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Aug 01 2013

Yeah, prostitutes

I was listening to Christian talk radio on my way home last night (ok, I admit it, I do that a lot), and the topic was gay marriage, or more generally homosexuality. It was kind of bizarre. They were trying to grapple with the fact that Jesus is losing the culture wars, especially in the arena of gay rights. It’s no longer cool to demonize gays, which means that believers at long last are beginning to realize that their attacks on gays do more damage to the church these days than to homosexuals. And they were groping, adrift, trying to find some way to reconcile their religious dogmas with the fact that homosexuals are not actually evil, immoral, or corrupt.

And they found it. Sorta. They decided that it was ok for Christians to tolerate homosexuals because Jesus used to hang out with prostitutes and tax collectors.

This, in Christian circles, is “progress.”

The Apostle Paul once declared that the goal of Christianity is to “take every thought captive,” and once it has you, it’s very reluctant to let you go again. Even when trying to be tolerant of people whose only “offense” is that they happen to fall in love differently, believers are stuck with the fact that the Bible has an irrational prejudice against gays. Their whole worldview forbids them from even suggesting the possibility that the Bible might be barbaric and outdated and in desperate need of some moral improvement, and consequently they are forced, by their faith, to add a perverse and malicious insinuation to their “acceptance.”

This is what religion costs us. It imprisons the minds of people, and impedes them from recognizing their neighbors as persons of equal worth and merit, even when they would like to. The believers on the talk show last night could see that there was no justification for the hate that the Bible aims at homosexuals, that it was all just pointless bigotry, but they couldn’t quite admit it to themselves. That would imply that God had made a mistake or that the Bible wasn’t really infallibly true. And either one would overthrow their whole worldview.

Sadly, their worldview is more important to them than other people are. Better to slander and mistreat others than to risk harming your worldview. The only good news here is that the intolerant and unteachable Christian worldview is turning people off, and damaging the church. And there’s nothing they can do about it, either.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Howard Bannister

    This is what religion costs us. It imprisons the minds of people, and impedes them from recognizing their neighbors as persons of equal worth and merit, even when they would like to

    Yes.

    I’m tempted to shout ‘preach it,’ but then, old habits die hard.

  2. 2
    intergalacticmedium

    Well said

  3. 3
    A Hermit

    I’ve seen the argument being made that while homosexuality is still a sin Christians should treat it like the kind of minor sins we all commit; like greed and envy or minor thefts and not like the big sins such as murder.

    So…progress..? o.O

  4. 4
    Jadehawk

    I really don’t think it would be any kind of improvement in christian churches started treating gays the way they treat prostitutes. *coughmagdalenelaudriescough*

  5. 5
    Randomfactor

    The minute you try to apply Christianity–or any other religion–to anyone but yourself, yer doin it rong.

    Religion is for internal application only. Period.

  6. 6
    Kevin

    the Bible has an irrational prejudice against gays…

    The bible has an irrational prejudice against oysters Rockefeller.

  7. 7
    grumpyoldfart

    Religion always needs a scapegoat; it runs on the “us and them” mentality – as one of their famous leaders once said, “He that is not with me is against me.” (Matthew 12:30)

    As long as the fundie preachers can make cash out of denigrating homosexuals they will continue to do so – and the mugs in the pews will adjust their blinkers to fit in with what the preacher tells them.

    As soon as the cash flow slows down, the preachers will search about for another scapegoat – and the mugs in the pews will simply readjust their blinkers and say “Hallelujah, praise the lord; if you hate them then so do we.”

    I wonder who will cop it next.

  8. 8
    eyeroll

    It’s a relief to me to know that other normal people listen to jesus radio. I do it a lot. Mostly for mocking purposes, sometimes just for a chuckle…..but I often find myself grinding my teeth in frustration. They are getting a bit worn down.

  9. 9
    =8)-DX

    This isn’t anything new. Catholics have no problem saying things like that, as well as all the “love the sinner hate the sin” and other arguments where they brush it aside as “sex isn’t as important as salvation and the resurrection”..

    But then they don’t stop opposing marriage equality, rejecting non-celibate homosexuals, discriminating against LGBTQ families, or trying to “fix” or “save” their own queer children…

    Until a religious person says: “homosexual relationships and sex aren’t sin – they’re perfectly normal, healthy and just like any other relationship”, it’s nothing new under the sun and an excuse for bigotry.

  10. 10
    Pierce R. Butler

    Why the gratuitous bad-mouthing of prostitutes, or even tax collectors?

    Has any society since the invention of money functioned without either?

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