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Relevance, Tolerance, And Vanishing Christianity

C’mon gang! Let’s play frisbee!
From Tim Stanley of the Telegraph: America’s liberal Christians might be progressive and inclusive, but they are also dying out.

The marketing mantra of liberal Christianity is “change or die.” Here’s the pitch: society has evolved since the 1960s, shedding its old prejudices and misunderstandings and replacing them with a new consensus based on reason and tolerance. Unless the mainstream churches embrace women priests, socialism and gay marriage, they will lose relevance and die out…Intellectual momentum, liberals insist, is with love and diversity.

Today a brief and simple refutation of the argument that the Church must be “relevant” and “tolerant.”

The idea of remaining “relevant” is to adapt both theology and ecclesiastical procedures to match current cultural trends, because, it is supposed, truth lies in the vote of the masses and they should be given what they want. That’s all the refutation that is needed, because this premise is false. Truth is only sometimes found in what people believe, or even more rarely in what they desire.

The premises fails again if we replace “the masses” with “the intelligentsia,” a group of folk desperately in love with itself and its ideas. And love is frequently blind.

To say that “tolerance” is a goal is to say that the intolerable should be tolerated, an automatic refutation. (The “intolerable” could be those who are against tolerance.)

Another way of putting the modernization argument is to say that if a sufficient minority (it doesn’t take a majority, nor anything near it), embrace (say) homosexual sex in all its variants1, then the Church should, too. It is not yet to the point where to seem truly accepting the clergy and parishioners must openly participate in these acts, just that they support them vocally. Remaining silent is taken to imply animosity. And animosity is not tolerance.

As Stanley suggested, the current trend among the intelligentsia is to claim that there are no differences between males and females. Canada is said to mulling a bill which would ban these words. Sexual “orientation” and not biology defines a person. Very well, the Church must not only require female priests, bishops, popes and the like, but they must build tolerant gender-neutral toilets. I was joking about Canada (for now).

Socialism, it goes almost without saying, is a must. Socialism is defined as “government by those who ardently desire socialism.” Pope Francis warned that the Church will soon be nothing but another NGO—one which wastes too much on trappings, at that. Do you have any idea how much a box of candles costs? The trend is to say that what matters is material and not spiritual wealth. As long as the “poor” have HD TVs, a car, cell phones, the internet, and free housing (with grass)—just as they do in New York City; it’s the middle class who cannot afford cars and apartments with outdoor space—, and the rich don’t have more than their “fair share”, then the relevant, tolerant Church will have done its duty. The people should have earthly toys, not heavenly joys.

The last major trend is towards atheism, agnosticism, and vague spirituality (see, inter alia those who carry rolled up yoga mats through the streets), all of which deny the divinity of Christ. And thus disavow the reason for Christianity. If Christ was just a really smart, large-hearted guy who wanted to take from the rich and give to the poor, while taking a substantial cut of the proceeds for himself so that he could administer the program and pay for the weapons to guard against revolts, then his theories take no special place among the many others from our great thinkers.

Why should Christianity-as-NGO focus on Christ and discriminate against other thinkers, particularly women thinkers? Relevance says it should not. Should we not welcome all experiments in living, no matter how repulsive? Tolerance says we should.

The Church, if it exists at all after fully adopting relevance and tolerance, will be yet another disappearing branch of Unitarian Universalists.


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1For a detailed list of these go to San Francisco’s Castro District and pick up one of the free magazines or newspapers from any street-corner box. I opened one (randomly) to a page which listed the jolly club “Something Buddies,” where the “Something” was something alliterative with the second word. No fee for membership.

41 thoughts on “Relevance, Tolerance, And Vanishing Christianity Leave a comment

  1. Some wrong ideas here (mostly the bit about tolerance is facetious at best, that is, if we are to take you seriously), but I agree with the gist of it: the “liberalization” of the church is only a stop-gag between hard-line dogmaticism and full blown atheism, thus it is doomed to failure in an age marked by confusion, data overload, too many things to consider for the common man. It is far easier to be told exactly what to do because it’s the absolutely true and unequivocal way to act, than being in this vague tolerant and inclusive manner, always questioning and doubting every single tradition and so on.

    This human trait has its quirks. For instance, it’s always funny to me to watch how intolerant, dogmactic and prone to authority-worship the skeptic movement has become. It’s as if they just couldn’t take the overload of bearing too much skepticism to heart, so they had to compensate elsewhere.

    Keep in mind, however, that this analysis does not require any of these ideologies to be “True” at all. So yeah, “fundamentalist” Islamism and “Core” Christianity might be getting stronger, but that isn’t exactly good news.

  2. It must be difficult for someone to say “I am a firm believer in not firmly believing anything, so I have become a member of this organization which does not have members and which believes in nothing to make itself distinct from any other non-organization”. I can imagine why people wouldn’t float in that group for too long, even if they are capable of surviving contradictions for a little while.

  3. Christianity has been in trouble for quite a few times and every time becoming a bit more digmatic did work. Changes are it will be same this time.

    But this doesn’t necessarily will result in Christianity staying popular as popular in the western world.

  4. The last line was quite telling. We already have one “church” that believes in everything and nothing. Do we really need more?

  5. About tolerance vs intolerance,

    Tolerance is respecting that other person may have other point of view. I can tolerate that people may be intelorant, but tolerance like intolerance has its limit, and the limit is in the action, i.e. when the actions of intolerance affect a person right and liberties.

    The example of abortion. Some people believe, I really say believe since it is not a fact, that conception begin at fertilization. Yet other people believe that lifes begins when the baby is born and alive (which is why that doctor was convicted since they could prove that the babies were alive before he killed them). If a woman chooses to abort (a decision that is never easy to take, contrary to what some people might believe, and often taken after the male is gone away) it is really her choice to take that decision (I’m open to discussion after the 21st week). The honus of the act will really be for her to bare.

  6. Sylvain: Should we then embrace tolerance for drug use, all forms of sexual behaviour, etc? What happens when my point of view says capitalism rules and yours says socialism does? What happens when tolerance affects a person’s rights and liberties, as in the case of tolerance for homosexuality forbidding anyone to disagree?

    In actually, tolerance usually does not mean someone else can have a different point of view. It generally means that you must agree with the “open-minded” people and not endorse any rules, lifestyles, etc. There is no tolerance for those who believe in right and wrong, resulting in tolerance leading to intolerance.

    Additional evidence for the “Tolerance means agree with us or else” is found in the fact that people want to change the church. If there was no impetus to demand others agree with one’s “tolerance”, people would simply stop going to church and find something else to do, not demand the church change. A truly tolerant person would just walk away.

  7. The tragedy of the liberal theologian is that in the desire to make his or her denomination more welcoming, he or she argues to make it less demanding, not realizing that it is the very cost of what we must sacrifice on Earth that makes the salvation we thereby achieve worth anything. A faith that costs nothing offers nothing.

    The impulse driving the more noble-minded sorts among this crowd, to be fair, is not objection to the notion that faith must require sacrifice per se, but to the fact it seems to require so much more sacrifice from some unlucky few than from the majority of others. The demands of Christian chastity (which, it should be admitted, I as a straight man don’t successfully keep either) at least allow men and women to marry; those whose same-sex attractions are so inborn and powerful that licit marital sex is physically impossible for them seem, in our hypersexualized age, to be the victims of such an injustice that the objectors can’t imagine a loving God allowing it.

    (The degree of our hypersexualization can be seen when one realizes that it is this, more than any other form of the Problem of Pain, that drives the thinking; liberal theology has no problem with God permitting any of a hundred other forms of suffering, anything from children born blind or deformed to families dying in disaster and war, but the idea that He might demand sexual continence as the only moral choice from some of His children is impossible to grasp. At least the atheists and agnostics recognize this attempt to have one’s cake and eat it too for what it is.)

  8. Sylvain:

    The example of genocide. Some people believe, I really say believe since it is not a fact, that Caucasians are human beings. Yet other people believe that Caucasians are sub-human beasts with no human rights. If a person chooses to kill a Caucasian (a decision that is never easy to take, contrary to what some people might believe) it is really their choice to take that decision. The honus of the act will really be for them to bear.

    Do I need to go further to show the absurdity of your argument? One can make an argument for abortion that accepts that a foetus is a human being, but that is a separate issue.

  9. Max,

    Max the description you are making is very similar to what happened for more than three century (four century if we include segregation) in the USA. Following the christian beliefs not a lot of people from the Slave States that most have gone to heaven. Or is god only forgiven to man not woman?

    Here is a very sad video of what some white people believe slavery was like:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hUgXJYgMbY

  10. If Christ didn’t exist Christianity would just have to invent him. Oh wait, that’s what Paul did. Paul: ‘the Enemy’, ‘the Liar’ and ‘the Deceiver’ that’s what the closest family, friends and disciples of Jesus called him.

  11. Sheri,

    Lets take what the owner of Chick Fil-A said, I think it was about gay mariage.

    The owner of Chick-fil-A had the right to say it, and the people who disagreed with him had the right to speak also. They had the right to ask people who disagreed with him to boycott Chick-fil-A; and those who agreed with him could support him.

    Everything is in the actions one person takes. Chick-fil-A doesn’t have the right to refuse to hire or sell food to people that want to pay for it because of what they look like, sexual orientation or race. In other word he doesn’t have the right to discriminate agaisnt anyone.

    The same way those who opposed what the owner said could not incite violence against Chick-fil-A.

    About sexual behavior: Sexual behavior that happens between consenting adults, as disgusting as they may be, and as it happens in private, only regards the people doing them. Pedophilia and bestiality does not happened between consenting adults; so they do not enter in the previous category.

    The disagreement with the Church is why I don’t consider myself a Catholic anymore. The Church as an institution is corrutpted and rotted. They protect pedophile, and refuse to follow the dogma they preach. They preach poverty and chastety yet they live in riches and either violate children or sleep around between men or with woman, etc.

  12. Sylvain, the description is not mine it is yours, with Caucasian replacing the terms you were using for womb inhabiting proto-infants.

    If someone believes that an foetus is a living human being they are no more obligated to tolerate the killing of foetii by someone who doesn’t believe they are living human beings than someone who believes that Caucasians/Orientals/Whatever are living human beings is obligated to tolerate the killing of Caucasians/Orientals/Whatevers by someone who does not believe they are living human beings.

    let’s try this again:”Tolerance is respecting that other person may have other point of view. I can tolerate that people may be intelorant, but tolerance like intolerance has its limit, and the limit is in the action, i.e. when the actions of intolerance affect a person right and liberties.” If a White Supremacist believes that ‘mud people’ have no rights, they must still tolerate people who believe otherwise. But we cannot prevent a White Supremacist from exercising her rights and liberties to kill off mud people, because that would be forcing our intolerance onto the White Supremacist.

  13. “By their fruits you shall know them” is a powerful test. Do people who claim a belief in a God of judgement act as though he’s watching them. Does the Anglican Church talk as though it believes it has a revelation from God?

    I think not.

  14. There is a significant difference between tolerance and respect. I may tolerate your foolishness for any number of reasons (charity, weariness, prudence, curiosity, etc.), but I won’t respect it. So frequently those demanding “tolerance” really want respect and they play a language game in trying to claim it. That alone makes them hypocrits unworthy of respect.

  15. Stephen J–excellent comment

    Sylvain: The owner of Chick-fil-A had EVERY RIGHT to not sell to people he did not agree with, and to not hire them. It is HIS business and he started it, maintains it and those busybodies who think they own everything in society have absolutely NO RIGHT to dictate how he runs his business. To assume otherwise to assume we have a right to steal from those who create and run businesses and take their hard work and steal it for our benefit. This, is however, a perfectly wonderful example of how socialism is completely and 100% INTOLERANT, demanding we all bow down to having those who want take from those who work.

    I am truly surprised the socialist movement has not petitioned the church to make theft not a sin. Or maybe socialists have indeed left the church because they recognize what they are truly asking.

    And no, I have NO tolerance for theft. Nor do I ever intend to. What you are saying for tolerance in Chick-Fil-A is theft of someone’s business. (Now you will ask if building regulations, zoning, etc. is theft of the business if we close it. Yes, though perhaps a necessary one if it’s for a hospital, etc. However, demanding that a business SUPPORT what they consider immoral behavior is theft of the business. You are taking their rights and demanding they do as you believe. INTOLERANT. INTOLERANT. INTOLERANT.)

    (Forgive all the caps, please. I just find this whole idea that “loving, caring, tolerant” people are completely happy pummeling everyone into complying with their ideas so repulsive…..I would certainly qualify this behaviour as evil to the core.)

  16. @Rich

    If the Anglican Church believes that God is inching towards the “tolerant” people, they should be behaving as they are apparently behaving right now.

  17. Are we getting to the point there is no longer sin that detaches us from God for all eternity? God set laws to live by and to follow God’s Law is to show our great love for him using our free will. People are detaching themselves for God to live an Earthly Humanist Lifestyle. Do not people understand God does not change his mind and laws to be torrent of our free wills? Boy people are going to be surprised when the meet God in his Judgement, there will be a Gnashing of teeth. No weeping in hell, because that shows hope, there is no longer hope in hell but a place devoid of all God’s Goodness and Love.

  18. Curious assertion that “liberal Christianity” is going by the wayside…because that is just oh-so-wrong & utterly disconnected with the reality of history people would like to pretend never happened…the history most people believe because they’ve never studied otherwise.

    Consider what “conservative Christianity” endorsed outright or tolerated based on unassailable recordkeeping:

    – Misogyny in various forms (e.g. beatings of little girls & wives [e.g. “rule of thumb’], tolerated rapes (Karen J. Taylor, “Venereal Disease in Nineteenth-Century Children.” The Journal of Psychohistory 12(1985):431-463 –nineteenth century medical journals show venereal disease in children & families [incest] to be very common thru-out the world), forced marriages [rapes really, considering the girls were often 10-12 yrs old – an age of legal marriage in the U.S., for example, until laws started changing at the end of the 1800s), etc.; Only by the 1870s did it for the first time become unlawful in the U.S. to beat your wife.); Martin Luther claimed his wife Kate only existed as a housewife and mother, saying, “Take women from their housewifery and they are good for nothing.”

    – Routine beatings of children* – including infants!!!! (If the parents’ regular beating of their children still did not result in obedience, the child should be “put to death [if they] curse or smite their father or mother,” according for instance to a 1646 Massachusetts law; Occasional reformers, like Saint Anselm, well into the 18th century were the exception who sometimes questioned whether whipping children “day and night” was wise!). In applying, not sparing, ‘the rod’ death was a common outcome. That’s right in line with that conservative Christian, Calvin, who decreed: “Those children who violate parental authority are monsters. Therefore the Lord commands all those who are disobedient to their parents to be put to death.”

    – Infanticide commonly practiced & tolerated – infants considered to have “evil passions” (The first laws against infanticide in the 16th century only applied to unwed mothers, not married women! Historical records thru-out Europe show dramatic male/female disparities only explained by routine, widespread infanticide – also reinforced by other widespread documentation of that practice)

    – Limited intimate relations between spouses – the Church discouraged this for all but procreation; of course, many still think this is still the ONLY way to behave within marriage.

    * It still goes on: This need to hit babies for discipline still is often found in England—Tony Blair recently admitted on television that he hit his one-year-old baby “to discipline him,” explaining that “I had to hit him, because he could not talk.” CNN, Feb. 10, 2010 (Incest, by the way, did not become a criminal offense in England until 1908).

    Say what one will of the interpretation/effect of widespread, religiously-endorsed, social practices discussed in the links, below, simply ignoring that bit of analysis entirely one is left with the documented facts of social practices thru-out history. One cannot dispute that those things happened, that “conservative Christianity” endorsed those practices…and whatever effects they had on the mental health of the people involved, those effects were “bad”:

    http://www.psychohistory.com/originsofwar/10_patriarchalFamilies.html

    http://www.psychohistory.com/originsofwar/09_bipolar.html

    http://www.psychohistory.com/originsofwar/08_infanticide.html

    Seems kind of hard to accept, knowing what we now know & take for granted, that an omnipotent, loving, god’s hand-delivered religion to his people would endorse & perpetuate what so many don’t know and/or pretend never happened.

    On a simpler theme, there’s other things about “conservative Christianity” that’s got to change, per some, having nothing to do with liberalism: http://www.amazon.com/Why-Christianity-Must-Change-Die/dp/0060675365 .

  19. Sheri,

    In the US the Civil Rights Act of 1964 took care of your claim that a owner of a restaurant can decide to not admit someone based on his race, religion or sexual orientation.

    To continue with the Chick-fil-A example. Should the owner be able to refuse to serve a gay married couple who doesn’t care about or know what he said but like the food? No he is not able to discriminate against them, and if he refused to serve them, they will easily win their case in court.

    Other than the fact that people don’t postulate often for employer that they know will make their life miserable, an employer, cannot discriminate against people for religion, race, sex or sexual orientation. Of course, once the interview is done employers can easily find other reason to not hire someone when there is a bunch of people appliynig for the same job.

    I’m not sure why you consider that a paying costumer is stealing from business. Owning a business doesn’t mean you own the people who work for you, and owning a business does not make mean you are above the law either.

    In the 1800s, their were almost no law that businesses had to abide to. Yet, what did the businessman do? They created thrust and prevented anyone else to start a business that could compete with them. So businessman are not gods, they are human, they are greedy, and they need to have regulation to abide to.

    I don’t see where pro-gay marriage manifesting against Chick-Fil-A could be accused of theft, as long as they don’t block the access to the building.

    Smart business usually won’t comment on politics and be as politically neutral as they can so to not make any Customer angry at them.

  20. Max,

    One might believe a feotus is a person yet it has no legal standing. Just like the blacks before 1864. Women have been considered a person under the law for even less longer.

    This is very different than the example you provided.

    The white supremacist as the right to not like a black person but he his limited in what action he can take. The liberty of one person and where the liberty of the other person begin. Once born alive, everyone has the right to life, or not be killed. Of course, many people are killed and if caught the killer will suffer the consequences.

    The limite of liberty and tolerance\intolerance is all in the action taken and this where the court intervene.

  21. There also is a difference between The Church (political organization) and the church (actual followers of the fundamental Christian tenets of faith spelled out in the Pauline epistles). Nobody knows the number where these two spheres intersect, but I suspect it’s rather a small proportion of both groups.

  22. Sylvain: I am fully aware of the Us Civil Rights Act. I was not talking about legal rights, I was referring to moral rights. The fact that the government demanded morally be overlooked does not affect the truth of the morality. A lot of immoral things are legal–gay marriage, abortion. (Actually, the sexual orientation was tacked on–in 1964 no one could have imagined how immoral this country would be and that homosexuals would be voted normal by the APA and given “rights”. It was beyond their ability to imagine this.)
    Yes, he SHOULD be able to refuse service to anyone. He used to, before the “tolerate” (lying) left demanded everyone be served. It’s HIS business, not the governments. But “tolerance” is not about letting people do as they wish–it’s about forcing people to go against their moral code. That is EXACTLY what you are illustrating here–this owner HAS NO CHOICE but to go against his moral code and serve people he finds immoral because otherwise the ‘tolerant’ bullies will sue him. This is intolerance and yet you are so blind you can’t see that.
    No, owning a business does not mean you own your employees. It should mean you had the right to hire whomever you choose and fire whomever you choose, but again, the “TOLERANT” people out there made that illegal because they demand everyone live by their rules. The OWNER of the business should have the right to do as he chooses, NOT the government nannies imposting their lack of values on him.
    You really are INTOLERANT of human beings, though you seem to worship some all-caring, perfect entity you call “government”. Government is made up of people, and by your own logic, these are human beings who are greedy, self-serving and will steal people blind. Yet you love these greedy, selfish people. It makes no sense.
    “Theft” of the business is forcing someone who worked and took the risk to create a business,and then demanding he give over that business to the government. He does not own what he worked for–the government regulators do and if the business owner does not do as the master says, he is shut down. They take his business–theft.

  23. Ah, so people are free to believe whatever they want is the heart of tolerance. And intolerance is trying to force other people to tailor their action to their beliefs. Well except for you and your beliefs, you are free to force people to accept your beliefs, because that is tolerance.

    Does this somehow come from the incoherent argument that rights come from the law? Are you saying that slavery was right a few centuries ago because it was legal and courts enforced slave holder’s property rights? Are you also saying that if the laws were re-written tomorrow to confer all the rights of human beings at the moment of fertilization (or implantation, or first division or whenever) that having an abortion would overnight change from being right to wrong, because the right to have an abortion is dependent on judicial decree? While I doubt this, if so what you are arguing for is merely a variation on the might makes right theme – the rightness of an action being determined by the nature of the action but by the ability of other people to manipulate the legislative process.

  24. Sylvain: Question–in my state it is legal to carry a weapon. If I follow your logic, no restaurant owner or anyone else for that matter should be able to tell me I cannot bring my weapon into their establishment unless it was specifically disallowed in the carry law. It is my right to be armed–to make me leave my weapon outside should be a violation of my rights. The business owner is being intolerant and should be sued, right?

  25. Sheri,

    Why is homosexuality immoral? Who is the victim between consenting adult? It has always been around, it was tolerated for thousands of years, until the development of the field of psychiatry in the 1800s and the naming of what was considered deviance from the norm. Only then did the church started to see immorality in homosexuality. Even pedophilia was not considered “immoral” before the 1800s.

    It is disheartening to read that you believe that discrimination should be legal. Discrimination isn’t much different than profiling, or is it okay as long as you are not the one profiled or discriminated against.
    “But “tolerance” is not about letting people do as they wish–it’s about forcing people to go against their moral code”
    I would agree if the government was forcing you to have homosexual sex. Where does serving food, paid for, go against anyone code of moral when their business is to serve food. The status of the customer doesn’t force anything on the owner of the restaurant.

    “That is EXACTLY what you are illustrating here–this owner HAS NO CHOICE but to go against his moral code and serve people he finds immoral because otherwise the ‘tolerant’ bullies will sue him. This is intolerance and yet you are so blind you can’t see that.”

    The reason a restaurant owner would be sued is because he violated someone’s right to a service. He deprived a person of his or her right to buy something, to own something. The owner of the restaurant doesn’t have to befriend the people he serves; he doesn’t have to adopt the way of life of its customers. So the rights of the owner are not violated while the rights of the customer were violated.

    Is it okay for an employer to pay a woman less when she is doing the same job as well as a man working in the same office, for the simple reason that she is a woman?
    No it is not okay.
    “No, owning a business does not mean you own your employees. It should mean you had the right to hire whomever you choose and fire whomever you choose, but again, the “TOLERANT” people out there made that illegal because they demand everyone live by their rules.”

    Employers do hire and fire who they want. They just can’t discriminate against people. You just need a valid reason to fire someone, once you hired him. You can fire him because he is incompetent, not because he is gay or a woman.

    Government is not all good or all bad, and business are not all good or all bad, both are necessity. Anytime a group of people reunite together, there is a government forming and rules of conduct that develops. Before recent time groups of similar minded people could find a place to settle and live as they wish. Today with 7 billion + people we don’t have the same luxury. There is very little universal belief on which everyone agrees on. There are hundreds of different religions and everyone has to be able to live following their own beliefs. That means individuality. What is permitted and not permitted goes back to how it affects you.

  26. “1. Sylvain: Question–in my state it is legal to carry a weapon. If I follow your logic, no restaurant owner or anyone else for that matter should be able to tell me I cannot bring my weapon into their establishment unless it was specifically disallowed in the carry law. It is my right to be armed–to make me leave my weapon outside should be a violation of my rights. The business owner is being intolerant and should be sued, right?”

    I will take that no one can bring a weapon in the restaurant and I say that you wouldn’t be able to sue the restaurant for violating your right, as long as everyone as to live its gun outside.
    But if the men could bring their gun in and the women couldn’t, then you would have a cause.

    The question is always if there is discrimination against a specific group or not. In your example there were none since anyone will be served if they don’t carry a weapon, while you cannot choose the color of your skin, sexual orientation, or sex.

  27. Interesting, Sylvain–one can only discriminate against things YOU consider to be unchangeable. Sexual orientation is NOT the same as race, never was, never will be. There is absolutely no sound science to back the claim.
    What happened to not discriminating due to religion–you left that out this time. What if my religion requires me to carry a weapon? Then can the restaurant person discriminate against me because of my religion?
    What makes anything immoral? The law? Religion? Is there such a thing as immorality? Can we make things moral by removing laws against them?
    Better example for gays: I own a flower shop. I believe homosexuality is immoral (that is my RELIGIOUS belief, which you listed as covered by the Civil Rights act). I refuse to sell flowers to a gay couple. They sue me–now you have damaged my life and business and taken away my right to practice my religion freely. All under the ridiculous lie of “tolerance”. Where were MY rights? All violated by those preaching tolerance. You say that what is permitted and not permitted goes back to how it affects me–my business was probably ruined and my religion ridiculed. Where are my rights? I get none because Tolerant people took them away.
    This is NOT tolerance. You cannot spin it any way that it is. It’s thuggery, pure and simple.

  28. Sheri,

    What science support the claim that homosexuality is choice?

    Do you know anyone who chose to be homosexual? You are homosexual or you are not, this is not a choice. Just like you have some people that are left handed, other right handed while other are able with both hands. Did you chose which hand you use to right with.

    Not so long ago children were being beaten by sisters and brothers in schools because writing from the left hand was considered evil by the Church.

    Is it immoral to write from the left hand.

    A lot of things that are consider moral or immoral are code imposed by the Church and by habit or custom. Pedophilia is immoral here, yet in many countries there is no problem with a grown man marrying a 12 year old.

    What the evil left use to determine if something is moral or immoral is by determining if there is a choice, and who is affected by the action. Is there discrimination in the action or not? Is there a victim?

    A flower shop sells flowers. A gay couple buying flowers does not in any way affect the religious belief of the seller, whatever they are; while the refusal to sell flower to someone who want to buy some flowers does impact their right.

    If flowers are etiquette to be sold, anyone who has the money to buy them as the right to buy them and the sells cannot be refused; because selling flowers to a gay couple does not in any way mean that you have to accept or adopt their way of life. Your religious belief are not hampered by them buying your flowers

    It is very interesting that you cannot explain are your religious beliefs are affected by gays buying flowers. How did it affect the way you practice your religion? No one ask you to approve their way of life, or to become gay.
    About a religion that requires to carry a weapon: We had the case here of a kid of the Sikh religion where the men have to carry a kirpan (a sacred knife) at all time. At first, they expelled him from school, until the court ruled that he could wear is knife as long as he was unable to get it out of its case. So he can wear his knife, is religious belief are respected and the need for school security is also covered.

  29. One choses whether to act upon one’s impulses. Your argument could be applies to pedophilia, homicide, rape, virtually any action. Impulses can be controlled. There are people who engaged in straight sex and relationships before changing to homosexuality. Usually they claim they were “hiding” their homosexuality. Sexual orientation is no different than homicidal urges–we chose to exercise the feelings or we don’t. Married people cheat because they chose to follow their urges. If you argue when have no control, then commitment is impossible and so is any kind of societal order. We are just products of our impulses.

    I would note that the left-handed children did learn to write with their other hand and did okay. They adapted. While the demand made of the children may have been unfair, they did survive and many flourished.

    Seriously, you are really going to try and stick with that line that “the flower shop owner is not harmed by selling wedding flowers to persons he does not want to sell to due to his religious beliefs?”. How is the gay couple hurt–there are thousands of flower shops. Let them go elsewhere. Oh, but you DEMAND people bow to your way of life and do what you want, so you sue someone for not agreeing with you? Yeah, that’s really tolerant…NOT. The gay couple’s demands is trampling all over the business owner’s rights. Deal with it.

    You are missing the point on the business–it is the BUSINESS OWNER’S business, not the governments. He owns it and operates it, yet you demand he follow your idea of a business, not his. You apparently see nothing wrong with this. I would ask–if I had six homeless guys who needed a place to live and I decided your home was too big for just you, would I have the right to demand you take these people in? After all, you’re not really the homeowner–the government is and they can make the rules. At least you seem to believe that’s how business works.

    It’s been fun, but we have used up enough space here.

  30. Homosexual impulses are so not the same as homicidal impulses. One causes a victim, the other as no victim. One is a crime, the other is not.

    You are way miss-informed about left handed children, yes there are some that were able to get over it but the vast majority were largely disadvantaged in life, even today.
    You say: “How is the gay couple hurt–there are thousands of flower shops. Let them go elsewhere.”
    How is the flower shop owner hurt in selling flower? What happen when the flowers they want are only found in your shop or that your shop is the only one within a 100 or 1000 miles radius? What we discuss are hypothetical situations. I don’t know any restaurant that refuses to serve people.

    We had a case here where a white male ambulance driver was thrown out of a Jewish hospital cafeteria because his lunch was not kosher. Of course, it was discriminatory and the hospital had to pay him a fine of $10,000.

    http://www.vigile.net/More-intolerance

    http://www.canada.com/story_print.html?id=125a4594-3f65-4979-a804-e78320462d29&sponsor=

    No institution has the right to decide what people can or cannot eat. Eating a non-kosher meal in a cafeteria for sure doesn’t infringe on anyone right to eat a kosher meal if they want to.

    How would you react if the unique gun seller for 100s of miles around refused to sell you a gun because you are a woman? Tell me you would not be offended and would simply go your way saying that it is his right to discriminate against you.
    A business is very different than a personal property. If the business is to rent room, then the government could prevent discrimination, as long as it doesn’t change the mission of the business. Like a hotel could not refuse to rent a room to gay people under the pretense they don’t agree with gay. But it could not for that hotel to house homeless people, unless the price of the room was covered by the government.

  31. J. Gresham Machen said it well in his 1923 book, Christianity and Liberalism. Liberalism simply will not understand the concept of sin (breaking a law of God) and it’s relation to what Christ did for us on the Cross. All else flows from that misconception. God never says he wants us to be happy. Instead, He wants us to be holy – free(d) from sin – as that is our true created nature.

  32. Max like the video showed there are still people that believe slavery was a good thing, I guess that doesn’t include if they are the slaves.

    Slaves were part of civilization for thousands of years, and slavery is still present today. A woman was recently condemned in Texas for owning a slave. In the Tcheck Republic a few years ago it was discovered that Romanian woman working in slaves like condition. Human trafficking is in full force across the world under different forms such as sex slaves and “workers”.

    Although I find slavery to be immoral, in the south it was not considered immoral before they ratified the 13th amendment.

    The rightness of an action is how it affects an individual. Your right to believe life begin at fertilization, a view that is shared by a very small portion of the population nationwide, even Mississippi wasn’t able to pass a personhood amendment and it is one of the most pro-life States. If your wife get pregnant no one is forcing her to abort. But if a woman for what ever reason is not ready to have a child she has the right to decide if she wants to keep it or not. Like I said we can discuss what happens when the fœtus is viable (21st week), before that the woman can do has she wants. 90-95% of abortion happens before the 12th weeks.

  33. S van de W: “If the Anglican Church believes that God is inching towards the “tolerant” people, they should be behaving as they are apparently behaving right now.”

    I don’t believe they claim they are doing so as a result of divine revelation. The outgoing archbish of Canterbury declared that the Church needed to be more relevant to the wider community. Vox populi …

  34. @Rich

    Does it matter? You either believe that the Anglican Church does the right thing, or not.

    You might believe them if they claimed is was because of divine revelation, even though you used to believe that not being liberal was the right thing to do.

    But in the end, there is no way of telling if it was divine revelation, or the Archbishop of Canterbury being seriously mistaken.

  35. CONSDEDR Sheri’s apparent hypocrisy in the name of religion per her example (6:39, 3 June):

    “I own a flower shop. I believe homosexuality is immoral (that is my RELIGIOUS belief, which you listed as covered by the Civil Rights act). I refuse to sell flowers to a gay couple. They sue me–now you have damaged my life and business and taken away my right to practice my religion freely.”

    Presumably she’s a “Christian,” for this example (other “Christians” have expressed the same sentiment, so it follows regardless):

    As a Christian one is
    – exhorted to “love the sinner & hate the sin”
    – judge not (God reserves judgment & the imposition of penalties AFTER a person dies)
    – first “get rid of the log in one’s eye and not focus on the sliver in another’s eye”
    – etc.

    Sheri’s example assumes implicitly that its ok to judge, condemn, and punish what is perceived to be sinful….though the flaw there is, if one accepts for the sake of argument that being gay is sinful — where’s the moral imperative in refusing to sell the gay flowers? THAT refusal is justified only by corrupting several Christian scriptures, a whole series of related & interlocking themes there.

    The same logic applied in the [corrupted] name of religious practice if applied to what Jesus actually did–associate with so many sinners specifically, and much more intimately than some quick transaction like selling flowers–indicates Jesus was wrong–He acted immorally.

    The ole, WWJD? comparison: Sheri’s practice would ensure those who are immoral per her criteria stay censured and corralled — no possibility of any Prodigal Sons coming back into the fold if the world were set up her way. Which is exactly the opposite of what is expected of good Christians–to set an example and bring others to the Truth–not lock them out.

  36. Sheri at 8:23, 3 June says (relative to boycotting gay customers per religious beliefs):

    “You are missing the point on the business–it is the BUSINESS OWNER’S business, not the governments. He owns it and operates it, yet you demand he follow your idea of a business, not his.”

    AGAIN, assuming the religious beliefs are “Christian” that is hypocritical.

    Jesus said: ‘Give to Caesar what is his, to God what is HIS’ and Paul wrote several places that the rulers over society are there per God: 1 Peter 2:13-17, Ephesians 1:21-22, and Romans 13:1-7 — e.g. “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.”

    Any business in the USA, in any state, city, etc. is prohibited by law from discriminating as Sheri claims is a religiously based right. If she’s a Christian she would obey the law–the authority multiple Christian references say is a mandate–that precludes the boycott.

    Thus, if Sheri bases that boycott on Christian authority, she is a hypocrite, and using her so-called “religion” to commit petty thuggery against those she doesn’t like.

  37. About the original blog essay & “vanishing Christianity” — curiously, Richard Dawkins notes how it (and other religions) have adapted with the times, citing examples of things no modern Christian, etc., would endorse bringing back (things like slavery):

    Video link

  38. Ken

    Sheri is from the South and presumably as the same corrupt reading of the Bible than the christian that use the Bible to justify slavery.

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