Friday, July 01, 2005

Spain, too!

As Niobium pointed out in a comment to my last post, Spain has also just legalized same-sex marriage. This makes it one of four nations (counting Canada, assuming it passes the Senate) who will have equal rights for same-sex couples. The U.S. is fifth on the list as gay marriage is legal in one part of this country: Massachusetts.

Baby steps. We'll get there eventually.


At 10:07 AM, Blogger Jess said...

A question for you, Bad Methodist: many ostensibly Christian folks use the argument that homosexuality is "unnatural"--physically and in "God's plan." This argument is based in an internal logic, I think. Does religion foster this kind of internal logic, the sort of thinking that is predetermined by the authority of the/a Church? The gist of my curiosity is this: will religious folks ever get away from that natural fallacy, or must they/we convince religious people of the inherent good-natured-ness of long-term same-sex relationships? --ADAM

At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Christian lesbian who was thrown out of her church for being gay, I just want to say thank you thankyouthankyouthankyou for standing up for people like me. When they told me I couldn't be gay and Christian- I was 18- and that God wanted me to change what I knew I couldn't change I flew down a hellish hole of depression, and even attempted suicide. People like you make it easier for kids like me.

At 12:08 PM, Anonymous todd said...

much love and thanks to you, Bad Methodist. I am gay and a 'bad Baptist' - thank you for leading the way, demonstrating what it means to truly follow the principles and examples of Christ. You are a brave and caring person and your example gives me hope and strengthens my resolve that not all so-called 'Christians' are as hateful and just plain evil as many of their 'leaders' (lou sheldon, james dobson, pat robertson, etc.). thank you, thank you, thank you!!

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Bad Methodist. I was reading your debate on Bad Catholic's site, and I thought you might want some fodder for your argument:

Outrageous quotes about the "sanctity of marriage"

1. A U.S. representative from Georgia declares that allowing this type of marriage "necessarily involves the degradation” of conventional marriage, an institution that “deserves admiration rather than execration."

2. This type of legal marriage must be forbidden, says the Republican senator from Wisconsin, "simply because natural instinct revolts at it as wrong."

3. "The next step will be the demand for a law allowing them, without restraint, to have free and unrestrained social intercourse with your unmarried sons and daughters," warns a Kentucky congressman. "It is bound to come to that! There is no disguising the fact. And the sooner the alarm is given and the people take heed, the better it will be for our civilization."

4. "When people (like this) marry, they cannot possibly have any progeny," writes an appeals judge in a Missouri case. "And such a fact sufficiently justifies those laws which forbid their marriages."

5. These types of marriages are "abominable," according to Virginia law. If allowed, they would "pollute" America.

6. In denying the appeal of this type of couple that had tried unsuccessfully to marry, a Georgia court wrote that such unions are "not only unnatural, but always productive of deplorable results," such as increased effeminate behavior in the population. "They are productive of evil, and evil only, without any corresponding good in accordance with the God of nature."

7. Attorneys for the state of Tennessee argue that such unions should be illegal because they are "distasteful to our people and unfit to produce the human race." The state Supreme Court agrees, declaring these types of marriages would be "a calamity full of the saddest and gloomiest portent to the generations that are to come after us."

8. Lawyers for California insist that a ban on this type of marriage is necessary to prevent "traditional marriage from being contaminated by the recognition of relationships that are physically and mentally inferior," and entered into by "the dregs of society."

9. "The law concerning marriages is to be construed and understood in relation to those persons only to whom that law relates," thunders a Virginia judge in response to a challenge to that state’s non-recognition of these types of unions. "And not," he continued, "to a class of persons clearly not within the idea of the legislature when contemplating the subject of marriage."

Gay marriage? No, actually the quotes date from 1823 to 1964 and refer to interracial marriage. 15 states still criminalized black-white marriage until the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned those laws in the appropriately named 1967 case, Loving vs. Virginia.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Bad Methodist said...

Reply to Adam:

I don't think there's an easy answer to your question. Christianity is not monolithic in thought about the Bible and how to interpret it, as can be witnessed by the battles over this issue going on within many denominations. Some Christians believe the Bible is the innerent Word of God, who inspired or even dictated to the various authors what to write. For those who believe this, it is hard to get away from that internal logic. "The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it." If one starts from the premise that the literal meaning of the Bible cannot be incorrect, then anything that starts from a different premise is going to fail to make an impression.

Other Christians see more shades of grey and even flaws or inaccuracies in the Bible.

So there can't be one answer as to whether religion in general fosters this kind of internal logic. Some do, some don't. The more "fundamentalist" any religion tends to be, the more they rely on the perfection of their sacred texts and use that sort of internal logic. I belong to a denomination that for the most part doesn't. The founder of the United Methodist Church, John Wesley, wrote about something we call today the "Wesley Quadrilatiral." When trying to come to a theological conclusion, one must use four different sources: Scripture, Church Tradition, Reason, and Experience. The internal logic of the first two is balanced by the more external nature of the other two. For me, experience (getting to know Christian GLBT people) played a HUGE part in my conclusion that same-sex relationships are not inherently sinful. This kind of "quadrilateral" approach is not used in other denominations that instead teach "sola scriptura" or Scritpure alone. (see and for more information).

Currently, however, there is a lot of pressure from groups both within and without the UM denomination to become more literal, more fundamentalist, if you will. These groups have been influential in changing the Discipline to make "homosexuality incompatible with Christian teaching." This is the struggle I'm engaged in within my denomination; hence the name of my blog.

To me, however, civil rights and politics is a different issue entirely. To those who see the Bible as completely without error and literally true, I don't know that they will ever be convinced there is anything good-natured in long-term same-sex relationships. For me personally, I don't really have a problem with that any more than I have a problem with the fact that I'll never convince a devout Catholic that there is anything good about my use of birth control. My goal in discussing this issue with religious conservatives isn't so much to convince them there is nothing sinful about same-sex relationships (although I'm willing to have that discussion, too, and certainly argue that within my own denomination) as it is to say "Fine, you believe it's a sin. That doesn't mean civil laws shouldn't protect the rights of people who disagree."

I don't know if this answers the question or not. It is good to have the opportunity to remind people that Christians are not uniform in thought and belief on most issues and those who would represent their opinion as THE Christian Opinion are really only representing their own small faction of Christianity.

At 12:54 PM, Blogger Bad Methodist said...

To Anonymous #1:

When they told me I couldn't be gay and Christian- I was 18- and that God wanted me to change what I knew I couldn't change I flew down a hellish hole of depression, and even attempted suicide.

It's stories like this that make me angry enough I'm COMPELLED to speak out. This is just SO wrong. I don't remember Jesus kicking anyone out. UGH.

Thank you for sharing. Keep sharing. There are other straight Christians like me who will be moved to action when they hear stories like yours.

At 4:32 PM, Blogger Niobium said...

Thanks for the link.

Now that Shrub gets to nominate a Justice, we can kiss goodbye the humyn right of marriage equality.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Liberator_Rev said...

My friend,
Maybe I shouldn't be trying to post this, as I'm beyond tired, but I want to get in touch before I lose track of you. I'm U.M.C. retired clergy and the only reason the "official" position of our church is against gays is that we made the big mistake of reuniting those who favored enslaving African Americans and those who opposed it. Now those who supported slavery favor oppressing homosexuals and they outnumber Methodists like US. I think you and your friends will appreciate my . It was one of the most popular of the 100+ pages on our site this past month, with 1514 pageviews.

At 7:30 PM, Blogger Liberator_Rev said...

the URL in my prior post got truncated, so here is
a shorter one:

Has anyone here publicized the fact that the Methodist Church in the U.K. has become the first denomination in the U.K. to approve of gay THE CHURCH marriage?
Please contact me directly at Ray@LiberalsLikeChrist.Org,
as I may not be able to return here often.

P.S. I've got to revise the time on the blogger, becaues it's 10:30 PM here not 7:30.

At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Jess said...

God bless you.

I'm a cartoon of a raging atheist leftist, and I have a hard time not buying into all the media driven stereotypes of religious people (i.e. Fred Phelps, James Dobson, etc.)

I appreciate you for speaking out and forcing extremists on BOTH sides to think rationally and compassionately about faith, politics and policy.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

At 5:13 PM, Blogger Bad Methodist said...

Well, Dobson, unfortunately, has quite a lot of followers. Phelps, on the other hand, is just a nutcase. I have never heard anyone no matter how conservative speak well of him. He's even too extreme for the extremists.


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