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  1. #11
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    So, not all Christians are idiots? Quelle surprise! The moral magnanimousness, though, is simply revolting. They all 'love' him out of pity for his misfortune and, in doing so, revel in being such exemplary Christians.
    You probably have a bit of a point here. With more pressure to be hip and with it there are more and more Christians who want to be friends with gay people not because they like them as a person, but because of how it reflects on them... they can take Colbert-style photos with them to prove they're not homophobes. At the same time, here, there doesn't seem to be any actual evidence of "revel[ing] in being exemplary Christians." Particulary in the case of the old professor Dr. Boreland who has no need to be hip or seen as a particularly loving person since he is (sadly) from the fundementalist old school. The path of least resistance was to just let Brandon go on his way without taking the time to personally say goodbye let alone inviting him over to his house and sharing time with him before he left.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    That is not what I've found with conservative Christians, so you seem to be speaking 100% hypothetically here. The whole point of conservatism seems geared to standing up for one's beliefs and preserving a way of life. This doesn't allow much room for holding a belief and not acting on it; in fact, a lot of teens when they attend religious high schools and colleges is geared towards instilling courage both to witness about their faith AND even to take social stands on them. I was very pressured in those kinds of organizations to go out and proselytize if I wasn't "ashamed of Jesus," and the insinuation was that if I didn't love others enough to save them from mortal damnation as well as openly identify myself as a follower of Jesus, then Jesus would be ashamed of me on the day of judgement. Sometimes that was actually preached to me; sometimes it was just an underlying subtext.

    Meanwhile it's the liberal end of the church that is more inclined to say, "Well, I don't it makes sense or it isn't what I believe, but I won't stand in their way." The liberals are the branches who are at that end of the spectrum. I don't find the conservatives are simply able to hold an opinion without feeling like God is telling them to take actions on their values; it's part of how they approach faith.

    I know I'm still painting with too broad a brush, as you'll get different flavors within THOSE categories, even. But in any case, where religious belief is involved, there are those who believe that believing something means taking a stand, both for God and to save the misled; this kind of conflict is inevitable.



    Yes, well that "original idea" is not exactly rocket science, and it exemplifies why these are arguments just never get resolved around here. People are just dealing with the extremist arguments, which distorts the argument we should be having and making it difficult to discuss anything reasonably.

    Only caricatures of human beings are either completely 100% against something and willing to punish and destroy others for opposing them, or (on the other end) are crazy enough to be intolerant in their demands for tolerance. To be more succinct, I don't think the main issues in this country, and the issue that needs to be resolved, is gays who want to stone Christians and Christians who want to stone gays. They are obviously fringe elements. The issue that needs to be resolved are the attitudes more in the ambiguous middle. If I am someone who believes that someone who performs a homosexual act is choosing sin, then how do i respond to them in a way that is authentic to the path of love? TRULY authentic? And if I am someone who performs a homosexual act and thinks it is not immoral, how do I respond to someone who disagrees with me?

    People just really have no idea how to respond in a way that doesn't violate other aspects of their beliefs. We are still working on figuring that out.

    The whole concept of "tolerance" is more of a broad resolution plan ("You can agree to disagree but otherwise not get in someone's way") that definitely works for things that people can agree are just "personal preferences" but breaks down when people feel that moral codes are being violated. Yet the USA does not cater to particular religious doctrines, so unless there is a practical reason something shouldn't be done, individuals are on their own to decide what their behavior towards others will consist of.

    Note that there are some things that people do agree on. For example, pretty much uniformly in the US, there are few who support Westboro's response to gay people... especially after they extended their response to soldiers who died in action. But Westboro is at one extreme and to me isn't the issue in terms of the bulk of the culture, they're just a fringe annoyance.


    I was only talking about Christians with no liberal or conservative slant in mind. I am opposed to most of the people "taking a stand against gay marriage in the name of Christianity". But I don't think the person I described is a hypothetical construction. I know a fair number of people who I would categorize that way. To me tolerance works because no one can violate your moral code accept you. Unless someone's life preferences extend on to an unwilling second party I don't see any reason (or any benefit) of getting involved. Attempts to legislate culture to me are ridiculous and I don't think a very christ-like strategy.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    You probably have a bit of a point here. With more pressure to be hip and with it there are more and more Christians who want to be friends with gay people not because they like them as a person, but because of how it reflects on them... they can take Colbert-style photos with them to prove they're not homophobes. At the same time, here, there doesn't seem to be any actual evidence of "revel[ing] in being exemplary Christians." Particulary in the case of the old professor Dr. Boreland who has no need to be hip or seen as a particularly loving person since he is (sadly) from the fundementalist old school. The path of least resistance was to just let Brandon go on his way without taking the time to personally say goodbye let alone inviting him over to his house and sharing time with him before he left.
    To me, the 'I love you' saying gives it away (it sounds too scripted), though that could be a cultural or a language thing. If a professor said to me 'I love you' or tried to hug me, I would leave very quickly.

    Also, I would not limit the motivation for magnanimousness to the idea of being hip; I think it goes much deeper, so that for some - if not most - it would be a subconscious urge. I think Nietzsche wrote about it in 'On the Genealogy of Morality'. I am, of course, not saying that all of them are hypocritical assholes, but I do seem to detect a certain smell.

  4. #14
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wind-Up Rex View Post
    Liberty is a...different kinda place. One of my girlfriends got a full-ride there for law school cause her mom is a professor. They made her sign a contract saying that she would not drink, use drugs, nor have premarital intercourse of any sort while in attendance on pain of expulsion. That on top of the hyper-conservatism of her peers pretty much had her packing after one semester. Definitely not an environment for everyone.
    Two of my friends actually went there, a ways back.

    They didn't necessarily agree with all the restrictions, and occasionally broke the minor rules (and didn't get caught), and their religious views aren't necessarily aligned with Liberty. They did okay in that environment. To be honest, I'm not sure why they both chose to go there, but then again if they hadn't, they would not have met and married each other. Still, they're more "compliant" types overall and I think certain people can do okay in that environment, while others would seriously flounder or be expelled.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    I was only talking about Christians with no liberal or conservative slant in mind. I am opposed to most of the people "taking a stand against gay marriage in the name of Christianity". But I don't think the person I described is a hypothetical construction. I know a fair number of people who I would categorize that way. To me tolerance works because no one can violate your moral code accept you. Unless someone's life preferences extend on to an unwilling second party I don't see any reason (or any benefit) of getting involved. Attempts to legislate culture to me are ridiculous and I don't think a very christ-like strategy.
    I guess. The bulk of my post was describing my experiences within that subculture and where people are coming from, though, and within that culture, which such an emphasis on holiness and truth, people are more bent on taking stands for things within their own personal relationships even if not publicly. So if one of your relatives is gay, then as far as that interfaces with yoru life, there is often pressure to hold the line and make your stance very clear. And some are led to be even more publicly involved.
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  5. #15
    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Two of my friends actually went there, a ways back.

    They didn't necessarily agree with all the restrictions, and occasionally broke the minor rules (and didn't get caught), and their religious views aren't necessarily aligned with Liberty. They did okay in that environment. To be honest, I'm not sure why they both chose to go there, but then again if they hadn't, they would not have met and married each other. Still, they're more "compliant" types overall and I think certain people can do okay in that environment, while others would seriously flounder or be expelled.



    I guess. The bulk of my post was describing my experiences within that subculture and where people are coming from, though, and within that culture, which such an emphasis on holiness and truth, people are more bent on taking stands for things within their own personal relationships even if not publicly. So if one of your relatives is gay, then as far as that interfaces with yoru life, there is often pressure to hold the line and make your stance very clear. And some are led to be even more publicly involved.

    I still feel like that's sort of a blanket perscription for how Christians interact with gay people that I haven't experienced as always true. I know a number of Christian people who don't castigate their gay friends or family.

    For instance one woman I know is extremely religious an calls herself a "prayer warrior" but when one of her daughters gay friends was found in bed with a guy and his parents kicked him out she took him in for a while. And she was adamant that she wanted him to sing at her daughters highly religious wedding ceremony. Also invited to the wedding? The gys ex boyfriend and the man he now lives with.

    Obviously this isn't all of the Christian/religious community. I'm just saying that not all Christians are falwell's or Santorums and there are a good number of Christian people who don't want to shame or forcibly reform gay people.

    I think those people "take a stance" for he idea that Christ wanted us to love one another and not shame and condemn other people. A stand for love. Mushy mushy mushy.

  6. #16
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    I still feel like that's sort of a blanket perscription for how Christians interact with gay people that I haven't experienced as always true. I know a number of Christian people who don't castigate their gay friends or family.
    I'm wondering if I need to keep searching for these elusive environments. There's a possibility that I just haven't found the right crowds yet to interface with. But I think you also need to accept that the environments that I am describing do exist.

    There's also an issue where the polarizing types create a situation where it's almost impossible to not pick sides. For example, if someone in your family is intolerant and refuses to invite their gay relative to a family gathering, now what? If you go to the gathering, you are supporting one; if you don't go to the gathering, you are supporting another. A third option is to create your own gathering and invite both and let them do as they please. But it can become very difficult when the polarizers take the initiative, they create situations that are no-winners for everyone involved, even those who are more in the middle.

    For instance one woman I know is extremely religious an calls herself a "prayer warrior" but when one of her daughters gay friends was found in bed with a guy and his parents kicked him out she took him in for a while. And she was adamant that she wanted him to sin at her daughters highly religious wedding ceremony. Also invited to the wedding? The gys ex boyfriend and the man he now lives with.
    I think there was a typo in there. She wanted him to sin at her daughter's wedding?

    Anyway, if she is willing to do that, then good. Those kinds of scenarios are beyond me to evaluate. But they are not the standard where I come from. My old church, for example, was populated by "good ol' country" folk and civilly minded, they're not bad people; but they would have chosen to ostractize the gay man. I know it because I saw things like that happen... and not just ostracize, but even feel negative toward. Because he was sinning and thus someone they needed to oppose. The only places I've found more tolerance with in my area of the world has been with the Unitarians and more liberal denoms.

    Obviously this isn't all of the Christian/religious community. I'm just saying that not all Christians are falwell's or Santorums and there are a good number of Christian people who don't want to shame or forcibly reform gay people.
    Yes, I was aware of what you meant; however, I don't think you're aware of how much those kinds of people can dominate in certain regions of the world. Like I said, I've been in a number of moderate/conservative churches, and only in the last few years have I seen ANY kind of shift toward the behavior you describe. I definitely could see some struggle on the part of some, but only a very small minority would have dared to invite an ostracized unrepentant gay man to their wedding and treated them like anyone else... unless of course it was just a ploy to "love him into the Kingdom" and keep him around to proselytize to him. That is just the way it's been working. When you have a fairly insular environment, the initial stages of reengaging that environment to the culture result in a lot of pushback and resistance.

    There have been some remarkable changes in the US, though, in regards to gay issues, over the last ten years. Things are changing rapidly. I could see the situations you are describing as becoming more and more prominent.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  7. #17
    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I'm wondering if I need to keep searching for these elusive environments. There's a possibility that I just haven't found the right crowds yet to interface with. But I think you also need to accept that the environments that I am describing do exist.

    There's also an issue where the polarizing types create a situation where it's almost impossible to not pick sides. For example, if someone in your family is intolerant and refuses to invite their gay relative to a family gathering, now what? If you go to the gathering, you are supporting one; if you don't go to the gathering, you are supporting another. A third option is to create your own gathering and invite both and let them do as they please. But it can become very difficult when the polarizers take the initiative, they create situations that are no-winners for everyone involved, even those who are more in the middle.



    I think there was a typo in there. She wanted him to sin at her daughter's wedding?

    Anyway, if she is willing to do that, then good. Those kinds of scenarios are beyond me to evaluate. But they are not the standard where I come from. My old church, for example, was populated by "good ol' country" folk and civilly minded, they're not bad people; but they would have chosen to ostractize the gay man. I know it because I saw things like that happen... and not just ostracize, but even feel negative toward. Because he was sinning and thus someone they needed to oppose. The only places I've found more tolerance with in my area of the world has been with the Unitarians and more liberal denoms.



    Yes, I was aware of what you meant; however, I don't think you're aware of how much those kinds of people can dominate in certain regions of the world. Like I said, I've been in a number of moderate/conservative churches, and only in the last few years have I seen ANY kind of shift toward the behavior you describe. I definitely could see some struggle on the part of some, but only a very small minority would have dared to invite an ostracized unrepentant gay man to their wedding and treated them like anyone else... unless of course it was just a ploy to "love him into the Kingdom" and keep him around to proselytize to him. That is just the way it's been working. When you have a fairly insular environment, the initial stages of reengaging that environment to the culture result in a lot of pushback and resistance.

    There have been some remarkable changes in the US, though, in regards to gay issues, over the last ten years. Things are changing rapidly. I could see the situations you are describing as becoming more and more prominent.

    I mentioned in my post that I knew the environments you described existed. I'm not trying to argue that intolerant people aren't prevalent. I was just point out that tolerant environments might not be as rare as you made them out to be. And yes it was a typo . I meant to say "SING". Haha. He was the featured singer.

  8. #18
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    There are definitely plenty of Christians who don't have a problem with gays and aren't trying to change them. I go to church with a bunch of them. Some of them are openly gay themselves, some raising families with their partners.

    I am not 100% sure that the Christians described here fall into the "don't have a problem with gays and aren't trying to change them" category, though. If I had to speculate based on my experiences with conservative/evangelical Christians (I was brought up in a very conservative Christian tradition and I've been around lots of different flavors of Christianity over the years since), I would say most likely they are doing a "I'll be a good model of right living for my gay friends and maybe, with that exposure, I can love them to straightness." They're not actively trying to change them, no, and they do love them, in a way, but they're passively hoping that if they're nice enough to the gay folks that exposure to their Christlikeness will make the gays see the light. I can't say this is true across the board but I have definitely encountered this attitude, spoken aloud by the people themselves (just not around gays) and this is what it looks like. They think they're doing a good work.

  9. #19
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    There are definitely plenty of Christians who don't have a problem with gays and aren't trying to change them. I go to church with a bunch of them. Some of them are openly gay themselves, some raising families with their partners.
    I really appreciated that article on FaceBook you just linked to today. I'm willing to accept that my past has left some strong reverberations in me. I'm also getting more of an understanding now of what it feels like to need to shift to an adjusting culture; my experiences definitely were ONE way in the past, but now if the culture is shifting, I find myself in a position of needing to remain abreast of those changes and changing my expectations (both the good and bad ones) to move along with it. It's really easy if you live within more static parts of the culture to not have the most accurate perspective of where the culture as a whole is.

    I am not 100% sure that the Christians described here fall into the "don't have a problem with gays and aren't trying to change them" category, though. If I had to speculate based on my experiences with conservative/evangelical Christians (I was brought up in a very conservative Christian tradition and I've been around lots of different flavors of Christianity over the years since), I would say most likely they are doing a "I'll be a good model of right living for my gay friends and maybe, with that exposure, I can love them to straightness." They're not actively trying to change them, no, and they do love them, in a way, but they're passively hoping that if they're nice enough to the gay folks that exposure to their Christlikeness will make the gays see the light. I can't say this is true across the board but I have definitely encountered this attitude, spoken aloud by the people themselves (just not around gays) and this is what it looks like. They think they're doing a good work.
    Thank you, you were able to say this much more succinctly than I did.

    I think I might have mentioned that, on a related topic, when I went for surgery in Thailand in 2011, apparently there were quite a number of people in my family and church that assumed that my silence resulting of my surgery running late meant that "God had changed my mind" and there was a sense of hopeful anticipation that I had "seen the light," I would be coming home without doing anything, and then I would be putting all of these changes in the past. They were kind of stunned and saddened that things had gone forward as I had always telegraphed them to be going for years and years and years. You have described their attitudes well here -- they were trying to be kind and accepging, but basically there was still an understanding at core of what God would need to do to make things right and their investments were more about trying to make that happen than necessarily building a strong relationship with me as I was. And they consider that investment to be a very positive thing.

    That kind of complexity makes these interactions difficult.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    yes it was a typo . I meant to say "SING". Haha. He was the featured singer.
    LOL! I totally didn't even guess that variation. Thanks for the correction, it makes more sense now.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  10. #20
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I really appreciated that article on FaceBook you just linked to today. I'm willing to accept that my past has left some strong reverberations in me. I'm also getting more of an understanding now of what it feels like to need to shift to an adjusting culture; my experiences definitely were ONE way in the past, but now if the culture is shifting, I find myself in a position of needing to remain abreast of those changes and changing my expectations (both the good and bad ones) to move along with it. It's really easy if you live within more static parts of the culture to not have the most accurate perspective of where the culture as a whole is.

    Thank you, you were able to say this much more succinctly than I did.

    I think I might have mentioned that, on a related topic, when I went for surgery in Thailand in 2011, apparently there were quite a number of people in my family and church that assumed that my silence resulting of my surgery running late meant that "God had changed my mind" and there was a sense of hopeful anticipation that I had "seen the light," I would be coming home without doing anything, and then I would be putting all of these changes in the past. They were kind of stunned and saddened that things had gone forward as I had always telegraphed them to be going for years and years and years. You have described their attitudes well here -- they were trying to be kind and accepging, but basically there was still an understanding at core of what God would need to do to make things right and their investments were more about trying to make that happen than necessarily building a strong relationship with me as I was. And they consider that investment to be a very positive thing.

    That kind of complexity makes these interactions difficult.
    Right, because you're not starting off on equal footing. You're a project or a mission to them. It is (not always, but often) a form of paternalism. That's not a relationship among human beings who all acknowledge that, while they each have deeply held beliefs, neither has the monopoly on the truth. You did mention that, and while it didn't surprise me at all (because I know that mindset well) it did make me sad and angry on your behalf.

    I do think it's possible to be a traditional Christian who thinks being gay is a sin and also not engage in this uneven way with gay people. Most of the time, the people I've met who are able to do this believe that we all sin, and that gayness isn't any more of a sin than anything else, and that ultimately it's really none of their business how other people grapple with sin. And I'm able to get along with those folks a lot more easily than the ones who see GLBT folks as fixer-uppers, because there's a humility there that is missing in the other type.

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