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10/21/2010

Uhm, we're not raising an eyebrow at religion, Mr. Daly. We're raising it at your anti-gay work

by Jeremy Hooper

Over on CNN online, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly is weighing in on who is and is not to "blame" for the ongoing fear, harassment, and suicides involving LGBT young people:

Not only is Christianity not to blame for attacks against gays and lesbians, when properly interpreted and practiced, it is the cure for and solution to the mistreatment and abuse of anyone, for any reason.

If there is a single golden thread woven through the Bible and the faith it informs, it is this: when it comes to human rights and how we treat each other, no person is superior or inferior to the next. Yes, sin exists; and God does not condone it. But he does embrace the sinner - and that means every one of us. Scripture makes it clear we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), yet makes it just as clear (Romans 5:8) that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So, to violate the dignity of another person, in any form or fashion, is to contradict the very basis of Gospel-centered living. And to suggest that an orthodox understanding of Christianity encourages abuse against homosexuals is a sad misreading of the very tenets of the faith.
...
In the end, it's the graceless behavior of bullies - against homosexuals or anyone else - that should serve to remind both Christians and non-Christians why Jesus came to earth at all: It is his way, exclusively, that provides the power to transform hearts, minds and actions.
My Take: Christianity not to blame for anti-gay bullying [CNN]

A complete and utter red herring! Because nobody is claiming that Christianity, as a religion or personal values system, is to blame. Many gay people are Christians. 6A00D8341C503453Ef0133Ecf73A1D970BMany LGBT supporters are Christians. Many other Christians are non-supporters of LGBT rights and maybe their lives in general, but still don't get involved in the anti-LGBT politicking that has come to define the religious right (and that has wounded so many impressionable minds). So saying "Christianity [is] not to blame for attacks on gays and lesbians" is a clever sidestep that completely misses the big dance.

Like Maggie Gallagher before him, Jim Daly conveniently overlooks the key issue here: The day-to-day work and messaging that make up a large portion of his paycheck-earning career. Jim is still vocally opposed to same-sex marriage; is one of the major backers of the so-called Manhattan Declaration, which essentially declares war on gay couples' right to legal recognition (and which features some truly eye-opening signatures); he says that gays "find themselves in homosexuality," and will, via their legal loving, bring forth the "judgement of God"; he claims that pro-equality companies like Wells Fargo are pushing a "radical homosexual agenda"; and he heads up an organization that, when its worker bees are not busy claiming that a highly qualified SCOTUS nominee would be a non-starter if he or she was gay or lesbian, still prints all of the following things on its official website, all of which can be found by simply typing "homosexual" into the search box on the org's main landing page (the exact kind of search a scared mother in the midwest would make if seeking answers about her gay son):

• "Look beyond the "gay" or "lesbian" label to the whole person inside. Rather than seeing your friend as a homosexual, think of him or her as a person with a homosexual problem." [Source]

• "The best prevention of gender confusion remains a strong home life. Homosexuality is much less likely to occur in the context of a loving home where parents are reasonably well-adjusted sexually themselves. I don't think it is necessary to react with paranoia even in this aberrant culture. If parents provide a healthy, stable home life and do not interfere with the child's appropriate sex role, homosexuality is highly unlikely to occur." [Source]

• "Sexual orientation is complex because it develops over time. We are born with the potential to have a healthy sexual orientation — towards the other sex — but because of sin, our sexual orientation may not develop as God intended. This is where we need God's power for healing and change." [Source]

• "I head a division of Focus on the Family whose purpose is to introduce homosexuals to Jesus Christ and to offer a way out of the lifestyle that ensnares them. We also provide hope, information and support to their friends and family members. We have found that many homosexuals who seem so angry are actually desperate to escape, but have never been told that God loves them. Many are intimidated from seeking a solution to their pain." [Source]

• "In addition to the ominous feeling that something is wrong, there are a number of telltale signs that your partner might be struggling with same-sex attraction or having a homosexual affair: [FOF proceeds to list 14 "warning signs"] [Source]

• "Attempts to subjugate objective biblical truths to subjective human experiences lead men and women to accept lies. Often those having a personal interest in the promulgation of pro-gay revisionist theology twist the plain teaching of Scripture to support and justify their behavior." [Source]

• "Love is not enough to justify a relationship. A married man can fall deeply in love with a woman other than his wife; that will never sanctify adultery. Likewise, love between two men or women cannot justify a homosexual relationship." [Source]

(**And there used to be many more before this site pointed them out and FoTF promptly removed them)

So no, it's not Christianity in general that should be discussed here: It's the LGBT-condemning, reparative therapy-backing, credible science-twisting, discrimination-backing, cherry-picking brand of evangelism that groups like Focus on the Family have so forcibly injected into every American's life, regardless of his or her's own personal faith views. A gay kid can walk away from a scholarly examination of the Bible and still feel pride in his or her being. Quotes that label gays as having a "homosexual problem," not so much.

When it comes to the climate of LGBT pain, we're not laying all responsibility at the anti-LGBT social conservatives' feet: Though we would advise people like Mr. Daly to wear some shoes with a reinforced toe.

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