially affect me in any way.

Yet, some atheists refuse to live and let live. They revere Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher, and J.K. Rowling for their stands against “transgender ideology.” While it is certainly true that transgender people are more visible now in the United States, this does not mean this is something new. Transgender people have always lived among us. Much like the other letters in the LGBTQ acronym, transgender people have long had to live in the shadows. It seems some atheists don’t like the fact that transgender people are no longer willing to suffer in silence, locked in a prison not of their own making. I am sixty-six years old. Throughout my lifetime, various people groups have rebelled against being marginalized and being treated as less than or inferior. Once they gain some semblance of justice and equal protection under the law, these marginalized people have no intention of returning to their closets. And that’s exactly what some atheists advocate. They want icky transgender people to voluntarily return to their closets — out of sight, out of mind. And if transgenders refuse to do so? Conservative atheists support politicians, policies, and laws that will force them to do so.

It seems that these anti-trans atheists don’t care if their words and actions cause harm to transgender people (and their families). No longer interested in thoughtful discussions around the intersection of transgender people and sports/medicine, these atheists call names and post memes. One atheist said that anyone who thinks biological sex and gender are not one and the same is anti-science.

Other atheists view themselves as flag-waving patriots, not much different from the faux patriots found among Trump supporters. Some of these atheist patriots voted for Trump twice — an action I will never understand. These atheists demand all Americans stand and sing the Star Spangled Banner — that people who refuse to do so are unAmerican. Some of them even think everyone should put their right hands over their hearts and say the Pledge of Allegiance — maybe skipping the mention of God. Evidently, freedom of expression and free speech doesn’t apply when it comes to masturbating to American imperialism.

I don’t say the Pledge of Allegiance, nor do I sing the Star Spangled Banner. Often, I don’t stand for either. The reasons for this are many (and not the primary focus of this post), but to suggest that my refusal to mouth a Christian nationalist pledge and sing a War of 1812 song means I am unpatriotic is laughable.

One atheist suggested that the women’s soccer team “embarrassed” the United States on a world stage by refusing to fully participate in the national anthem ritual. I didn’t feel embarrassed one bit, and I suspect many other Americans didn’t either. How about we have serious discussions about a plethora of embarrassing American actions and inactions that should cause thoughtful people to hang their heads in shame? Quite frankly, there’s not a lot to cheer about these days. Maybe you disagree. Fine, but suggesting that I am not patriotic or that I am not a loyal American if I don’t support your political and social agenda is not only absurd, it is un-American.

I have lost readers over the years due to my politics. Not much I can do about that. I am not going to change what I believe. I am a committed liberal/progressive/socialist/pacifist. I’m convinced that these political views best fit with my humanist beliefs. I am sure some readers will disagree with me. That’s fine. What pisses me off is when these disagreements are turned into attacks on my character. The same goes for my support of transgender people. If I dare suggest that they have the same rights and freedoms as other Americans, I am somehow supporting an immoral agenda. That these attacks come from atheists is troubling, but not surprising. There’s a rightward drift among some atheists and that will bring me into increasing conflict with them. This is unavoidable. Atheists are growing into a diverse cohort, and that will bring disagreement and conflict. What matters is how we interact and engage with people with whom we have political and social disagreements. Unfortunately, we live in the era of memes, and not friendly, thoughtful discussion.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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:

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

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Evangelicals Say They Love LGBTQ People, But Do They Really?

love gay people

Evangelicals often tout their love for those who are different from them. I love everyone, Evangelicals say. I love unconditionally, just as Jesus does. I hate the sin, but love the sinner! On and on the cheap, worn-out cliches go, with nary a thought given to their truthfulness.

Evangelicals are universally panned as people of hate, people who loathe anyone who fucks in any way or manner other than that which has been approved by God. Much like their God, Evangelicals are obsessed with who does what with whom, where, why, and how, sexually. Violations of “Biblical” morality are met with cease-and-desist orders, and when that fails, people not practicing Evangelical-approved sex are threatened with God’s judgment and eternal punishment in the fire and brimstone of the Lake of Fire. Yet, Evangelicals will still, with a clueless straight face, profess to love everyone. Funny kind of love, I say, a love foreign to those of us who know what it is to love and be loved without strings attached.

evangelicals love LGBTQ people

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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:

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

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Dr. David Tee Goes on a Rant About Transgender Women — Part Three

david thiessen
David Thiessen is the tall man in the back

Over the past week, Dr. David Tee, a Fundamentalist preacher whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen, unleashed two vitriolic rants about transgender women on his blog. You can read his posts and my response here and here. Showing his inability to feel shame, Thiessen unleashed yet another post today about transgender women.

Here’s what he had to say:

The Netherlands just happens to be the most recent country to say: The best-looking woman is…. a MAN.[Subjectively, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is no objective standard for “best-looking woman (or man.) ]

If this problem was not so serious [It’s not, but Tee is convinced, despite evidence to the contrary, that transgender women (and LGBTQ people in general) are an existential threat to Western civilization Transgender demographics], we [I] would be laughing not only at this contestant but all those who support it. What partial;y [sic] bothers [how is someone partially bothered?] us [me] is that the real women [heterosexual] in this and other contests are not feeling insulted by this decision. [Maybe because they aren’t homophobic bigots as Tee is?] Nor are the rest of the women in the world.

This is a very serious insult [No, I suspect most women think being called a bitch or cunt to their face is a serious insult.] made against [heterosexual] women. To think that a man pretending to be a woman is declared the most beautiful [beauty is not the only criterion for winning a beauty contest.] in the Netherlands or other countries that allow fake [transgender] women to enter these contests.

We [I] saw the 1st runner-up and there is no way [again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder] that the ‘winner’ was more beautiful than her. [Why is Tee watching beauty pageants to start with? Personally, I am not a fan. Is not Tee lusting by looking at other women in this matter? Besides, I thought inner beauty is what Evangelicals valued most?] It is a travesty and a tragic turn of events to allow a pretender [transgender woman] to get the throne [crown]. However, we [I] cannot laugh because [I get a boner every time I watch a beauty pageant] this [transgender] person and many like him [her] as well as their [her] supporters are just thinking about evil and doing evil just like it was in the days of Noah. [Evidently, Tee is a mind reader. He is usurping God, is he not, when he says he knows what is in the hearts of transgender women and their supporters? Of course, there was no such thing as the “days of Noah.” Genesis is fiction, David. How many times do I need to tell you this?]

They [Transgender women] are also not getting the mental health therapy [because many of them don’t need it. And those who do have a hard time paying for it or finding a therapist trained in their specific needs.] Because the liberals, democrats, and others on the left champion the so-called [actual, constitutional] rights of these mentally ill [everyday, ordinary people], they are barred from receiving the proper help [Biblical counseling, reparative therapy, casting out of demons].

No [bigoted, homophobic] Christian should be happy with this situation as these contests insult your wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters. They also rob those and other women of opportunities and awards that are rightfully theirs. [What, to win a fucking crown or get their 15 minutes of fame? I have a wife, sister, daughters, and daughters-in-law. Not one of them thinks a beauty pageant-winning transgender woman has robbed them of anything. Tee is projecting his homophobic bigotry on heterosexual women.]

It is not Christian love, loving your neighbor, or loving others as Jesus loved [Jesus had absolutely nothing to say about LGBTQ people. Tee knows this, but he projects his homophobic bigotry on Jesus too.] when you support these mentally ill people [transgender women]. Then allow them to practice their delusions in public as well as include them in events they have no right entering.

Supporting these people is not making a healthy society but destroying it.

“They treat us as monsters.” They are monsters for only a monster would mutilate their bodies [gender reassignment surgery] and let their delusions rule their lives. [Many transgender people never have gender reassignment surgery.] Only monsters would ruin events for innocent real women and erase women from society. [OMG! Transgender women are “erasing” heterosexual women from society? Compare the number of transgender women in America — less than one percent — to the number of heterosexual, lesbian, and bisexual women. Why, this is akin to saying Mauritius is an existential threat to the United States.]

But as Christians, we are to treat them like we want to be treated thus these people need to be sent to therapy [forced reeducation camps], and barred [locked up in prison] from entering mainstream society until they are cured of their delusions. They are not to be supported in this manner but housed, fed, and treated like human beings who are sick and in need of a doctor.

At no time can we support their desires because those desires are sinful, wrong, and not biblical [The United States and Western society, for the most part, are secular. What the Bible says plays no part in law and governance.] They harm innocent women through their inclusion and demands to be included and seen as women [the record is skipping, David. Bump the record player]. There is nothing Christian in them that can be supported. [Of course, the same can be said about Tee; a man who abandoned his family; a man who fled the United States to avoid legal problems; a man who didn’t pay child support for his child; a man who routinely shows no evidence of the fruit of the Spirt and daily ignores and disobeys Jesus’ teachings on how to treat transgender women.]

They need proper spiritual help to overcome these fantasies. They also need to be banned from all things related to women. [Jesus, talk about being all Hitler-like about transgender women.] The reverse is true if there are women pretending to be men. [Tee wants all transgender people to be incarcerated until they are “cured.”]

While we [I] do not condone hate messages or threats [liar, liar, pants on fire], we [I] also do not like these people forcing their delusions on society. [Using Tee’s illogical logic, how are transgender women any different from Evangelicals who try to force their delusions on society? Should we have them arrested and incarcerated until they are cured of their delusions?] Or forcing society to accept their pretend identities are normal. They are not normal but deep cries for help.

Including them in these and other female events is NOT providing the help they need. We need to protect our women from this psychological invasion of those who cannot accept themselves for who they are and how God made them.

The LGBTQ preferences are sinful, not normal, not biblical and not to be supported or accepted. The only thing we can do with and for these people is to treat them as Jesus would and get them the correct help they need [and arrest and incarcerate them until they see the “light.”]

— end of quote —

Please share your thoughts in the comment section. This should be fun! 🙂

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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:

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

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Personal Identity: My Response to Alan Schlemon

I am who I am

Alan Schlemon is a Biola University-trained Evangelical apologist; a man who allegedly “train[s] Christians to persuasively, yet graciously share their convictions.”

Recently, Schlemon wrote an article for the Stand to Reason website titled Rejecting Your Creator Means Rejecting Your True Identity.

Here’s what he had to say:

Baskin-Robbins was my go-to place for ice cream when I was a kid. At the time, they boasted “31 flavors.” With that many options, I was sure to find one that would satisfy my craving.

Though it makes sense to choose your favorite flavor of ice cream, it seems strange to take this approach when figuring out whether you’re a man or a woman. Not long ago, that aspect of who you are wasn’t decided, but discovered. You were born either male or female and grew up to be either a man or a woman.

Not so today.

….

Although many factors probably play a role, the emergence of these “identities” is not surprising. Society has jettisoned belief in God. When you reject your Maker, you reject the one who establishes your identity. People, though, naturally want to belong. They crave to connect with a community of people who share their values and feelings. With the Maker gone, there’s an identity vacuum that begs for a new way to view oneself. It makes sense that the concept of gender identity was born. There’s a potentially endless offering of identities.

With no external Maker to tell them who they are, people look internally. Often, they tap into their inner thoughts and feelings in an attempt to create their own identity. They’re basing their identity on their internal experience, an approach that is fraught with problems.

First, it presumes your inner thoughts are a reliable source for determining your identity. Everyone knows that thoughts and feelings change. What you experience one day can differ tomorrow, next month, or next year. If you base your identity on your internal experience, your identity will change on a regular basis.

But why think your internal states determine your identity? Of all the aspects of a person, why ground identity in an abstract and ever-changing component? That’s why the body is meant to signal one’s identity. After all, if you ground identity in your body, then it’s hard to mistake what sex you are and impossible for it to change over time. This allows your identity to endure. You remain the same no matter how you feel or how you express yourself.

Second, it presumes your identity is a matter of choice, not an objective reality. Choosing an ice cream flavor is a matter of preference—just pick what you like. Today you might want Oreo cookie ice cream, but next month it might be mint chocolate chip. There’s no problem with changing your favorite flavor because it is your prerogative to choose what ice cream you eat.

….

If identity is an enduring part of who you are, then leaving it up to a personal decision is problematic. People end up identifying as one or more of dozens of possible identities based on how they feel inside. It becomes a subjective exercise. We allow children to do that when they role-play. They might pretend to be a pirate, prince, or princess. We recognize they might feel the internal bravery of a prince, but everyone knows they are not objectively a prince.

Third, it presumes you are like God. You’re not the Creator, though. You didn’t make you. Determining who you are is, frankly, above your pay grade. If you create something yourself, you have full knowledge of the process, the materials, and the purpose of what you made. That’s when you can decide its identity.

….

Mere mortals shouldn’t take the role of the divine. Since the Creator creates the creature, it’s his prerogative to decide his creation’s identity. Transgender ideology subverts the role of the Maker by allowing the creature to determine its identity.

….

Our Maker, though, knows best. He not only made us; he loves us. That’s why we can trust him and ground our identity in him.

There are eight billion people in the world, yet Schlemon believes most of them are living in denial of or are rejecting their “true identity.” Schlemon, a presuppositionalist, lives in a black-and-white world. People are saved or lost; in or out; headed for Heaven or Hell. Either we accept our true identity or we live in denial of our identity. Of course, the world is far messier than Schlemon would like it to be. It seems the Christian God lacks competence when creating human beings and the world they live in.

There’s much I could say about Schlemon’s post, but I want to focus on a fatal flaw in his thinking. Schelmon says our true identity comes from God. Fine, when we are born, what is our true identity? Evangelicals believe that all humans at birth are sinners; enemies of God. We don’t become sinners, we are sinners. That’s our identity. Yet, if people want their sins forgiven and want to go to Heaven after they die, they must change their original identity (whether by regeneration, an act of volition, or both). So, people can and do change their identities. In fact, the Bible says newly saved sinners become new creations in Christ, old things pass away, and all things become new.

Further, Evangelical Christians identify with a plethora of sects, beliefs, and identities. They have peculiar traits by which we can identify them as Baptists, Charismatics, Pentecostals, Calvinists, Arminians, Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, etc. These religious traits are very much a part of their identity, are they not? And don’t Evangelicals change identities? I know I did.

People personally choose whether to believe (or not) and, after believing, they choose which sect they want to identify with. Surely, Schlemon would agree that these are individual and personal decisions. How are these decisions any different from people choosing their gender? Of course, Schlemon, much like the homophobe Dr. David Tee, denies that there are multiple genders; that there are more than two sexes. He can deny these scientific facts all he wants, but the fact remains that there are more than two sexes and there are more than two genders. Certainly, we need to discuss how gender is chosen and how people identify with a particular gender. But, people change their minds, Schlemon says. Yep, what is his point? I am sixty-six years old. My life has been one of frequent movement and change. My identity has changed dramatically over the years. Why this is so can be explained from a sociological perspective — no deity needed (though certainly the fifty years I spent in the Evangelical church influenced and affected my identity).

I will leave it to you, the reader, to further challenge Schlemon’s assertions. Enjoy!

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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:

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

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Christine Geiger Says Transgender People Should Get Their Hair Cut by Pet Groomers

Christine Geiger, the Christian owner of Studio 8 Hair Lab in Traverse City, Michigan, had this to say about cutting the hair of transgender people.

studio-8-hair-lab
christine geiger studio8

I wonder if this is what Jesus would do (WWJD)? I doubt it. Ugly, hateful Christianity at its best. I hear Dr. David Tee gets his hair cut at Geiger’s salon.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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:

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

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce Gerencser