Thank you to those who are sharing the video overview of “Untangling the Mess.” Understandably, people are asking clarifying questions of this brief overview of the history of cultural and religious discrimination against the LGBT community in America. I fully anticipate the widely shared information will challenge traditional, conservative thinking and beliefs.
Reading the 458-page book Walking the Bridgeless Canyon may well answer many of those questions. However, frustrated or resistant viewers may not want to invest time to more fully understand sexual orientation and gender identity at the intersection of scriptural passages.
[I have the full audio of Chapter 9 of my book on Sex, Gender and Sexual Orientation online for free.]
So . . . periodically, I will be answering questions and linking the responses here. It will save me time and ensure a faster turn-around time on responses. As you share the video and your family, friends and pastors come back to you with a string of “yeah-buts,” send me the question at Kathy@CanyonwalkerConnections.com using “Untangling the Mess question” in the subject line. When I respond, I will send you the link for you to pass on.
The source of all questions will remain anonymous.
I care deeply about education, research, inclusion, equality, discipleship and will maintain a gracious tone in all my communications.
Together, we CAN repair the breach to His glory, Kathy
QUESTIONS and linked responses (ongoing)
- If the Bible is indeed the inspired Word of God, and God is all-knowing, when the Holy Spirit transmitted God’s thoughts to Paul, his writings must have included awareness of sexual orientation, those who are homosexual and those who identify as transgender? RESPONSE
- How do same-sex relationships work when they go against the natural design of the human body? God created us and intends us to use the bodies He created. RESPONSE
Can you elaborate on your argument and the connection regarding Romans 1 and Paul writing within a Stoic framework? RESPONSE
- You make the claim that historically homosexual relationships “… always had a differential in age or power…. And were based in lust, excess, violence, or rape”. How do you know? Is it more likely to think that some brand new thing appeared on the earth in 1860 among European book binders (men of similar age and power falling in love)? Or isn’t it more likely to think that these types of relationships have been present throughout history and that this was just the first scholarly article. It feels like a reverse engineered argument: “We need to make the Bible verses not apply to these relationships so we’ll say that relationships like this didn’t exist until recently so the Bible couldn’t be speaking about them.” And a similar question: “Any time in history Men could basically do whatever they want with their bodies as long as they play the role of the penetrator… boy, animal, man, woman… so long as the man is acting as the penetrator everything is fine in manland”. According to who? Who thought this? Certainly not Christians! Obviously there may be instances of these types of sexual activities, but they were viewed as corrupt and certainly not “fine in mainland”.RESPONSE
- Abomination does not primarily refer to a mixing of things (cloths, fields, etc). I’m sure you know that there are two different words used for abomination: Sheqets which is used for what we would think of as cultural prohibitions (shellfish, mixed cloths and fields, etc), and Toebah which is used for moral prohibitions. These are two different words. Homosexuality is in the Toebah category. RESPONSE
- In general, I felt that there were a lot of instances of taking some partial truths, but spinning it into a narrative in such a way that it made it untrue (or at least in need of some hefty supporting references). Just as an example (and don’t get stuck on this example – it’s just one that was easy to look up), you said that Billy Graham was kicked out of his organization for praying with a Methodist (or Presbyterian). This isn’t true. There was a break between Graham and the fundamentalists, but (in the brief bit of looking into it that I did) it was because of public statements, foundational differences in theology, and ministerial alignment. The way you say it makes it sound like “Those ridiculous fundamentalists. They caught him praying with a brother from another denomination and they kicked him out. How legalistic and foolish they are.” This is at best setting up a straw-man, and at worst deceptive. RESPONSE: It is difficult to imagine the several instances you allude to where you think I spoke untruths. I can however address the one that you did list — Graham getting in trouble with the fundamentalist for stopping outside the “rules,” including choosing to publicly pray with those deemed less-than. There are several places where this is documented. I am linking the one from Independent Fundamentalist Baptists themselves, and another here, and you can read greater details in either of these two books One Nation Under God by Kevin Kruse or From the Bible Belt to the Sun Belt by Darren Dochuk.
I have a full list on line connected to book chapters. Any one of these books will help you better understand fundamentalism and the link to culture and politics:
Balmer, Randall Herbert. Thy kingdom come: how the religious right distorts the faith and threatens America, an Evangelical’s lament. New York, N.Y.: Basic Books, 2006. Print.Balmer, Randall Herbert. God in the White House: a history : how faith shaped the presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush. New York: HarperOne, 2008. Print.Blumenthal, Max. Republican Gomorrah: inside the movement that shattered the party. New York, NY: Nation Books, 2009. Print.Bryant, Anita . The Anita Bryant Story. Old Tappan: Revell, 1977. Print.Dannemeyer, William. Shadow in the land: homosexuality in America. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989. Print.Liebman, Marvin. Coming out conservative: an autobiography. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992. Print.Lofgren, Mike. The party is over: how Republicans went crazy, Democrats became useless, and the middle class got shafted. New York: Viking, 2012. Print.Marcus, Eric. Making history: the struggle for gay and lesbian equal rights, 1945-1990 : an oral history. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992. Print.
Moegerle, Gil. James Dobson’s war on America. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1997. Print.
Rodgers, William D.. The gay invasion: a Christian look at the spreading homosexual myth. Denver: Accent Books, 1977. Print.
Sharlet, Jeff. The family: the secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2008. Print.
Sharlet, Jeff. C Street: the fundamentalist threat to American democracy. New York: Little, Brown & Co., 2010. Print.
White, Mel. Stranger at the gate: to be gay and Christian in America. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Print.
White, Mel. Holy terror: lies the Christian right tells us to deny gay equality. New York: Magnus Books, 2012. Print.
Winters, Michael Sean. God’s right hand: how Jerry Falwell made God a republican and baptized the American right. New York: HarperOne, 2012. Print.
- Why do people not re-visit homosexuality and faith until someone they know comes out? RESPONSE
- As a gay Christian myself, I have spent the last several years trying to reconcile my faith and sexuality, and it is a very difficult process. Your presentation makes so much sense, and I have often used your research in discussing LGBT issues and the Bible with my other Christian friends. (I’m in the middle of reading your book as well.) Several people, my mother included, have come back with one question, though, that always stumps me.
The Old Testament and New Testament writers may not have understood human sexuality and gender as we do today, but surely God does. Therefore, why didn’t He ever enlighten his followers on the topic? RESPONSE If monogamous, same-sex relationships are okay in God’s eyes, then why aren’t there any examples of same-sex romantic relationships in the Bible? RESPONSE Why wouldn’t God have made His approval of same-sex relationships clear to us in Scripture? RESPONSE I’m sure you’ve received many questions just like this, and I’m curious how you respond because frankly, this questions stumps and confronts me too.