Take a Break

Almost two decades ago I was a young lawyer who traveled the country giving seminars on religious liberty in Adventist churches. Often in those seminars we talked about the major LGBTQ+ issue of that day, same-sex marriage. Supporting the secular legal right for people of the same sex to marry usually shocked the audience and led to a flood of questions and commentary. During one such question and answer session, a lady flippantly said, “Well we don’t want to support them too much. It’s not like we want to march in a Pride parade.” Quickly I shot back – “Why not?” Stunned, she didn’t have a ready answer. More interestingly, no one else seemed to have one either.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11261
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i can’t either…in any case, the pride parades are about much more than LGBT concerns…it’s basically a gathering place for entire cities now, with everyone feeling free to be themselves…the pride parade in Toronto hit 2 million onlookers in 2019, and was a thoroughly exciting place to be…i always pass out glow tracts and egw material at these events…i find that pride parades, all over n. america, are an excellent opportunity for street evangelism…people are open to anything new, and different…

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Thank you Jason Hines for a very positive piece about Pride Month —- unusual to read in a Christian publication.

However, I take an issue with your statement :

WE VALUE THEM ( gays ) AS MUCH AS GOD VALUES THEM, WHICH IS INESTIMABLE.

Sorry to disagree with you Jason, but God does not value a group whom He creates as same sex orientated ( without their consent nor input ) and then cruelly imposes LIFELONG LONELINESS and celibacy upon them. Furthermore He sadistically gives them the same hormonal / neurological sex drives as their straight siblings and cousins, while demanding a totally life long sex free existence.

This is cruel, sadistic, and unusual punishment, not inestimable evaluation !

Furthermore, since we are told by Timothy ( 2 Timothy 3:16-17) that ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, that has to include the anti gay, homophobic “ clobber texts “ which God has allowed in His Scriptures.

It is these egregious texts which create widespread woeful homophobia against gays in western Christian countries.

Over millennia, gays have endured cruelty and MISERY due to these anti gay Scriptures—- this God is hardly valuing them inestimably, when he deliberately creates cruelty for them.

Gays have endured centuries of cruelty, and calamitous assaults, because of these “ clobber texts”.

Over many generations, Christian families have cruelly shunned and shamed their gay children due to these “ clobber texts”.

Fortunately more than half of the planet’s population is immune to these radical Scriptures— the billion plus Communist Chinese, the billion plus Indian Hindus and the millions of Buddhists in Eastern countries.

These religions have zero proscriptions against their gay populations with resulting minimal discrimination and persecution of gays in their societies.

A gay child in Communist or Atheist family is far better off than one in a rejecting Adventist family.

It is only the Christian god who delights in causing cruelty to the LGBT population and imposing lifelong loneliness upon them.

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Robin, your contribution offered readers a challenge. Here’s a quick response to your claim that LGBT face “minimal discrimination and persecution” in more tolerant atheist and communist countries.

According to a report from Human Rights Watch: “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth in Russia face formidable barriers to enjoying their fundamental rights to dignity, health, education, information, and association. In Russia, antipathy towards homosexuality and gender variance is not new—LGBT people there have long faced threats, bullying, abuse inside their families, and discrimination—but the 2013 “gay propaganda” law has increased that social hostility. The law has also had a stifling effect on access to affirming education and support services, with harmful consequences for LGBT youth.” The report goes on to assert that the Russian “‘gay propaganda’ law is a classic example of political homophobia.”

The situation is similar in China. In a paper entitled Attitudes Toward Homosexuality in China, the authors write: “This study systematically explored the effects of religion, modernizing factors, and traditional culture on attitudes toward homosexuality in China. The findings indicate that most Chinese people generally hold conservative attitudes toward homosexuality, as approximately 78.53% of the respondents believed that ‘same-sex sexual behavior is always wrong’ … In contrast to the findings of the existing literature, Christian beliefs and traditional culture did not have significant effects on attitudes toward homosexuality” (Xie & Peng, 2018).

India doesn’t appear to be a safe haven for LGBT either. “Anti-gay violence has reportedly tripled in India since a 2013 Indian Supreme Court ruling criminalizing same-sex relations, thrusting the once-taboo topic into the center of public and religious discourse. But just how accepting Hinduism is of homosexuality remains a matter of continuing debate … Blogger and activist Harish Iyer disputes the notion that India’s gays and lesbians face no persecution. ‘India’s queer citizens are assaulted, beat up and blackmailed all the time,’ he said. ‘Especially since the Supreme Court’s ruling’” (McDermott, 2015).
Thanks for your piece, Jason. I’m with you all the way.

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Actually, June is Dairy month.
We can be thankful for God’s love that is for everyone because the truth is that He does love all regardless of what state of life we are in. The truth is that God designed male and female for each other and for the development of life on this earth. The blessings of God’s design in the family is amazing! With this love we demonstrate His love for others to see and experience.

I do know why I would not march in a pride parade, in case anyone or Jason Hines would like to know. It is because the sign on a stick that I would carry would state something along the lines of praising God for life and how His design is best. This is a witness opportunity for Him, rather than a drawing of attention to a way of life for a group. Pride comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18). It would likely not be appreciated, so I will not march with them.

i think you’d be pleasantly surprised with what is appreciated at typical pride parades (and big city parades are usually the most interesting, and the most festive)…i’ve seen people dressed like bible characters…i’ve even seen people dressed like angels, with attached wings and flashing halos around their heads…

and i don’t think you’d be allowed to march unless you have a license…the vast majority of people at pride parades are spectators who don’t dress up at all, or carry any kind of sign…if there’s nice weather outside, you’ll see lots of families with little and not so little kids, in their usual attire…even little grandmas in wheelchairs can be there…usually there are kiosks set up, where you can sign up for the military, or get information on various city services…most of the time, local shops offer excellent one-day deals and specials, so it’s a great time to be out and about…

pride parades are really an opportunity to meet and visit with people…everybody’s generally in a friendly mood…why wouldn’t adventists interested in street evangelism be there…of course you do have to keep an eye out for pick pockets, and people trying to sell you something you wouldn’t want, like cookies laced with drugs…and you probably should carry money on you, in case you see someone who is genuinely in need…but this is what you see in big cities all the time…a street smart person isn’t going to be phased by anything happening at a pride parade…

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This is funny, Why not? Really, would you expect the church to march in a sexual revolution rally What percentage of those in the Pride parades would agree with the monogamous practices that the LGBT folks in the church seem to propose (at least when talking to church members) 10% maybe, possibly more with the female portion of the parade. Such thoughtless responses as Hines produced should really only leave people stunned.

Hello Robin! I think we can make that argument for a lot of suffering that occurs in this world. Birth defects etc. however, the Bible seeks to dispel this notion. God created perfection and clearly warned humanity of the results of breaking their relationship with Him. And then we “humanity” disobeyed and sure enough that has lead to incredible amounts of suffering and unfairness. Yet we often turn around and blame God for the consequences of our disobedience. God never intended suffering of any kind. We chose that. And all suffering from that point forward, child abuse, hunger, prejudice, birth defects and yes even the suffering you mention is of our own choosing. Maybe Adam and Eve couldn’t imagine the full results of their actions, and yes the consequence of sin are extremely unfair! But that’s not God’s fault.

And as a P.S. God came and suffered all our pain just to give us a chance to escape this world. So, yes, God esteems and values every lgbt person enough to literally die for them to save us all from the results of our own rejection of him as a race.

Blessings!

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YOYITO you glibly state that “ THE SUFFERING YOU MENTION IS OF OUR OWN CHOOSING .

So sorry to disagree with you but modern science, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, are all in adamant agreement that no gay person has any input nor choice in their sexual orientation —- it is innate and inborn. As is the sexual orientation of heterosexuals. None of us makes a choice in this matter—- neither do those who are born red headed or left handed.

Five per cent of the planet’s population ( one in twenty, a significant minority ) is created by God as being gay / lesbian.

Or are you proposing that Satan, himself a created being, has creative powers and creates them??

When God deliberately creates gays and lesbians with zero input nor choice from them, and then cruelly imposes lifelong loneliness and celibacy on them, while giving them the same hormonal sex drives as their straight siblings —— I call that SADISTIC.

I think that most educated Adventists are slowly coming to the realization that gays have zero choice in their orientation, and that now imposes a necessary change in how the church rejects/ accepts the LGBT community.

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Ron Carson,
I am gay, but not radically so, and most of my friends and community are straight. So I have never planned to attend a gay pride parade.

However, some years ago I bought a thirtieth floor condo atop a skyscraper in down town Portland Oregon, and one Sunday morning went for a stroll with my partner, in my neighborhood. I was astonished to see crowds standing on side walks and was informed that a PRIDE PARADE was about to begin. Since I had few local gay contacts, I was entirely unaware!

Imagine my amazement to observe about forty local congregations / churches who participated in the parade —-their groups ( mostly straight members ) holding up signs that gays / lesbians were welcome and inclusive in their congregations. Needless to say of the fifty plus Adventist churches in the greater Portland area, all were conspicuous by their absence.

Later, I joined the First United Portland Methodist Church , an affirming and inclusive congregation. On pride Sunday, a significant group of the heterosexual members, left the worship hour early, so they could join the parade and hold up their banner, inviting local gays / lesbians to join our inclusive congregation . How welcoming and inclusive is that ?
In our worship bulletin each week a prominent statement : ALL ARE WELCOME FOR FULL PARTICIPATION IN OUR CONGREGATION
including all ages, classes, races, abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities. The “ abilities “ was recently added since they realized their all inclusive statement had forgotten to include the handicapped!

Note the use of the phrase FULL PARTICIPATION meaning gays are not just tolerated to be “ pew warmers “ but can sit on the church board !

Another Pride Parade that I inadvertently attended was in Amsterdam, when again on a morning stroll, I observed huge crowds of people along one of the canals. The Pride Parade in Amsterdam is actually a BOAT PARADE along the cities canals !

I am of Dutch heritage and so very proud that the Netherlands was the very first country to allow same sex marriage. Why should not tax paying gay citizens have the same civil rights, and tax advantages as their heterosexual counterparts ??

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I don’t disagree that sexuality is not our own choosing. And I didn’t mean to imply that lgbt choose to be so. I meant it in the general sense of “we” as humanity chose to disobey God. And the results of the race making that decision was unfairness and suffering beyond belief. Is it cruel that some are born with no legs while I was born with legs? Yes. Is it fair that some are born mentally challenged while I was not? No. But that’s my point. Sin is neither fair nor just. Sin and all it’s results are cruel and unfair. But “we” the human race chose sin and now we are suffering the consequences. Why is God responsible for the consequences of our choices? And I don’t mean lgbt choosing to be gay. Why is God at fault that Adam and Eve’s choice lead to suffering? He is not.

That was my point…I sensed you blame God for “making” certain people lgbt then telling them it’s wrong. But the Bible makes it clear that sin is the cause of all suffering, death, injustice, unfairness, (and I agree that the lgbt issue can be unfair). But let’s not blame the God who was willing to die for us for the consequences of humanity’s rejection of Him.

Is it fair that a baby born to a drug addicted mother is born with a birth defect? Absolutely not, the child chose none of the condition into which it was born, but just as the mother is responsible for the drug use that affected her child. Our first parents and their choice of sin is responsible for all unfairness, not God, not Jesus.

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Thanks, @JasonHines, for this excellent, though-provoking essay.

I think, your answer to your own question — “Why don’t Christians want to march in a Pride parade?” — is correct.

You said:

However, though true, this response is, as well, only partial.

It’s also because many Christians are repulsed by homosexuality. They are sexually, cognitively, aesthetically, existentially offended by the idea and practice of it.

This is something one may be — though, increasingly, it seems less likely in Western cultures — even if one is a secularist; indeed, even if one is an atheist.

Think of it, perhaps, as akin to being an animal rights advocate who’s been asked to stand with, and cheer on, the annual Butcher’s Pride March; to do so as big, burly, blood-smocked men hold aloft various cuts of beef and pork.

As an animal rights activist, you may not think what the marchers are doing should be illegal. You certainly do not think it outside of God’s law.

But you do find it — the display, as well as the activities it represents — both offensive and distasteful.

HA

Yes I agree that children born with birth defects have had zero input being born with a disability, and this is unfair.

Firstly, only a small per cent-age of babies are born with a birth defect, whereas five per cent of children are born gay / lesbian ( a significant minority ). Each group has zero input nor choice in the matter.

I cannot figure out how ‘sin ‘ is responsible for these children being born gay, because until they are pubertal they cannot engage in any “ sinful “ sexual activity, so how can their ‘ sin’ be responsible for their orientation ? Your argument makes minimal sense. And are you implying that gay kids are more sinful than their siblings and that is why they are born gay?

And do you believe that merely being gay, even when celibate is “ sinful “ ?

Secondly, parents with a malformed child give that child extra love and devotion, compared to its siblings.

Parents of a gay child, if born into a Christian family, treat the child cruelly with shaming, and shunning and make their lives miserable, distinctly different from the way they treat their heterosexual children !

This is because God hates gays and He programs his followers to treat their gay offspring hatefully.

Gays have great difficulty accepting that God “ saves “ them when He has created so much cruelty, misery and meanness for them their entire lives due to his hateful, homophobic Scriptures.

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Where to begin…there is so much territory that has been covered. I have written articles on this very web site about the LGBQ segment of society. The one question that is most often brought up is “choice”. Many Christians still believe that it is a choice. I hope by now, everyone has learned that it isn’t a choice.

After researching this in depth, I came across a staggering statistic. There are over 10,000,000 people on this earth, living an breathing right now, who were born possessing both male and female genitalia. Add to this many of whom also had internal organs of the sex opposite of what was presented outwardly by their bodies. This is documented fact. The notion that this kind of physically presented sexual dysphoria exist in these numbers, yet we would deny that similar kinds of miss-assignments would occur within the brains of people who are gay or lesbian is beyond belief…yet, none of this was known 2000 or 3000 years ago when scripture was written. It is precisely why we should not try to use the bible to disprove science. That is, unless you want to look like an idiot.

I am not saying that God created members of this part of society the way they are. Sin has taken it’s toll. Levitical laws made men who were born with physical defects ineligible for the priesthood. I think it is safe to say that we would not look at those requirements as valid for the ministry today. I don’t want to cast the impression that being a part of the LGBT community is a birth defect, but I will concur with the understanding that this wasn’t what God originally intended. That doesn’t make this segment of society any less a part of God’s family. But what kind of a God would allow them to come into this world in this manor and then punish them for being that way? The way some Christians critically and judgmentally portray and treat members of this community cast a disgusting picture of who God is. We are to present to the entire universe a gracious, loving God. He died to save all of us…every last sinful one of us. Our treatment of all human kind should reflect that love. When we shun anyone from our community or fail to support their right to love and respect because of how they came into this world, we are presenting a terrible picture of our loving God. It must stop.

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Hello Lindy, I tried to make it clear in my last response that my use of “choice” had nothing to do with people choosing to be gay. I don’t believe that’s true and I’m not making that argument. My only point is that; if we accept what you stated, that homosexuality was not part of God’s original plan, then why are we (and I was specifically responding to another commentator who said God was cruel for making people be born gay then telling them it’s a sin) why are we blaming God for something that was not part of His plan? You affirmed/conceded that this was not His intent. So I’m not sure how God gets the blame for something that was not His plan and does not result from any action on his part?

The only way the characterization of God as “cruel” is “sadistic” as another member stated, is true is if we believe He specifically creates every single person exactly as they are born and so He makes some gay, some mentally impaired, some blind, etc. I do not believe God designs every single trait that we possess. I believe He gives us life, but a big part of who we are is a result of the choices of our ancestors. I’m a sinner born into sin through no choice of my own and definitely not because God created me to be a sinner. I’m a sinner because humanity “chose” to sin and therefore I am paying the consequences. And that was simply my point…I just do not think it’s correct to lay blame on a God who created humanity in absolute perfection for all the negative results of humanity’s choosing to sin. And I don’t mean choosing to be gay. I mean choosing “sin” in the garden…and everything that has brought on us as a race. It’s not God’s fault.

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Hello,

I do not believe being gay in and of itself is sinful, as you mentioned if celibate.

I do not believe most children choose to be gay.

I do not believe a gay child is more sinful than any other child.

I do not believe a child becomes gay at puberty.

If we accept that most people who are homosexual are Born that way, then they were gay the moment that they came into the world. And it’s not because of their sin.

my main point was that, I don’t believe God is to blame for the results of humanity’s original sin of choosing to disobey Him. I was born a sinner through no fault of may own. I had no control over the sinful condition into which I was born. I am a product of my race’s choices to disobey God. So I will not blame God for the sin that exists in me. it’s not His fault I battle pride, it’s not His fault I battle sexual temptations, it’s not His fault I’m such a weak, frail, and flawed person even from birth. And it’s not God’s fault some people are born gay. It’s not the persons fault either. But I believe it’s the result of our original parents choosing a course outside God’s will. So it’s the collective “we” that are to blame, not Jesus.

And to you last point, I’ve known some Christian parents that have reacted very poorly or cruelly to their homosexual child. And I’ve know some that have reacted very lovingly, even if they disagree. Not all are the same. And, I disagree with those that have made the life of their child unbearable and we should not be ok with that. But again, is God responsible for how I act/react? No. Just as He is not at fault for the parent that sexually molests their child, He is not responsible for those that are cruel to their gay child. His Son dying on the cross is the greatest example of how He loves sinners and how He wants us to treat and love one another as well. So He set the maximum example of love, He is not to blame.

Blessings

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You are overlooking one simple problem. It wasn’t part of the gay persons plan to be born gay either. No one should be responsible for how they came out of the womb period. It is true that God did not originally create gay people. But…and this is a HUGE BUT, He is in charge. He is totally in control. He could have destroyed Lucifer prior to all of the chaos that Lucifer created. God is ultimately responsible. Period. For Him to punish people who had no choice in how they came into the world for acting on something that they were born with is disgusting. The two biblical authors who wrote about this being a sin were Moses, who put away his first wife and never lived with his second wife while he took the Israelites through the wilderness. (this leaves question marks in my mind.) Then there is Paul who had to have been married to be a Pharisee, yet he only traveled with other men and you never hear anything about his wife. Both of these men might possibly be gay men who like many gay people rebel against their nature and are the most severe against people like themselves. None of this is provable, yet it may be that this was not a message from God but rather a human construct. Regardless of where it comes from. A God would would punish someone for how they came out of the womb, to me is a sick disgusting God. But that is not my God. And all those humans who follow suit with this kind of disgusting judgmental treatment of this community are also sick and disgusting to me.

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You state that God is not responsible for families who are cruel to their gay children.

I respectfully disagree since it is the anti gay, homophobic “ clobber texts “ in God’s scriptures which program Christian parents to be cruel to their gay kids.

Those atheist, non believing families, uninfluenced by hateful Scriptures, are usually much more accepting and loving and kind to their gay kids.

As Allah, God programs His Islamic followers to reject their gay kids.

As Jehovah, he causes Orthodox Jewish families to shun and shame their gay kids.

As the Christian God, we know full well how Adventist families are programmed by Him to be cruel to their gay kids.

In every one of His manifestations, Allah / Jehovah / God, He programs His followers to be hateful to their gay offspring, because of His anti gay Scriptures. His followers are merely responding to His anti gay writings, which He inspired.

So I do hold God accountable and responsible for this cruelty.

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I could not have said it better myself ! KUDOS!

I certainly agree that Paul was possibly gay, and a new
concept for me that Moses might have been.
But I disagree that their anti gay writings “ might not be a message from God but a human construct “ ( your quote “ )

Because Timothy tells us that ALL SCRIPTURE IS BY INSPIRATION OF GOD .

So if we believe Timothy, then God is responsible for the anti gay, homophobic “ clobber texts “ in His scriptures which have resulted in so much cruelty and misery for gays ( who had zero choice / input in their orientation ) , over many centuries.

I agree it is disgusting that a deity would punish people for the way they were born.

ROBIN

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If there is any shred of truth to the above assertions, then yes God is responsible BUT, it is Game Over! Because, if God is like this, then He is inherently maleficent in nature and character.

Satan’s core insinuated/inferred allegation is that God is arbitrary (Genesis 3:4,5) - that He dictates how things should be and forces ‘His will/way’ upon humanity when there is another viable alternative - or multiple viable alternatives. This is not inconsistent with the nature of maleficence.

And if there are in fact other viable alternatives, then either God is ‘the all-powerful maleficent one’ (a dictator) or, contrary to John 14:6, God is not THE Source of life after all - something or someone else other than God is…

And if this is the case, does that something or someone else keep God in check against forcing ‘His way’ on vulnerable humanity? If it does, have we seen any evidence of such or any prospect of such in the future? For if not, then we are back to the same point of Game Over because there is no hope. Maleficence is incapable of fostering meaningful life - it can only, by its inherent nature, destroy.

I would therefore propose that there is a problem with the proposition that God’s Sovereignty is expression of total control (in the way we conceive of total control) and therefore His enforcing of ‘His will/ways’ just because that’s the way He wants things to be merely because it suits Him (maleficence).

God’s nature and character are ‘on trial’ before all created beings. If in any respect God ever was, is or will be anything but pure beneficence (with absolute transparency of accountability to His creation for absolutely everything He does and how it is done), then it is always back to the same ‘default’ outcome - Game Over!

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