WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Putin's Russia embraces intermingling of Church & State; rejection of gay equality

As the United States grapples with gay/lesbian marriage and equality (seemingly moving inexorably in that direction), just like Europe and Latin America, it's instructive to note the hold-outs: Vast swaths of the Middle-East, Africa, and south Asia, whether Muslim or Christian, and surprisingly to some, today's Russia.

To be sure, the history of homosexuality in the old Soviet Union is complicated. The original Bolsheviks under Lenin enthusiastically threw out all the old Tsarist prohibitions on divorce, abortion, and homosexuality. (Although for Russia proper, not the "backward" Transcaucasian and Soviet Asiatic republics). Openly gay folks served in the Soviet government.

Joseph Stalin (perhaps reflecting his Transcaucasian / Georgia heritage) turned back the clock. By 1933, the Soviet criminal code expressly prohibited male homosexuality with up to five years of hard labor in prison. Think about that for a moment. An officially atheistic government had a problem with homosexuality.

Historians have offered various explanations for the repression of homosexuality during this period. Perhaps Stalin indeed wanted to cultivate better relations with the Russian Orthodox Church. Perhaps he wanted to increase the Russian birthrate. Perhaps he just wanted a hammer to use against dissidents, whatever their true sexual orientation. With the high-profile arrests of Russian men for inappropriate contacts with boys, perhaps the Stalin regime confused adult homosexuality with pedophilia.

The Khruschchev era saw another liberalization of laws pertaining to marriage, divorce, and abortion, but retained the law prohibiting male homosexuality.

Later, Glasnost under Mikhail Gorbachev allowed increasingly open expression of gay culture.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin's government legalized male homosexuality in 1993, although reports persisted of homosexuals being re-sentenced to prison, etc. Russian authorities removed homosexuality from the official list of mental disorders in 1999.

Fast-forward to the current Putin era. In some respects, Russia is going backward again. Gay rights parades in Moscow have ended in violent clashes. LGBT activists have accused police of failing to protect them. Just a few years ago, then-Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov tried to ban "Moscow Pride" activities, branding them "satanic". Opposition to gay activism seemed to turn these forces into unlikely allies: The Russian Orthodox Church; one of the Chief Rabbis of Moscow; the Grand Mufti (Muslim) of Moscow; and the neo-Nazis.

Indeed, critics say Russian nationalism is descending into homophobia. Evidence: An anti-homosexual "propaganda" bill that is gaining traction in the State Duma.

For me, the most interesting evidence of some of this comes from listening to the Voice of Russia (the former Radio Moscow) on shortwave, and perusing the Voice of Russia's website.

It is not uncommon to hear the VoR interview an Orthodox priest or activist condemning the West's embrace of gay marriage and equality.

Consider the ironies. U.S. conservatives, including moral conservatives (although not necessarily the Tea Party fiscal conservatives) have been most weary of Russia, criticizing the Obama Administration's attempt to recalibrate relations.

Yet, it's on the Voice of Russia these days that you'll hear about God and traditional morality. (Certainly not on the Voice of America!)

Check out this example; I think you'll find it interesting.

Especially the assertion by the guest that in the current North American political climate, "anyone who opposes the institution of marriage including homosexuals faces the danger of losing their jobs or being sued if they speak out."


Russia's retrogression has not received very much attention in U.S. media.

Europeans are more aware. For example, the Dutch plan protests when Putin visits The Netherlands.



Now, different angle on gay marriage:

Will gay marriage turn gay people into squares?
Check out this rather contrarian piece in The DAILY BEAST / NEWSWEEK:


Posted at 7:53am on March 28, 2013 by Allan Loudell

<- Back to all Allan Loudell posts

Comments on this post:

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Mar 28, 2013 8:34am
Allan: I find it interesting that the Russians consistently made laws against MALE homosexuality, you never mentioned Lesbians in your commentary.

I wonder if, in the Russian experience, they found that Lesbians are more inclined to seek and keep a committed relationship [civil union], thus not causing the government any problems with disorderly conduct, etc., where they found that Gay men are more likely to "cat around", so they didn't see Lesbians as being a problem for their society. thus didn't regulate against them.

It will be interesting to see what America's experience with this will be, as our government seems determined to go beyond "civil unions" and allow gay/lesbian "marriages" here in the US.

The other part of this that ISN'T being discussed, because they, the LGBT community, knows this would kill their efforts is, ONCE they can be married legally in the US, will the LGBT community THEN seek to make laws in the US that would make it a hate crime or hate speech for a pastor to preach that homosexuality is a sin, based on the Bible, and will they push the government to force the churches, synogogues, and temples to have to perform gay/lesbian marriages and ordain gay/lesbians to the ministry or lose their tax-exempt status and face legal charges of discrimination?

My point of view on this is, the government isn't holy, so it doesn't surprise me they'll want to legalize gay/lesbian marriage (think Ancient Rome). The issue for me is, as it's been implied to me by some in the LGBT community that as they want to be considered "normal" by society, and see the churches and the followers of Christ to be what's kept them from getting their way in the US, so they'd like the Bible to be banned and they also want churches to have to marry them and ordain them, and consider it discrimination and want the churches punished for doing that, thus my question.

Allan Loudell
Thu, Mar 28, 2013 8:48am

It wouldn't be the first time that same-gender relationships among women didn't earn the revulsion as same-gender relationships among men.

A myth has evolved that the prudish Queen Victoria blocked an anti-homosexual law from pertaining to women, because she couldn't even imagine women doing such things.

Perhaps "straight" men find lesbianism less threatening (or even subliminally enticing). One could come up with many possible explanations.

Allan Loudell

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 9:32am
As Sam Malone once commented on Cheers, "Chicks only do it because they know we like it." It's not subliminally enticing at all.

Yesterday, the death penalty. Today, gay rights. Red meat thrown to the religious right.

MikeFromDelaware: Within your lifetime, preachers in the pulpit were saying segregation is god's laws and miscegenation is contrary to god's law. Before that, slavery was god's law.

You sound like you are in sympathy with the Westboro Baptist Church and their ilk.

If your god so disapproves of homosexuality, why are you so unwilling to let him/her/it deal with it? Why do you Christians, preaching freedom in so many other contexts, feel the need to interfere in this area? Is homosexuality so threatening?

Psychologically, why isn't counseling people against "sin" enough for you all? Why this need to pass laws to force the unpersuaded to behave in ways you approve?

Preachers already rail against things that are legal and supported by powerful interests. They preach about the evils of gambling and the Mafia doesn't go after them.

I can't help reflecting that gay marriage would not be an issue if churches had not already so watered-down the concept of traditional marriage to the point that divorce and remarriage (serial monogamy) has become accepted in churches and become the norm in society. This country is full of blended "Brady Bunch" families created by divorce and remarriage (not death and remarriage), in which slight dissatisfaction causes people to bail out on marriage.

You put forward (the questionable) assertion that the Soviet Union condoned lesbian couples because they were more likely to form stable unions than male homosexuals. Aren't stable unions a good thing in your book? Yet you seem to oppose gay marriage (i.e., stable unions) in this country. Would you prefer to go back to the gay culture of bars, discos, bath houses, and anonymous sex from before the AIDS epidemic? Gays try to practice responsible sex and "stable unions" and you all are up in arms about it. What's that about?

And why is the Catholic Church so opposed to gay marriage (including the new Pope)? They don't want judges marrying gays or liberal protestant ministers marrying gays? The church doesn't recognize those marriages as valid any way. Why should they care, except for this need to force others to live their way?

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 9:45am

The Russians who opposed gay rights did so for the same reason we oppose pedophilia rights: It's wrong and immoral.

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 10:11am
"The Russians who opposed gay rights did so for the same reason we oppose pedophilia rights: It's wrong and immoral."

Well, that's your opinion.

Wrong AND immoral? Wow! Are some things wrong but not immoral or immoral but not wrong?

As AllanLoudell already pointed out, Stalin was not a Russian. Neither was Brezhnev.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Mar 28, 2013 10:51am
Billsmith: You insult me by implying that I'm anything like the Westboro Baptists.

You never have heard me say anything hateful about the homosexual community, or individuals in that community, or that God hates the homosexual (those Westboro folks use another word that is as offensive as the "N" word).

I have no problem with the government allowing this stuff, even though I personally don't agree with it due to my understanding of what God's Word in The Bible says. I also understand the government is not holy, nor is it trying to serve God. The government is supposed to represent everyone so there will be times when I don't agree with its decisions, as in this matter. MY issue as I said above in the previous post, is about the churches being forced by the government to have to comply with this stuff even though it goes against the churches' teachings and beliefs. THAT's my issue.

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 11:25am
MikeFromDelaware: You seem like a good guy but you identify yourself with a group that says (and does) things you acknowledge as hateful. Yet you defend their right and freedom to be hateful.

Christians want to pass laws against behavior they disapprove of. Maybe that's why they (or you) assume gays will want to pass laws against things they disapprove of.

OK, you are not a homophobe. Gays want to marry. They want families. They want the benefits governments give to married couples. They want things everybody else wants. So, what's your problem with that?

Christians claim to love people but they want to condemn women to back-alley abortions and they want to condemn gays to a secretive, sad, lonely life of anonymous sex. Do you really think things were better when the government was enforcing your idea of morality?

Is it your belief that god makes people gay and then wants them to live a life of celibacy and social isolation? Jesus said go into the closet to pray, not to live. Besides, voluntary celibacy has worked so well for the Catholic priesthood.

Allan Loudell
Thu, Mar 28, 2013 11:35am
Reading the above exchanges, I thought about an article I had read yesterday in The DAILY BEAST on line entitled, "Why Gay Marriage will win and Sexual Freedom will lose". Think about it.

I've posted a link to that article from my main post above.

Allan Loudell

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 11:49am
AllanLoudell: The tongue-in-cheek Daily Beast piece makes some interesting points.

Elites have always led the way. Before serial monogamy, elites had mistresses and legitimate and illegitimate off-spring. Marriage wasn't for love but for heredity and inheritance.

What may have sounded the death knell for marriage was the industrial revolution and the failed "two in a box" experiment. People lived in clans or what we now call extended families, multiple related couples and multi-generational. It's tough to go off with one other person and put up with that year after year.

Anthropologists have pointed out that matrilineal cultures don't have many restrictions on who can have sex with whom. When lines, status, and property pass through the mother, it doesn't matter who the father is.

But the curious part is the push for conformity. Not much has changed since the 50s. And how talk radio debates issues that really should be nobody else's business.

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 12:00pm
I believe Putin is doing this for nothing but power...the Russian churches will back him if he appears to support their beliefs. He is mixing nationalism & religion, which is a very powerful combination.

The biggest problem most American Christians have with homosexual marriage is that its passage will then mandate clergy, priests and ministers to perform marriage ceremonies that violate their own religious beliefs on marriage.

The issue has nothing to do with "rights"; it has to do with changing the church...civil unions fix the "rights" issues. Any remaining issues with federal/state government benefits could be made AND keep the church separated from the state.

Marriage is not performed by the state but by the Church...wouldn't forcing the church to perform these marriages violate the First Amendment of the Constitiution? (Freedom of Religion)

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 12:30pm
A step towards gay marriage is also step down the slippery slope to allow pedophilia. Twenty years from now, pedophiles will argue for 'equal rights' and the legal right to marry children.

When we have this 'anything goes' culture, it opens the crack for pedophilia rights down the road.

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 1:15pm
"Marriage is not performed by the state but by the Church."

Really? Then what about those people who go to city hall, a judge, a justice of the peace or even a ship's captain? What do you call that?

"Slippery slope?" Right. Like if we don't fight the commies in Viet Nam, we'll have to fight them in San Francisco. We didn't stop the commies in Viet Nam, and now they loan us money and sell us cars, smartphones, tablets, farm products, industrial goods just like capitalists. They are really sneaky that way.

Notice that when the religious right wants to tell people how to live, they always trot out the slippery slope and their predictions are always wrong. Like no utopia after prohibition passed, just the rise of organized crime.

The only people who argue for their right to marry children are extreme fundamentalists (often arguing for the right to marry several children).

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 2:05pm
"Really? Then what about those people who go to city hall, a judge, a justice of the peace or even a ship's captain? What do you call that?"

I call those civil unions sanctioned by the state...just keep the church separated from the state.

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 2:17pm
Earl: I'm almost tempted to go along with you. I don't know about exact terminology here but I think the system in some European countries makes a lot of sense. People get a license and get married at the equivalent of city hall - everybody has to do it. This gives them all the legal rights and benefits of married couples. If they want a church-sanctioned marriage, then they go get married in church. This binds the couple under the doctrines of their church. The first is required. The second is optional.

I'd even be OK with giving the rules of the church, if a couple is married in a religious ceremony, the same legal weight and enforceability as any per-nuptual agreement. That is, if you have a Catholic wedding, you give up the right to get divorced and married again.

I understand Louisiana has two levels of marriage. I don't recall the exact names, but one if something like civil marriage and the other is something like covenant marriage.

But religious organizations should worry more about their own people and less about what everybody else is doing or who else is going down to city hall.

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 2:29pm
Preachers at smaller non-denominational churches often do not obtain a license from the state unless they are asked to perform a marriage ceremony. I attended one a couple of years ago where the deacon who read the service could not "officiate" as he was unlicensed. Another minister had to say "by the power vested in me by the state of Delaware...".

So if you are licensed by the state and you refuse to perform a "marriage" because Bill is hooking up with Samuel, can you be thrown in prison?

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 4:59pm
State laws vary. Generally, one has to be "ordained" by a recognized denomination in order to perform marriages and has to follow state laws on marriage. People have to obtain a license. People in some states have to get a blood test and observe a waiting period. People have to be of whatever the legal age is for marriage (or have parental consent).

There has never been any attempt to require clergy to perform any marriage against the rules of their denomination. For example, Catholic priests cannot be forced to marry non-Catholics or divorced persons.

Any time some major social change is about to happen, all these slippery-slope arguments come up. Often essentially the same arguments. Equal rights for women will force unisex bathrooms. Ending segregation will force White barbers to cut Blacks' hair. Free slaves and Blacks will be turned loose to rob and to rape White women.

I'd have more respect for some of you if you'd just admit you hate gays, are repulsed at the thought of what they might be doing, and don't want them around.

I'd also have more respect for the media if they didn't treat bigotry as a valid viewpoint worthy of equal time and treatment.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Mar 28, 2013 6:45pm
Billsmith: I do NOT identify with ANY hate groups. The Westboro Baptists are not brothers in Christ with me anymore than the KKK folks are/were brothers in Christ [Just because someone says they're a Christian doesn't make them a Christian anymore than someone going to McDonald's makes them a hamburger - God will make that judgment on all of us when he separates the sheep from the goats on Judgment Day].

Frankly, I question whether those folks from Westboro Baptist know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Obviously only God can judge, but hey, I've got an opinion, and as I see no evidence of the Love or Grace of God coming from those folks at all, I'd have to seriously question whether or not they are brothers/sisters in Christ or wolves in sheep's clothing.

I can't speak for all Christians, but many of us view these issues not from a hate the gay/lesbian thing as you seem to imply, but what the Word of God [The Bible} teaches. The Bible is rather clear that homosexual behavior is an abomination [the Bible's word] to God. Not exactly a weasel word. A pretty strong word.

Just as premarital sex or running around on your wife/husband by straight folks is sinful. The church doesn't permit any of that. Let's face it, if you don't tell the church you're cheating on your wife/husband or having premarital sex, or practicing homosexual sex, how would they know? For centuries gay/lesbians have done their thing and most folks never knew including their churches.

The difference today is the gay/lesbian community wants to tell you and expects you to say it's a fine, acceptable, alternative lifestyle. A Christian can't do that. I didn't make the rules, God did. So when the gay/lesbian folks talk about it, they bring the focus on themselves and I'd be a liar if I told them it was a fine, acceptable, alternative lifestyle as God's Word clearly does not say that.

If married folks who were running around on their wives/husbands were telling folks that, the church too would speak out against that too, because both things are wrong and by God's standard, both are sin.

As far as civil laws, prior to these last 40+ years, our society in America leaned in the Christian direction, so as a result our nation's laws reflected that as that's what the people wanted. Today, our nation is far more diverse with all sorts of religions and non-religious folks, and as a result our laws are changing to reflect that change [I don't have to like it, but it is what's happening in America now]. That's why I'm not surprised that the secular laws are changing. My issue is that the government, along with the gay/lesbian community, do not try to make new laws that would try to force churches, temples, and mosques to have to marry gay/lesbians and have gay/lesbian clergy.

As I've said before, if the government chooses to allow gay/lesbian marriage, that's their business [just like ancient Rome]. I don't have to agree with it, or participate in it, but I don't want the churches to be forced to participate. If a church chooses on its own to participate, that's their choice, but no church should be threatened or forced to do something that goes against their beliefs. I don't hear the gay/lesbian community saying any of that and that's what's bothering me.

So Billsmith, you and I will just have to agree to disagree on this issue. I understand where you're coming from; I just don't see it that way and you don't see it my way. It is what it is.

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 8:08pm
I must admit I have at times contemplated moving to Russia or some other nearby country. I'm starting to contemplate it again - if only for a moment.

It's really a mixed bag.

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 9:10pm
" The Bible is rather clear that homosexual behavior is an abomination [the Bible's word] to God. Not exactly a weasel word. A pretty strong word. "

No, that isn't the Bible's word. It's the writers of the King James Version's word. (Lev 20:13) You might ask a rabbi what the Hebrew word means in this context.

The same passage also calls for executing gays. Do you really go all the way with the Bible here?

Like Stalin and Queen Victoria, the Bible only forbids men with men. Nothing about lesbians.

I bet you engage in other activities the King James Version rendering of Leviticus calls "abominations." Ever had shrimp, scallops or lobster? Squid or eel (you did say you come from Italian ancestry)? All "abominations." Catholics and Lutherans have "graven images" (even edited the prohibition of graven images out of the 10 commandments). Also an abomination.

mrpizza: I thought Canada was a "nearby country." Russia nearby? Only if you're Sarah Palin and can see if from your house.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Mar 28, 2013 11:36pm
Billsmith: Below are quite a few English language translations and the words used are all strong words, most use abomination. So it is not just the King James Version.

I also looked up the Hebrew word used in Leviticus 18:22 in my Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. The Hebrew word is tow'ebah which means disgusting, an abhorrence. This word comes from the root word ta'ab, which means to loathe, abhor, abominable. So my guess is, in the Jewish world too, homosexuality was not considered a fine acceptable lifestyle. So the Christian Bible translators didn't get it wrong.

Physically, from a Science point of view, the "plumbing" was not designed to work male to male or female to female. If all of us were homosexuals, humans would die off. So even simple common sense says this is not NORMAL and how it was to be. So even moving this away from a "spiritual" perspective, science agrees with the Bible on this issue.

So that's why Christians and their respective churches can not go along with this "normalization" of the gay/lesbian lifestyle as the LGBT folks are trying to eliminate over 4000 years of Jewish teaching and over 2000 years of Christian teaching.

Yes, it is only a matter of time before America makes gay/lesbian marriage legal. Just because something's popular doesn't make it right and just because something's right doesn't mean it will be popular. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

Leviticus 18:22 (KJ21)

22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (ASV)

22 You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (CEB)

22 You must not have sexual intercourse with a man as you would with a woman; it is a detestable practice.
Leviticus 18:22 (CJB)

(RY: iv, LY: vii) 22 “‘You are not to go to bed with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (CEV)

22 It is disgusting for a man to have sex with another man.
Leviticus 18:22 (DARBY)

22 And thou shalt not lie with mankind as one lieth with a woman: it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (DRA)

22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind, because it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (ERV)

22 “Men, you must not have sexual relations with another man as with a woman. That is a terrible sin!
Leviticus 18:22 (ESV)

22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (ESVUK)

22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (EXB)

22 “‘You must not ·have sexual relations [L lie] with a man as you would a woman. That is·a hateful sin [an abomination].
Leviticus 18:22 (GNV)

22 Thou shalt not lie with the male as one lieth with a woman: for it is abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (GW)

22 Never have sexual intercourse with a man as with a woman. It is disgusting.
Leviticus 18:22 (GNT)

22 No man is to have sexual relations with another man; God hates that.
Leviticus 18:22 (HCSB)

22 You are not to sleep with a man as with a woman; it is detestable.
Leviticus 18:22 (KJV)

22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (KNOX)

22 Thou shalt not have commerce with a man as if it had been with a woman; such commerce is abominable.
Leviticus 18:22 (LEB)

22 And you shall not lie with a male as lying with a woman; that is a detestable thing.
Leviticus 18:22 (MSG)

22 “Don’t have sex with a man as one does with a woman. That is abhorrent.
Leviticus 18:22 (NASB)

22 You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (NCV)

22 “‘You must not have sexual relations with a man as you would a woman. That is a hateful sin.
Leviticus 18:22 (NET)

22 You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman; it is a detestable act.
Leviticus 18:22 (NIRV)

22 “‘Do not have sex with a man as you would have sex with a woman. I hate that.
Leviticus 18:22 (NIV)

22 “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.
Leviticus 18:22 (NIVUK)

22 ‘“Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.
Leviticus 18:22 (NKJV)

22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (NLV)

22 Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman. It is a sinful thing.
Leviticus 18:22 (NLT)

22 “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.
Leviticus 18:22 (NRSV)

22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (NRSVA)

22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (NRSVACE)

22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (NRSVCE)

22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
Vayikra 18:22 (OJB)

22 Thou shalt not lie with zachar, as with isha: it is to’evah (abomination, detestable)
Leviticus 18:22 (RSV)

22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (RSVCE)

22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (VOICE)

22 You are not to have sexual relations with a man in the same way you do with a woman; such a thing is detestable.
Leviticus 18:22 (WEB)

22 “‘You shall not lie with a man, as with a woman. That is detestable.
Leviticus 18:22 (WYC)

22 Thou shalt not be meddled, [(or) mingled,] with a man, by lechery of a woman, for it is abomination. (Thou shalt not be mixed together with a man, like in fleshly coupling with a woman, for it is an abomination.)
Leviticus 18:22 (YLT)

22 `And with a male thou dost not lie as one lieth with a woman; abomination it [is].

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 4:18am
billsmith: What I meant was another country nearby to Russia, such as Belarus or Ukraine.

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 4:22am
Mike: Excellent presentation of Leviticus 18:22. I had no idea there were that many versions!

I would also add that once they pass gay marriage, then they'll want to legalize sex with children and then sex with animals. While they're at it, why not marry your child or animal? The possibilities are endless.

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 7:52am
mrpizza: You love your slippery slope. You can't argue against what's actually being discussed, so you make up stuff, stuff that's extreme, unlikely and impossible - but scary. How about sex with hot apple pie? No, that's a movie and it's copyrighted. How about sex with inflatable dolls? No, people already do that. How about legalized sex with cars? US cars, OK. Imports, no.

MikeFromDelaware: With all your quotes from different translations you ignored two basic questions: Do you want to kill homosexual men (as Leviticus orders)? And what about all those other abominations in Leviticus you and most Christians routinely practice? Should Red Lobster customers be stoned (Leviticus' preferred method of capital punishment)? How about men who have sex with their wives during the wrong time of the month (another "abomination")?

You Christians read the Bible and you memorize the Bible but you never want to think about what you are reading and what it might actually mean or why it might actually say something. Why is "laying with a man" a capital crime? Plumbing? Men and women often perform the sex acts but the Bible says nothing about that. You say it's like adultery. No, it's not. Adultery is a betrayal of the marriage contract (and raised issues of valid inheritance, which was a big deal in primitive societies).

And you continue to ignore the essential point: You think your god finds homosexuality disgusting. Fine, don't do it. Why anti-sodomy laws (only recently overturned against church objections)? Why oppose gay couples getting legal benefits given to married couples? Why not let god deal with it? The more you go on about this, the more I am convinced you differ from the Westboro cult only in degree, not in kind. Actually, they may be in more in sync with a Bible that wants homosexuals killed than you.

You believe. OK. Maybe you fear death and think believing will get you a 'get-out-of-hell-free' card. But Christianity does not make anyone a better person. That's not a matter of "faith." That's a real world issue subject to scientific examination. OK, you say Christians are imperfect. But justification by faith tells them ah, don't worry about it. No need to try for perfection (although that's what Jesus did command - Matt 5:48).

Don't run away from this: Do you or do you not support the death penalty for homosexuality (as the Bible commands)?

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Mar 29, 2013 8:31am
Billsmith: read Acts 10:9-48, you'll read about the vision God gave Peter about unclean foods, so for the Christian, eating at Red Lobster is just fine.

Also you'll read about Gentiles being filled with the Holy Spirit just as the Jewish believers were, as God was expanding the faith from not just Jews, but to all.

About the stoning of the gay/lesbian folks, I believe Jesus would say to those folks the same thing he said to the woman caught in adultery, he'd say to those who want to stone them, those of you without sin may throw the first stone [Westboro Baptists need a reminder of this passage]; and then to the gay/lesbians I believe Jesus would say, I don't condemn you either, go and sin no more [he'd not say it's a fine alternative lifestyle, continue to do it]. So NO, I don't believe the gay/lesbians should be stoned anymore than the cheating spouse should be stoned.

Christians worship a God of Second Chances. He's all about forgiveness. Unfortunately too many of our Lord's followers forget that. That's what love the sinner, hate the sin is about. We all are sinners and none of us deserve a break, but God loves each of us so much he provided that break in his Son Jesus Christ. So as I benefit from that love and grace from God, I am to pass it on to others, but that doesn't mean accepting or condoning sinful actions. It is a fine line and very easy to allow our human flesh to push us to being judgmental and ONLY God gets that right. I hope that explains where I'm coming from better.

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 9:27am
MikeFromDelaware: Fair enough.
The passage you cite also includes the following: "God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean." Including gays?

However, that entire passage is contradicted by Jesus in Matt 5: 17-19. (Note: The Hebrew word translated as "law" is "Torah," which includes Leviticus and the other four books attributed to Moses.) According to this passage, all 613 commandments in the Torah remain in force.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Mar 29, 2013 10:28am
Billsmith: Jesus set the standard, you who are without sin may throw the first stone [the only one able to meet that standard showed us a better way]. Jesus then said, I also don't condemn you, go and sin no more. Its as simple as that, but in our fallen human condition we humans so often fail, but that is the standard. More Law and Gospel.

You were raised as a Lutheran, I believe you said, so you're familar with Luther's teaching of Law and Gospel. Bottom line to that of course is, we can not meet the requirements of the Law, thus the Law in the Bible points out to us. Jesus gives us the Gospel where he paid the price so we all can become righteous in God's eyes as his Son paid that final sin offering.

In fact today is Good Friday where 2000+ years ago, Jesus went to the cross to make that payment for our sins. Jesus said, it is finished. He completed his mission, the final payment made. He rose on Resurrection Sunday [Easter], etc.

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 10:56am
MikeFromDelaware: As I said, Christianity offers a 'get-out-of-hell-free' card. It doesn't make you a better person. It tells you that you can't be a better person. It gives you no incentive to try to become a better person. It tells you there's no point to becoming a better person.

So your god sets an impossible standard and threatens people with eternal torment for failing to meet it. The way out is buy into the idea that god killed himself. Then this god expects you to pick out one religion of all the religions out there in order to get off the hook. If you guess wrong, back to eternal torment. This makes no sense and it describes a being psychotically cruel.

Your church has missionaries. Consider me a missionary for rational thinking. Follow your own instincts. Give when it feels good and don't give to preachers. Sleep in on Sunday, have a nice brunch, and watch Charles Osgood. Don't worry; be happy. If there is an all-wise being, and he really is about second chances, then we have reincarnation and you can become perfect. Here endeth the lesson.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Mar 29, 2013 11:19am
Billsmith: God looks at the heart. There's that passage where Jesus says that on the judgment day, he'll say to some who'll claim to be his, get away from me, I never knew you. So it's not just a 'Get-out-of-Hell-Free' Card. Having Christ as Lord allows the Holy Spirit to dwell in each of us who call Jesus Lord. God then starts cleaning us out from the inside and as our walk with Christ grows, so should our love for others as we hopefully become more like Jesus. We are to strive for perfection as Jesus said, BUT we don't earn our salvation because of that striving; it's not based on works, but the attitude of your heart as God does the saving. There may be some surprised on Judgment Day. It is my sincere prayer that on that day Jesus will say to me, "Well done, my faith servant" and not "Get away from me; I never knew you." I can't earn those words; Jesus paid the price so I can hear those words, but I also have to believe those words; that's where that faith thing comes in.

Be at peace Billsmith, enjoy your brunch and Charles Osgood [I enjoy his commentaries from CBS Radio on WDEL weekday mornings]. I'll be at the Communion rail at the Lutheran Church I'm becoming a member of, receiving the body and blood of my Lord as I celebrate that he is who he says he is and that his forgiveness and salvation is for real.

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 11:33am
MikeFromDelaware: I don't watch Osgood but I figured it's something you'd like. I guess you can always Tivo it. Or maybe you can't watch the show because Charles Kuralt committed the abomination of adultery. So many abominations out there. ;)
How can you receive communion if you haven't been confirmed in the Missouri Synod yet? Enjoy the Bach and Handel.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Mar 29, 2013 1:51pm
Again, Kuralt's sin is between him and God. He doesn't need my forgiveness or my judgment. What he did was wrong and if he were trying to get the government to legalize it so he could legally commit adultery, I'd be just as opposed to that as I am about saying the homosexual lifestyle is a fine acceptable alternative lifestyle.

Met with the Pastor earlier this week. My wife and I, as well as another women will all become members this Sunday of the LCMS (how appropriate - Resurrection Sunday). Our baptisms have are accepted by the LCMS so we won't need to be re-baptized, so yes, we'll recieve Holy Communion as new members of the LCMS.

The Bach and Handel will be wonderful.

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 5:27pm
MikeFromDelaware: Actually adultery is a crime in many countries (a capital crime in some) and in 23 US states. In five states it's a felony. Adultery used to be a crime in all states but now it has been legalized in most places. The same is true of homosexual acts (sodomy), although not homosexual marriage except in nine states.

Again, my problem with Christians is when you all presume to decide what's a "fine acceptable lifestyle" for others. You say you don't judge, but you want to use laws to force others to live the way you decide is proper.

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 4:52pm
Just like we've always said... Rush Limbaugh is a pinko communist... He almost agrees himself!


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