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Matthew777
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« on: February 28, 2005, 04:20:17 PM »

What rights and privilages should the gay community have in a homogeneously Christian society?
(no pun intended)

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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2005, 04:40:03 PM »

The same as everyone else: freedom from discrimination, freedom from abuse, a right to privacy and all that entails, and a right to marry a member of the opposite sex if they so choose.

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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2005, 04:55:16 PM »

Yep.
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2005, 05:26:35 PM »

>>in a homogeneously Christian society?

You mean like Vatican City?
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2005, 05:30:39 PM »

I am speeking hypothetically. Imagine a society where the majority is devoutly Christian but there is a minority gay community.

What about civil unions?
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2005, 05:52:44 PM »

I am not opposed to some type of civil union for purposes of inheritance or rights if one is incapacitated. But to then extend that to other matters would be a bit a much, I think.
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2005, 05:58:44 PM »

>>Imagine a society where the majority is devoutly Christian but there is a minority gay community.

So you're talking about Venn diagrams where these two "groups" do not intersect, I presume.

(Another incredibly weak premise, just like your hypothetical society.)
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« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2005, 06:36:17 PM »

Well...what rights does the gay community deserve in our society?
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2005, 08:22:08 PM »

Gay this, gay that.  I say a Christian who believes him/herself to be homosexual has the right to fight their lusts in spiritual warfare, just as all Christians should.  The best way to start is by not labelling oneself "gay."  Really now, do people honestly believe that God will be happy with someone calling themselves "homosexual" if His intentions were completely otherwise for the human race?  We were all designed to be straight, and to strive for perfection as commanded by the Lord Jesus.  It would be an imperfection to believe oneself gay, even if they are not practicing the sin.
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2005, 08:32:26 PM »

Shenouti,

I completely disagree with your statement.
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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2005, 09:56:57 PM »

Well...what rights does the gay community deserve in our society?

Since Orthodox Christians believe all humans to be created in the image and likeness of God and hence should not discriminate, they should have the same rights others have. Am I missing something?
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2005, 10:34:34 PM »

What limits should be placed on equal hiring?

Why not have full civil unions?

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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2005, 10:56:32 PM »

Why not have full civil unions?

Why Not? Well, why not legally codify a sinful life-style? Just make it that much more legitimate, right?
It was done for abortion...
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2005, 12:39:19 AM »



Why Not? Well, why not legally codify a sinful life-style? Just make it that much more legitimate, right?
It was done for abortion...

Interesting.  When a heterosexual couple lives together long enough it becomes a common-law marriage.  Isn't that the same thing?  It is still two people who are not married to each other having sex.
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2005, 12:40:54 AM »

For as much as abortion is legal, like euthanasia may become, it is not right.  Legality does not necessarily equal right just like something being illegal does not necessarily make it wrong.  Certainly when it was illegal to be a Christian it was not wrong. 
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« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2005, 01:00:45 AM »

Quote
Why Not? Well, why not legally codify a sinful life-style? Just make it that much more legitimate, right?
It was done for abortion...

Exactly.....I wouldn't want to be responsible before the courts of God to santion such an abominiation. I'll err on the side as does Romans 1 that this lifestyle is simply against the nature God intended for humans. Some people think that spreading christian morals into the public conciousness is somehow judgemental and wrong but then again we could have possibly avoided a Hitler, Stalin or maybe even communism if we didn't keep to ourselves Wink. Why not follow the example of the apostles who were quite zealous and didn't mind good debates and offending others for the truth.

While we are doing hypotheticals here, what if lets say this country was 95% gay non - christian, and 5% were straight christians. Do you really think we would be afforded the right to "discriminate" against gays by refusing to perform gay marriages in the Church?
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« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2005, 01:21:35 AM »

Matthew:

I have seem the effects of both over zealousness and total indifference on thie issue, and both sides are sides of the coin we want to avoid.  As Orthodox, we dont belive that a gay couple is a legitimat thing to be blessed but a lapse into sin.  We get nowhere if we celebrate or negate this position.  We are always called upon to have love for everyone.  But let us not confuse love with being pushovers.  We must stand firmly with hte positions of the Church in this matter, and never veer from it, lest we end up having the same troubles as other organizations. We love the sinner, but hate the sin.  We are called to show what is wrong with that "lifestyle" and treat it like it is: a disease which we ourseolves avoid.  But we must be carefull not to avoid the person who finds himself in that sin, nor bash them.  We know that God has the medicine, and that it can cure the hardest of hearts.  But we must first live our lives by this uncompromising example, then we might show thew path.  We are called to pray for all people, no matter if they are in sin.  And many people have fallen into homosexuality because of either hurt or pride, some of it having to do with people using the name of Christ Jesus and then physically or emotionally hurting them.  Not all.  Many.

Should we let them go and live as they please if they wont listen to the Gospel and the Church?
Yes.

Shoulde we avoid them and treat them as paraiahs?
No.

Do we love them as Christ commanded? 
Without hesitaiton!

Do we allow them to seek marriage in the Church?
NO.

The question is, and has always been, if the persons in questions are repenting for their sins.  This is what is improtant.  We let God and the clergy handle it from there.


My two cents.  Take it or leave it. Smiley


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« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2005, 04:32:47 AM »

Interesting. When a heterosexual couple lives together long enough it becomes a common-law marriage. Isn't that the same thing? It is still two people who are not married to each other having sex.
Interesting attempt at deflecting an argument - this case shows a sinful life-style as well. It IS still "two people, etc, etc," and wrong.
Fornicating is fornicating even when an additional abomination is added.
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« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2005, 08:43:07 AM »

Aristoklis is very correct.
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« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2005, 09:42:28 AM »


Interesting attempt at deflecting an argument - this case shows a sinful life-style as well. It IS still "two people, etc, etc," and wrong.
Fornicating is fornicating even when an additional abomination is added.

Actually, an attempt on your part at not reading my posts.  The point is that the state has already sanctioned many things Orthodox Christians consider sinful.  If you read my post following the one you quote you would see I say "For as much as abortion is legal, like euthanasia may become, it is not right.  Legality does not necessarily equal right just like something being illegal does not necessarily make it wrong." 
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« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2005, 10:15:23 AM »

No, the attempt was made to understand the convoluted logic as I read that post.

Sorry...you're way too smart for me.
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« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2005, 10:30:01 AM »

No, the attempt was made to understand the convoluted logic as I read that post.

Sorry...you're way too smart for me.

Your insult aside, the logic is not convoluted.  The fact remains, the state has already legitimized unmarried people living together.  The legal system is not on the side of Christianity, if you think it is I think you are wrong.  People have been suing for palimony for years.  The underlying notions that give us palimony, which derive from common law marriage, are simply the same as for gay unions.  Billy Jean King was sued for palimony by her same sex partner in 1981.  There are tons of palimony suits going on.  The state has already made legitimate many things we Orthodox Christians do not accept.

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« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2005, 11:12:30 AM »

"The underlying notions that give us palimony, which derive from common law marriage, are simply the same as for gay unions."

That is your unsupported inference. The syllogism is flawed.
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« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2005, 11:16:24 AM »

I have to agree with Shenouti here, particularly with regard to the issue of self identification.

Even when couched in purely secular terminology, human beings are psychologically far more complicated than the extremely political definitions of "gay" or "straight" allow for. I am convinced that the reasons why some end up as "homosexuals" are far more complicated than any one pop theory allows for. Interestingly enough, a well known "homosexual", author Gore Vidal would agree. He refers to his own sexual proclivities as those of a homosexualist - someone who for whatever reason, involves himself/herself in same-gender sexual relations, with varying degrees (if any at all) of disinterest/aversion toward the opposite sex.

From the Christian p.o.v., I think there can be nothing more damaging than to identify one's self as some sort of "third gender". Rather this is a vice which for whatever reason exists, and which the individual must struggle with. Like some other vices, the reasons behind it can be many - they can be the result of bad living...or they could be the result of all sorts of factors which not only do not originate in the individual, but may very well in fact have been inflicted upon them (ex. there are some good grounds to believe some people are biologically disposed towards alcoholism; or childhood/adolecent trauma can cause all sorts of problems for people in latter life, etc.) In any case, the end result which these conditions point to (if not opposed) is rotten, so it must be fought with, perhaps even until one breathes their last breath.

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« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2005, 11:36:45 AM »

I concur with Augustine.
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« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2005, 11:39:13 AM »

"The underlying notions that give us palimony, which derive from common law marriage, are simply the same as for gay unions."

That is your unsupported inference. The syllogism is flawed.

Well, it is not mine really. If you google on "same sex palimony" you will see that all of this, common-law marriage, palimony of different shades and same sex unions are involved. Try it,
http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-44,GGLD:en&q=same+sex+palimony
it is not unsupported it is all out there, others are supporting it. The syllogism may be flawed, I am not saying it isn't. Perhaps I should have said "those who support this [whatever same-sex right is in question] find underlying notions that give us palimony, which derive from common law marriage, are simply the same as for gay unions." Again, the reality is this is what people are arguing for.
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« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2005, 01:14:31 PM »

ISTM that, re: the comparison of same-sex civil unions with long-term, monogamous (sp?) heterosexual relationships that merit palimony, the key seems to be this:

Do we let the law which sanctions one kind of fornication dictate whether or not we sanction another kind?

That having been said, there's a line of Church and state here, that, like it or not, goes both ways.  If we are living in a secular society (and we most definitely are), then civil unions for these homosexual relationships, while wrong from an Orthodox viewpoint, are the only humane thing for us to do in our society.
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« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2005, 02:26:26 PM »

Pedro and TonyS,
I do not mean to be my usually argumentative self here (and I was too pressed for time earlier to respond more fully), but my contention is that the gay-lib activist position seems to have garnered repectability by this palimony comparison. Constantly we are being lead to accept their version of their plight as a property- right issue (which it may be) and that to redress the unfairness we must alter the Civil Institution of Marriage with obvious (we fear) impact on our Sacrament of Marriage.
This is fallaceous and we should not condone this perversion (no pun). If there exist property right imbalances, it is our TAX Code which is at fault - not our Marriage Laws. Yes, by altering the definition of marriage to something disagreeable to us, they achieve the property equity they supposedly seek. BUT the TAX situation (estate, inheritance, and gift) is the real culprit. Attacking that will solve the root problem for EVERYONE, attacking marriage only 'solves' their perceived injustice. One way I will will accept, the other I will not.

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« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2005, 03:01:24 PM »

Demetri,

I intially only responded to your post "Well, why not legally codify a sinful life-style? Just make it that much more legitimate, right?  It was done for abortion..." by pointing out that common-law marriage does the same thing for heterosexual couples.  The purpose of this was to point out that the state has already made something we Orthodox Christians consider inapropriate legally acceptable.  You mention abortion, for the same reason.  My point is that what the state may do with gay civil unions is seen by some as yet another form of common-law marriage.  Palimony suits in same-sex couples are not new either, I remember back in the early 80s the Billy Jean King palimony lawsuit, I don't know how it turned out.   While it is a hot topic and it is getting more press, I think this really is not news.

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« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2005, 03:06:43 PM »

I would like to at least refer to the original question - If we are in a homogeneous Christian society (which, I'll venture to say this country hasn't really been at any point in its existence - but that's another issue) what rights should people who identify themselves as gay have... and I would agree that they deserve the right against descrimination, the rights to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc...

But I also think that, especially if Orthodox Christians are part of the decision-making, that we cannot divorce within ourselves the "religious" and "secular" - that is to say, we cannot remove our Orthodoxy from our decision making if we are members of the cabinet or Congress or Oligarchy or whatever. Permitting things like "common-law marriage" and homosexual marriage would be unacceptable to me, and should be opposed by anyone that is Orthodox. But, remember, love the sinner hate the sin - I do think Aristoklis is on to something with his argument that the tax and property-ownership systems are flawed. Anyone should be able to bequeath whatever they want to whomever they want. If two males or two females are living together, and one wants the other to get their possesions or whatnot, they should be able to file a simple little document saying so.

But marriage - let's not turn marriage into the age-old mess of changing property and doweries, etc. Maybe that's the idealist sap in me, saying that these same-sex couples should not use marraige as a way of legitimizing their relationship and using it to gain property rights - let them use an un-sacred institution like Uncle Sam's IRS and the state Title departments to do that.
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« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2005, 03:18:57 PM »

All,

I guess what scares me about this goes back to the initial post
Quote
What rights and privilages should the gay community have in a homogeneously Christian society?

I remember talking to a fellow seminarian some time back who said that homosexuals should not be allowed to join the Church.  Putting aside the notion of conversion which is a given for entering the Church, his notion was that they should not be allowed to join the Church until they were "healed" or some other way he used to phrase it.   I think the only real Christian response is one of equity, all should be held to the same standards. 

The Church is often equated with a hospital, our Lord even said that the sick are in need of a physician, not the healthy (Mat. 9:12,13).  Our Lord said to the woman caught in adultery "go and sin no more."  That is what we should do.

I saw my paternal uncle (God rest his soul) shunned by my father and his family when he contracted AIDS, such a lack of love is not virtuous. 

There is such a long history of states being at odds with Christians over their faith...why should now be any different?

T
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« Reply #31 on: March 01, 2005, 03:55:23 PM »

Marriage is an interesting term to equate to homosexual relations in the fact that Orthodox Christians see marriage in a different way than secular people see marriage. The dictionary definition is: marriage n. The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.
Now, man and woman aside, a homosexual marriage would be defined as "The legal union of a man and man or woman and woman as husband and wife."  Note the term legal is used. Secular marriage is just that, a legal union. It's simply a matter of legal contraction between 2 people to determine who gets what when the other dies based on feelings towards each other. (along with other shared things such as real estate, bank accounts, finacial holdings, etc.   

Now, marriage in the Orthodox Church is an entirely different story. In the church its more than a legal contract. Marriage is a marriage unto Christ. You are married in the eyes of the church to create an offspring who will (hopefully) be brought up in the church. For it says in the Antiphon for Presanctified Liturgy (Carpatho-Russian Grin). "... Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the sons of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them, he will not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate." Also, during the wedding service the man and woman pledge themselves not only to each other, but dedicate their lives and everything accomplished there in to God as one person. This is seen with the exchanging of crowns, the sharing of the common cup, and so forth. The idea behind the marriage is a man and woman being united together to please God and help each other attain Theosis, the goal of every Orthodox Christian. Thinking about these ideas, I don't think that there is a compairison that can be made here seeing the terms are completely different. I think that we need to step back and look at those difference in the term of marriage before we can talk about the homosexuality lifestyle.

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« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2005, 11:45:19 PM »

Civil unions don't seem too bad
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« Reply #33 on: March 02, 2005, 09:45:56 AM »

Couple of points here.

In response to Anastasios: you bring up a good point about inheritance (as a reason for civil union) although there might be more critically important issues involving medical decisions.  Lets say you have a gay couple where one becomes unable to make important medical decisions for themselves and has no family members (maybe all passed or totally alienated).  Who is the best person to make decisions for the person unable to do so?  The government, a bureaucrat possibly or maybe a doctor who could be considering the most fiscally efficient way to car for the patient?   I think a loved one, even a gay loved one is clearly the best answer.

I can think of other legal issues of concern, which might be a reason for civil union.

As a matter of happenstance I watched a documentary yesterday called "Trembling Before G-d".  It dealt with homosexuality in the Hassidic Jewish community.  The program made a really strong argument for the genetic argument of homosexuality; ie- you are born gay.

In the program they followed a few individuals raised in the strictly religious Hassidic lifestyle.  People who dedicated their lives to reading the Torah, following the Kosher dietary laws and prayer.  One guy, after consulting his Rabbi, underwent shock therapy, hormone therapy and pain conditioning in order that he could stop being gay.  It didn't work.

This guy hated being gay, but couldn't change.  I mean, I really felt bad for the torment this guy felt.  He wanted to be a "good" Jew, but knew he couldn't as long as he was "gay".  In any event, I really thought it was a compelling argument against homosexuality being a choice.
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« Reply #34 on: March 02, 2005, 11:48:55 AM »

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In any event, I really thought it was a compelling argument against homosexuality being a choice.

The question really isn't whether or not the homosexual proclivity is a choice. As it is, there is no evidence to suggest homosexuality is anything but behavioral, psychological, and pathological, but in the future a genetic component may be discovered. The question is about human will. I, as a heterosexual, must struggle against all sorts of sexual sins: fornication, masturbation, crippling lust, and so forth. Such temptations assail me daily, and they seem quite natural. I simply cannot say, however, that because they just come up naturally that it is acceptable to indulge in them. The battle against sin is just that: a battle, and it can be agonizing. We mustn't pretend as though homosexuals are the only ones struggling against sin.

As for how homosexuals should be treated in civil society: they should be regarded as equal human beings before the law, with their rights respected along with everyone else. The pertinent question, though, is whether or not marriage is a guaranteed legal right. It is not, of course. Homosexuals should be free to pursue their own happiness, but we must not elevate every deviant way of life to that of equal status with the God-instituted family. If we, as a civil society, remove sexual inclination and proclivity from the control of human will (which is what homosexual activists are seeking), then we will have no moral ground from which to oppose bestiality, incest, or pedophilia. For without doubt (and it is already happening), polygamists and pedophiles will claim that they too are "born this way" and have no control over their sexual orientation.

We must walk a fine line between protecting Constitutional rights andsafeguarding the institutions of marriage and the family.
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« Reply #35 on: March 02, 2005, 12:23:51 PM »

I, as a heterosexual, must struggle against all sorts of sexual sins: fornication, masturbation, crippling lust, and so forth. Such temptations assail me daily, and they seem quite natural.

The question is, to what lengths are you willing to go to curb these temptations.  Would you go through electric shock therapy, hormonal therapy and pain conditioning to stop these temptations?  If you were willing to go through these measures and still the temptations remained, then what?

Furthermore, your statement strengthens rather than weakens my argument.  I agree, as a heterosexual I to am faced with certain temptations which I struggle with.  However, at the end of the day, because I am a married heterosexual, I have an acceptable means of dealing with certain temptations.

However, a homosexual (male lets say) doesn't.  His choice is either succumbing to temptation or being celibate because he cannot fathom a "natural" relationship with women.  The difference is you and I have an outlet, he may not.

I suppose your answer would be that he would just have to resist temptation.  I guess I was just moved by how hard this one guy had it.
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« Reply #36 on: March 02, 2005, 01:08:36 PM »

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Would you go through electric shock therapy, hormonal therapy and pain conditioning to stop these temptations?

No. And I would certainly not suggest that any homosexual undergo such procedures and forms of therapy to battle temptation. Prayer and fasting are much more effective, in my judgment.

Quote
Furthermore, your statement strengthens rather than weakens my argument. I agree, as a heterosexual I to am faced with certain temptations which I struggle with. However, at the end of the day, because I am a married heterosexual, I have an acceptable means of dealing with certain temptations.

I'm not entirely certain how my statements give weight to your argument, but let me address your present point. Unlike you, I am an unmarried man, so this hypothetical homosexual and I are in the same boat. Both he and I must remain celibate. Neither one of us have an "outlet," as you call it, for our sexual inclinations. It is true, of course, that I could get married to a woman and thus be within the proper moral context for sex, but what if I never marry? What if, by choie or circumstane, I live my life as a single man? I am commanded by God to remain celibate, and should I fail in this task I must repent and seek forgiveness. Why should homosexuals be any different.

I want to point out, by the way, that your argument rests on the presupposition that homosexuality is truly innate and set in stone. This is far from a substantiated truth. In fact, there is much psychological evidence to suggest that it is a developing pathology and can indeed be controlled and perhaps even changed. Homosexuality, for a long time, was regarded as a mental disorder by every reputable psychological and psychiatric organization, yet an arbitrary decision was made in 1973 to remove it from the list of disorders. No new evidence was brought forth to justify this claim, and all signs point to a political motivation. From Mental Disorder to Civil-Rights Issue

A distinction must be made, of course, between theology and moral law versus civil law. As I stated, homosexuals ought to be treated equally before the law, with their rights respected and protected. And as Christians, we are called to love and pray for all who struggle and seek their prayers in return. We mustn't treat homosexuality as if were somehow "more sinful" than adultery or fornication.
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« Reply #37 on: March 02, 2005, 01:34:25 PM »

No. And I would certainly not suggest that any homosexual undergo such procedures and forms of therapy to battle temptation. Prayer and fasting are much more effective, in my judgment.

Trust me, in the documentary, he really tried this to, but it wasn't working either.

I am commanded by God to remain celibate, and should I fail in this task I must repent and seek forgiveness. Why should homosexuals be any different.

By this statement I assume you are saying that the state of "being gay" is not the sin.  It is the acts associated with being gay that are sinful.  So, a gay man who remains celibate would not be a sinner.  Okay, I guess I can agree with that.

I want to point out, by the way, that your argument rests on the presupposition that homosexuality is truly innate and set in stone. This is far from a substantiated truth. In fact, there is much psychological evidence to suggest that it is a developing pathology and can indeed be controlled and perhaps even changed. Homosexuality, for a long time, was regarded as a mental disorder by every reputable psychological and psychiatric organization, yet an arbitrary decision was made in 1973 to remove it from the list of disorders. No new evidence was brought forth to justify this claim, and all signs point to a political motivation. From Mental Disorder to Civil-Rights Issue

My point was, there is no conclusive proof on either side.  In fact, what I said was the fact that this guy undertook severe measures to rid himself of being gay, yet remained gay.  A compelling argument that being gay was not his "choice".  Not conclusive, but compelling.  Wink


A distinction must be made, of course, between theology and moral law versus civil law. As I stated, homosexuals ought to be treated equally before the law, with their rights respected and protected. And as Christians, we are called to love and pray for all who struggle and seek their prayers in return. We mustn't treat homosexuality as if were somehow "more sinful" than adultery or fornication.

Yes, something we can agree on.
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« Reply #38 on: March 02, 2005, 02:05:37 PM »

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By this statement I assume you are saying that the state of "being gay" is not the sin. It is the acts associated with being gay that are sinful.

Essentially, yes. Thoughts and temptations are not, at least in my understanding, tantamount to sin, but they must be fought. My grandmother is fond of saying, "Don't build airports! Temptations and sinful thoughts are like planes, so just don't give them a place to land." Simple, yes, but I think it makes a valid point.
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« Reply #39 on: March 05, 2005, 11:11:29 PM »

I would like to at least refer to the original question - If we are in a homogeneous Christian society (which, I'll venture to say this country hasn't really been at any point in its existence - but that's another issue) what rights should people who identify themselves as gay have... and I would agree that they deserve the right against descrimination, the rights to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc...

But I also think that, especially if Orthodox Christians are part of the decision-making, that we cannot divorce within ourselves the "religious" and "secular" - that is to say, we cannot remove our Orthodoxy from our decision making if we are members of the cabinet or Congress or Oligarchy or whatever.  Permitting things like "common-law marriage" and homosexual marriage would be unacceptable to me, and should be opposed by anyone that is Orthodox.  But, remember, love the sinner hate the sin - I do think Aristoklis is on to something with his argument that the tax and property-ownership systems are flawed.  Anyone should be able to bequeath whatever they want to whomever they want.  If two males or two females are living together, and one wants the other to get their possesions or whatnot, they should be able to file a simple little document saying so. 

But marriage - let's not turn marriage into the age-old mess of changing property and doweries, etc.  Maybe that's the idealist sap in me, saying that these same-sex couples should not use marraige as a way of legitimizing their relationship and using it to gain property rights - let them use an un-sacred institution like Uncle Sam's IRS and the state Title departments to do that.


The Church has always held that homosexual acts are sinful.  The canons provide penances that vary from 80 days to numerous years, depending on what specific sexual act is committed.  Marriage--as a Holy Mystery can only be blessed and be a Holy Mystery in and by the Church.  A judge or civil organization does not have the ability to make a marriage in the sacramental sense of the word.  What is done by the state is merely a legal covenant.  This current legal covenant (that society calls "marriage") can be entered into by a drunk Britney Spears (who in a drunken state "married" a co-partygoer), and can be dissolved by a legal entity (i.e. when Britney Spears sobered up and undid her little indiscretion).  That's not marriage.  It never was, and never will be--the state's sanction notwithstanding.  We, as Orthodox Christians, should not fear that the "sanctity of marriage" is threatened by gay unions, common law "marriages," or any other legal concoctions created by the state, because marriage, as "Holy Matrimony" can only come through the Church, and the Church will never consecrate or sanction homosexual unions.  As far as the state goes...well, they've already flushed marriage and morality down the toilet:

--The state already sanctions easy divorce AND remarriage--basically for any reason under the sun.  This is not Orthodox.
--The state already recognizes common law marriages between two fornicators after so many years.  This is not Orthodox.
--The state has no laws against adultery--at least that are enforced.  Orthodoxy does not condone adultery.
--The state has no laws against fornication--at least that are enforced.  Orthodoxy does not condone fornication.
--The state has no laws against the practice of Satanism and Witchcraft.  Yet, these "religions" are abominable from an Orthodox POV.

My point is: Why are some Orthodox seemingly worried about the sanctity of marriage as if the state has any power against the Mysteries of the Christ?  "Marriage," as practiced by the state, is already far removed from any Orthodox concept.

Another point: I have heard a lot of concern from Christian people (of various sorts) about saving the "sanctity of marriage" or the family by opposing homosexual unions, and efforts to bring about constitutional amendments against such a practice.  Yet, homosexuals constitute a very small % of the population, and how does their lifestyle threaten my family?  I would think rather that the fact that an average of 1 out of 2 marriages end up in divorce is a far greater assault on the sanctity of marriage and the family than gays seeking legal recognition of their "arrangement."  I would also think that the enormously high incidence of adultery is a threat to marriage and the family.  Yet, I see no efforts being made to enact laws or create constitutional amendments that would make divorce and remarriage more difficult, and to make it painful to commit adultery.  Why is this?

*Ideally* speaking...in an Orthodox society, none of the above evils should exist.  But we don't live in an Orthodox society...and I believe to pick and choose what morality to become activistic about and what morality to ignore gives the impression that Christians hate one group of sinners (making them a sort of scapegoat for our own failure of family and marriage) while being more indulgent or allowing of other sinners.

I personally believe, we ought to allow "civil unions" (strictly from a legal standpoint).  IMO, this does not express our moral approval of homosexuality any more than the allowance of divorce and remarriage expresses any approval of no-fault divorce and remarriage.--any more than the fact that the Church of Satan is a legally recognized religion constitutes any moral approval of the practice of Satanism.  If homosexuals approach the Church, then the standard is unmitigatingly and lovingly shown to them as to any sinner (adulterers, fornicators, masturbators, etc, etc) who approaches Christ--Repent and believe the Gospel, and confess and struggle against sin.  We should always see ourselves as the chief of sinners.

In Christ,
Stephen 
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