Gary Cass’ Pretend Fidelity to the Bible


Gary Cass, founder of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, has a problem with Sen. Rob Portman’s announcement of support for marriage equality because his son is gay. He accuses Portman of picking and choosing which parts of the Bible to believe and using broad pronouncements to cancel out explicit commandments:

Many people, like Senator Rob Portman, are using broad Biblical “themes of love and compassion” in order to cancel out Biblical particulars about human sexuality, as if the two are incompatible. The prohibition on sodomy is based on God’s love and compassion. If the Bible is really true, that those who practice homosexuality will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, then saying otherwise is not loving or compassionate.

“BUT TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’”

Some people suggest that religions should follow shifts in the culture rather than hold firm to their historic beliefs. This is exactly wrong. Christians are commanded to hold fast to the faith once delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3) The culture ought to conform to the truth of these beliefs and ethics, not vise versa.

But isn’t that exactly what Christians do with things like slavery? There are many explicit commands in the Bible in favor of slavery. God commands them to take slaves from the “heathens” that are around them and explicitly says that they and their offspring are the property of their owners, to be handed down as possessions. He commands that as long as you don’t kill them, you can abuse them horribly. And there is not a single verse that says slavery is wrong. So why do Christians today reject slavery? By doing exactly what Cass accuses Portman of doing, by saying that slavery is wrong because it violates those same broad Biblical themes of love and compassion. Apparently, that’s only wrong when it leads to a conclusion Cass doesn’t like.

Comments

  1. raven says

    All xians are cafeteria xians, picking and choosing. Given the contradictions in the books, it is inevitable.

    Even people like Ken Ham are. Ken thinks the earth is 6,000 years old but rejects the biblical flat earth theory and can believe that the earth orbits the sun, Heliocentrism.

  2. Kengi says

    I’ve been seeing a lot of this meme being presented a Moral Absolutes (complete with the random capitalization). Xtians are claiming they know what these moral absolutes are based on the Bible, admit those “absolutes” have changed in the past (due to past misinterpretation of scripture), but think that now, for the first time in millennia, only they now know what all the correct interpretations. It’s 2013, so now it’s time to freeze those interpretations in place!

    Here’s an example from a fundie site:

    http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/38938-a-nation-of-chasms

    (It’s not a bad site to add to the “funny things said by Christians” list…)

  3. raven says

    Xtians are claiming they know what these moral absolutes are based on the Bible, admit those “absolutes” have changed in the past.

    In reality, religions are very flexible on those moral absolutes. They can and often do throw them over the side in a heartbeat for various reasons.

    1. Ancient Judaism was based on animal sacrifice in the second temple. When the Romans destroyed it in 70 CE, they just made some changes to Rabbinic Judaism and kept on going.

    2. The Mormons believed polygamy was the only way to become a god, for men. Under pressure, they outlawed it in the real world and kept on going.

    3. The Southern Baptists were not so long ago, on the side of evolutionary biology in an important court case in the med 20th century. These days, evolutionists are all going to hell after right wing extremists took over the cult.

    4. Baptists a few centuries ago, were strong supporters of religious freedom. Baptists in the USA were perseucuted. Baptist missionaries were run out of towns, imprisoned, and subject to mob violence. These days, a lot of Baptists are xian Dominionists, theocratic fascists who absolutely hate religious liberties. We saw this in North Carolina, last week.

    5. The southern churches all supported slavery and the rebellion. Probably some still do but many don’t.

    6. Biblical marriage was one man who could marry as many women as he could chase down and have as many sex slaves as he could afford to buy. That is all illegal these days.

    If you look at the religions and their holy books, it’s obvious they are all just stuff humans made up.

  4. says

    It’s really too bad that it’s not the Christian Anti-defamation Committee Associaion; CACA is such a wonderful descriptor for what the assholes do.

  5. Michael Heath says

    Gary Cass:

    The prohibition on sodomy is based on God’s love and compassion. If the Bible is really true, that those who practice homosexuality will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, then saying otherwise is not loving or compassionate.

    Talk about being oblivious, even though he’s chewing on the corners. Let’s also consider how loving or compassionate it would be for their god to condemn, “those who practice homosexuality”, who this god supposedly also created like that, into Hell for all eternity. (God being their supposed creator adds essentially zero weight to the evil of condemning them to Hell.)

    So from this perspective, it’s loving and compassionate for religionists to practice bigotry in their chuches towards gay people and demand our laws do the same, all based on, “[Christian] love and compassion”, while simultaneously denying and avoiding their supposed factual premise of a near-infinitely evil god. Evil given he would condemn some to eternal suffering.

    Fred Phelps’ position is far more rationally and biblically consistent than most conservative Christians who claim to, “love the sinner while hating the sin”; as long as they celebrate the nature of their god. I can’t think of a more perfect illustration of hate than causing humans to suffer for all eternity, even the most evil among us.

  6. whheydt says

    If Cass is so dead set against changing position based on the Bible…why isn’t he Jewish?

  7. says

    By doing exactly what Cass accuses Portman of doing, by saying that slavery is wrong because it violates those same broad Biblical themes of love and compassion.

    I’d say those “broad themes” are themselves a product of biblical cherrypicking.

    The bit Michael Heath touches on is also conveniently circular. Or backwards. The invisible punishment for homosexuality is used as evidence that it’s wrong and to justify visible punishments for homosexuality. Nowhere is there a compassionate, ethical reason given for the divine punishment. It’s cruelly random and arbitrary. But what else would one expect from Divine Command Theory?

  8. grumpyoldfart says

    He accuses Portman of picking and choosing which parts of the Bible to believe and using broad pronouncements to cancel out explicit commandments

    Jesus did the same thing in Matthew 18:6 when he cancelled out the Commandment that says “Thou shalt not kill” and suggested that unbelievers should be put to death by drowning:

    If anyone causes one of these little ones –those who believe in me– to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
    http://bible.cc/matthew/18-6.htm

  9. dan4 says

    @4:”…a lot of Baptists are xian Dominionists, theocratic fascists who hate religious liberties.”

    Citation needed (and no, the twelve members of the North Carolina legislature who signed on to that idiotic resolution does not equal “a lot of Baptists”).

    @9: In semi-defense of Jesus, I think he was utilizing a particularly bizarre and inflammatory bit of non-literalism.

  10. maudell says

    They also usually say that god wasn’t actually endorsing slavery, he was giving guidelines because he knew those people were just so corrupt they couldn’t help slavering all over the place (same argument on rape).
    In other words, god’s commandment on slavery doesn’t apply anymore because culture changed. Wait…

  11. Artor says

    “But isn’t that exactly what Christians do with things like slavery?…Apparently, that’s only wrong when it leads to a conclusion Cass doesn’t like.”

    Ed, I think you leaped to your conclusion without considering the possibility that maybe Cass still does think slavery is perfectly fine. Do you have any evidence otherwise? He pretty explicitly said he’s in favor of everything the Babble says, so we should take him at his word.

  12. matty1 says

    @9 I have to admit I never saw that as a command to drown so much as a warning that hell is so bad you’ll wish you had the option of drowning instead.

  13. mvemjsun says

    Cherry picking huh. THE SONG OF SOLOMON starts out with a love letter from Solomon to a man. “”Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine”. David and Saul’s son Jonathan definiatly read as lovers.

  14. Shplane, Spess Alium says

    Y’know, I kind of agree with the guy. Not that we should actually DO the awful things that the Bible tells us to do, of course, but that the Bible does make a lot of specific, hateful pronouncements, and that specific trumps general. I’ll add this to my List Of Reasons Why Liberal Christians Aren’t Really Christian And Should Just Admit It Already So That They Aren’t Tacitly Supporting Hatemongers (TM).

    Yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful.

  15. bobcarroll says

    Kenji @#2, adding to the list of funny things said by xtians when arguing, we could add, in the comment just after your opening salvo at the referenced site
    “Our fonder fathers were wrong when …” [they thought that slavery was moral] Perhaps he was referring to Tom Jefferson?

    At any rate, the unwillingness of the xtian side in that discussion to employ rudimentary logic is manifest.

  16. waldteufel says

    It’s a good thing that god is fictional character in an old book.
    The god of the bible, that character, is just a malevolent motherfucker. My
    Goat is more moral Than that shithead.

  17. gmacs says

    Might we also point out this is the same loving, compassionate god who, if a literal interpretation of the Bible is to be believed, just fucking loves seeing babies get brutally murdered by the hundreds.

  18. haitied says

    “Some people suggest that religions should follow shifts in the culture rather than hold firm to their historic beliefs. This is exactly wrong.”

    I agree. . . I think religion should respectfully stay the fuck out of public policy. Go ahead believe whatever bullshit you want, the more nonsensical the better. In fact if your core religious beliefs are bad enough, they might finally drift into obscurity!

  19. caseloweraz says

    Raven: “In reality, religions are very flexible on those moral absolutes.”

    It’s interesting that those comments that point this out over at Charisma News generally get more up-votes.

  20. caseloweraz says

    From a comment at Charisma News: “Many Christians now (proudly) point to the few churches which were early supporters of miscegenation rights.”

    There’s misunderstanding, and understanding. There’s misappropriation, and appropriation. There’s misconduct, and conduct.

    Why isn’t there “cegenation”?

    Quite unexpectedly, this question has an answer, and it isn’t “Because that’s the way it is, doofus!” I found it here:
    http://www.dustbury.com/vent/vent708.html

  21. fastlane says

    I think the only person that might actually come close to mostly following the bible is Fred (and Shirly-you-must-be-kidding) Phelps.

    …and just look how popular they are!

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