Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Long Comment that Ought to Appear under "On the Hope Inherent in Opening One's Mouth"

*Deep Sigh* This is not a particularly well-written post. It was originally just supposed to be a comment reflecting on another person's comment in my previous blog post, but it got waaaaay too long. I apologize for the fact that it is disjointed and clunky.


Hi John Michael... I have done some research as you suggested, and I have found some information that, after reflection, I have decided should be included here for folks to see. I hope you will forgive me if I seem at all sharp in any of my comments here, it isn't my intention. I like you very much; you're among my favorite people. I think that you and I will continue to disagree about this issue, unfortunately, but I hope we can do it with mutual respect.

First, I do not care at all what form the sexual intimacy between a married couple takes, so long as that intimacy makes them both feel loved and cared for. This is merely opinion, and is no more or less valid than your opinion about the emotional nature of certain acts. We will have to disagree here, until further Light brings us more into unity one way or another.

When I say "married couple," by the way, I am not limiting my comments to legally married couples. Quakers believe that a marriage is made by God, not by state paperwork. Our Quaker forebears 350 years ago were accused of being fornicators because it was illegal for them to marry outside official church/state channels... they married each other anyway.

Second, anal sex does indeed have health risks attached to it. So does your average white-bread monogamous coitus, at least for women. Urinary tract infections, for example, are not at all unheard of as a result of monogamous heterosexual sex. Every physical thing we do carries certain risks with it...

Also, to base one's objections to homosexuality based on one sexual act seems a little misguided... I don't think that lesbians are known for participating in anal sex much. And I can think of quite a few ways for two men to be sexually intimate without engaging in anal sex. One old Talmudic interpretation of Leviticus, by the way, is that only anal sex is prohibited; no other homosexual activity is prohibited (obviously, Jewish interpretation will vary depending on the group). So being against anal sex does not equal being against homosexual sex.

Now, HIV/AIDS is a serious disease. And the primary risk factor for getting HIV/AIDS is being a man who has sex with men. Interestingly, there are no documented cases of female-to-female HIV/AIDS, although lesbians do contract the disease in other ways. So, if I wanted to make sure of avoiding HIV/AIDS, I would be better off as a female being a lesbian than being heterosexual... in that case, being homosexual would reduce my risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.

Now, how many gay men have HIV/AIDS in the U.S.? I checked over at the CDC and found some numbers. There are roughly a million people with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. today. Of those, roughly 53% contracted it through male-to-male sex. Definitely a risk factor for the disease. But how many gay people actually have HIV/AIDS? If we assume that approximately 5% of the population is LGBT (which is the current best guess), the estimated 586,000 men who have contracted HIV/AIDS through male-to-male sex represents about 4% of the LGBT population in the U.S. This means that 96% of the LGBT population is Free of HIV/AIDS. Perhaps they do not engage in those high-risk activities that you have written about--anal sex and promiscuity? Perhaps the vast majority of LGBT folks are just like straight folk in their intimate relationships... limiting their loving to the one they love?

I looked into the "incubation" period for AIDS, by the way, and I think that your estimation of that gay couple's sexual activities was probably extremely misguided, at least based on the evidence. The median length of time between contracting HIV and becoming symptomatic is almost ten years, and can be much longer... nearly twenty. That's without any treatment. With current treatments, it can remain asymptomatic for many many years. So it is entirely possible, even likely, that the man's HIV was contracted before the couple ever became a couple. I think you owe them a mental note of apology for assuming the worst of them.

As a digression regarding stereotypes, I remember taking a psychology course in college. One of the things that I remember was a study of young women. Women with a low self-esteem (that is, women who had been told too often that they were unloved and unlovable), tended to express that self-hatred in their lives through alcohol abuse, drug abuse, promiscuity, and suicide. Just exactly the things that the LGBT community has been stereotypically associated with for many years. Perhaps they were driven to such acts through our cultural disdain, and not through their own "natural" tendencies at all?

I have looked at ex-gay information with interest. It is true that some gay people can and have been "cured" of their attraction to people of the same sex. But I do not agree that something should be cured just because it can be cured. Left-handed people used to be "cured" of being left-handed, at great cost to their psyches.

I also found the available estimated best-case statistics interesting... of people who seek counseling in order to become ex-gay, roughly one-third are "cured." Another third show some progress.. which I guess means that they are a little less likely to become romantically interested in someone of the same sex. This is from the gay population that WANTS to become ex-gay. That leaves a LOT of people out in the cold, when it comes to a cure, even for people who don't want to be attracted to people of the same sex. Becoming ex-gay is clearly not the solution for everyone.

I support a Catholic's right to believe in Catholic doctrine. I disagree with a lot of Catholic doctrine, but I think that people who think it is true should have that right. I do wish that the Catholic church would examine its practice regarding homosexuals though, because it seems to me that it is currently treading very dangerously close to hypocrisy. Look at the archdiocese of Denver, Colorado. Recently, the lesbian parents of a child were told that the child would not be allowed to re-enroll in parochial school there next year, because the parents do not "live in accord with Catholic teaching." At the same school, I have read, are children whose parents are single, divorced, and non-Catholic... none of whom can strictly be considered to be living in accord with Catholic teaching, either. The Catholic church in this case has singled out homosexuality as some sort of "special" sin, above and beyond any others. That's wrong. I hope that the church is able to figure out how to act in fairness to all people who are not living in accord with Catholic teaching, rather than hypocritically singling some out and ignoring others.

Honestly, if any of my children ever were to discover that they were LGBT, I would have the same advice that I would have for straight children: Your sexuality is a precious gift, not to be treated lightly or with disrespect. In a marriage, it will strengthen your relationship, help you learn to trust each other, and bring you both joy.

Thanks to everyone for your comments here. I've rambled on long enough, but I deeply appreciate everyone's care while replying to each other.


Beans said...

"Quakers believe that a marriage is made by God, not by state paperwork."

Well-said :) Thank you for that insite!

Anonymous said...

One cannot change from straight to gay nor gay to straight. One can change ones behavior but then the heterosexual individual wanting to change their behavior would have to feel their behavior was wrong for some reason.That individual would still have their underpants on backwards being dishonest to themselves and the world and their significant other.Of course we would not know nor would the psychologist, nor the clergy person. Only G-d and the person living a lie. Everyday would be a struggle internally as this person would know that their underpants were on backwards. It would cause them great grief and pain. That grief and pain would come out in different ways. They would Shout to all who could hear them.."I have changed. I am proof..of that change. Look at me. I am cured. They would want everyone to jump on their ship of change.If one questioned them they would huff and puff, call people names and explode at the slightest thing. Not because they are hatefull or mean. All have the Spirit of our Savior in their heart. They would act this way becuase their underpants were on backwards and it was darn painful.As a gay left handed Christian man I had my underpants on backwards for well over 35 years.I was told the Bible said I needed to do that to get to Heaven. If I faked it long enough they would flip around. If I changed my thinking and behavior I would wake up one day and well you know. I fasted. I prayed. I went to a Christian counselor. I stayed married. I was so good at wearing my underpants on backwards my wonderful beautiful wife had no clue. Well until one day the person who my loving G-d made to be could not fake it anymore. I had pushed the true me down so far I almost destroyed the wonderful Man G-d made. I finally prayed to G-d as the Man he made me to be. He said to me "son, get up put those underpants on the way I made you to wear them and stop disrespecting your G-d and yourself. The depression lifted and although the lies I had been told and the self inflicted pain I caused my spirit. The damage I had done to my wife by following the advice of these mis-guided religous folks and their psychologists took some time to heal, it did through the love of my Lord and Savior, good friends and good Christians and of course the truth.

So yes change your behavior but then you are denying who G-d made you to be.You would first have to conclude you are damaged in some way to even want to change who you are. A heterosexual man can live as a homosexual man but he is still heterosexual. A chicken can walk like a duck but he is still a chicken.
I guess if one is bi-sexual then one has two choices. Im not bi-sexual but I would guess on could flip flop back and forth.

Here is some information I came across. Maybe we can add it to the other information so if anyone comes across our conversations here they just have well, more information. Let them decide for themself the path they want to chose and love them unconditionally.
In our Saviors love,
Friend Larry

Shawna said...

Thank you for your testimony, Larry. Thank you very much for the resource, as well. I think some people change... there are people who testify to that change in their own lives, and I wouldn't want to invalidate their experience. Just like you eventually realized that being straight was not an appropriate path for your life, I think that it is legitimate for folks to decide that being LGBT is not an appropriate path for theirs. The key lies in following one's own proper path, not in following what someone else has decided is the proper path.

I once did some reading on how folks were cured of being left-handed. It made me cry. I am a left-handed writer, but I am comfortable using my right hand in other ways. It would have been relatively easy to cure me of left-handedness, with minimum damage to me. Others wouldn't be so lucky. And whether I could have been cured relatively easily isn't the important question... should I have been cured at all?

Beans, thank you. I have actually had people tell me that a couple is obviously living in sin if they aren't legally married, and this shows that homosexuals are naturally inclined to fornication. I'm afraid that logic doesn't follow, if it is illegal for a couple to be married.

Anonymous said...

I am on base with everyone when it comes to living ones life how they want to live it. The important thing is that if one is gay, not bi but gay. If one is straight not bi but straight who one is inside does not change. How one chooses to live their life is a different story. I was lucky enough to have parents that refused to buy into anyone forcing me to right with my right hand. If I had been forced to do that I would still be left handed just writing with my right hand.I learned to play baseball with my brothers mitt. He is right handed. Now I catch with my left hand and throw with my left hand.Guess that is why I most always played soccer(futbol) I knew from a very very young age that I was gay. I just pushed it down. I recently watched a documentary about babies that were born with both sex organs. Depending on the length and a few other Physical observations. Their parents were told by doctors, proffessionals just to dress them and treat in regards to what the doctors had changed them to physically. The horror began at that moment. I cried watching these beautiful children and some now adults have to deal with this philosopy of change ones behavior change ones sexuality. It is dangerous and mentaly cruel. That is what I and many others in our world are so concerned about. And these folks you know as well as I take there "change your behavior" well into another universe. This is not about me it is about children and adults that have to deal with such nonsense when they are vulnerable. John has the right to say what he wants. He I guess has the right to tell a child to run out into traffic and defend his right to say just to proof the child can run fast.
As a man of G-d I know he has light within. I judge him not for his choices. Potentially damaging another is a different story

Friend Larry

kevin roberts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shawna said...

Yes, Friend Larry... one is straight or gay or bi, and then one finds one's proper place... sometimes a person is mistaken about their proper place at first... I think that this is a good way of looking at it. And whether one is straight or gay or bi, sometimes one is called to celibacy... a person can discern the rightness of their choices based on the sense of Rest that they feel with their lives, and on the Fruits of the Spirit that they see.

Professional psychological associations, by the way, don't use the simple LGBT designation. They use LGBTQI. Q stands for Questioning. I stands for intersex, those children you brought up whose bodies are visibly different... neither fully male nor fully female. The professional psychological world considers these folks to have a whole separate set of challenges, whether they have been surgically altered or not. Surgically altering them allows people to pretend that they are "normal," but it doesn't change who they are inside.

Sorry about your underpants, Kevin.

kevin roberts said...

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

Gay Marriage and Why It's Time To Stop Being Polite About It Please

Thank you, Shawna. (And thank you for the URL, Kevin. I think the html tag here should work as a click through, if I'm correct.)

Anonymous said...

Friend Shawna,
My point exactly. We agree if I understand your point which I feel I do. I think I mentioned before but if not will share it again. I and many others have been in this discussion many times in many places. Im just not now addressing nor is this about me. When I share my story as when most do it is not about them but hopefully helping another. With most gay folk I hang out with, know and I know quite a few it is not about us. It is not about attempting to force our story on anyone else. I think my point has been missed. Im not attempting to be a wise guy or push an agenda on anyone. I have seen people dying of hiv aids like many have. I have worked with organizations, volunteered and still volunteer. Whether it is Worlds Aids Day, Aids Walk SF or the National Aids Grove. I have known folks, several that claim they are cured from being homosexual. Most of the gay homosexuals I know and heterosexauls could care less how they want to live their life. In fact I support them and their right. There are people and yes I know several in my faith, well, more than several that have chosen, choose to live as a gay man married to a woman. Some can do that all their life. I support them 100% What I and most gay and straight people I know, only have a problem when as we have seen here someone goes well beyond in very very hurtful and potentially dangerous way the bounderies of their choices. By the way I actually thought about being celibat and was for a while. G-d brought someone into my life and it has almost been 13 years...I know yahoo but that again that is not my point. Johns post was mean spirited,self centered and hurtful. Some of the things that he said go well beyond how he chooses to live his life. As I stated before my concern was and I will try to get my point across again. If one that is just coming into who they really are comes across this blog or his statements made somewhere else and are in a suicidal state. Have been shunned by their family and their religion. Read his rant and make a choice that reinforces what they have heard from their minister family etc that cause them to go over the edge I as one who have almost been there would not forgive myself. And let me share this I know of hundreds that have faced this same thing. We must be careful with our words as words are things and things hurt people. Words and our actions can cause a child to end their life.
I guess Im just not Quakerly when it comes to people that hurt others, are arrogant and hurt others. Who say hateful, hurtful dangerous things.That could cause a wonderful person to be pushed over the edge. To know of a fantastic, spiritual kid who served the lord, went on a mission and then blew his brains out on the chapel steps, causes me and many others to speak out when folks like John speak hate. I will never condone anything of this nature. Quaker or not
I hope my G-d will forgive me.


Anonymous said...

Friend Kevin,

As an ex-ex-gay man, my underpants are fine....They(underpants) and green jello are two of the several things I cherish as a..cultural Mormon with Conservative Quaker leanings...Well im not sure anymore about the last one quite frankly. I need to check with the Lord on that. Thanks for asking though brother ....I do know that I leave the comment section with all of you people. Im done!

Anonymous said...

This simple and affirming statement says it all for me. Click on Public Witness on the left side to read their statement on Gay Marriage. But the good ol' OYM Conservative is, as usual, about a hundred years too late to open it's heart and soul. At some point, their membership will dwindle down to a few elders and they will lose their lofty and judgmental moral stance, just like they lost their boarding school to attrition, bankruptcy and backwardness. Why is this issue so threatening and upsetting to some? Is it blind adherence to Bible commands? Hangups about sex? A predisposition to Right Wing propaganda? Unfortunately, this bypasses the frontal cortex and stimulates the reactionary, survival-based brain stem. Good luck to all of you working within the OYM for change. It's gonna be a long struggle. Some trends of modernity are, believe it or not, an improvement. The love and acceptance of our LGBT brethren is long overdue.
Friend Walter who can't figure out how to choose a blog identity.

Heather said...

Thank you, Shawna, for to handling this volatile subject with understanding and love. Holding you in the Light.

John Michael Keba said...

"I hope you will forgive me if I seem at all sharp in any of my comments here, it isn't my intention. I like you very much; you're among my favorite people....I hope we can do it with mutual respect."

Hell's bells, Shawna, my only real beef with you is your failure (refusal?) to return "Wilt Thou Go On My Errand."

Your comments are not sharp, just flawed and selectively argued. For instance, your 96% conveniently buries the much higher infection rate amongst active men within the total estimated population, which includes men and women, both sexually active and inactive. It also assumes 100% reporting of infection, which is known not to be true. Your conflation of urinary tract infection with HIV/AIDS, and the host of other serious maladies, is not only flawed, but desperate.

You are right that I assumed the worse about the gay partners in the Britain Yearly Meeting "Faith and Practice"; it was easy to do, given that it has always been common knowledge in the LGBT community, now made public, that monogamy is not, despite your fond wishes, normative in "the life." Will OYM only be allowing "good" gay marriages to occur? Or will OYM be formally holding from now on that fidelity is optional in its marriages?

One more observation: Your singling out a parochial school in Colorado to pronounce on the general hypocrisy of Catholic teaching regarding SSA is hypocritical in itself. And last time I checked, single, divorced and non-Catholic parents of children in Catholic parochial schools are not engaged in a world-wide campaign to make the magisterial teachings regarding them a hate-crime. Perhaps you owe faithful Catholics in general a mental apology?

But enough. It was never my intention to get drawn into a prolonged blog debate in this matter, where the same misinformation is stated over and over again, apparently under the belief that it will become true if repeated often enough. And the same insults and veiled threats showed up as I knew they would when I commented in the original post. Of course I am "hateful," Shawna, and mentally-challenged; don't you know anyone who resists gay activist propaganda is so?

I commented to draw fire and gather in one place the material I need to construct of formal rebuttal of your activities to send to our MMs. I succeeded well enough to offset the personal attacks. It is time this issue move beyond specious arguments, emotionalism, and selective biblical exegesis on your blog, and become more formal.

I hope you have not found this post "sharp," but then I am filled with hate, so what could you expect?

Please return your library book. :-)

Anonymous said...

Again, John Michael Keba, your analysis of "the life" causes me distress, and I share the sorrows of my LGBT Friends. How long will you continue to tar and feather a whole group of people based on the behavior of some?
<<< has always been common knowledge in the LGBT community, now made public, that monogamy is not, despite your fond wishes, normative in "the life." Will OYM only be allowing "good" gay marriages to occur? Or will OYM be formally holding from now on that fidelity is optional in its marriages?>>>

Good Quaker marriages end in divorce, even in the OYM Conservative, and the national average for hetero marriage failure is over %50 after 5 years, yet you wouldn't consider banning marriage itself, or would you?
Yet, there are same-sex marriages, especially among the Friends I know and love, that are stable, respectful and as undefiled as any other. Yet, you would seek to deny them. Have you sat with these long-time Quaker loving couples, looked them in the eye, and seen them wince with pain when you make your selectively backward statements? I am reminded of some good White folks who quote crime statistics to prove that Black folks, or Jamaicans, or Mexicans have no business in their neighborhoods. Where are the Same-Sex folks in your meetings? Do you speak to them like this? Have you driven them out? I would likely depart in a hurry if your remarks were a true representation of the climate in your meeting.
Friend Walter

Lynn said...

My goodness, Friends -
I am saddened to see this conversation, which was started in a spirit of love and understanding, deteriorate into accusations and name-calling.

I'm afraid I do not perceive mutual respect and openness to the Spirit in many of these comments. I perceive, instead, a great deal of defensiveness on both sides. I hope everyone can take a few deep breaths and remember to love one another, as we are called to do, though we may disagree.

Peace and blessings to you all, and Shawna, thank you for your courage in beginning this conversation.


Mary Ellen said...

Shawna, I appreciate your forthright (and I believe Spirit-Led) witness to the testimony of equality in this debate. As a liberal Friend (and having had some excellent seminary classes on Biblical exegesis), I can find no ground for a religious objection to faithful and loving same-sex couples. (In contrast, while not willing to support making abortion illegal, I can easily see a spiritual leading in your opposition to this practice.)

Regarding New Testament writings, there were certainly some abhorrent practices in early Christian times involving abusive relationships between adult men and young boys. Those would rightly be condemned, as they are being condemned today. It is heart-breaking to me that Quaker Meetings continue to stand against marriages between loving same-sex individuals. I put my trust in the indwelling yeast of the Spirit that will not let us stay in outworn and constricting mental bonds. Continue to speak and write, as you do, from a spirit of love and truth.

Anonymous said...

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Shawna said...

Thank you so much, everyone, for your comments here. I have been offline for a few weeks, and it will take me a bit to catch up.

As Lynn pointed out, I am sorry to see that we have given in a bit to the temptation to be hard with one another. Let's try to be patient... I find it useful to remind myself that I don't want to "defeat" anyone, I want to ingather them and convince them. This is a useful thought to keep in mind, no matter what one's perspective on the discussion is.

Anon (is that Larry?), two excellent quotes. Here is one I like from Quakerism:

"Deep-rooted customs, though wrong, are not easily altered, but it is the duty of everyone to be firm in that which they certainly know is right for them." – John Woolman, from his Journal

Larry is of course right... it is a person's obligation to speak when they see someone else heaving stones at someone. Thank you, Larry, for being faithful.

John, I have been putting off sending back the book because I keep thinking that I will get out for another visit soon. Unfortunately, reality keeps getting in the way :-(

I will detach my hopes for driving out some First Day, from my intention to return the book, and I will pop it in the mail. Sorry for the delay. I will also send you a rough draft of the paper I have been working on, so you can see the form that the discussion has been taking here at Stillwater monthly meeting. It may help you with your formal rebuttal.

OK, that's enough for the moment. My 5-year-old is in need of something. I'll be back later today for some more catch-up!

Shawna said...

Kevin, thanks for the excellent link regarding gay marriage, and thank you to Cat for providing a direct click-through to it. If anyone hasn’t read this essay yet, please go there Now. Long before I was convinced of the truth that homosexuality is not a sin, I supported secular/state same-sex marriage. This guy explains very clearly why All Americans should, regardless of whether they think their own church should bless such unions.

Larry, I consider you a f/Friend, wherever you ultimately find your spiritual home. You have a compassionate heart, and I have seen evidence that you are Spirit-led. Thank you for being faithful to your Guide.

Walter, thank you for providing a link to Cleveland Friends Meeting’s website and pointing to their minute regarding same-sex marriage. I figure with OYM, where there’s life, there’s hope. I do not think that OYM will be the last Christian faith community to accept our LGBT brothers and sisters as co-equals in Christ. I cannot tell you how long the conversation will last… it may be longer or shorter… I Can tell you that God has been doing some stunning STUNNING work on hearts and minds here.

Heather, thank you for hanging on to me! I can use all the holding I can get! (Hystery, I think I forgot earlier to mention my gratitude for your good grip too….) Thank you to everyone for hanging on, and for keeping me in prayer. The most important thing is that Truth and Justice and Mercy be freed into the world… if ya’ll ask God and the Universe for help with that, I would be very grateful.

OK, more catch-up in a little bit….

kevin roberts said...

I don't know how to do click-throughs.

I can't work microwaves, either. I just push the number buttons five or six times and hit "Start." Then I take out my food before it catches fire.

Shawna said...

John Michael, I know that you are not hateful, but I am also concerned that you do seem prejudiced against “sexual minorities” (this is a term I learned over at the American Psychological Association’s website the other day—it’s their way of covering the wide range of human sexuality that is often referred to as LGBTQI—I find it easier than a mouthful of letters). Your arguments against homosexuality are not based on homosexuality itself, but on various activities that some, but by no means all, homosexuals practice, and that are also all found in the heterosexual community as well. To prejudge someone and attribute to them a whole string of activities and attitudes, based on one attribute that you know about, is to be prejudiced against them.

“Your conflation of urinary tract infection with HIV/AIDS, and the host of other serious maladies, is not only flawed, but desperate.”

I pointed out to you that most homosexuals do not have HIV/AIDS. This is true. I pointed out to you that if I truly and for sure wanted to make sure that I never got HIV/AIDS, I would have to become a lesbian (who didn’t do intravenous drugs, get blood transfusions from an unsafe blood supply, or have heterosexual sex). I want you to stop and think about this for a minute… if you intend to use HIV/AIDS as an argument against homosexuality, you can only use it against Male homosexuality. And you can only use it against male homosexuality involving men who have sex with more than one partner—both abstinence and fidelity remove the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS from the picture. This is also true for the heterosexual population and for all STDs. So… HIV/AIDS is a great argument For fidelity, for marriage, for commitment, for abstinence… but it is not a great argument against homosexuality.

I was not talking about HIV/AIDS when I pointed out that ALL of our actions in this world hold risks. I pointed out that monogamous white-bread coitus has health risks, including UTI. Monogamous anal sex also has health risks, including tearing of tissue and infections. I do not consider the risk of HIV/AIDS to be inherently linked to all anal sex, so I was not talking about that. Sorry for being unclear. Recent estimates based on surveys indicate, by the way, that more heterosexual couples than homosexuals practice anal sex on a regular basis (keeping in mind that heterosexual couples vastly outnumber homosexuals, of course). So being against anal sex is not an argument against homosexuality either… it is merely an argument against one specific sexual act that can be practiced (or not practiced) by anyone.

Shawna said...

“monogamy is not, despite your fond wishes, normative in "the life." Will OYM only be allowing "good" gay marriages to occur?”

Monogamy is not normative in the heterosexual world either. Even among married couples, roughly 20% of married individuals commit adultery during any given year. That doesn’t count people who are dating more than one person, or who cheat on a live-in partner, or who are sleeping around with whoever they can. Saying that one group tends not to be monogamous is also not an argument against that group… it is merely an argument against promiscuity. I agree with you: promiscuity is wrong. The LGBT folks I know personally would agree with you too. If the conversation that we have just begun at Stillwater MM ever reaches unity on same-sex marriage, our meeting would be recognizing, and putting under its care, marriages of members… conservative Friends. Who hold conservative Friends values. One hopes they will be good marriages, that provide joy for the spouses and the community.

I know that the LGBT community has a reputation for promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and suicide. I think that legitimate statistics do show that the LGBT community suffers from these dysfunctions proportionately more than the heterosexual community. This makes sense according to the medical literature, since all of these things are symptoms of low self-esteem and internalized stigma. And, if nothing else, everyone can agree that the LGBT community is often stigmatized. The way to get rid of internalized stigma is to accept folks… as human beings, as equals, as fellow children of God, as people with inherent worth, as people deserving respect and love and justice. These dysfunctions don’t go away by telling people how bad they are, but by helping folks realize that they deserve better.

Shawna said...

“One more observation: Your singling out a parochial school in Colorado to pronounce on the general hypocrisy of Catholic teaching regarding SSA is hypocritical in itself. And last time I checked, single, divorced and non-Catholic parents of children in Catholic parochial schools are not engaged in a world-wide campaign to make the magisterial teachings regarding them a hate-crime. Perhaps you owe faithful Catholics in general a mental apology?”

It was not a “parochial school.” It was the archdiocese of Denver, Colorado… Archbishop Chaput… who made the decision that the kids had to go. When I used the word “Catholic church,” I meant the institutional, hierarchical body (Pope/cardinals/archbishops/bishops…), and not the body of believers. I do apologize to all faithful Catholics if I created the impression that I was saying that Catholics in general were hypocritical. I do not apologize to the institutional, hierarchical body of the Roman Catholic church… their policies tread very close to hypocrisy, and they seriously need to examine their activities with an eye towards restoring an integrity of belief, action, and words to their institution, as befits followers of Christ. They singled out two gay Catholic women, and ignored divorced and remarried people (among others). They chose to treat the “sin” (I put sin in quotes here because I have come to the conclusion that it is not a sin. I respect the Catholic church’s right to continue to believe it is, but I disagree) of active homosexuality differently from other “sins.” That is a lack of integrity.

Were these two women trying to make the teachings of the church a hate-crime? No. They were trying to raise their kids Catholic like they had promised to do when the kids were baptized.

I would be interested to see links for gay organizations who are trying to make the teachings of the Catholic church regarding homosexuality into a hate-crime. I don’t mean organizations lobbying for equal civil rights in housing, employment, education etc. There’s a big difference between wanting equal civil rights and wanting to charge people with hate crimes.

“I commented to draw fire and gather in one place the material I need to construct of formal rebuttal of your activities to send to our MMs.”

That’s fine, John Michael. I’m sure we will get the opportunity to discuss this many more times during the next few years. Keep in mind that what has begun at Stillwater MM is a conversation and not a debate. The goal is not to garner points or rebut people, but to help each other discern Truth. So far, the conversation has only just barely formally begun at Stillwater MM. I don’t honestly expect us to come to unity at the monthly meeting level for several years, and I expect it will be more years of conversation and prayer at the quarterly meeting and yearly meeting level before we reach unity as a yearly meeting.

I will send you a rough draft of the working paper I have been putting together about why I no longer believe homosexuality to be a sin. Most of the issues we have been discussing here on the blog this month are completely tangential to the real issue: homosexuality is not a sin and LGBT folks deserve an equal place in our faith community. Period. HIV/AIDS, anal sex, ex-gay therapies, other church’s policies and doctrine, the activities of individual gay activist groups…. All this is tangential, and is barely mentioned or not mentioned at all in the paper. The working paper will give you a clearer idea of the source of my convincement, and may help you clarify your own thoughts.

Shawna said...

Walter, thank you for pointing out the loving committed same-sex couples you know, who are hurt by assertions that they are neither loving nor committed, simply because they are same-sex.

Thank you also for pointing out that prejudice is prejudice, whatever group is on the stigmatizing end of the stick.

Shawna said...

Mary Ellen,

The problem with the Bible is that people can interpret what is written in it to defend just about anything they want to believe. Sometimes in order to do this, they end up taking passages out of context and reading them out of the Spirit. *Deep sigh* It's a shortcoming we are all guilty of now and then.

God told Peter to "call no one common or unclean." Peter understood that this meant that the folks who were called to the body of believers had to be accepted even if he didn't used to think they were acceptable, when he saw evidence that the Holy Spirit worked in them too. In this, not only do I find no ground for a religious objection to committed same-sex couples, but I find conviction that we have wronged our LGBT brothers and sisters.

Thank you for the encouragement!

Shawna said...

Here is a link to DignityUSA. Their vision statement: "DignityUSA envisions and works for a time when Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Catholics are affirmed and experience dignity through the integration of their spirituality with their sexuality, and as beloved persons of God participate fully in all aspects of life within the Church and Society."

As long as I'm posting links, if you haven't already checked out this link that Larry posted earlier, please go there:

There's some very important stuff there.

Anonymous said...

Friend Shawna
Have just been reading the updates to the comments and wanted to add this group. Hopefully it is ok.


Affirmation serves Gay Mormon women and men as well as the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Mormons and their supportive family and friends

Shawna said...

Thanks for the link, Larry.

Yes, it's good to provide links that feel useful to the discussion.

kevin roberts said...

So are you going to tell me how to do a click-through, or leave me hanging here in Laramie?

Shawna said...

You never listen when I try to tell you how to use the microwave either.

Here's a click-through:
Click here to go to Kevin's blog

Here's the code, a little bit broken:

< a href="">Click here to go to Kevin's blog< /a>

Remove the spaces between the < and the a, and the < and the /, and you have a click-through.

MaryKali said...

I didn't have the patience to read all the way through the comments, so will apologize for any repetition up front. For me, as a family physician with neuropsychiatric genetic interests, and as a Christian/Hindu/ Celt, the issue of gay marriage boils down to "what helps us become more loving individuals?" The answer is "long term relationships." Ergo, we must legalize it.