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Desmond Tutu compares fight against homophobia to that against apartheid
July 28, 2013 1:16 PM   Subscribe

"I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place." Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu, former chair of independent advisory group The Elders, was in the papers today. "I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this." Also reported by BBC News and The Mail on Sunday.
posted by glasseyes (115 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

 
Desmond Tutu is and always has been fucking class. Several other Anglican bishops should be taking notes here.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:24 PM on July 28, 2013 [45 favorites]


He may get a shock the first time he reads the Bible.
posted by Mercher at 1:28 PM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


He may get a shock the first time he reads the Bible.

Only fundamentalists have that problem.
posted by deanklear at 1:30 PM on July 28, 2013 [95 favorites]


"Marge, have you ever sat down and read this thing? Technically, we're not allowed to go to the bathroom."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:30 PM on July 28, 2013 [29 favorites]


As TheWhiteSkull says, Desmond Tutu has class. (As for The Elders: it's quite a respectable group, to be sure, but the Dalai Lama isn't one of them? Or was he invited but declined?)
posted by easily confused at 1:34 PM on July 28, 2013


"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." --- some guy in the Bible.
posted by SPrintF at 1:36 PM on July 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Good on him. Top bloke.
posted by Artw at 1:37 PM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


He is wonderful. And after reading the dreadful, sickening piece in today's NYT about "corrective" rape in South Africa, his speaking out gives me a little hope that we will not always be hopeless.
posted by rtha at 1:38 PM on July 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


(As for The Elders: it's quite a respectable group, to be sure, but the Dalai Lama isn't one of them? Or was he invited but declined?)

and LOL at Ernesto Zedillo being in it.

posted by threeants at 1:41 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


He may get a shock the first time he reads the Bible.

Please don't start this crap.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:42 PM on July 28, 2013 [26 favorites]


Christianity has some good patches.
posted by Segundus at 1:43 PM on July 28, 2013


Whatever you call the place that Andy Schlafly and Steve King and Tim LaHaye and Pat Robertson are going? I don't think that's what an awful lot of people would think of as 'heaven'. They promise me an eternity of existence without love or pleasure or diversity of any kind. I'm pretty sure I have another word for that. I'm glad Desmond Tutu doesn't want to go there, either.

If there is an afterlife, I want to go to the one that's going to have him and Nelson Mandela and Mr. Rogers and all kinds of other people that the Christian Right has problems with, and I don't care what the sign on the door says. They seem like way better company.
posted by Sequence at 1:48 PM on July 28, 2013 [39 favorites]


He may get a shock the first time he reads the Bible.

Somehow I have a feeling the Archbishop has read it already.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:51 PM on July 28, 2013 [58 favorites]


I don't know that it quite works that way. His having a choice on where he lands, I mean.

Anyway, yeah, Tutu - he's the guy who also said that "I think the West, for my part, can go to hell".

Which is a hell of thing for a prelate of the church to say.

Somehow I have a feeling the Archbishop has read it already.

Probably true, but you'd be surprised....
posted by IndigoJones at 1:53 PM on July 28, 2013


What a strange phrase. The meaning I can't help but take from it is almost completely different from its literal meaning. Is phrasing like this common in Christian circles? Are there (m)any people who believe in a God they don't worship? Questions like these are probably old hat for theologians, so sorry if they're boring by now.
posted by ODiV at 1:54 PM on July 28, 2013


As for The Elders: it's quite a respectable group, to be sure,

I was kind of looking for some more stuff to pad the post out a little bit with, although really I feel just the one link would have been enough.
posted by glasseyes at 1:55 PM on July 28, 2013


Which is a hell of thing for a prelate of the church to say.

The West is right now waging proxy wars across the middle east that are destroying millions of lives. He's right, and a true prelate of the church would be confronting the empires perpetuating injustice for the cause of power and greed.

You may remember a dude from Nazareth who was crucified for similar political activity.
posted by deanklear at 1:56 PM on July 28, 2013 [29 favorites]


"I think the West, for my part, can go to hell".

Well in my opinion you have to be really blind to the context to take any exception to that.
posted by glasseyes at 1:57 PM on July 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


Some people love the idea of a Heaven where everyone will make it there.

Some people love the idea of Heaven where very few people will make it there.
posted by emjaybee at 1:57 PM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


He may get a shock the first time he reads the Bible.
posted by Mercher at 3:28 PM on July 28 [1 favorite +] [!]


Which passage are you thinking of?
posted by goethean at 1:58 PM on July 28, 2013


I love the idea of a heaven where there's just me. Because, you know, hell is other people.
posted by kaibutsu at 1:59 PM on July 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


There is a running thread through the Bible of people who question God's goodness and demand good behaviour from God. Not many peoplein the Bible do it, but given that the list includes Abraham ("shall not the judge of all the Earth do right?"), Moses, Job, David, most of the prophets and Jesus himself it's a difficult theme to ignore.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:00 PM on July 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


You may remember a dude from Nazareth who was crucified for similar political activity.

I never realized Dan McCafferty was so politically outspoken.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 2:00 PM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


More seriously, This American Life has my favourite piece on the sociological aspect of hell.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:02 PM on July 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


We need more stories like this.

Makes life seem so much more optimistic... especially after reading about the Batan Rouge, Louisiana police continuously arresting men for agreeing to consensual gay sex under unconstitutional sodomy laws
posted by TheLittlePrince at 2:04 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


This anti-religion derail is kind of gross. Desmond Tutu is an extremely educated man and humanitarian, and it's really weird that people are accusing him of forming his statements on having failed to read the bible. Especially when that accusation comes from a fundamental lack of understanding of theology, and how, y'know, the bible can be interpreted in billions of different ways and literal fundamentalism is only one of them.

So can we drop the whole "if he were only smart and educated, he'd hate religion too" crusade? Because it's really crass to do it in a thread like this especially.
posted by Conspire at 2:08 PM on July 28, 2013 [57 favorites]


Are there (m)any people who believe in a God they don't worship?

Yep. I mean, the first of the Ten Commandments says, "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me," not "I'm the only God there is," and the thou is referring to a specific group of people. Non-Israelites had other Gods, several of whom are mentioned in the Bible.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:08 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Desmond Tutu is one of the only religious officials who actually deserves to be on a stage with Mandela.
posted by Space_Lady at 2:28 PM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I continue to be deeply impressed by Desmond Tutu. I hope he can sway more in Africa to follow his feelings.
posted by jb at 2:29 PM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is there an anti-religion derail? I didn't think that was what was happening.

I'm not a Christian any more. I converted at about the age of 10 and I stayed in the Church (Catholic) until I was about 18. One thing about not being brought up in any religion is I came to it fresh - I didn't have any resentment or disillusionment about the message, as I perceived it, of Christianity, nor about the people in charge of delivering it. The message I responded to that made me convert, boils down to New Testament 'love one another', 'do unto others' and 'god so loved the world' etc.

I still respond to that, it seems to me to be as good as ethical thinking gets. I have enormous respect for somebody within the church who is willing to hold fast to this ideal of love as a central tenet of faith whatever dogma is current at the time.
posted by glasseyes at 2:30 PM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mark Twain had Huckleberry Finn say a similar thing about turning Jim in to be a slave again. "Alright then, I'll go to hell." A teenage drop-out could recognize the truth of that statement, but many well-educated, supposedly moral people have struggled with the idea that morality might be something beyond any god.

I'm with the bishop. I follow the teachings of Jesus. If that means I end up going to hell (whatever that is), at least I did the right thing while I was alive.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:31 PM on July 28, 2013 [17 favorites]


What a wonderful thing to say. Do we have another candidate here for Metafilter Saint, like Fred Rogers, Jim Henson, etc.? He isn't dead yet, but isn't that better?
posted by JHarris at 2:43 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have enormous respect for somebody within the church who is willing to hold fast to this ideal of love as a central tenet of faith whatever dogma is current at the time.

Right on, Desmond Tutu is a man of conscience and I admire him.
posted by Divine_Wino at 2:51 PM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


The West is right now waging proxy wars across the middle east that are destroying millions of lives

Actually, he said it back in the 80s. The point is, the destiny of an entire swath of humanity or even a single unit is, in his church, not his call. Nor is any kind of blanket desiderata of taht kind appropriate for a prelate of the church to make. It's sort of like lawyers as officers of the court are expected to answer to a higher standard. He is right to condemn injustice on this earth, and even work against it.

But leave the afterlife out of it. For as the good book says, Vengence is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:52 PM on July 28, 2013


Actually, he said it back in the 80s

That would also be a period of time in which the West was helping arrange loans from Gulf Arab States to Saddam Hussein in order to punish the Iranians for daring to overthrow the puppet government of the Shah of Iran. One million died, and millions more were displaced.

We were also funding anti-Communists in Central America, where our militarized death squads were murdering priests during mass when they weren't razing native villages to the ground. In the previous decade years before that you may remember that the Vietnam war had also left millions dead so that we could feel secure knowing that the Vietnamese were making the right choice when it comes to the government of their own country.

Actually, it's been a truism for 30-40 years now. But hey, let's not get caught up in the details. I wouldn't want to offend the West by telling them to go to hell when they are creating it for others on this earth.
posted by deanklear at 3:02 PM on July 28, 2013 [31 favorites]


...the bible can be interpreted in billions of different ways and literal fundamentalism is only one of them.

The fact that it CAN be interpreted in 'billions of different ways' tends to prove that NONE of them can be accurate.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:19 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


More importantly, the west was not united in its opposition to apartheid. South Africa could and would go it alone ending white supremacy if needed, was the gist of it, Regan be dammed (literally).
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:19 PM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know, we believers, when we speak of God, are speaking of the Supreme Being. Creator of the Universe. King of kings. Lord of Lords. Immutable. Omnipotent. Transcendent. Way above anything we could be capable of understanding.

Leaving aside for now the specific statement that Desmond Tutu said, and looking at it in a general sense-Who are we to dictate to God anything? If He is God, with all the attributes and more that I just described, we are less than a speck on the knee of an ant on a log. In the face of that kind of magnificence, glory, wisdom, and transcendence, the very fact God gives a crap about us to begin with is fairly mindboggling.

I promise that when any of us stand before such a Being, the idea of telling Him anything at all-the idea of being able to do anything but be a gibbering idiot in the presence of such glorious Perfection and Holiness and Love and Justice?

For those of us who know or, for that matter, just suspect the existence of such an Awesome Being and Presence, to do anything at all but to spend the rest of our earthly lives seeking out how to know Him, serve Him, obey Him, and follow Him seems the epitome of foolishness.

No matter where you stand on the subject Tutu was addressing-he is addressing a topic that is way, way more serious than he or anyone on this thread to include me can even comprehend.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:20 PM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


the very fact God gives a crap about us to begin with is fairly mindboggling.

He didn't have to make us. Life is all about choices, eh?
posted by klanawa at 3:25 PM on July 28, 2013


In the face of that kind of magnificence, glory, wisdom, and transcendence, the very fact God gives a crap about us to begin with is fairly mindboggling.

Meh.
posted by goethean at 3:27 PM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Tutu wasn't dictating to God; he was exercising his free will. He's saying that he doesn't want to be with God in Heaven if that God is a homophobic god.

I, for one, agree with him. If God is as homophobic as some people claim God is, He's not worthy of my worship.
posted by jb at 3:31 PM on July 28, 2013 [17 favorites]


that said, if God is love, that is utterly incompatible with homophobia, which is about condemning love.
posted by jb at 3:32 PM on July 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


Well okay then but why would anyone imagine the Immutable Omnipotent Transcendent would have a problem that people of whatever gender loved each other? When love is the closest we can get to being at one with whatever is Immutable Omnipotent Transcendent?

See I don't have religion but I want to use language that I believe in, that expresses respect for what you believe in. Thank you for your comment, which crystalises something I feel about Desmond Tutu's words: that belief in the nature of god as love incurs a duty to speak out against hate, especially when said hate becomes incorporated into Church dogma by the fallibility of man-made ideological structures.
posted by glasseyes at 3:32 PM on July 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


I guess not everyone is taking the quote as obviously symbolic and not at all literal? Is it me who should reevaluate my reading of it then?
posted by ODiV at 3:39 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well okay then but why would anyone imagine the Immutable Omnipotent Transcendent would have a problem that people of whatever gender loved each other? When love is the closest we can get to being at one with whatever is Immutable Omnipotent Transcendent?

More succinctly, as I once saw on a sign at a Pride parade: "If God didn't make gay people, there wouldn't be any."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:44 PM on July 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


I don't know that it quite works that way. His having a choice on where he lands, I mean.

Anyway, yeah, Tutu - he's the guy who also said that "I think the West, for my part, can go to hell".

Which is a hell of thing for a prelate of the church to say.


Let's use the entire quote:

"Your president is the pits as far as blacks are concerned. I think the West, for my part, can go to hell."

I think he was perfectly within his rights to express that, seeing as how it was in response to Ronald Reagan exhorting more American businesses to invest in SA, and "...Congress--and the countries of Western Europe--to resist this emotional clamor for punitive sanctions [against the apartheid government]. "
posted by oneirodynia at 3:46 PM on July 28, 2013 [26 favorites]


This at the time when it was basically the US, the UK and I think Israel propping up the apartheid regime. If an afterlife exists I think it would be fitting if Ronnie and Maggie were together in it.
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on July 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


He may get a shock the first time he reads the Bible.

Really? You think that the message of the Bible is that heaven is a place where no sinners will be found? Because that's not found anywhere in orthodox Christian theology.

In Christian theology, heaven is a place where sinners will be loved and welcomed not for anything they have done, not on their own merit, but because of the overwhelming grace and love of God.

So even if homosexual behavior is a sin, all that means is that gays are sinners just like straights are. And, from a Christian perspective, being a sinner is the beginning of the story, but it is certainly not the end.
posted by gauche at 4:17 PM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


That's the beginning of a pretty sad story, gauche.
posted by ODiV at 4:35 PM on July 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Some people love the idea of Heaven where very few people will make it there.

They are bad people. I mean that in the most condemning and accusatory way I can.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:38 PM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


So even if homosexual behavior is a sin, all that means is that gays are sinners just like straights are. And, from a Christian perspective, being a sinner is the beginning of the story, but it is certainly not the end.

Isn't it fascinating how specifically horrible homosexuality seems to be among a certain subset of religious people? Theft, lying, adultery, assault, murder, fraud, idolatry, blasphemy, apostasy, all these assaults on other people and offenses against God are things God can easily forgive, but having the temerity to love somebody of the same sex is beyond the pale.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:41 PM on July 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


In Christian theology, heaven is a place where sinners will be loved and welcomed...

...if they have asked forgiveness for their sins and made amends or tried to avoid sinning. Not if they have celebrated their sinful nature and lived with joy in those sins.

There's a major difference between being a repentant person with homosexual feelings and a happy, well adjusted, partnered gay person.
posted by mdn at 4:41 PM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "No matter where you stand on the subject Tutu was addressing-he is addressing a topic that is way, way more serious than he or anyone on this thread to include me can even comprehend."

Ah yes .. the famous "don't-bother-your-pretty-little-head-about-it" argument ... ... I wonder if there is a "god-works-in-mysterious-ways" argument in that block of text .. but after reading this perhaps I should avoid bothering my little, no-so-pretty head by analyzing that comment.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 4:44 PM on July 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


Leaving aside for now the specific statement that Desmond Tutu said, and looking at it in a general sense-Who are we to dictate to God anything? If He is God, with all the attributes and more that I just described, we are less than a speck on the knee of an ant on a log. In the face of that kind of magnificence, glory, wisdom, and transcendence, the very fact God gives a crap about us to begin with is fairly mindboggling.

If we are meaningless, then what is the point? Why would you want to be a plaything for an indifferent god who makes rules you don't understand? When you see a child wielding a magnifying glass while toying with the ant on the log, is that the relationship you long for?

I'm hip to the historical Jesus. I like the guy. But I think pretending that a rebellious, anti-authoritarian Jew from ancient Palestine has a conception of God similar to the one you are describing is quite a stretch. The language you use seems to invoke pre-Christian paganism, not the simple realization that we need to follow the golden rule and protect the weak from the powerful, and be compassionate for those who need it the most -- even when they are the lowest of sinners in the eyes of the self-righteous.
posted by deanklear at 4:46 PM on July 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


For those of us who know or, for that matter, just suspect the existence of such an Awesome Being and Presence, to do anything at all but to spend the rest of our earthly lives seeking out how to know Him, serve Him, obey Him, and follow Him seems the epitome of foolishness.

No matter where you stand on the subject Tutu was addressing-he is addressing a topic that is way, way more serious than he or anyone on this thread to include me can even comprehend.


For someone who professes to be unable to know of the existence (much less the wishes, desires, and preferences) of the "Awesome Being and Presence," you seem awfully damn certain that your personal beliefs about the dire seriousness of homosexuality trump those of Rev. Tutu.

Why is that? And why do you think anyone else should value your beliefs over his, or their own?
posted by dogrose at 4:51 PM on July 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


In Christian theology, heaven is a place where sinners will be loved and welcomed not for anything they have done, not on their own merit.

This is why, if there were a Judeo-Christian-style god, I hope I'd have the strength of character to pass on the invite to heaven. I'm accountable for my misdeeds -- real ones, that is, not sex -- whether somebody else forgives me or not. Envisioning myself lounging on a cloud for eternity blithely enjoying a free pass I had weaseled my way into with a tearful apology is appalling, especially when truly good people would be excluded.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:03 PM on July 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


Archbishop Tutu isn't dictating any more than the theology of the church already "dictates," in a sense. Like many others, the Anglican Communion holds as a fundamental tenet that God is Love. On this side of the pond, we often talk about a three legged stool of scripture, tradition and reason as holding up our theological core. I think you have a decent set of evidence in those to support the God is Love proposition (certainly much of the church does too). So the rest is interpreting what that means, and I don't think it's a huge stretch to argue homophobia is fundamentally incompatible with love.

Sometimes to communicate that message to the group of people who need to hear it the most, somebody like Archbishop Tutu has to use language that's unfamiliar to the rest of us. It's that way to me too: I'm one of those wacky Christians who doesn't believe in Hell at all, let alone a Hell where gay people go. But don't lose the sentiment for the choice of words. Put another way, Archbishop Tutu is saying: "If gay people are going to Hell, then you're gonna have to send me too." And nobody in their right mind thinks Desmond Tutu should go to Hell.
posted by Apropos of Something at 5:08 PM on July 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'd like to keep this general-but if we believe (as I do-this is not academic for me but I understand it might be academic for some of you) that we are the creation of the type of Being I described in my comment-His opinion on anything trumps anything we could come up with-it would be a statement filled with the utmost hubris to say an opinion of ours could be better than His.


I am not saying anyone HAS to believe as I do-but I think that a person would be very wise to seek out Truth, and be willing to seek out what Truth actually is whether or not they'd be inclined to believe in it. It's lazy to believe in a lie just because it feels good to you, and it's wise to make sure that whatever you believe is worth believing. And I certainly don't expect anyone just to take my word for it on what truth is. That, too, would be lazy.

(I do believe, strongly, in that Being I described and I also believe, strongly, He reveals Himself to those who seek Him. To seek Him, or not, is a choice every human has to make for him or herself. )

(On preview, to FelliniBlank-Yes, we are all accountable for what we have done. But if someone has already paid the penalty you or I have earned, I am scratching my head on why you would turn that down. And as Jesus Himself said, none are good but God alone. Considering that in my faith Jesus went through excruciating agony and suffering because He loved us enough to pay that penalty for us, you really think it is more noble to say "nope, I'll take a pass"? )
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:11 PM on July 28, 2013


You know, we believers, when we speak of God, are speaking of the Supreme Being.

"We believers"? You mean the believers who believe in the same things you believe in, the same way you believe in them? Those believers?

There are many other believers, and you don't speak for them.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:18 PM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's lazy to believe in a lie just because it feels good to you

Does your belief system feel good to you? How do you know you're not lying to yourself, or that the God you believe in isn't the Devil tricking you in ways you don't understand? Can you prove that you don't believe in the Devil pretending to be God?

These are the reasons certainty in religion is immoral. If something cannot be proven in mutually observable reality, it is not proven. It is just your opinion. It may be a very old opinion with deep meaningful words for you and for the people you look up to, but at its core, it's just an idea. A flawed, human idea.
posted by deanklear at 5:29 PM on July 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


ODiV: That's the beginning of a pretty sad story, gauche.

FelliniBlank: ...I hope I'd have the strength of character to pass on the invite...

Fair enough.

I did not write what I wrote, above, in order to suggest to anybody that they should feel one way or another about what the church teaches. I definitely understand that people have different responses to Christianity for a whole host of reasons.

I was only wishing to suggest that the commenter above, to whom I was responding, is reading the Bible in a way orthogonal to the tradition in which Abp. Tutu was, I rather suspect, speaking. It's my belief that the relevant axioms -- speaking from within that tradition -- are these:

1. God loves humans -- human individuals, not merely "humanity" -- very very much and wants to spend eternity with all of them.
2. God is both cleverer and more powerful than a human can imagine.
3. There is probably a hell, but it's less clear who is there or why or for how long. Details on this are very fuzzy.
4. God has expressly stated that we will find people in Heaven we did not expect to see there.
5. God very probably gets His way in the end.

I find these axioms to be pretty compatible with Abp. Tutu's remarks. I'd further point out that, in the Christian narrative, God Himself found the prospect of a Heaven without any sinners in it so unbearable that He would rather spend three days in Hell. So I'm inclined to read these remarks as being pretty compatible with Christianity.
posted by gauche at 5:34 PM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'd like to keep this general-but if we believe (as I do-this is not academic for me but I understand it might be academic for some of you) that we are the creation of the type of Being I described in my comment-His opinion on anything trumps anything we could come up with-it would be a statement filled with the utmost hubris to say an opinion of ours could be better than His.

Maybe you're looking at this the wrong way. I read Tutu's statement as explaining something about the god he does believe in — that the god he believes in is not homophobic, and that if god were homophobic, he would not worship him. Put the stress on the other side of the conditional statement, I suppose.
posted by spitefulcrow at 5:35 PM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


No matter where you stand on the subject Tutu was addressing-he is addressing a topic that is way, way more serious than he or anyone on this thread to include me can even comprehend.


Obvious troll is obvious. Tutu is making a very simple and very obvious point - that the God he worships is not a homophobic God, and that he therefore ipso facto does not believe in the existence of a homophobic God, because he believes there is only one God. The question of whether or not he would worship a homophobic God is therefore a hypothetical, because TANSA.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:37 PM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


His opinion on anything trumps anything we could come up with-it would be a statement filled with the utmost hubris to say an opinion of ours could be better than His.

See, this is what's so frustrating about trying to communicate with you, St. Alia. Apparently you can't see how your declarations of your personal and highly idiosyncratic beliefs about the Awesome Being's values aren't actually THE TRUTH. They are, in fact, serried ranks of honking hubris-klaxons.

All that aside: As an American, what I most appreciate about Rev. Tutu's statement is that it undercuts the weird Prop 8-era rhetoric that tried to fragment the definition of civil rights.
posted by dogrose at 5:38 PM on July 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I did not write what I wrote, above, in order to suggest to anybody that they should feel one way or another about what the church teaches.

Gauche, I didn't take your comment about Christian theology that way, at all; I was just musing on Archbishop Tutu's theme of "would I want to go to heaven" and used that mainstream Christian conception of heaven as my jumping-off point, in a way that (unintentionally) ended up sounding like I'm a subscriber to Modern Self-Righteous Prig magazine.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:43 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems to me that part of Alia's original diatribe verges on the Euthypro Dilemma, in particular as Western/Christian Theologians have rephrased it:
"Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?"
This is only via an inference by proceeding along the query of "how dare you question the almighty!" (I will note that deanklear and dogrose hit on some of the nature of the problem I find in the original statement by Alia).

It seems to me, also, that Alia is hitting on Pascal's Wager as a basis for belief. "Why would you turn down belief in a God who 'sent his only begotten son' to die for you? And risk eternal damnation?"

I think this is where we hit upon the dilemma, for those of us who believe that LOVE is the Supreme Commandment, we find the disparity and hatred espoused by those who call themselves Christian in the name of their deity to be incongruent with this teaching of Love.

What Archbishop Tutu is saying is that if there were a god who commanded one to deny human rights to homosexuals, then he says that god is not worthy of being named a god of Love.

I asked my youth pastor about the dilemma once (before I realized it was an old theological/philosophical question), and he took the position that if God declared murder and war to be the supreme virtue, then thus must it be, because God declared it. That is, of course, one theological interpretation. I am assuming he got it via his schooling, whatever that may have been.

That interpretation says: Whatever it is that God declares must be "correct" is correct, and all your sense of justice and morality otherwise are wrong.

There are those of us who believe that Love is a thing in itself. That it is outside of God, and God says Love is Good, because it is a truism that exists outside of the existence of God.

The funny thing is - it was precisely me beginning to ask questions about the nature of Love/God/Goodness and these things that led me to ultimately become a non-Christian. The right-wing view of Christianity views god as an authoritarian dictator whose will must be followed and obeyed at all cost. They claim they do this out of love and awe. Awe, perhaps, in the original meaning, Awesome, Mighty and Fearful. But not love. "Respect". Respect due to fear of punishment. You speak of salvation. "Why would you turn this magnificent offer of Love and Salvation from your sins down?" If the threat of hellfire or the reward of heaven were no matter, would you still believe in God? I had to strip away the carrot and stick to see my true beliefs. What did I ultimately believe? Did I believe in a God who must be obeyed because He is All-Powerful, and so no matter what he chooses, because he is God and All-Powerful, that decree must be obeyed no matter how nonsensical it may seem to our understanding of Justice and Morality.

I stripped away the fear and desire for reward, and I saw that I did not believe.

While in this process of what I guess I will term disbelievement, I was asked what would keep me from murdering someone. One of my friends from church had seriously asked me this question. I had asked her if the only reason she thinks murder is wrong is because God declared it thus, and not because we should respect another individual's autonomy and right-to-life in and of their selves (I'm sure I didn't quite phrase it that way, but the intent is the same). She said, yes, that if she didn't believe in God, she would have no problem murdering someone. She truly thought that if she gave up faith she would turn into a murderous monster of some sort. To be fair, she was probably around 18 or 19 years old, and who of us has our head on straight at that age (or ever?) But these sorts of thoughts are clearly common amongst a large segment of the Right-Wing version of Christianity.

I had personally said that I would not want to serve a god who would judge me based upon a belief of this god based upon fear. I do not see a god who threatens hell and damnation upon humanity as a God of Love. (There is the common retort that God doesn't threaten us with damnation, but it's a choice we choose and he can't override our "free will". Ergo our free will is greater than God's ability to save us, if this is such, then God is not the Omnipotent Almighty being he is being portrayed as, and thus, isn't as particularly Godlike as claimed.)

Interestingly enough, this friend of mine who said she would be a cold-blooded killer if she didn't believe in God had also been very strictly anti-gay when we were in High School, and I, knowing that one of our best friends was gay (or rather, strongly suspecting this) and he was also a Christian, couldn't understand her inconceivable stance and hatred towards "homosexuality" (oh, of course, she would say it's "love the sinner, hate the sin" but I didn't see it that way - I had already grown out of that mode of thinking, and I knew that was an excuse and not the actual results of her thinking, so I had written a sternly worded letter of rebuke, reminding her of LOVE.)

Archbishop Tutu understands this concept. A concept of a Deity that's greater than any human divisions. And he understands that a God who doesn't start with Love ("The Greatest of these is Love" as the one Bible I had as a child said on the cover) is not a God he believes is worth serving, and I stand with him and am glad he is taking the stand for Love and not Hate.
posted by symbioid at 5:55 PM on July 28, 2013 [30 favorites]


Not at all. It's a hard topic to try to discuss among internet strangers. I felt like I had to clarify because I don't want to come across as prostelytizing. I wasn't offended, I just wanted to make sure I hadn't offended anybody else.
posted by gauche at 5:57 PM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Preach it, Tutu!
posted by homunculus at 6:10 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Way above anything we could be capable of understanding.

Well, then, let's not predict what his judgment would be. No way we could know.
posted by mdn at 6:12 PM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


[Looking at that, I think it looks far too much like I was calling St. Alia a troll, which was not my intent. But that argument is a line dangled in the water - a statement that criticising homophobia in Church dogma - both the violent homophobia too presence in the Angican Communion and the equivocation in the Synod - which imagines God as a homophobe is a hubristic demand that God change His own homophobic attitudes, which Tutu clearly does not impute to Him.]
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:26 PM on July 28, 2013


The obvious sub-text being, the God he prays to and which you also presumably pray to isn't homophobic.

Which is a pretty brave message.

That or he's trying to take us all into some fairly deep philosophical territory in search of personal gods or the fractured splinters of Gods past.
posted by Slackermagee at 6:34 PM on July 28, 2013


Isn't it fascinating how specifically horrible homosexuality seems to be among a certain subset of religious people? Theft, lying, adultery, assault, murder, fraud, idolatry, blasphemy, apostasy, all these assaults on other people and offenses against God are things God can easily forgive, but having the temerity to love somebody of the same sex is beyond the pale.

I think that's being a bit daft; God is merciful to all seeking mercy. Thieves, liars, murderers et al. aren't clamoring for the legal recognition of their acts as something normal and approved of, not merely tolerated, by society; homosexuals do seek such recognition, hence, the focused opposition by orthodox Christians. You put the water where the fire is.
posted by resurrexit at 6:37 PM on July 28, 2013


"I stripped away the fear and desire for reward, and I saw that I did not believe."

I've had a similar experience, from the other side of the coin. My website has a bunch of information about religions, primarily Chinese ones. A Christian once wrote to me through my website and started trying to convert me. But I asked some simple questions, which I see now are basically equivalent to the Euthyphro dilemma: should you try to do what's right, or what God wants? If what God wants is ever different from what's right, why try to follow God? Conversely, if what God wants is always what is right, then it still makes more sense to just do what's right and not bother with God -- why not just try to do the right thing, and exclude the middle man (/being/God)?

We corresponded a bit, and when it left off, I think the person was considering that perhaps they didn't need to be a Christian anymore.
posted by jiawen at 6:42 PM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


He may get a shock the first time he reads the Bible.

Wait. Is this about homosexuality or cheeseburgers with shrimp on top?
posted by smallerdemon at 6:43 PM on July 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think that's being a bit daft; God is merciful to all seeking mercy. Thieves, liars, murderers et al. aren't clamoring for the legal recognition of their acts as something normal and approved of, not merely tolerated, by society; homosexuals do seek such recognition, hence, the focused opposition by orthodox Christians. You put the water where the fire is.

You put the water where the fire is. The fire in question is the Christian opposition. The opposition to literally all of the nine fruits of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control - all aided by the gay rights campaign and opposed by Christian homophobes. Also charity and chastity for the Catholics. And the fires of hatred are those that need dousing by the waters of charity.

God is merciful to all seeking mercy. Homophobic Christians emphatically do not seek mercy. They seek condemnation for others. And that is why we have problems. Just because you've been carefully taught a couple of homophobic clobber-verses doesn't mean that treating them as the central message of Christianity is other than a perversion.

The Archbishop has read the bible. And understood it. And understood the context many of the verses were written in - social and economic. (And at times food hygiene plays a part). Some is relevant today, some has changed beyond recognition.
posted by Francis at 6:55 PM on July 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Or, we could just look at it as someone in a position of institutional authority using that authority to take a stand for something that is right.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:55 PM on July 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


As far as I know there aren't any 'homophobic clobber-verses' in the New Testament?
posted by glasseyes at 7:03 PM on July 28, 2013


I'm accountable for my misdeeds -- real ones, that is, not sex -- whether somebody else forgives me or not. Envisioning myself lounging on a cloud for eternity blithely enjoying a free pass I had weaseled my way into with a tearful apology is appalling, especially when truly good people would be excluded.

I am not a Christian, and so I don't know how much this really jives with Christian theology, but I always thought the idea was supposed to be that asking for absolution could only be done with the understanding that your misdeeds were wrong and why they were wrong. Otherwise, what would be the point? Presumably an omniscient God would know if you were just giving lip service to being sorry.
posted by kagredon at 7:13 PM on July 28, 2013


As far as I know there aren't any 'homophobic clobber-verses' in the New Testament?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_and_homosexuality

If you want to know, that's a good place to start. Here is another:
For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This saying is true.
It's obvious that no one in any church in the United States is pushing for sanctions against Crete, or would be particularly concerned by their ideas on circumcision. And, despite that the Bible says that Cretans are "always liars, evil brutes, [and] lazy gluttons" -- no one cares. Just like they don't care about what it says about wool blends, or how to sacrifice a bird to cure leprosy.

The point I'm trying to make is that only a small subset of Christians (fundamentalists) claim that the bible is literally true, because to follow all of its pronouncements would be impossible since there are so many contradictions. And the deep-seated fears expressed are almost pitiably bizarre to anyone who lives in the modern world, which is why those parts of the Good Book are just not discussed.

So, even if you could make a strong argument against homosexuality from the Bible, I would say, "So what?" Until I hear about the plans to deal with the population of Crete and their wicked and false teachings about circumcision -- or, Heaven forbid, pass laws to support the needy as the Bible commands some 1,200 times -- I'm not going to take fundamentalists seriously, and I don't think anyone else should, either.
posted by deanklear at 7:53 PM on July 28, 2013 [15 favorites]


The "circumcision group" is referring to people who said back in the day that one had to be circumcized in order to be saved-in other words, that it wasn't just Jesus's sacrifice on the cross that saved, you had to obey the OT law as well. Jesus came to fulfill the OT law, and He accomplished that. As far as we humans are concerned, the Law was actually given to show us what sin was, and to show us experientially that we are totally unable to keep it.

That doesn't mean Jesus gave us carte blanche to sin; indeed, it meant we who believe in what He did for us are freed from the power of sin, and are given His life in us to enable us to live holy lives. The same God who loves us to the uttermost loves us too much to leave us to be unholy. To use the Bride analogy-He is coming back for a Bride without spot or wrinkle. If we don't show the fruit of the sanctification process, we would do well to question whether justification happened in our case. In other words, make our calling and election sure.


I mean, it makes absolutely no sense for Jesus to come die for our sin and then pat us on the head and tell us it's okay to continue in it. My husband loves me but he certainly expects me to be faithful to my marriage vows. And the Lord is certainly greater than my husband!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:12 PM on July 28, 2013


For those of us who know or, for that matter, just suspect the existence of such an Awesome Being and Presence, to do anything at all but to spend the rest of our earthly lives seeking out how to know Him, serve Him, obey Him, and follow Him seems the epitome of foolishness.

I don't understand this attitude at all. Such a god would be impossibly powerful compared to us. That would in no way make him worthy of worship or veneration much less this sort of groveling obsequiousness. We're insanely powerful compared to, say, a mouse. Are we worthy of worship by sheer virtue of being so much more powerful?
posted by Justinian at 8:17 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


St Alia: do you fully believe that all Cretans are "liars, evil brutes, [and] lazy gluttons" which has been specifically referred to as "true" by Paul as canonized in the Bible?
posted by deanklear at 8:20 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


First link goes to this question. Second link, well, not seeing that it refers to same-sex activity.

I was Christian for a while, and I'm not aware of New Testament writings that can be quoted to support a ban on gay sex as such. Perhaps I'm not that well acquainted with the Bible.

Plus, though I haven't the links, I'm sure I've read about Medieval blessings on friendship and companionship that support an interpretation of support for love between partners regardless of gender.

It's all in the interpretation isn't it? If 'God is love' how can love be wrong?
posted by glasseyes at 8:22 PM on July 28, 2013


I mean, it makes absolutely no sense for Jesus to come die for our sin and then pat us on the head and tell us it's okay to continue in it. My husband loves me but he certainly expects me to be faithful to my marriage vows. And the Lord is certainly greater than my husband!

Except Jesus explicitly condemned adultery, while staying conspicuously quiet on the issues of homosexuality and mixed textiles. It's not comparable.
posted by kagredon at 8:29 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Except Jesus explicitly condemned adultery, while staying conspicuously quiet on the issues of homosexuality and mixed textiles. It's not comparable.

If I compiled everything Jesus stayed quiet on, does that allow me to do them by your reasoning? Why or why not? Because something is NOT explicitly in any holy scripture (or modern secular legal document or political constitution for that matter) is it fair game? That sounds like an extremely legalistic reading of the New Testament text that I am hoping you are trying to avoid.

I am confused on world leaders saying one thing and we cheer but other popular leaders like the Dalai Lama saying this. That was back in 1997 but I am not sure he has changed his view:
From a Buddhist point of view, lesbian and gay sex is generally considered sexual misconduct”. Nonetheless, he reiterated, Buddhism calls for respect, compassion, and equal treatment for all, including homosexuals.


So is this about tolerance or what is right across the board? Because if Christians get a smackdown, this bit seems strangely telling as well if we are moving from the traditonal old school definition of tolerance to the modern nuanced take of acceptance of homosexuality.

Which is it?

(And feel free to substitute something else in place of homosexuality if it helps clarification.)
posted by snap_dragon at 9:27 PM on July 28, 2013


> Who are we to dictate to God anything?

then...

> I mean, it makes absolutely no sense for Jesus to come die for our sin and then pat us on the head and tell us it's okay to continue in it.

So first you say that the god you believe in is so awesome and powerful that his motives can't be known or understood by the human mind, then you tell us that simple common sense is enough to figure out what makes god pleased with us?
posted by peeedro at 9:33 PM on July 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


it makes absolutely no sense for Jesus to come die for our sin

Indeed.
posted by homunculus at 9:34 PM on July 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


If I compiled everything Jesus stayed quiet on, does that allow me to do them by your reasoning? Why or why not?

Not everything, but things that were forbidden in the Old Testament and that Jesus had nothing to say about have significance because he was explicitly sent to form a new covenant. If there are certain things that he took care to mention were being carried over from the old covenant, it makes sense to say that things he did not mention are not being given the same significance.
posted by kagredon at 9:38 PM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


In the face of that kind of magnificence, glory, wisdom, and transcendence, the very fact God gives a crap about us to begin with is fairly mindboggling.

The term is mind-bottling. You know when things are so crazy, you get your thoughts trapped, like in a bottle.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:09 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


That doesn't mean Jesus gave us carte blanche to sin; indeed, it meant we who believe in what He did for us are freed from the power of sin, and are given His life in us to enable us to live holy lives. The same God who loves us to the uttermost loves us too much to leave us to be unholy. To use the Bride analogy-He is coming back for a Bride without spot or wrinkle. If we don't show the fruit of the sanctification process, we would do well to question whether justification happened in our case. In other words, make our calling and election sure.

I mean, it makes absolutely no sense for Jesus to come die for our sin and then pat us on the head and tell us it's okay to continue in it. My husband loves me but he certainly expects me to be faithful to my marriage vows. And the Lord is certainly greater than my husband!


We get it, you're the Christian. But what does this have to do with Tutu saying something to connect with the general population with a "hey guys, gays aren't bad people" background.

I thought it was cool. Way to represent a loving religion, Tutu.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:16 PM on July 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'd like to keep this general-but if we believe (as I do-this is not academic for me but I understand it might be academic for some of you) that we are the creation of the type of Being I described in my comment-His opinion on anything trumps anything we could come up with-it would be a statement filled with the utmost hubris to say an opinion of ours could be better than His.

I understand that your argument is predicated on the religion you share with Archbishop Emeritus Tutu - that you and he share the articles of faith. However, you have concluded that your interpretation of the canon is superior to his. From my perspective as an outsider, I see the chief priority in your text as learning to get along with our neighbors (loving each other, forgiving each other - especially for being who we are, not killing each other, not lying about each other, avoiding theft and usury, honoring your parents.) Sin and forgiveness are central to the articles of Christian faith, but the particular sin of gay sex occupies very little of the text (especially of the New Testament) and doesn't get anywhere near Commandment status. It seems a bit prideful to assume that your doctrinal interpretation is a more perfect understanding of that Supreme Being's opinion than Archbishop Emeritus Tutu's.
posted by gingerest at 10:50 PM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


We're insanely powerful compared to, say, a mouse. Are we worthy of worship by sheer virtue of being so much more powerful?

I bloody well think so! And I'm going to keep razing their villages and bring plague on their crops until I start seeing some tribute!

their cute little mouse crops. PLAUGE.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:48 PM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Keep that up Uther and someday you'll see a four foot tall mouse shaped Jaeger stomping through your kitchen.

I've said this before, but there is very little Biblical support for the view that homosexuality is in any way wrong. Similarly, the Protestant view that life begins at conception is younger than the Happy Meal.

The problem here isn't literal readings of the Bible. The plain, primary meaning of the Bible is that it is a book written by oppressed people, carrying the message that oppression will not last forever. It's easy to see how following the Bible led Tutu first to oppose Apartheid and now to oppose homophobia. The Bible itself is not what's gone wrong with American Christianity in the past century.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:14 AM on July 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


What often unnerves me about a fundamentalist approach to scripture is that it seems to shoot straight for the prosciptions, condemnations, and pseudo-science, completely failing to stop and notice all the poetry, allegory, and symbolism peppered on nearly every page. It's almost like, while proclaiming that God is this awesome all powerful supreme being they somehow also overlook the given implication of that statement: if all this is true about God, then no human art of any kind could ever quantify anything about God in any remotely accurate fashion and thus ALL writings about God EVER are necessarily symbolic, mere shadows of the real thing.

I think this is something Desmond Tutu understands quite well, that if one is willing to believe in a supreme being one must also accept the fact every bit of ink ever spelled on the subject is the faintest possible scratch. Hey, doesn't the closing section of the Gospel of John have something to say about that? Interesting.

Also, what was it that Paul said about seeing through a glass darkly? I think there's some relevance here.

Desmond Tutu is not some petulant seminarian making glib statements. He's been around awhile, and has likely spent more time than most thinking about these sorts of things…since, you know…it was his job to think about these sorts of things. So when he says something this bold, I'm betting he gave it a lot of thought. And then he spoke with conviction. That matters.

But supposing he's dead wrong and judgment day comes and St. Peter's like "well shit, Des, you got it wrong. Here's your banjo, you're going to hell now". Maybe, but I don't think so. Sincerity still counts. Jesus's parable of the two sons is also instructive here. The first son openly rebelled against his father, and only later repented. The second son told his father he'd do what was asked, but then he never did it. Guess which one did the right thing?

So even if Desmond Tutu's words put him in open defiance of God (which I highly doubt) he's doing so with the conviction of an honest man and that's the all we can ask of anybody in any situation.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:49 AM on July 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I mean, it makes absolutely no sense for Jesus to...

HOW DARE YOU use your puny human reason to determine the will of the almighty?!? His munificence and perfection are infinite and you are a bug on a log, and yet here you are ARGUING from a human perspective about what he wants and what he means?!? More blind obedience and less thinking through things, m'kay?
posted by Meatbomb at 12:58 AM on July 29, 2013


Maybe less of the shouty-caps and snide? Alia's one of us.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:34 AM on July 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The "circumcision group" is referring to people who said back in the day that one had to be circumcized in order to be saved-in other words, that it wasn't just Jesus's sacrifice on the cross that saved, you had to obey the OT law as well. Jesus came to fulfill the OT law, and He accomplished that. As far as we humans are concerned, the Law was actually given to show us what sin was, and to show us experientially that we are totally unable to keep it.

That doesn't mean Jesus gave us carte blanche to sin; indeed, it meant we who believe in what He did for us are freed from the power of sin, and are given His life in us to enable us to live holy lives. The same God who loves us to the uttermost loves us too much to leave us to be unholy. To use the Bride analogy-He is coming back for a Bride without spot or wrinkle. If we don't show the fruit of the sanctification process, we would do well to question whether justification happened in our case. In other words, make our calling and election sure.


I mean, it makes absolutely no sense for Jesus to come die for our sin and then pat us on the head and tell us it's okay to continue in it. My husband loves me but he certainly expects me to be faithful to my marriage vows. And the Lord is certainly greater than my husband!


Interesting sentiments. Dangerous (I could tangle with your bride analogy another time given that Jesus was a winebibber who spent his time with whores and tax collectors ratehr than pharisees and who came for the sinners rather than the saved) but interesting.

But nothing, literally nothing you have written in the above passage has anything to do with homosexuality other than your attempt to prevent certain people from taking marriage vows in the first place. No one who is in favour of gay marriage expects the vows to be taken any less seriously by gay people than straight ones. (Here I would point out that adultery and divorce both exist among the straight community despite some very strong injunctions from Jesus himself). There is nothing in the equivalent to marriage vows saying "I shall not be gay."

The long and the short of it is for all your comments about sin, Jesus of Nazareth never once calls out being gay as a sin. He does however make comments about judging not lest ye yourselves not be judged. And that is what is happening here. Some Christians are judging by inventing sins and being judged in return.
posted by Francis at 1:48 AM on July 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


[Comment deleted. Let's not: a) make personal attacks, b) make it all about one person, c) devolve into Meta site issues/user history. Metatalk is an option, if needed, but it would be great if this discussion could focus on the subject of the post. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 2:33 AM on July 29, 2013


He may get a shock the first time he reads the Bible.

Not if he read it with nuance and reflected upon it, which is the way you're supposed to read anything.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:57 AM on July 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Okay, maybe not Twilight, but any religion's Scripture, yeah, you're supposed to be thinking when you read it
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:19 AM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looks like the Pope is setting the stage for a change in dialogue at the Catholic church.
posted by arcticseal at 5:24 AM on July 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Whether religious or not, the question homophobia confronts us with is this: Homophobia causes human suffering, so do you wish to increase or diminish suffering?
posted by audi alteram partem at 5:58 AM on July 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


The thing is, the bishop's statement, in my opinion, is not rhetorical or theoretical. There is a battle for the soul of Anglicanism, and one of the main battlegrounds is over gay rights. The church has many branches and many archbishops: South African's version of the Anglican church is one of the few branches in the world that completely accepts homosexuality as a non-sin. Most others are either explicitly homophobic (Uganda) or irresolutely in between acceptance and condemnation (Kenya, Ireland, Australia). And just like all the other places where Anglican churches have allowed homosexuals to worship and get married and be priests, a large segment of their believers left--or stayed and continued to campaign to return to the old ways. So when he says this, it's much less about his personal relationship with Christ and much more about how he would not stand to be part of a Church that hates gays, and so he doesn't mind the division caused by his church's openness. He welcomes it.

Hopefully this stark way of putting it will encourage other Anglican churches to accept homosexuality, and other members of other churches in SA to demand that their congregations pick a side. Quick pussyfooting around. Either your church is for the acceptance of this normal and natural state of loving, or it is homophobic. And if so, either leave or boot the assholes. In Africa especially, it is a matter of life and death.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:53 AM on July 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


Wow. So the Vatican elected the most conservative outsider they could find, and it blows up in their face when he does what's in the best interests of the Church and Christianity rather than in the best interest of dogma, choosing to lead rather than command.

We're not even a full year into his papacy, and he's tossed out both prosperity doctrine and the proscription against homosexual priests. More change a'commin', I think. That, and the little old ladies and their grandkids are over the moon with this guy so far... a rockstar pope like JPII... so he's got the charisma to make this stick.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:05 AM on July 29, 2013


Slap*Happy: "So the Vatican elected the most conservative outsider they could find"

The Cardinals wouldn't have picked a Jesuit if they were looking for a "conservative" pope.

They definitely got more than they bargained for, but most of Pope Francis's more "radical" positions were well known before he became pope.
posted by schmod at 8:19 AM on July 29, 2013


Yeah, his comments are great! From that same link:
"The problem is not having this orientation," he said. "We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worse problem."
posted by corb at 9:05 AM on July 29, 2013


Not sure if you're seriously celebrating that comment, corb, but it's exactly the kind of paternalistic bullshit that gives the lie to this "what a lovely pope" nonsense. Right, who is he to judge gays -- or would-be female priests -- as long as they don't actually try to change the status quo and secure equal rights!
posted by Drexen at 9:32 AM on July 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


But supposing he's dead wrong and judgment day comes and St. Peter's like "well shit, Des, you got it wrong. Here's your banjo, you're going to hell now".

Considering the human suffering caused by homophobia, I still wouldn't want to be in that heaven with St Peter if Desmond Tutu is wrong. (Also, wouldn't get in, due to my utter lack of repentance about kissing girls).
posted by jb at 9:34 AM on July 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


that is, I wouldn't repent. It would be like repenting of the "sin" of not stoning my neighbour for adultery.
posted by jb at 9:36 AM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who are we to dictate to God anything?

I am the person who is right. That is who I am.

If He is God, with all the attributes and more that I just described, we are less than a speck on the knee of an ant on a log. In the face of that kind of magnificence, glory, wisdom, and transcendence, the very fact God gives a crap about us to begin with is fairly mindboggling.

Regardless of what bacteria thinks of humans (or would think of humans if it could), humans can still be wrong.

I promise that when any of us stand before such a Being, the idea of telling Him anything at all-the idea of being able to do anything but be a gibbering idiot in the presence of such glorious Perfection and Holiness and Love and Justice?

No.

If I were to ever find myself standing in front of a petulant, hate-filled creature, no matter how far above me it ranks, no matter how many more fucking hit dice it has than me, I would immediately find a way to spit in its eye. Being powerful does not make one's decisions perfect, or holy, or loving, or just. A God who hates his creations solely for being what they are, or even dresses hate up as love the way so many shitty modern evangelicals do, is a God who is wrong, and his heaven would be hell to the compassionate, the kind, the loving, the just. No radiant power, no omnipotence, can ever change that.

And you say I'd be nothing to him?

And you say I'd be insignificant to him?

No. You have it backwards. A hate-filled God is nothing in the face of love or justice. And I would laugh in his face if he were what awaited me upon my departure from this earth. I would tell him, quite rightly, to go fuck himself for his overall incompetence in creating a universe or a people to inhabit it.

Without God, we are still human.

Without love, we are simple, stupid animals. Without love, there is nothing human about us.

You speak of hubris but defend a God who would pretend his law is greater than love. Maybe some would become gibbering idiots in his company. If the situation is as you describe, I personally intend to demand to speak to his manager.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:13 AM on July 29, 2013 [20 favorites]


IALDOBAOTH, you rascal, you!
posted by symbioid at 10:26 AM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


On Gay Priests, Pope Francis Asks, ‘Who Am I to Judge?’
posted by homunculus at 11:37 AM on July 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


quite courageous
posted by earthwalker7 at 2:25 AM on August 2, 2013


Courageous would have been if he had added "I mean, I fooled around with some dudes at seminary. Who didn't?"
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:07 PM on August 2, 2013


Courageous would have been if he had lifted his robe and showed off his Brazilian.
posted by homunculus at 4:44 PM on August 2, 2013


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