WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

U.S. Supreme Court repudiates DOMA

The day after the U.S. Supreme Court eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, the Justices struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

It's important to remember, however, the Supremes issued a second ruling, in the California case, in which they said the defendants had no standing. So no universal judgment on marriage per se. But presumably the legal obstacles have been removed for same-sex couples wanting to marry in California.

(For once, the conventional wisdom was correct on both cases.)

From CBS News, a preliminary account...




Can one explain the Justices going this way on DOMA, but the Supremes' reversal on the Voting Rights Act? (And remember, that one swing vote on DOMA could've gone the other way; it was still an ideologically polarized outcome!)

My theories: U.S. public opinion favoring equal rights for LGBT people has become something of a tidal wave. Furthermore, doubtless the justices all personally know LGBT people. Some African-Americans in the South who've been turned away at the polls for lack of an I.D.? Not as likely the justices would know these people personally. And U.S. public opinion appears to be more divided.

Further, as I noted in my earlier blog post, now Chief Justice John Roberts - as a young lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department - was already turning out memos contesting the Voting Rights Act.

So what do we have with this Roberts' Supreme Court? A highly corporatist court likely to rule in favor of corporations; somewhat dismissive of racial frameworks which came out of the civil rights era (although I thought it more likely the justices would categorically repudiate affirmative action in college admissions rather than effectively overturning the Voting Rights Act); but receptive to appeals about the civil rights of LGBT people, at least in terms of benefits and treatment.

Posted at 10:52am on June 26, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 11:45am
Yes, I can explain it. There is not one court. There are nine separate justices. The nine are divided on most issues. The justices in the middle, the swing vote, control the outcome.

None of the justices is all-liberal or all-conservative, much as the media like to over-simplify things that way. A decision may turn on issues of freedom, equality, economic regulation, federalism... Justices labeled "liberal" or "conservative" may actually be the opposite on some dimensions.

A Supreme Court decision is arrived at through extended negotiation, haggling and compromise to build a necessary consensus - which usually means somebody backing down to get the swing vote. The process is almost Oriental consensus building.

Political scientists, such as Harold J. Spaeth, have developed models which, using data on how each justice has voted or ruled in the past throughout his judicial career, can predict Supreme Court votes which extreme accuracy. Justices consistently vote their own policy preferences.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jun 26, 2013 1:10pm
Billsmith: That's as good of an explanation of how the Supremes work as any I've heard.

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 2:52pm
MikeFromDelaware: Thanks. Dr. Spaeth was a very good teacher.

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 6:05pm
Today, the Supreme Court unleashed the greatest weapon of mass destruction on America that it's ever known in its history. If you think 9-11 was bad, just wait 'til the perverts win the right to come into your homes and rape and pillage your children and grandchildren. Hope they haven't confiscated all the guns by then!

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 6:37pm
Meds, Pizza. You forgot your meds.

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 7:36pm
I may need an anti-depressant for this one!

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 8:40pm
No question in my mind that this is the most fickle Supreme Court in American history.

Time to seek political asylum in China!

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 3:02am
I don't see any fickleness at all. I think the court is pretty consistent... Problem Pizza, is Conservatism.. "Conservatism is bad, very bad" to quote Dick Cheney. Not even the conservative Supreme Court justices can stomach Conservatism any more.. It makes even them throw up. In fact, History will show that the seeds of Conservatism brought America to its knees beginning in 2000.. and we even gave them a budget surplus with which to to do it, too!

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 5:09am
Well fine then. Let's switch over to Sharia Law!

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 5:46am
Pizza: Except for some points of theology there is little difference between the Taliban and the religious right - and between Sharia Law and the the theocracy you people want.

kavips: These people aren't conservative. Barry Goldwater was a conservative. William F. Buckley was a conservative. These people are fascists.

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 5:51am
Allan Loudell: You do not allow racist slurs to remain posted here. You do not allow sexist slurs to remain posted here. Why do you allow homophobic slurs repeatedly to be posted and to remain?

Allan Loudell
Thu, Jun 27, 2013 6:20am
Mr. Smith...

I accept your point. Mr. Pizza crossed the line with his use of the word, "perverts", and the implied suggestion that gay/lesbian people would invade homes. Really, Mr. Pizza? You can't be serious. The gay people I know are no more inclined to do that than the straight people I know.

But the comment is already up, and some of you have reacted to it. I'd have to remove several posts or else the reactions would make no sense.

I have less time when I'm on-the-air to evaluate these comments, especially when I'm on-the-air until seven because of late Phillies games.

Allan Loudell

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 7:43am
Allan Loudell: I can see why Pizza so often does his trolling in the off hours. Cats away and all that...

In all fairness, Pizza's not alone. I've looked at various message boards and many of them have somebody like Pizza, ranting about "perversion," spouting hate, and all in the name of Christianity.

You often note anniversaries. Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court striking down anti-sodomy laws. The case was generated by an anti-sodomy law in - where else? - Texas.

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 8:58am
Interesting article in Wired magazine on the "evolution" of American's views on homosexuality and how culture is modified via pop-culture.

It would seem Christians have lost this most recent battle in the "culture" war but it seems pop culture's views on abortion are beginning to change in favor of babies. The Gosnell story was the catalyst that started a lot of people paying attention to the reality of what abortion is and what it does to both mother and child.

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 9:00am
kavips: did you actually hear or read the input from the Conservative Justices? It's not Conservatives that make them want to hurl...

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 9:04am
I think all divorced individuals should hold a rally on the steps of the courthouse, not to protest anything but to welcome gay and lesbians to the world of divorce litigation. PRE-NUP!!!!!

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 11:07am
The Examiner, Earl? Puh-leese.

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 12:31pm
Bill: If you bothered to read the article in the Examiner (rather than demonize the source,) you would have seen that all the Examiner did was quote what Justice Scalia said.

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 12:50pm

...to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions. To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority's judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to "disparage," "injure," "degrade," "demean," and "humiliate" our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homosexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence— indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.
It takes real cheek for today's majority to assure us, as it is going out the door, that a constitutional requirement to give formal recognition to same-sex marriage is not at issue here—when what has preceded that assurance is a lecture on how superior the majority's moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress's hateful moral judgment against it. I promise you this: The only thing that will "confine" the Court's holding is its sense of what it can get away with.
In the majority's telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us. The truth is more complicated. It is hard to admit that one's political opponents are not monsters, especially in a struggle like this one, and the challenge in the end proves more than today's Court can handle. Too bad. A reminder that disagreement over something so fundamental as marriage can still be politically legitimate would have been a fit task for what in earlier times was called the judicial temperament. We might have covered ourselves with honor today, by promising all sides of this debate that it was theirs to settle and that we would respect their resolution. We might have let the People decide.
But that the majority will not do. Some will rejoice in today's decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters so much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better. I dissent.
-Justice Anthony Scalia

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 1:05pm
Examiner.com is owned by "Christian billionaire" Philip Anschutz, who uses his oil money to promote the religious right agenda. Examiner.com publishes articles written by amateur contributors (in effect, bloggers) who are compensated based on the page-views their articles generate. Their articles are not assigned or fact-checked and the site has been sued for plagiarism by some of its "contributors."

Examiner.com, Breitbart, the "Moonie" Times, and other sources sometimes referenced here are not legitimate publications and should not be treated as such. But I guess you can depend on them to tell you what you want to hear. Just like Rush and Jensen.

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 5:24pm
Scalia lost and knows it. His defense is over a line of BS that really has no place in the discussion...

What he says in his own words is that demeaning homosexuals as second-class citizens is noble because it elevates the discussion of marriage... I wonder if he'd feel the same if it were Italian-American Catholics being demeaned, just so we could discuss the merits of whether or not THEY were fit to be a part of our society.

He's lost the moral issue, and he knows it.

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 9:13pm
Okay, time for a clarification. I did not mean that the gay/lesbian people who just won their "rights" are the same individual people who will rape and pillage your children and grandchildren. My point is that there are perverts out there from groups such as NAMBLA who may take the Supreme Court ruling as a green light to push for their agenda, which is to legalize sex with children and perhaps animals as well.

Sorry for the confusion.

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 9:19pm
billsmith: The publications you reference above are almost the ONLY legitimate publications you can count on to report the facts. But then, facts get into your way, so you're irrelevant anyway.

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 9:23pm
billsmith: Oh by the way, the reason I "troll" during off-hours is because I WORK during the day. What do you do,
collect welfare?

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jun 27, 2013 10:29pm
Wow, this topic really went off in some unexpected directions. For me, the bigger issue as a Christian, is not that DOMA has been shot down by the “secular” Supreme Court, but rather how do we minister and bring the love and grace of God to the gay/lesbian community. Jesus died on the cross for all people, including gay/lesbians. All sin is an abomination to God, yet somehow many of us in the Christian community appear to be more focused on hating the sinner rather than loving the sinner and hating the sin, as we fail to remember that all of us are sinners saved by God‘s grace, be we gay or straight.

I think of what Jesus told the women caught in sin, he said I don't condemn you, go and sin no more. This seems to be where the line gets fuzzy. We can't say that sure practicing homosexuality a fine alternative lifestyle any more than we can say, sure having an affair behind your spouses back is fine as your needs aren't being met at home. The Bible is pretty clear that both things are wrong. For those of us who believe the Bible is God’s inspired infallible word this can be problematic to say the least.

The folks in the GLBT community believe they've got no choice in being gay/lesbian and so far science seems to agree with them, but there's no definite proof yet, still theories. So my question remains: How can we bring Christ’s grace and love to them while not compromising on the Word? That really is the bottom line for any of us who call Jesus Lord and Savior.

I believe Billy Graham had a good answer for this, he was quoted as saying: "It's the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge, and my job to love". I found this quote in a book by Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne "What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said" [Red Letter Revolution].

Another point made in this book was how people didn't say how the first century church was anti-gay, but how they loved one another. What is being said about today's church. Just the opposite, look at how anti-gay they are, rather than look at how well they love one another. Kind of implies that just maybe we've lost something in how we do church today vs 2000 years ago.

Another interesting point made in this book is that in the Bible there are two words used for the sexual act. One is the word Laid. There are places in the Bible where it says so and so lay with so and so. Even today folks talk about getting laid. Getting laid has nothing to do with love, it is dehumanizing where the purpose of sex is to relieve libido urges [their wording not mine]. The other word used for the sexual act is Knew. Adam KNEW Eve. The difference is that in the Knew type of sexual relationship the person knows and cares about the other person, they just aren't a sex toy to relieve their urges. They are bound together by their mutual love for the other, etc, etc.

Tony Campolo makes this statement in the book: "I'm not saying that people are born gay. I do believe, however that sexual orientation occurs so early in the development of children that they never remember choosing. What's just as important is that change in sexual orientation is extremely rare. Often attempts to change sexual orientation through what is called reparative therapy can do great psychological harm. The church needs to come to grips with these realities."

One final point from the book. The word abomination comes up as it is used in the the Bible about homosexuality, but note that that verse in Leviticus comes right shortly after the verse that says to touch the skin of a dead pig is an abomination to God...which puts the NFL season and the Super Bowl into serious question [Leviticus 11:7-11].

This is a major issue that somehow we in the church, who call Christ, Lord and Savior need to be praying about, seeking how to minister to these folks. I think any gay/lesbian person will tell you, they didn't choose this. I've had discussions with some gay/lesbians over the years and many ask, why would anyone CHOOSE to be the oddball? Lesbian women have said, I'd love to have a child, but I'm not attracted towards men, so should I pretend and marry some guy just so I can get pregnant? That would be a horrible thing to do to some man.

This is not an easy topic. I wish I had a ready answer to offer to those of us who take our walk with Christ seriously. I know that somehow, we in the church, generally are not reaching those folks for Christ, as Jesus died on the cross for all, including gay/lesbians. They too need to be reached with the Gospel [Good News] so they can be saved.

The Holy Spirit's job is to convict, God's job is to judge, and our job is to love. It is my opinion that Billy Graham is correct. The big question is, How do we do this? I believe that folks like us, need to spend more time reading the red lettered part of the Gospels [Jesus' words] where we'll possibly find some answers. I believe it might be fair to say that too many of us have allowed what could be called our "inner pharisee" to have reign over us rather than the love and grace that comes from the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ.

Somehow we, as the Church, need to recover that love and grace that overtook the ancient Roman world, that caused them to say: look at how they love one another, BUT that doesn't mean we should compromise what God's Word says, sin is still sin. So we are to love and have grace for any and all sinners including gay/lesbians. As Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, I don't condemn you, go and sin no more. So We as the church should be saying as a body of believers: we as the church don't condemn you either, but as Jesus has told all of us who desire to follow him, go and sin no more.

Remember the world Jesus lived in had a secular government that also didn’t have the same values as what he taught. Did Jesus fight with the government, or try to legislate his agenda, NO. Instead, he quietly went about HIS Father’s business, winning one heart at a time by loving these folks. Again the Holy Spirit convicts, God judges, and we are to love.

Sorry this was so long, but its difficult to say this in a few words, hopefully some of this made some sense.

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 11:39pm
"...Hate your neighbor or come along with us. The truth is more complicated. It is hard to admit that one's political opponents are not monsters, especially in a struggle like this one, and the challenge in the end proves more than today's Court can handle. Too bad. A reminder that disagreement over something so fundamental as marriage can still be politically legitimate would have been a fit task for what in earlier times was called the judicial temperament. We might have covered ourselves with honor today, by promising all sides of this debate that it was theirs to settle and that we would respect their resolution. We might have let the People decide."

Scalia sounds like the lone adult in the room.
Italian-American Christians (and all Christians for that matter) are starting to understand what real persecution looks like as society begins to turn against any who worship Christ instead of this world and who follow the Bible as their moral compass. The world hated Jesus and His followers during His lifetime on Earth and He warned future followers they too would be hated by the world.

Maybe this renewed persecution will weed out the Christians-in-name-only and start Christians living up to their full potential instead of comfy living Christianity. Christians like William Wilberforce ended slave trading and inspired a young Republican named Lincoln to end slavery in our country.

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 5:25am
MFD & Earlgrey: I'm with both of you on the issue of ministering to the gay community. Of course, we can't force them to accept our ministry.

On the other hand, it's also our Christian duty to warn about how certain activities can impact society. That's why we have a discussion forum in the first place. Unfortunately, there are people right here on this forum (on the left by the way) who would like for Christians to "just shut up" and in fact believe the first amendment was not written for us.

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 8:14am
MikeFromDelaware: The words "lay" or "laid" are not in the Bible. Both are English words and the Bible is written in Hebrew and classical Greek. The word used in the King James Version (translation) is "lie," not "lay."
"Lie" is used by the Priestly source. "Know" is used by Jahwist source. Biblical scholars do not think there is a different meaning intended. I really should not have to be teaching you Religion 101 and I am amazed at how much misinformation about Christianity you've picked up.

Earl: Italian immigrants learned about persecution more than a century ago when they first came to this country. Second, the idea of persecution of early Christians is a myth but for some reason Christians like feeling persecuted - maybe so they can justify their persecution of others.

If you people really studied scripture, you'd realize Jesus had no use for people like you. Self-righteous. Hypocritical. Judgmental.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 28, 2013 8:36am
Billsmith: That part of my comments [lay and know] came from Tony Campolo's book.

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 9:02am
Mike From DE:"The folks in the LGBT community believe they've got no choice in being gay/lesbian and so far science seems to agree with them, but there's no definite proof yet, still theories" - Uh, if science agrees, then that is a fact. That is where the term scientific fact comes from. God is ALL theory.

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 9:29am
Arthur: The religious right apparently believes that people choose to be gay. Given how gay people have been treated - in particular, treated by these "good Christians" - you have to wonder why people would choose it. They have no answer for that one.

The fact that "good Christians" are so obsessed with homosexuality and are so motivated to stomp it out, suggests they must find it quite tempting.

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 10:26am
a political question - since DOMA has been defeated federally what of cruise ships? People get married all the time ona cruise ship and if they are in international waters is it based on which country the ship is registered?

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 28, 2013 10:45am
Arthur: Science believes, but is not totally certain was my point, but I said it does seem to be leaning in that direction. The bigger point of my very long winded post was that even if those of us who are Christians and believe the Bible is correct and that homosexuality is a sin doesn't mean those folks are not loved by God and that we as followers of Christ shouldn't be as loving, etc, towards that community as we'd be with anyone else [obviously you and Billsmith don't agree with the idea that the Bible is correct/homosexuality is a sin and that's fine, that's not the issue I'm addressing]. We don't have to agree with your conclusions, view,or lifestyle to give you the same grace and love Christ gives us. It's what we're called to do by Jesus himself. THAT was my point. I realize I used a million words to try to say that, but that was the point I was feebly trying to make.

Actually you and Billsmith would probably enjoy reading much of what Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne wrote in that book. Campolo and Claiborne, I believe, most Evangelicals would call them "liberal Christians".

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 11:45am
arthur: Cruising is what many gays did before the idea of gay marriage gained widespread interest. ;)
MikeFromDelaware: Science does not believe - period. Science observes, collects data, and draws logically valid conclusions. Nothing is "certain" in science. Science is inquiry.

In any case, are you making statements based on scientific papers and studies you've read, or something some preacher said?

And who are these "evangelicals" who think they are liberals? The world has been applied to and adopted by various branches of Christianity but in its most common usage, it means "fundamentalists."

In any case, of all the things in the Bible, the religious right is very selective in what it chooses to get upset about. Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. Instead he talked about self-righteousness and hypocrisy but the religious right not only doesn't concern itself with those things, they practice them. They demand that the lord's prayer be said at public meetings and in schools, as they ignore the paragraph that precedes it.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 28, 2013 3:32pm
Billsmith: you've never heard me advocate the Lord's Prayer being said in public meetings.

I believe that Science and the Bible are not opposed, but are doing different things. The Bible tells us God's plan [its a book - actually a library of books of faith] and Science explains how things happen.

So those who insist it must be 6 twenty four hour days of creation I believe are trying to use the Bible as a Science book, which was not what the Bible's intended purpose was for, as I understand it. I truly believe the creation accounts in Genesis simply said: I [God - the I AM] created everything including the universe simply by speaking the words. I [God] put into terms [six days] so that you could understand what I was telling you. Science, on the other hand, is mankind using the physical laws of nature in trying to explain how creation happened. Science [Physics, Chemistry, etc,] were created by God too. So the two are not diametrically opposed, but are to work together, one in a secular realm of the physical world [Science] and the other [The Bible] in the spiritual realm.

Bottom line to this discussion for me is simply, the Holy Spirit convicts, God judges, and we are to love. So it truly doesn't matter what my understanding is, whether or not I believe homosexuality is a sin or a fine alternative lifestyle, THAT's God's issue to sort out. He's God the creator and will deal with all of that [as he will with any other issue] in his time and in his way. All he asked me and the other disciples of Jesus to do is to pass on the love and grace that his Son Jesus freely gave us.

I can't explain it any better than that.

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 5:08pm
MikeFromDelaware: You present an enlightened view of creation. Keep in mind that many Christians do not see it that way. The "creationists" take Genesis very literally. You say they are wrong; they say you are wrong.

But if there is room for interpretation on creation, as you seem to say there is, then maybe there is room for interpretation on other things - like homosexuality.

Consider the example of Jesus' religion - Judaism. It doesn't see the Torah as just hard and fast inflexible rules but a set of principles. It tries to discover and re-apply those principles to here and now.

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 6:52pm
I've said it before and I'm going to say it again. The Lord's Prayer and ONLY the Lord's Prayer should be said at public - or private - meetings. Despite what our current traitor president says, we are a CHRISTIAN nation. Now, anybody want to call me a bigot. Go ahead. MAKE MY DAY!

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 7:32pm
I say you are an ignorant, hate-filled, angry, intolerant, hypocritical, self-righteous bigot.

Jesus said: “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 28, 2013 8:39pm
Mr pizza: If someday the Muslims were the majority in the US they'd be able to demand their prayer to Allah. The separation of church & state helps us too. In a public venue I'd not want to hear a prayer to Budda, Allah, the rabbit god, Mother Earth or whatever. Like it or not the US has changed from when we were kids. Those folks are citizens & their rights also have to be protected. So a moment of silence in schools allows everyone to pray to their god , or not pray, it's each person's choice. Did Jesus go & demand that the Roman's allow his prayer to be said? Jesus showed us what to do. America has become the 21st century version of Ancient Rome. We need to do what Jesus did, he quietly went about his Father's business freely giving away his love & grace one heart at a time. That's our mission. God will take care of the rest.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 28, 2013 8:43pm
Bill smith: You are correct that some will agree with me & others will have a different view of scripture. That's why there's more than one denomination even within the Christian Church including Lutheranism.

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 10:18pm
MFD: No question in my mind the Muslims will eventually take over, unless of course, the Mexicans do it first. Obama and the idiots in the Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, are seeing to that.

Thank God this is happening in the last 1/3 of my life rather than the first. I at least have a decent chance of being dead before it reaches the point of Christians being burned at the stake, such as in ancient Scotland.

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 10:23pm
billsmith: I noticed you used the words "lay" and "logic". So, are you Bob Dylan or Mr. Spock?

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 2:32am
Burned at the stake, Pizza? That's what Christians do to each other. If you get your theocracy, it could make come-back.

MikeFromDelaware: Don't forget, your Bible mandates the death penalty for homosexual acts. Even you use the Bible selectively and apply some sense in interpreting it. Even you don't treat it as an absolute and infallible authority.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jun 29, 2013 9:36am
Billsmith: Thus the we see through smoke colored glass comment. God gave us impure flawed humans his pure holy word. My guess is, when eternity comes we'll all be in for some surprises. We all tend to want to make God fit into our respective comfort zones [the better we understand the Word, hopefully cuts down on that]. As Jesus said in John 3:16-21 [so this is part of the Red Lettered Words of the Bible]. NOTE: all the [ ] and ( ) comments below are directly from the AMP Bible not from me. This is the Amplified Bible's translation (AMP) as copied and pasted from Bible Gateway, the link for the website will be below the scripture reading. Martin Luther had it right: Sola scriptura ("by Scripture alone"), Sola fide ("by faith alone"), and Sola gratia ("by grace alone"). Here's John 3:16-21:

16 For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.

17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.

18 He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation—he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.]

19 The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil.

20 For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the Light, and will not come out into the Light but shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved.

21 But he who practices truth [who does what is right] comes out into the Light; so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are—wrought with God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence upon Him].


Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jun 29, 2013 9:43am
Billsmith: I forgot to mention the Lutheran teaching of Law and Gospel. The Law, which the stoning for those law violations shows us what we deserve, and The Gospel shows us the Grace and Love of Christ who paid the price so we get the blessings from the Father rather than his wrath.

I realize you know all this stuff far better than I [a new Lutheran], but for the others who are reading our conversation will know better what I'm talking about.

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 12:08pm
MikeFromDelaware: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. - Matt 5: 17-19

Again, Christians keep what they want and discard what they don't want. And what they keep, they interpret to suit themselves. You can justify anything through scripture. The problem with Christianity, is Christians have to be right. And everybody else has to be wrong.

The Torah contains 613 commands (mitvot). Christians get all worked up over homosexuality (157) but completely ignore number 161 (no sexual relations with a woman during the first 7 days of her cycle and prior to a purification bath). Again, selective use and selective interpretation.

The Torah did allow divorce. Jesus did not. Christians ignore than one, too. In fact, if Christianity actually followed the words in their wedding vows, the issue of gay marriage would never have come up. Christians devolved into serial monogamy, with divorce, single-parenting and re-marriage common. Marriage doesn't mean much, except for financial, legal and tax benefits, so gays see no reason why they shouldn't get in it, too.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jun 29, 2013 2:37pm
Bill smith: That's why I was in favor of Civil Unions for gay/lesbians. That law did exactly that. Calling it a marriage is what I object to. I realize we don't agree on this, that's the issue for me.

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 6:11pm
MikeFromDelaware: The organized church could have gotten out ahead on this several years ago and supported civil unions. The churches, in fact, could have pushed for the idea that only religious unions are "marriages" and all secular marriages are "civil unions." But the churches had so-watered down the whole concept of marriage by caving-in on divorce and remarriage that marriage doesn't mean much in the first place. The churches, even the Catholic church, had already sold out. The Catholics sort of wink at divorce doctrines by calling them annulments but they caved in, too. The church has come down a long way since King Edward VIII could not marry a divorced woman and be accepted as monarch and supreme governor by the Church of England. Prince Charles gets divorced and nobody cares much. For churches now to get upset now over gay marriage only reflects homophobia; they watered down the concept of marriage and sold out on that issue long ago.

For preachers and priests to mouth words like "until death us do part" and "forsaking all others" today is blatant hypocrisy.

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 8:35pm
billsmith: The fact that the Bible mandates the death penalty for homosexuality should be a glaring indication of how serious a sin God considers this to be. Today, we live in a time where homosexuality, adultery, and all types of sexual promiscuity are trivialized, and much of the church has fallen into the trap. Truth is, the state needed the testimony from liberal factions of the church in order to justify legalizing that which was once considered repulsive.

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 9:06pm
Pizza, it wasn't considered "repulsive" by everybody. In many cultures it was accepted and even valued, such as ancient Greeks and Romans.

The Bible has no credibility to any thinking person. It's filled with contradictions, errors and inaccuracies. It was cobbled together by priests and theologians, hundreds of years after the fact. The Bible is proof Christianity is a sick cult, needing some absolute authority to enforce itself on people. Parts of it are an interesting historical document. Parts are worthwhile literature. But it has no place as a basis for running the country. Might as well run the country based on the Iliad or Star Trek episodes. Is thinking for yourself really so frightening that you have to let preachers and Rush think for you?

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jun 29, 2013 11:26pm

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Jun 30, 2013 12:04am
Billsmith said to Mrpizza: "The Bible has no credibility to any thinking person.....Is thinking for yourself really so frightening that you have to let preachers and Rush think for you?"

Because many Christians [Mrpizza and I included] do not see the world in the same way as today's "secular society" doesn't mean that we're not thinking for ourselves. I can't speak for Mrpizza, but I've spent my adult life searching and studying God's word, as well as many other books, so my views did not come in a vacuum. I know a number of highly educated people who have Master's degrees and PhD's in the secular world who are Chemists, Doctors, Veterinarians, Engineers, and Lawyers who are Christians and who do believe the Bible is God's inspired Holy Word [that's not including the other people I know who have Master's and PhD's who have their degrees in the actual study of God's Holy Word].

My Lutheran Pastor, for example, has a Master's in Greek and a Master's in Latin, plus a minor in Hebrews, so he can read the word in the original language and understand what he's read. He's not some uneducated bumpkin who's being led around by the church, but a sharp well educated man who does think for himself.

So even though I [again can't speak for Mrpizza] may not be of great intellect, have a formal education, or be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but we [Mrpizza and I] are not alone in our Christian beliefs and faith. So it is intellectually dishonest for you to make those statements as facts, they are your opinion [which you are entitled to have] of which we'll just have to agree to disagree.

You also have studied the scriptures and have come to a different conclusion. That's OK too. I don't condemn you and your beliefs even though I don't agree with them. There are also many well educated folks [which you are one] who share your beliefs. So bottom line is we all see through smoked colored glass and neither you nor I and Mrpizza will know the entire truth until eternity.

So you should live your life in peace as you believe you're called to do; and Mrpizza and I should live our lives also in peace as we believe God has called us to do. Again, I conclude on the thought that the Holy Spirit convicts, God judges, and folks like Mrpizza and I are to love as Jesus did, which isn't always easy to do, but with Christ all things are possible even for a knucklehead like me.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 2:09am
Here's a perfect example of why sex, whether the right kind or the wrong kind, should be kept within the confines of the bedroom:


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 6:26am
Pizza: Because bigoted and sexually repressed people like you can't stand the idea of anybody doing it and will beat them up. You gave up sex for Jesus or gave up sex because you couldn't get a date (and then said it was for Jesus) and you can't stand it that somebody else is getting some.

MikeFromDelaware: Is this your Missouri Synod pastor or your ELCA pastor? If it's your ELCA pastor, he almost certainly does not take the Bible literally, as you seem to. You have rejected the "infallible" teaching authority of the church, the pope and councils. Yet you have replaced it with a document as your authority which was created (hundreds of years later) by the church and councils. If they are not infallible, how can they decide infallibly what to include and what to exclude? Even Luther made some editorial decisions. Was he infallible, too? And the various translators? I notice you say the Bible must be true because other people claim it is: Appeal to authority instead of appeal to logic and evidence. All this is necessary because Christians have to be right (and others must be wrong) because you all imagine a god who condemns people to eternal torment for not being right.

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Jun 30, 2013 9:06am
Billsmith: The pastor I cited was my LCMS pastor, but the ELCA pastor, who I also fellowship with, too has a master's, but as you said he doesn't see the Bible as infallible for some of the reasons you articulated above. Truth be told, I struggle too, with some of it, because in the back of my mind I keep thinking, IF the gay/lesbian folks were created by God and he allowed them to be created as gay/lesbians, how can HE be angry with them over something they didn't have a choice over.

I already believe that the 6 twenty four hour days COULD just as easily be 6 one Billion year days as for my ear/eye/spirit interprets the creation accounts as not literal, but God simply saying I created it and I've put this into terms you can understand - it is arrogant of us humans to think we can know more than God after all he created us].

That was why in my rather long post about this I mentioned the sin of touching a dead pig skin and the NFL, and yes divorce also and many of the other Leviticus laws that we no longer observe. For me, the key to all of it is not judging those folks [who are we, sinners, to judge others]. So whether its a "liberal" ELCA or a "conservative LCMS, Assy of God, Baptist, Roman Catholic, etc, the standard Christ gave us was not judgment, but love.

Luther, of course did believe the gay/lesbians had a choice and so sure if there's a choice then the prohibition makes more sense, bottom line choose better than what you've chosen. As I've also mentioned, many gay/lesbians I've talked with have said, why would I choose to be the oddball? So at least for some gay/lesbians, they've "tried" to not be gay/lesbian and have failed, which does suggest they may not have a choice. This makes sense to me. Granted Luther being a sinner like the rest of us was surly not infallible, but was quite a Godly man in spite of his short comings, much as John Wesley was.

I believe partly what is causing many Christians to not want to consider some of this is because IF this is incorrect, if the Bible is wrong on this, then couldn't the rest of it be wrong too? I take a different view of it, as I don't see it negating what the Bible says, but view it more as sinful man's poor job of interpreting what God gave them to say.

As you and I have discussed in other threads here about radio/TV news, it is very difficult to NOT put your own personal spin on a story and be totally objective, also what two people at a scene of an event viewing the same event from different vantage points will report very different stories. So it is possible that some men did that in their interpretation of the Bible.

My LCMS pastor has said that to remember any English version of the Bible IS a translation and because of the lack of words available in English as compared to Greek or Hebrew [which was a picture language] these translations are interpretations of the original language.

To get the proper nuance of what may have been said, you need to read it in the original language. Going from one language to another is difficult to truly transfer all the meanings, feelings, attitude, etc, of that original language. So he seemed to be saying that the Bible in its original language is the inspired, infallible word of God and any translations may not be due to that issue.

However, I can imagine you're reply saying what about the original language, could those scribes too have inserted their spin into the original text once they set down to physically record it, many years later? That too is very possible.

The thing that is in the back of my mind that prevents me from accepting that is man's wisdom is foolishness to God. My experience has been that more often than not, what mankind wants and sees as correct quite often is 180 degrees from where God seems to be wanting to go. So even though the "logic" of this makes much sense and troubles me, I still see God having the true answer, and so I'll not judge any one, because chances are I've got it wrong too. So I'll just worship the Risen Christ and tell others of the Good News and allow God to take care of the rest. I think that is what FAITH is all about. I'd be worried if my feeble mind could grasp all that God has said, so instead, I'll leave it for God to make those "executive decisions" and I'll just rest and enjoy being one of his people and joyfully wait to see more clearly through clean glass in eternity.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 9:26am
MikeFromDelaware: Interesting. Glad you are thinking about all these things. As I read your comments, it occurred to me that the strategic error made by the so-called "social conservatives" was pinning their arguments against gay marriage on religion (i.e., two verses in Leviticus). If they made this just about marriage as a defined civil institution and what's best for society and for children in a household, they could have made a better and far more persuasive case - at least a debatable case. Bringing religion into the discussion, it boils down to one side cites scripture and the other side says they don't buy scripture. No way out.
Nobody argues for laws against homicide based on "thou shalt not kill." Laws against homicide make sense and serve a widely-agreed to social purpose. When the best the religious right can do is quote the Bible, they have already lost the debate.
Besides, Christianity has already decided most of the 613 commands in the Torah no longer apply, so it can no longer insist that any of them apply just because it's in the Bible.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 10:09am
billsmith: I knew you'd say something like that.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 12:17pm
Like what? Besides, Pizza, I wasn't talking to you. Go back to the special ed section.

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Jun 30, 2013 1:34pm
Bill smith: You make an excellent point. I have a conservative friend who listens to Rush & watches Fox News for his news, but is totally against anything The Church is in favor of (sadly he's not a Christian). He liked Pat Robertson for Prez until later in the campaign he found out that Pat was a televangelist (a preacher). Same with Huckabee. There are many conservatives who are not Christians & when the argument is based on the Bible or the church they are against it. It is what it is. Good point Bill smith.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 2:42pm
billsmith: I was referring to your response to the article about the McDonald's incident. By the way, if you think that was bad, wait 'til Delaware passes their "transgender bathroom" law. You ain't seen what anarchy looks like yet.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 3:38pm
Bigots riot and attack people, and you blame LGBT rights? Keep people in the closet because your crowd can't control itself? Is that your point?

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 6:50pm
billsmith: You apparently think because I've been sounding the alarm and warning people of the consequences of legalizing certain actions, that it makes me a bigot.
Let's play devil's advocate here for a minute.

Let's say somebody warns a neighborhood that there's a gas leak underground and everybody basically blows him off as a crazy nut job who knows nothing of what he's talking about. Then a big explosion occurs, killing scores of people and permanently maiming others. Does that make the person that warned everybody about the gas leak a bigot? Well, according to your logic, apparently so.

I would also submit to you that the real bigots are those who speak evil of Christians like Tim Tebow and call evil good and good evil. Homosexuality is evil, but in today's world, it's good, and anybody who speaks against it is evil. Well, I guess I'll just have to be evil then.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 7:47pm
OK, Pizza. First, people criticize Tebow not for his religion but for flaunting his religion. Jesus criticized people for the same thing in his day.

Your bigotry comes in labeling homosexuality - and by extension homosexuals and homosexual marriage - as "evil." If you want to accept the authority of scripture in your own life, fine. I do not and in this country, I should not have to. So, NOT based on scripture, convince me how and why homosexuality is "evil." How and why a committed and loving relationship between two persons of the same gender is "evil." How and why two members of the same gender giving each other pleasure is "evil." Again, no Bible. No religious reference.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 8:04pm
Hey Bill, you accuse Tebow of flaunting his religion in our faces, but aren't homosexuals trying to do the same thing? Seems like a double-standard to me.

I've never said that homosexuals shouldn't be able to do what they want, but legalizing it to the extent of marriage opens a big can of worms which will have dire long-term consequences on society. I don't question the good intentions of homosexuals who want legalized marriage or of the politicians that gave it to them, but the road to hell is paved with many good intentions. Now that same-sex marriage is legal, it opens the door for those who think sex with children should be legal to start mounting their campaigns. Also, polygamists and bigamists will likely be demanding their rights, as well as those who wish to have sex with animals. Now that the genie is out of the bottle, the possibilities are endless.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 11:08pm
Bill: If both the Bible and God are removed from right/wrong debate...then what does one use as the "ultimate" guide in determining right or wrong? Man's definitions and morals "progress" as time changes but the Creator remains the same in what is right in His eyes.

For example, remove God from the equation and what makes murder wrong? I know that each abortion kills a baby...by the time most females actually know they are pregnant the child's heart has already begun beating...also, recently scientists have determined that by 20 weeks the baby human can feel pain.

Mon, Jul 1, 2013 5:13am
Earl: This is not about right/wrong. This is about what's legal. Funny thing, when civil rights legislation was being proposed, it was the right saying that you can't legislate morality.

The state gives benefits and privileges to married couples and only to married couples. Those include tax breaks. The state sanctions marriages. This is a civil issue, not a religious issue or moral issue. Churches are allowed to solemnize marriage but marriage is a state-sanctioned legal contract (whatever meaning churches attach to it, in addition). When people decide they don't want to be married anymore, they hire lawyers and go to court - not to church (except for Orthodox Jews who also need a religious divorce or "get"). If a given church does not want to participate in gay marriage, fine. They have no right to impose that on anyone else.

Societies pass laws to keep people from harming others. That's why murder is illegal - unless you claim self-defense, for example. Gay marriage is between two consenting adults and does not harm anyone else. If your god is out there and has a problem with it, he doesn't need you to take care of it for him.

I thought we were talking about gay marriage, not abortion. I will note that you have made a series of false statements to support your opposition to something that is none of your business.

Pizza: Once again, the slippery slope. Gay marriage has been legal in Canada for 10 years. None of these dire things you say MIGHT happen have happened. As far as polygamy is concerned, we're talking about three or more consenting adults. Nobody else's business. As Earl mentioned, murder is a crime. And a mob of "good Christians" murdered Joseph Smith (and a bunch of other Mormons), destroyed their homes and temple and drove them out, eventually to Utah (then part of Mexico).

Mon, Jul 1, 2013 9:32pm
billsmith: A little history lesson here. It was southern Democrats who were the champions of racial discrimination and opposed the civil rights act, which was passed mostly by the votes of northern Democrats and Republicans from all parts of the country. In fact, had it not been for Republicans, there wouldn't have been enough votes for passage.

Also, a little know fact is that both Martin Luther King and Susan B. Anthony were Republicans.

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 6:05am
Pizza: You need a history lesson. That a different Republican party. The Southern Democrats became Republicans some 40 years ago, thanks to Nixon. You are probably a fan of Tricky Dick, and Joe McCarthy.
You are a nasty piece of work.

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 6:04pm
billsmith: Excellent description of yourself!

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