18 October 2006

Preachers In Your Pants

MATTHEW 19: 16-19
Then someone came to (Jesus Christ) and said: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have Eternal Life?” And He said to him . . . “If you wish to enter into Life, keep the Commandments.” He said to Him: “Which ones?” And Jesus said: “You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. Honor your father and mother. Also, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

In this very important passage, the Messiah lists the laws of conduct that apply to Christians. Notice that only once does he allude to sexual conduct. This is one of the key differences between God's Old Covenant with humanity and His New Covenant. Levitican law was extremely strict in regard to sexual practice, but with the coming of the Savior, the Israelites were granted increased sexual freedom. Unfortunately, human lawgivers quickly decided that they preferred the Old Covenant to the New, at least where sexuality was concerned!

There are certainly legitimate reasons for a society to want to regulate sexual activity. Do we want adults to use children for their sexual gratification? No, and for that reason, we have laws against pedophilia. Do we want adults to be forced into sexual intercourse against their will? No, and for that reason, we have laws against rape. Do we want adults having public sex in full view of children and elderly people? No, and for that reason, we have indecency laws. These regulations make perfect sense. They're designed to guard against people being victimized.

Religious institutions go quite a bit farther in regulating sexual activity. Some of their regulations serve the same purpose as civil law, such as prohibitions against adultery; infidelity, after all, can be devastating to individuals and to their families. However, most of the sexual docrines that churches, mosques and synagogues preach serve no legitimate purpose! They're simply intrusive. They dictate what gender of person adults can have sexual relations with. They dictate which adult partner is dominant in a sexual relationship. Sometimes, they dictate the ethnic/racial background of people their members marry or date. Some dictate how often adults should have sex. Some even dictate which sexual positions are appropriate for adults to assume!

This kind of regulation goes too far! It's inappropriate. Ministers, imams and rabbis cite Scriptural justification for regulating sex in this way, but it doesn't make sense! If they call themselves spiritual leaders and people come to them seeking spiritual guidance, then why are they so intensely concerned with carnal things?

You could call it prurient interest disguised as doctrine. I call it sexual fascism, a method of controlling and oppressing people by means of their faith. Yet it has nothing to do with faith in God. I can't speak for people of other religions, but I can and do say that this unseemly preoccupation with sex is a perversion of Christianity. The Holy Trinity is the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. It's not the bed, the penis, and the vagina!

Yet many "Christian" preachers seem to believe otherwise. One of them is Washington DC-based Bishop Eddie Long, who recently used his pulpit to proclaim the moral superiority of all heterosexual men, even while he excoriated "f*ggots." Yes, that's the word he used. In church! And he's not the only one to have done so.

I have another name for the unwarranted blending of spirituality and carnality: "Dirtylegs" religion! In other words, defiled religion. When Jesus Christ's message of salvation gets reduced to the equivalent of a sex manual like How To Please Your Husband (and it does get reduced to that, more often than you'd suspect), spiritual defilement occurs! The practice of "dirtylegs" religion may not be as prevalent in the world as it once was, but I'm not exaggerating when I say it's still rampant. You're sure to find its taint within the "Christian" doctrines most Fundamentalist churches preach.

Houses of worship aren't the only places where you can find "dirtylegs" religion being practiced. There are organizations whose entire existence is based on it! One of them is Exodus International, the world's largest exponent of so-called "ex-Gay" doctrine. Exodus "ministers" counsel Lesbians and Gay men to abstain from homosexual intercourse and renounce Gay identity.

At least, that's what they used to counsel. Part of Exodus International's mission has always been pressuring Gay people to marry heterosexually and engage in procreative sex. Recently, the pressure has become about as intense as it can get! In my previous post, "Homosexuality 101," I quoted an excerpt from a recent book called God's Grace and The Homosexual (sic) Next Door, written by the president of Exodus International. I brought this book to the attention of Dr. Jerry Maneker, my friend and fellow religious activist. God bless him, he had a few things to say about it! Let me now share what he said with you:

These are two quotes from this book that show just how nasty and ideologically driven these people are by not only condemning same-sex behavior, but even condemning same-sex orientation! Says Alan Chambers: "This is why I believe that it is so important to clarify that just living a celibate Gay life is just as sinful as living a sexually promiscuous one. The sin is in identifying with anything that is contrary to Christ, which homosexuality clearly is (page 218)." (This erroneous contention has been dealt with ad nauseum, and I won't bother to address it again here.) Says Mike Goeke: "Many who leave homosexuality behind are unwilling to accept that their only option is to live a life of celibacy, simply managing unwanted attractions. What they really want is a change in identity! They no longer want the Gay label attached to them (pages 69-70)." So, even a guilt-ridden Gay person who contents him/herself with celibacy as a way of coping with what he/she feels is sinful is acting just as "contrary to Christ" as is a sexually promiscuous one!

To say that Exodus leaders and their gullible, frequently guilt-ridden followers are doing indescribable damage to people . . . is obvious to any rational person who knows anything about love and sexuality! The real sickness here is that they seek to impose their own twisted views of sexuality and sexual orientation (likely projecting their revulsion concerning their own sexuality) on others, using Christianity as justification for this condemnation . . . even celibate, frequently self-loathing closet cases are made to feel guilty unless they literally change who they are, their very identities, their most primal urges.

Enforced celibacy is a sin, as seen in 1 Timothy 4:3 . . . the Roman Catholic Church departs from Scriptural admonitions to not enforce celibacy and, indeed, by doing so commits a sinful act. However, God does call some people to remain celibate, and one's obedience to that call is certainly NOT sinful! The quotes such as those of Chambers and Goeke have the effect of inculcating in others what these people undoubtedly seek to repress within themselves (with, most likely, a tremendous degree of effort) . . . they may well be seeking to doom other LGBT people to the feelings of guilt and self-loathing that they, themselves, deal with on a constant basis and seek refuge from . . . reinforcing each other in their illusion that same-sex activity, same-sex love, and even same-sex attraction is inherently sinful . . . they incessantly, and ironically, say that they have "changed" their sexual orientations due to (having come) to Christ, Who, I might add, created them Gay in the first place!

Actually, a far better case can be made that seeking to try to change one's sexual orientation (a gift given to us by God) is the real sin! Chafing under God's sovereign choices is far more sinful than is embracing what God has given us, whether or not other people (self-styled "Christians" or not) approve of our lives. Let's face it, if the people who are in Exodus really were changed, they would . . . tell people that that change came about because Jesus changed them, and if others want to change, they should ask Jesus to do the same for them. (They would) merely state that fact, write some books on the subject, and then go on with their lives. However, when Exodus and other such groups and individuals incessantly berate LGBT people; (when they) make a veritable industry of seeking to have others be "ex-Gay" like they say they are, (and) seek to inculcate guilt and self-loathing on others (a clearly un-Christian act), they are showing that they . . . are struggling with their own sexuality . . . (and) they are seeking to punish those who are very content to be who God created them to be.

So, although I don't talk about sin all that much, at least two questions must be asked: (1) What is the real sin? Embracing what God made us to be, or rejecting His choices for us and listening to others, many of whom have their own ideological, psychological, pathological, and material agendas . . . ? (2) Who is the real sinner here? The person who doesn't judge others and who loves others . . . or the person who seeks to inculcate guilt and shame . . . who (tries) to foment a climate of hate where those he or she targets are more likely to be bashed and killed . . . ?

The existence, rhetoric, and stridency of such people as (Alan) Chambers is not only decidedly un-Christian, but tells us far more about their own likely internal struggles with trying to accomplish the impossible . . . lying to themselves, as well as others, that they have changed the way God made them, and having the temerity to condemn others made in God's image . . . ! Groups such as Exodus and people who condemn LGBT people are committing grievous sins! It's the ones who have faith in and don't chafe under God's sovereign choices, and who embrace human diversity in the multifaceted tapestry created by God; those who trust God over and above seen circumstances, and over and above the ignorant, often hateful rhetoric of others . . . who show themselves to be God's own possession! It's people of such faith of whom God says (in Hebrews 11:16): "He is not ashamed . . ."

It doesn't take a genius to figure out how God must feel about organizations like Exodus International. Can't you just imagine Him bristling with rage? What incredible blasphemy! What brazen indecency! People claiming to be the messengers of Jesus Christ, but preaching an outrageous false Gospel of insertive vaginal sex! Heterosexual pimping in the name of the Lord! When Exodus spokesmen declare celibacy sinful for Lesbians and Gay men, that's what it boils down to! So this is the way to achieve Eternal Life, is it? This is what the Savior died for? This is the narrow road He encouraged us to travel?

MARK 8:33
(Jesus Christ said)"Get behind me, Satan! For you don't savor the things that come from God, (you savor) the things that come from men!"

God has no interest in getting inside the pants of Gay people! He already knows what we do in bed. He knows why we do it, too! He's the One who gave us our gift of sexuality. As long as our sexual proclivities aren't a danger to anyone, He doesn't care what they are. What God cares about is how we go about our lives, sexually and otherwise.

He cares about whether our motives are honorable. He cares about whether our hearts are true. He wants us to be respectful of our sex partners. He wants us to be respectful of ourselves. He wants us to be responsible and considerate in all our dealings with other people. He wants us to be accepting of each other instead of judgmental. He wants us to follow the example of His Son, Jesus Christ, as closely as we possibly can.

The New Covenant is still in effect! When it comes to sexual practice, I think God's attitude echoes the words to that old Jazz song Ella Fitzgerald used to sing: T'ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it!

There's nothing wrong with trying to bring Gay people to God. On the contrary, it's the right thing to do! That's what I'm trying to do. What's wrong is the way groups like Exodus International go about it: Trying to sell Divine salvation through heterosexual intercourse! It's insane! We may not be able to stop Alan Chambers and his ilk from falling off the ideological deep end, but we surely don't have to be so foolish as to go diving off after them.

If you have a legitimate sexually-related problem, there are plenty of licensed professionals who can help you overcome it. You don't have to go crawling in shame to some unqualified and unenlightened preacher who defines your problem in terms of sin. Religious "experts" on sex can leave you feeling even more ashamed! They can also leave you feeling abused and exploited; just a few weeks ago, a so-called evangelist raped a woman during a bogus ritual that was meant to "exorcise" her Lesbianism. Believe me, there are other horror stories!

Preachers have no business attempting to "treat" you. They have no business even wanting to attempt such a thing! What some of them really want to do is feign disgust while secretly getting off on the idea of you having "unnatural" sex. They're eager to condemn you, but their own impure thoughts are far more worthy of condemnation! Shame on them! Down with "dirtylegs" religion! We must begin to insist on pure Christian doctrine that separates the carnal from the spiritual.

If you're not a rapist, or an exhibitionist, or a sadist, or a hedonist, or a pedophile, or some other kind of sexual predator, there's nothing sinful about your sexuality! Don't let anybody convince you otherwise! Don't let anybody impose celibacy on you. Don't let anybody forbid you from practicing celibacy. Don't let anybody impose a specific kind of sexual practice on you, regardless of whether it's heterosexual, homosexual or pansexual. Most important, don't give anybody permission to pass judgment on your sexuality.

If, for allegedly religious reasons, someone assumes they have permission to do so, set them straight in a big damn hurry! Stand up to these Fundamentalist perverts! Tell them to stay the Hell out of your pants! Remind them that if they were truly representing Jesus Christ, they would keep their religious instruction focused on souls instead of on genitalia. This sexually and spiritually confused world of ours would be in a lot better shape if they did!

JOHN 13: 34-5
(Jesus Christ said)“I give you a new Commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

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