The Talking Lion

Monday, May 23, 2005

Virginia is for (Non-Gay) Lovers

The Virginia House of Delegates has its fair share of crazy motherfuckers. I always believed that Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince William), who said that universities that allowed their students access to emergency contraception were "turning young women into love canals for frat house playboys" (see http://www.cavalierdaily.com/CVArticle.asp?ID=18805&pid=1117), was craziest of them all. But Delegate Richard Black (R-Loudon County) is giving Bobby boy a run for his money.

You see, an immoral high school student from Black's district named Sabrina Audrey Jess wrote a play that included gays. Not only that, but she had the audacity to actually make them compelling characters in the story. The play, titled "Offsides" depicts a football player who struggles with his sexuality and features an "almost kiss" between two dudes. Black decided that this warranted an "action alert," according to the Associated Press. In essence, he raised the homosexual alert level to Code Red in Loudon County. And many of his constituents did not sit idly by while the terrorists threatened the sacred moral code of our nation. They flooded the Loudon County school system with emails, one of which read, in part:

"We are continually lectured on the idea that we need to keep God out of our classroom. Am I now to believe that the reason we need to keep God out is so that homosexual teachings can have free reign?"

Yes, it's a vast homosexual conspiracy. That's why the Founding Father established a separation of church and state. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison got it on with each other all the time. The real reason George Washington was able to survive the long hard winter at Valley Forge was the heat generated by the passionate lovemaking between the general and his soldiers. In fact, the Constitutional Convention was just one huge gay orgy. Why else would they keep the curtains closed throughout the entire summer and refuse to discuss with the public what was going on in there?

When homosexuals become more visible to Americans, many are quick to point to a moral decline of our culture as the blame. A member of the Loudon County school board, J. Warren Guerin, proposed a ban on all plays that “contain sexual themes, promote sexuality or depict sexual acts”. The only problem is that will likely exclude every single play ever made by anyone ever, particularly, most of the works of Shakespeare.

So, the only solution is to bring God into the classroom. The holy words of Jesus Christ will surely heal the gays of their disease. The only problem is that there are only a handful of references to homosexuality in the Bible. And Jesus spent much of his time befriending sinners that were shunned by society. His main focus was convincing his audience to help the poor and love their neighbors.

Silly Jesus. Doesn't he listen to Jerry Falwell? The gay teletubby is brainwashing our children! That's where our time and energy should be directed.

Keep doing God's work, good citizens of Loudon County. Don't stop sending those emails to your school district. Your country needs you.

15 Comments:

  • Sean,

    I think you make a very good point that there has been a tendency on the part of many Americans to react with hostility and outlandish claims to certain beliefs they disagree with. We've reached a level of ridiculous proportions when Americans suggest impeding free expression of public school students, which is a first amendment right if my memory is correct. It is clear, from my own perspective especially, that Christians have done a poor job of showing love to the homosexual community.

    Although I do take issue with a couple smaller points in your article, my strongest disagreement with you is over the statement, "His (Jesus) main focus was convincing his audience to help the poor and love their neighbors." I think this is a common conception of Jesus which bears little resemblance to the actual historical person. Indeed, Jesus did devote much of his ministry to loving and helping the socially marginalized. However, if this had been the extent of his ministry, and his ultimate goal, I don't think he would have been persecuted by the Jewish authorities and executed by the Romans on a cross. If we examine Jesus' own words, we realize his main focus was not social uplift, but Himself. In John 6:35, Jesus declares, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." Later in John 11:25-26, Jesus states, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." These sound more like the words of an egomaniac or lunatic, equipped with supernatural powers, than a good man who teaches people to love one another. In case there is any question that such statements are limited to John, check out Jesus' words in Luke 9:23: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." All of this amounts to a man who believes himself to be God, and demands that others recognize him as such. Jesus did not come into the world to help people, he came into the world to save people from their sin, which is why all 4 gospels focus so intensely on the crucifixion, where the sins of the world were placed upon him, and the resurrection, where he was raised from the dead, proving his divinity and foreshadowing what would be the same fate for those who followed himn (eternal life!). Let there be no doubt, Jesus did not envision himself as a great moral teacher. He declared himself God, and made clear that salvation from sin trumped helping and loving people, however noble that cause may be.

    By Anonymous Casey Chalk, at Tuesday, 24 May, 2005  

  • hmmm. while casey's post initially make some sense, I'm glad he descended into Lon Solomon's talking points before I started to give Casey credit for open-mindedness.

    For the sake of brevity (and you don't have to read beyond this) my response is: Shut your crazy mouth.

    For those who arent a fan of the brevity thing:

    I am no biblical scholar, I have read the thing, though. And obviously the main message of the book is that Jesus is the son of God who died for the sins of man. great. So, great, I am glad you got that part.

    But it seems that a lot of the book is also the tale of jesus to use as the example of perfection to strive for, even futiley. And as he says in his comment:

    "Jesus did devote much of his ministry to loving and helping the socially marginalized. However, if this had been the extent of his ministry, and his ultimate goal, I don't think he would have been persecuted by the Jewish authorities and executed by the Romans on a cross."

    The part in bold is what counts the rest of this quote is irrelevant becuase it is FUCKING OBVIOUS that helping the poor and socially marginalized was not the extent of his ultimate goal.

    However according to Casey, Jesus did not want to help people or be a moral teacher, he was just around to save people from their sins all that other shit is superfluous and doesnt even need to be in the Bible. To that i say "Fucking excellent, then tell your buddies in the Southern Baptist and Megachurch Evangelist communities to stay the fuck out of my life. Thanks."

    And though I would love to make some snarky cracks at "These sound more like the words of an egomaniac or lunatic, equipped with supernatural powers, than a good man who teaches people to love one another", I'll refrain and chuckle to myself. hey, he said it not me. (SHIT! there goes that...)

    I'm sure this will not be the end of this thread and Casey will respond to this or Sean will respond to Casey. It should get interesting...

    By Blogger Arun, at Tuesday, 24 May, 2005  

  • "Boy, that escalated quickly...I mean, that really got out of hand fast." - legendary newsanchor Ron Burgundy

    Allow me to intervene here, because I think Arun is reacting a bit strongly to Casey's post, and I don't want to chase away the first stranger to leave a comment here. Although I've had thirteen years of Catholic education, I can honestly say I've hardly read any of the Good Book, since the Church is kind of big on people digesting the theology and not thinking for themselves, but that means I can keep up in the theological discussion, but it seems Casey will have me swamped on quoting Scripture. (Can I also say "some of my best friends are Christians..."? That phrase is more of a punchline now, but seriously, THIRTEEN years of Catholic school. Damn near all of my friends were Christians 'til I got to college. That ssid, I am a hard-core atheist.)

    That said, I have to say I didn't really see anything wrong with Casey's comment, except for the fact that it might've been overkill. It certainly didn't strike me as not open-minded. Casey says:"It is clear, from my own perspective especially, that Christians have done a poor job of showing love to the homosexual community." I'm not quite sure what you find offensive, Arun, even after rereading your comment. "...according to Casey, Jesus did not want to help people or be a moral teacher, he was just around to save people from their sins all that other shit is superfluous and doesnt even need to be in the Bible." I just don't get that sentiment from Casey. It's pretty clear that Jesus placed the moral life pretty high in his teachings, though, and what he meant by "I am the way and the light" is far more open to interpretation and theological and philosophical debate. The Sermon on the Mount (esp. the Beattitudes) certainly concerns this world rather than the next, as do the parables.

    By Blogger Patrick, at Tuesday, 24 May, 2005  

  • Read his comment again. Anyway, I'm just glad someones's here to tell Sean about Jesus.

    Also, any snark and scorn can be partially atributed to sleep-deprivation and general disdain for irrational thoughts that don't begin and end with "your mom".

    I am not trying to insult Casey, and if I did I apologize, but just for stooping to insults and not the content of the words.

    By Blogger Arun, at Tuesday, 24 May, 2005  

  • Casey,

    Thanks for the comments. I just want to clear a couple things up here:

    Obviously, Jesus Christ was not merely a benign phlosopher who only preached goodwill. He considered himself to be the son of God and made that as clear as he could. I wasn't trying to imply anything otherwise. In retrospect, I guess I could have made this element more clear in my post, but I assumed that this would be a given. It would be like going into an explanation of the concept of numbers before writing 2+2=4.

    My point is that there is a lot of hypocrasy going on in the Christian community. The same people who are wearing WWJD t-shirts are acting in contradiction with their savior's actions. As you said, "Christians have done a poor job of showing love to the homosexual community." My wording would be a little stronger than that, but in essence it seems like we agree on this point.

    I consider myself to be a Christian and I am abhorred by the amount of hate and fear my fellow Christians have in their hearts from the gay community and am particularly disheartened because I see plenty of evidence that these feelings would be frowned upon by Jesus himself.

    By Blogger Sean, at Tuesday, 24 May, 2005  

  • Although I take issue with the insults and aggressive tactics of Arun's comment, I'll ignore it for the sake of maintaining a consistent polemical discussion. I suppose I'll clarify a couple of points from my first response and then delve into addressing several points Arun, Sean, and Patrick make.

    Arun writes, "But it seems that a lot of the book is also the tale of jesus to use as the example of perfection to strive for, even futiley." I would strongly disagree with this statement, because I do not believe this is the intent of the historical narratives of Christ. At the end of Paul's first letter to Corinthians, in which he addresses a variety of moral issues, Paul declares, "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men" (1 Corinthians:15-19-21). In sum, obeying the teachings of Jesus, without eternal perspective, is ultimately a useless enterprise. Why? Because no matter the extent of our good works, we are still left with the same inherent problem ofthe human condition, sin, which separates us from God, and leads to death.

    Arun says it is obvious that moral teaching was not the ultimate mission of Christ. Sean seems to second this when he says this is a "given" and so certain it is akin to the mathematical certainty 2+2=4. This may be the case for educated and passionate intellectual gents like yourselves (no sarcasm!), but I'd be interested to see the responses you might receieve if you were to conduct a poll on the street. I know I meet people everyday who believe Jesus was primarily a moral teacher who taught people to love each other. I speak to all those who have this misconception.

    In regard to my comment that the words of Christ appear to proceed from the mouth of an egomaniac or lunatic: I make this point to further express my argument against the misconception of Christ. No "good moral teacher" could proclaim such statements and still be considered sane or rational (unless, of course, He is who He says He is). This is the "trilemma" first posed by G.K. Chesterton and formally constructed by C.S. Lewis: Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or the son of God. There is no room for another characterization. Since I'm referencing authors here, I'll go ahead and respond to one of Patrick's comments. I only quote scripture or others to validate my argument, so I apologize if I come off as a "Bible-thumper" trying to prove his own intellectualism. For all I care you can consider me a fool (and considering my lack of knowledge on most topics, I encourage you to). My objective within this series of comments is only to share Christ truthfully.

    On to the next one. Patrick writes, "The Sermon on the Mount (esp. the Beattitudes) certainly concerns this world rather than the next, as do the parables." Indeed, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Ch.5-7) is a discussion on worldy topics. We should however ask, what is the ultimate purpose of this discussion? I think its clear in 6:19, where Jesus states, "Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." The motivation to live a life of service and love? Eternal life. Furthermore, Phillip Yancey makes the interesting argument that it is humanly impossible to obey the teachings outlined in this sermon. We humans fall short of these commands daily. This follows into my final point, in reference to Sean's great statement that there is a lot of hypocrisy in the Christian community. Well said! My life is a daily example of this. I attempt to follow such teachings as the Sermon on the Mount, and I fail miserably. As Paul says in Romans 7:21-24: "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?' The answer (and how man could ever do good for God): "because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2).

    That's it on my end. Much thanks and mad props to you guys for allowing me to enter into the discussion.

    By Anonymous Casey Chalk, at Wednesday, 25 May, 2005  

  • Oh yeah, quick clarification. The motivation to live a life of service and love is reward in heaven, not heaven itself (and this one of several motivations to do good, if you want others I can give them). Heaven is offered through Christ's death and resurrection. Possibly an unnecessary clarification, but hey.

    By Anonymous Casey Chalk, at Wednesday, 25 May, 2005  

  • "My objective within this series of comments is only to share Christ truthfully."

    Excellent. This thread has turned into a "debate" on Jesus. Well, frankly, it is all irrellevant.

    Casey already agreed with Sean that the evangelical community and Xtians in general need to show less hatred and more love to the Gay community. And that was Seans point.

    This biblecamp dic...ahem, cross measuring about the true mission of Jesus and blah blah blah is pretty much useless.

    So, Casey, thanks for playing, and I'm glad you truly understand the world, but after this comment I am out. (Unless of course i feel like typing some more.)

    Where to begin with Casey's response...?

    Welp, how about here:

    "Arun writes, 'But it seems that a lot of the book is also the tale of jesus to use as the example of perfection to strive for, even futiley.' I would strongly disagree with this statement, because I do not believe this is the intent of the historical narratives of Christ."

    I would like to add at this juncture: "Then what the fuck is the point of the Bible? It all seems superfluous." But that obvious question unanswered, he basically continues this later:

    "Indeed, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Ch.5-7) is a discussion on worldy topics. We should however ask, what is the ultimate purpose of this discussion? I think its clear in 6:19, where Jesus states, "Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal... Phillip Yancey makes the interesting argument that it is humanly impossible to obey the teachings outlined in this sermon. We humans fall short of these commands daily."

    So, fine, obviously don't follow Jesus' example, but also dont follow his words? So if you can pick and choose what to follow why even condemn homossexuality when it is mentioned 2 times in the Bible. I mean the Bible also says women are not allowed to wear pants, men's clothing, or be an abomination towards god and I don't see protesters with clever slogans and colorful renditions of how a 4th grader would picture Hell outside of J.C. Penny's.

    Furthermore, and very sarcastically, I am glad you, Casey, know what to pick and choose and yet still be able to rationalize the literal interpretation of the Bible. It's fucking mind-boggling.

    Regarding the "trilemma": Such an argument is only effective, or rellevant (hmmm, i sense a theme to this comment) if you already believe in the answer. Is he a lunatic, a liar or the son of God? Jeez, he couldn't be the first 2, I mean, that wouldn't make sense...wait, what?

    But I get it, and I got it before. There's this great "misconception" of what and why Jesus was. According to all you've said here, Xtians don't need to even read the Bible, they just need to believe in a name. Great. They need not care what they do in life, they just need to believe in a name. Super. All Xtians need is to believe that some dude who said nice things and crazy things was in fact divine not crazy. Awesome.

    I'm glad you understand God, becuase he sounds like a crazy person.

    And you can count me out.

    By Blogger Arun, at Wednesday, 25 May, 2005  

  • Well, although uninvited and probably deservedly unappreciated, I thought I might post my two centavos on the above discussion, having little better to do at 2 am. Take the following for what it's worth.

    To begin with, I want to thank Sean for the interesting post; living most of the year outside of the VA area I hadn't heard about all this. I agree wholeheartedly with him that the conservative right is unabashedly and most often rediculously bigoted in their antiquated views on the issue of homosexuality. Moreover, the great majority of politicians on the right who hold these opinions express themselves about as eloquently as a second-grader, and with as much empathy as a lump of clay. As such, their verbal tirades of intolerance harm their cause far more than do they rally people to it. They provoke such polarized, hurt reactions on the liberal side that immediately a vast, irreparable rift develops between the two sides: the parties can lob insults at one another but there is no middle ground to stand on.

    Also, I loved Sean's brilliant comment on censorship: any ban of sexual material would indeed ban most (haha, maybe all?) of Shakespeare's works, and also probably most of Chaucer: the two foundational writers of modern English. Perhaps J. Warren Guerin of the Loudon County School Board didn't think this one out very well.

    Let me preface the following criticism by saying that I affiliate myself with no political party; I voted for Kerry in the last election, I'm for allowing gay marriage, but my religious convictions tend to make me tilt somewhat toward the conservative side of the fence. So don't label me as a crazy reactionary whose vast megachurch conspiracy is rising from the red states to quell the LBGT counter-conspiracy. Both conspiracy notions are nonsense (the real conspiracy is the moon landing...)

    All that said, however, I am in theological agreement with Casey, and I believe he expressed himself very intelligibly and accurately... but I won't delve into that subject because previous posters have clearly expressed their desire to abstain from such discussion, and their inability to participate in such discussion in a civil manner befitting discourse between educated persons who were (are?) friends.

    To post in a public forum opens the author to criticism, and to post ignorantly and arrogantly in a public forum, as Arun did, is an act that begs it even moreso. Such is the price of exercising the 1st amendment. As a relatively politically objective observer, I was struck by the two following quotes from Arun:

    "Fucking excellent, then tell your buddies in the Southern Baptist and Megachurch Evangelist communities to stay the fuck out of my life. Thanks."

    and

    "Furthermore, and very sarcastically, I am glad you, Casey, know what to pick and choose and yet still be able to rationalize the literal interpretation of the Bible. It's fucking mind-boggling."

    Patrick was right on: "I think Arun is reacting a bit strongly to Casey's post." First, the dropping of the f-bomb 5 times in two posts seemed a bit excessive. I'm no linguistic prude; I realize that a well-placed explitive can be effective, but seriously, in any intelligent discussion it just makes you appear like you can't come up with anything better to say.

    As regards the second quote, while low, sarcastic personal attacks are oh so self-righteously vindicating, they unfortunately come across as merely a crutch for those who lack the means to come up with a valid counter-argument.

    Generally, Arun's sarcasm was self-defeating, something that in my reading seems to be becoming increasingly rampant in liberal print or TV sources (although John Stewart does it so well...), and to a lesser but still prevalent extent in conservative sources (Sean Hannity anyone?). Rampant sarcasm like Arun uses here (his first post contains 10 paragraphs, only 2 have a non-sarcastic tone; his second post contains 15 paragraphs, of which 9 are sarcastic to a cringe-worthy degree), while it may arise from frustration, advances no tangible arguments; it cites no facts, but rather vague, often wrong assumptions or biases; it is pejoritive and inflammatory. In short, to quote Arun himself, this sarcasm "is only effective, or relevant...if you already believe in the answer."

    Ok ok, I realize this is just a blog, but I really think this type of discourse is becoming endemic: people of opposing viewpoints can no longer hold a debate because one side must resort to over-the-top sarcasm as a defense mechanism. It just perpetuates the divide between liberal and conservative, democrat and republican.

    Just a thought. Thanks for listening (er... reading). Feel free to post a bit o' hate, I'm sure I've left myself wide open to it.

    By Anonymous Drew Johnston, at Friday, 27 May, 2005  

  • Hey Drew,

    It's good to hear from you, even if it is in criticism of my potty-mouth. Haha.

    As far as arguments go, you seem to only be attacking my style of delivery, not what I was saying.

    My sarcasm did not impede the debate simply becuase there wasnt a debate. The root of this thread is that Sean stated that one of Jesus' schticks was to help and love people. He apparenlty inaccurately worded it. Fine.

    Casey then decides to prove that Jesus' main goal was to die for our sins, etc. (something that most grade-schoolers in this country know despite liberals attack on the Bible) He agrees with Sean's point but he still deems in necessary to lecture his fellow Xtian about Jesus.

    My sarcasm is directed at this part of his "argument" becuase it was and is irrelevant to the content of Sean's post.

    Speaking of citing no facts (which is a funny thing to ask for in any discussion of religion), the arguments or objections I did make (admittedly amidst piles of sarcasm and snark) are only vaguely referenced in your own comments. What exactly didn't you like about what I said besides the delivery? Where was I inaccurate?

    I'm not perfect, but I am not an idiot. I know Casey, and I know what he was doing. In matters concerning the intermixing of religion and politics I can and will no longer be polite. I tried that in person and it only caused my greif.

    That said, Drew, your critcisms, while I don't agree with the part where you compare me to Hannity, are welcomed. But I'm not playing with kiddy gloves anymore.

    So, I appreciate that you would rather I sugar-coat my disdain for what i see as useless bullshit, but I can't do it anymore. I invite you to argue against any of what I said, and welcome continued discussion.

    And I hope you had time to read some of the other posts.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Ps. Ouch, comparing me to Sean Hannity? That made me sad.

    By Blogger Arun, at Friday, 27 May, 2005  

  • "My sarcasm did not impede the debate simply becuase there wasnt a debate." Maybe not, but it certainly did make you sound like a cranky bitch. And if there were a debate, I'd argue that your delivery did, in fact, impede it, because there's a way to argue a point, and slinging swear words and sounding personally wounded by the entire discussion isn't it. Nobody's going to take your blog seriously if you get all hysterical and snotty every time someone tries to argue with you. It's unprofessional.

    "In matters concerning the intermixing of religion and politics I can and will no longer be polite." You certainly don't need to be, but you can be impolite without being so shrill about it. I know you're a better writer than that.

    Kiddy gloves coming off, INDEED. Oh, SNAP!

    By Anonymous Carrie, at Friday, 27 May, 2005  

  • Yea, I'm sorry Arun, but I'm going to have to agree with Carrie on this one. You know on most issues we are in complete agreement, but you can definitely do a lot better. It was pretty ad hominem.

    By Blogger Patrick, at Friday, 27 May, 2005  

  • First of all, I'll do what I want. I'll be sarcastic and "shrill".

    But, fine, you guys don't like it. So I'll tone it down.

    Bah.

    Still awaiting someone to actually find something wrong with what I said.

    Humbug.

    Furthermore, I'll do what I want.

    By Blogger Arun, at Friday, 27 May, 2005  

  • Hey Arun, I do apologize for not giving you a shout out
    before I started in on the criticism, it was late and by then my social skills lose their usually keen edge. I hope all is well with you.

    As for my criticism of your argument (though perhaps, as you said it wasn't really an argument since maybe there was no debate), yeah, it was mostly directed at the rhetorical style. Besides what I said in my earlier post, it did offend me a bit, but that's my problem and not yours. (Especially it was the paragraph, "This biblecamp dic...ahem, cross measuring about the true mission of Jesus and blah blah blah is pretty much useless." To me it just seemed like random hate being spewed, but whatever, no need to go into it).

    Other than that, it doesn't seem terribly neccessary for me to delve into a religious discussion. You and I disagree on things, but that's what makes horse races as they say. I respect your beliefs and would just ask that, as I'm sure you already do, you exhibit a conscious respect toward those of the Christian community as a whole, in spite of the ills that a minority of radical conservitives, albeit a vocal one, may be responsible for.

    Heh, and as for the comparison to Sean Hannity, I would
    never dare to compare the two of you. I respect you too
    much for that; I only meant that he tends to be sarcastic in situations were it is not
    effective, to his detriment. I think the comparison between you and John Stewart would be much more accurate, in all of the good ways.

    Anyways, I'm enjoying reading the rest of the blog, you've obviously put a lot of thought into it, it's very well done. Perhaps some day you will own many leather-bound books and have an apartment that smells of rich mahogany, like one Ron Burgundy.

    By Anonymous Drew Johnston, at Friday, 27 May, 2005  

  • I'm sorry if I offended you. Really. I admit that cross-measuring joke was in bad taste; I was angry, it happens.

    I'll try to aim my sarcastic snark better.

    I'm glad you contributed to this thread, and I hope to see your comments in the future.

    By Blogger Arun, at Saturday, 28 May, 2005  

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