Thursday, July 28, 2011

Alphabet Soup

DADT, DOMA, GLBT and other acronyms

Articles about gays and lesbians are filled with an alphabet soup of acronyms.

DADT = Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the military's current policy on gays serving in the armed forces.

DOMA = Defense of Marriage Act, a ridiculous piece of legislation and a total waste of taxpayer dollars, which legally defines marriage at the federal level as being between one man and one woman.

GLBT = Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered.  You know my stance on bisexuality.  You know what gay and lesbian means.  Transgendered is someone who does not identify with the gender assigned at birth.  They are not necessarily gay or lesbian.  I know.  It's confusing.

I saw an interesting quote from Rick Warren, pastor of the humongous Saddleback Church in California.  It's the eighth largest church on the United States and weekly attendance averages 20,000.  Yes, you read that right -- twenty thousand.

For the life of me I cannot imagine how a church can effectively pastor to that many people.  But that's not the point I want to make. 

Churches like Saddleback, the late Jerry Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church and whatever church Ted Haggard is leading now (Haggard was the head of the National Association of Evangelicals until a male escort outed him.  Haggard underwent therapy from other ministers who declared him heterosexual, but in February of this year, Haggard professed to being bisexual.  And you know how I feel about that.  It's his way of avoiding the truth.) love to preach hellfire and damnation against gays and lesbians.

Last week I blogged about what the Bible says and doesn't say about homosexuality.  So my unrepentant soul always has a celebratory "GOTCHA" moment when a Haggard is exposed as a hypocrite or the son of another well-known evangelist is arrested for performing a lewd sex act in front of undercover police.

Okay, I know God doesn't approve of that.  But I don't think He approves of hyprocrisy either.

So when I read the following quote from Rick Warren, I just had to laugh.

Never follow a leader who always preaches against the sins of others but never publicly confesses his own.  See Lk 6:41-42 * ~Rick Warren

Ya think, Rick?


*  41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Unintentional Anti-Gay Support

From Change.org

Pressure is increasing on Apple to remove their online store from the “Christian Values Network” (CVN), after several other corporations have removed their stores this week. More than 3,500 people have signed Western Washington University student Ben Crowther’s Change.org petition to Apple. CVN is used as a fundraising tool by several anti-gay, anti-women organizations like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.

Late Thursday, the Wells Fargo and Delta Airlines online stores were removed from CVN. Prior to removing their store, Wells Fargo was offering up to $300 to the religious charity of the shopper’s choice, money that could be donated to “Focus on the Family” or the Family Research Council. Delta offered $3.00 per ticket.

Jessica Beavers, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo told Change.org. “Occasionally team members may act on their own to place ads on various sites that do not meet Wells Fargo’s brand and marketing standards.”
“We requested the removal of this ad because it was not compliant with Wells Fargo’s brand and marketing standers,” Beavers said.

When asked if this was a reaction to Wells Fargo’s brand being used to raise money for the anti-gay “Focus on the Family” and the Southern Poverty Law Center identified “known hate group”, the Family Research Council, Jessica Beavers reiterated, “We have really strong and tight marketing standards. We have compliance standards in place and any time we see those violated we ask the site to remove our brand.”
Beavers continued, “Wells Fargo has very clear policies in place to support our LGBT team members and the LGBT community. In 2011, Wells Fargo was ranked number 2 in Diversity Inc’s list of top 10 companies for LGBT employees.”

She also mentioned Wells Fargo’s 100% HRC Corporate Equality Index score. Which she said Wells Fargo was, “very proud of.”

Delta Airlines was contacted by Change.org for comment about their store’s removal from CVN. A spokesperson said he would have to do some research. When asked if he was aware of the Family Research Council’s classification as a “known hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, he said,“Oh yes, I know about that.” He also said he would try to send Change.org a statement about Delta’s removal from CVN. However, Delta did not respond by the time this was published.

On Wednesday, BBC pulled the BBC America Shop from CVN.

“BBC America Shop was not aware of CVN.org's current donation policies,” April Mulcair, BBC’s VP of Publicity, told UK Gay News in a statement. “We have ended our relationship with this affiliate effective immediately."

On July 7, Microsoft pulled their online store from the Christian Values Network after a Change.org petition started by Seattle resident and Microsoft customer Stuart Wilber highlighted several anti-gay groups raising money through the Christian Values Network.

Last weekend, CVN beneficiary Focus on the Family came under fire after TOMS shoes expressed “regret” in a statement sent to to Change.org for a Focus on the Family speaking engagement by founder Blake Mycoskie after learning about Focus on the Family’s anti-gay and anti-women views. Ms. Magazine had started a petition on Change.org asking TOMS to cut ties with the group.

“Had I known the full extent of Focus on the Family's beliefs, I would not have accepted the invitation to speak at their event,” Mycoskie said. “It was an oversight on my part and the company's part and one we regret.”

The Focus on the Family website contains anti-gay and anti-transgender content. They describe being gay as “a particularly evil lie of Satan.“ They also attack transgender people.

“I wonder if Apple is even aware they are being used to raise money for these homophobic groups,” said Ben Crowther, the Apple customer who started the petition on Change.org. “It is so out of character for Apple to be associated with groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. I hope Apple acts quickly to remove their store from the Christian Values Network.”

While Focus on the Family has yet to respond to Microsoft, Delta, and Wells Fargo’s decisions to drop their stores from Christian Values Network, Focus on the Family responded to TOMS Shoes’ statement by defending their position against marriage equality.

“This is an unfortunate statement about the culture we live in, when an organization like ours is deemed unfit to help children in need simply because we hold to biblical beliefs about marriage and family," said Focus President Jim Daly.

However, Focus on the Family doesn’t just oppose the freedom to marry for gays and lesbians. Focus on the Family lobbied against several pieces of Federal legislation that would add protections for gays and lesbians under the law. They lobbied to repeal the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a bill designed to protect people from violent hate crimes based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Focus on the Family also lobbied to stop the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in an effort to prevent gay and lesbian service members from being open about their sexual orientation in the military. They also supported several bills that would make access to health care more difficult for women.

Dozens of major companies like Netflix, Target, Best Buy, USA Today, Walgreens, REI, and even Sesame Street participate in CVN’s service. When customers make purchases through CVN, a donation is made to the religious charity of the customer’s choice. For example, USA Today will donate $5.25 per subscription, and 2.5% of the purchase price for products bought through Apple iTunes store can be donated to groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.

The Family Research Council, formerly a part of Focus on the Family, has been identified as a known “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Peter Sprigg, a chief researcher for the Family Research Council, advocated for the deportation and imprisonment of gays and lesbians, according to the SPLC.

Celebrities Stephen Baldwin and Michael Lohan helped launch the Christian Values Network, an online service that raises money for various religious groups from the purchase of goods and services. More than 700 companies are listed at www.cvn.org, the Christian Value Network’s domain hosting links to various corporate online stores.

Both Baldwin and Lohan are outspoken about their anti-gay views. Stephen Baldwin told the Guardian in 2010 that he supports so called “ex-gay” therapy, a harmful practice that falsely claims to “cure” people of their sexual orientation. Michael Lohan told reporters in 2008 he would not walk his daughter, Lindsay Lohan, down the aisle if she chose to marry her same-sex partner.

“I don’t think she’d ask me to walk her down the aisle,” says Michael. “She knows about my (Christian) faith …  she just wouldn’t ask.”

Former Governor of Arkansas and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is a Christian Values Network advisor and spokesperson who has posted videos on YouTube supporting the company. In the past, Huckabee has equated being gay with bestiality, necrophilia, and pedophilia.
Christian values?  Since when has hate been a Christian value?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Breaking News!

From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday formally signed off on ending the ban on gays serving openly in the military, doing away with a policy that's been controversial from the day it was enacted and making good on his 2008 campaign promise to the gay community.

The president joined Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Adm. Mike Mullen, the joint chiefs of staff chairman, in signing a notice and sending it to Congress certifying that military readiness would not be hurt by repealing the 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

That means that 60 days from now the ban will be lifted.

"As commander in chief, I have always been confident that our dedicated men and women in uniform would transition to a new policy in an orderly manner that preserves unit cohesion, recruitment, retention and military effectiveness," Obama said in a statement.

"Today's action follows extensive training of our military personnel and certification by Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen that our military is ready for repeal. As of September 20th, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country."

Friday's move was expected under the repeal law Congress passed in December. Before "don't ask, don't tell," the military did not allow gays to serve. But in 1993 Clinton said gays would be discharged only if their sexual orientation became known.

Repeal has drawn strong opposition from some in Congress, and there was initial reluctance from military leaders who worried it could cause a backlash and erode troop cohesion on the battlefield.

But two weeks ago, the chiefs of the military services told Panetta that ending the ban would not affect military readiness.

Advocacy groups that fought for the change called the decision Friday long-overdue, while opponents said it's a political payoff to left-leaning gay and lesbian activists.

"The president's certification of repeal is a monumental step, not just for those forced to lie in order to serve, but for all Americans who believe in fairness and equality," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness, which has lobbied against repeal, said it will "undermine morale and readiness in the all-volunteer force."

The Pentagon is expected to spend the next 60 days preparing the troops for the change, and ironing out legal and technical details, including how it will affect housing, military transfers and other health and social benefits.

In most cases, the guidelines require that gays and lesbians be treated like any other member of the military.There will be differences, however. Same sex partners will not get the same housing and other benefits as married couples. Instead, they are more likely to be treated like unmarried couples.

Once the repeal is final, service members can no longer be discharged for openly acknowledging they are gay. That's the key change. And those who have been discharged previously based solely on the gay ban may apply to re-enter the force.

Service members may also designate their same-sex partners as beneficiaries for insurance and other benefits — something they may have avoided earlier for fear it would cause their dismissal.

One of the thornier issues is gay marriage.

An initial move by the Navy earlier this year to train chaplains about same-sex civil unions in states where they are legal was shelved after more than five dozen Congress members objected.

The training, lawmakers told Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, violated the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act by appearing to recognize and support same-sex marriages.

All I can say is, "It's about time!" Now if we can get same-sex marriage okayed in all fifty states and repeal that idiotic Defense of Marriage Act, we'll be headed in the right direction. Nothing will ever stop homophobia but if there are laws in place to allow gays to marry and live an openly gay life, maybe they'll be less likely to marry straight women and ruin their lives.

I've got the power!



When I discovered my husband was gay, I wasn't sure what I was going to do.  Divorce was a foreign word to me.  I'd married for life and had spent the majority of my marriage as a stay-at-home wife and mother.

In an email to a former pastor, where I asked if he would meet with me for some counseling, I actually wrote that I felt divorce would reward my husband and punish me.  He'd be free to continue pursuing other men and I'd be shoved alone into the world with no way to support myself short of learning to say, "Welcome to Walmart."

The former pastor was unable to meet with me because I'd tracked him down in the middle of an out-of-state move.  But he referred me to a wonderful counselor who has been with me through the whole ordeal.  She's given me lots of good pointers and helped me work through many issues.

But one pointer I didn't get from her was this:  When you have to go to court or deal with your husband/ex-husband, wear power underwear to give yourself a psychological advantage.

I can't remember where I read this -- most likely somewhere on the Internet.  But I went to the mall, found an animal-print camisole and panties.  I didn't visit that fancy specialty lingerie store because I couldn't afford THAT much money for undies.  I found it at one of the department stores.

At my first court date, I wore a pair of black dress pants and a black-and-white sweater.  And under that sweater, leeching all its power straight into me, were the camisole (paired with a black bra) and panties.

I was woman!  Hear me roar!

On the outside I was dressed to suit even the most conservative judge.

But underneath?  WOWZA!  And it was all my little secret.

So my advice to you, ladies, is to buy yourself some sort of underwear that's out of your ordinary.  Something you'd normally not wear but that makes you feel special and powerful.  It might be red lace.  It might be animal print like mine.  It could be emerald green or hot pink.  Just make sure it gives you a psychological boost.

And then wear those undies -- your power underwear -- when you need a little extra something in your life.

P.S.  Would you believe that when I went to Google images and searched for "power underwear" most of the hits were for men's undergarments?  Mostly thongs, many see-through, and some with strategically placed holes?  I'm sorry, but I didn't find them in the least bit sexy.  But I'll bet I know who would.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

And the Bible doesn't tell me so

Because I am a person of faith, I'm often faced with a prevailing public opinion that all homosexuals are condemned to eternal hell.  Given my belief that homosexuality is not a choice, my religions beliefs and my scientific beliefs were at odds.  How could God condemn that which He had made?

A wonderful Christian friend, who happens to be gay, clued me into a book called Stranger at the Gate by Mel White.  You can read more about White here.   His background, including working as a ghost writer for Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, is quite interesting. 

Stranger at the Gate along with information from the Soulforce website helped me reconcile my belief that homosexuality is not a choice with my belief in a kind and loving God.

The material below is taken directly from the Soulforce website.  I simply cannot paraphrase it and get it right. 



What the Bible Says - And Doesn't Say - About Homosexuality

by Rev. Mel White, co-founder of Soulforce


This email series can be accessed here.

LIKE YOU, I TAKE THE BIBLE SERIOUSLY!

Many good people build their case against homosexuality almost entirely on the Bible. These folks value Scripture, and are serious about seeking its guidance in their lives. Unfortunately, many of them have never really studied what the Bible does and doesn't say about homosexuality.


We gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians take the Bible seriously, too. Personally, I've spent more than 50 years reading, studying, memorizing, preaching, and teaching from the sacred texts. I earned my master's and doctoral degrees at a conservative biblical seminary to better equip myself to "rightly divide the word of truth." I learned Hebrew and Greek to gain a better understanding of the original words of the biblical texts. I studied the lives and times of the biblical authors to help me know what they were saying in their day so I could better apply it to my own.


rightly dividing the word of truth, II Timothy 2:15
I'm convinced the Bible has a powerful message for gay and lesbian Christians -- as well as straight Christians. But it's not the message of condemnation we so often hear.


I'm not expecting you to take my word for it, though. I ask only that you'd consider what my research has taught me about the passages used by some people to condemn God's gay and lesbian children. Then decide for yourself...

MY FIRST PREMISE:

Most people have not carefully and prayerfully researched the biblical texts often used to condemn God's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children.


As you may know, biblical ignorance is an epidemic in the United States. A recent study quoted by Dr. Peter Gomes in The Good Book found that 38 percent of Americans polled were certain the Old Testament was written a few years after Jesus' death. Ten percent believed Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. Many even thought the epistles were the wives of the apostles.


This same kind of biblical ignorance is all too present around the topic of homosexuality. Often people who love and trust God's Word have never given careful and prayerful attention to what the Bible does or doesn't say about homosexuality.


For example, many Christians don't know that:
  • Jesus says nothing about same-sex behavior.
  • The Jewish prophets are silent about homosexuality.
  • Only six or seven of the Bible's one million verses refer to same-sex behavior in any way -- and none of these verses refer to homosexual orientation as it's understood today.
Most people who are certain they know what the Bible says about homosexuality don't know where the verses that reference same-sex behavior can be found. They haven't read them, let alone studied them carefully. They don't know the original meaning of the words in Hebrew or Greek. And they haven't tried to understand the historical context in which those words were written. Yet the assumption that the Bible condemns homosexuality is passed down from generation to generation with very little personal study or research. The consequences of this misinformation are disastrous, not only for God's gay and lesbian children, but for the entire church.


Test all things and hold fast to that which is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21
The apostle Paul says, "Test all things and hold fast to that which is good." By reading this little pamphlet, you are taking Paul seriously.

MY SECOND PREMISE:

Historically, people's misinterpretation of the Bible has left a trail of suffering, bloodshed, and death.


Never Fear - The Klan is here


Over the centuries people who misunderstood or misinterpreted the Bible have done terrible things. The Bible has been misused to defend bloody crusades and tragic inquisitions; to support slavery, apartheid, and segregation; to persecute Jews and other non-Christian people of faith; to support Hitler's Third Reich and the Holocaust; to oppose medical science; to condemn interracial marriage; to execute women as witches; and to support the Ku Klux Klan. Shakespeare said it this way: "Even the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."


We'd like to believe that no person of good will would misuse the Bible to support his or her prejudice. But time and time again it has happened with tragic results.


In the 16th century, John Selden pointed at two Latin words carved into a marble wall in an ancient church in Rome: "Scrutamini Scripturas," which means search the Scriptures. "These two words," Seldon said, "have undone the world."


In one way, John Selden was right. Misusing the Bible has drenched the planet in blood and tears.
But in another way, he was wrong. Most people who misuse the Bible DON'T search the Scriptures. They simply find a text that seems to support their prejudice and then spend the rest of their lives quoting (or misquoting) that text.


The way certain Bible verses are used to condemn homosexuality and homosexuals is a perfect example of this.


On September 22, 2000, a 55-year-old man named Ronald E. Gay, angry for being teased about his last name, entered the Back Street Café in Roanoke, Virginia, a gathering place for lesbians and gays just a few miles from Lynchburg. Confident that God's Word supported his tragic plan of action, Mr. Gay shouted, "I am a Christian soldier, working for my Lord." Claiming that "Jesus does not want these people in his heaven," he shot seven innocent gay and lesbian people. One man, Danny Overstreet, died instantly. Others still suffer from their physical and psychological wounds.


Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder
Matson and Mowder


In July 1999, Matthew Williams and his brother, Tyler, murdered a gay couple, Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder, in their home near Sacramento, California. Speaking to his mother from the Shasta County jail, Matthew explained his actions in this way: "I had to obey God's law rather than man's law," he said. "I didn't want to do this. I felt I was supposed to. I have followed a higher law... I just plan to defend myself from the Scriptures."


After Matthew Shepard was killed in 1998, a pastor in North Carolina published an open letter regarding the trial of Aaron McKinney that read: "Gays are under the death penalty. His blood is guilty before God (Lev. 20:13). If a person kills a gay, the gay's blood is upon the gay and not upon the hands of the person doing the killing. The acts of gays are so abominable to God. His Word is there and we can't change it."


Most of the people I know who say "the Bible condemns homosexuality" would never condone these acts. Most Christians have no idea that the people killing gay and lesbian persons go around quoting those few verses of Scripture as justification.


But it's important to hear these stories, because I'm not writing this little pamphlet as a scholarly exercise. It's a matter of life and death. I'm pleading for the lives of my lesbian sisters and gay brothers who are rejected by their friends and families, fired by their employers, denied their civil rights, refused full membership in their churches, and kill themselves or are killed by others -- all on the basis of these six or seven verses.


Even when we believe the Scriptures are without error, it is a risk to think our understanding is without error.

MY THIRD PREMISE:

We must be open to new truth from Scripture.


Even heroes of the Christian faith have changed their minds about the meaning of various biblical texts.
It took a blinding light and a voice from heaven to help the apostle Paul change his mind about certain Hebrew texts. A sheet lowered from the sky filled with all kinds of animals helped the apostle Peter gain new insights into Jewish law.


Jerry Falwell believed the Bible supported segregation in the church until a black shoeshine man asked him, "When will someone like me be allowed to become a member of your congregation?" Through those simple words, the Holy Spirit spoke new truth about the ancient biblical texts to the Rev. Falwell, and in obedience he ended segregation at Thomas Road Baptist Church.


Even when we believe the Scriptures are "infallible" or "without error," it's terribly dangerous to think that our understanding of every biblical text is also without error. We are human. We are fallible. And we can misunderstand and misinterpret these ancient words -- with tragic results.


Almost 1,000 people believed Jim Jones was a faithful interpreter of God's Word. They died with him in the jungles of Guyana. I studied Jones and leaders of other cults while writing the book and documentary film, Deceived. I found that the only people who were able to break free of the dangerous influence of such Bible-quoting cultic gurus were the ones who took the Bible seriously enough to study the texts themselves and make their own decisions about their meaning. The others "leave their bones in the desert."


What if someone asked you, "Is there a chance you could be wrong about the way you've interpreted the biblical texts sometimes used to condemn homosexual orientation?" How would you respond? What does it say about you if you answer, "No, I could NOT be wrong"? I am asking you to re-examine these texts -- carefully and prayerfully. Lives hang in the balance.


Anna
Anna


There are far too many tragic stories of what happens when we fail to study these texts. Mark B. was a young man who accepted his sexual orientation "until he became a Christian" and was told on the basis of these texts that he couldn't be both a Christian and a gay man. Mark committed suicide and wrote this suicide note to God: "I just don't know how else to fix this." Mary Lou Wallner, one of our most faithful Soulforce volunteers, was led by these texts to condemn her lesbian daughter, Anna, who hanged herself. Mary Lou now says, "If I can steer just one person away from the pain and anguish I've been living, then maybe Anna's death will have meaning."


If heroes of the Christian faith could change their minds about the meaning of certain biblical texts, shouldn't we be prepared to reconsider our own interpretations of these ancient words when the Holy Spirit opens our minds and hearts to new truth? That's why we study the Bible prayerfully, seeking the Spirit of Truth, God's loving Spirit, to help us understand and apply these words to our lives.


On the night he was betrayed, Jesus told his disciples he was going away from them for a while, but that the Father would send them a "Comforter," an "Advocate," the "Holy Spirit" who would "teach them all things."
I believe with all my heart that the Holy Spirit is still teaching us. When we reconsider the texts that are used by some people to condemn God's gay children, we must fervently seek the Holy Spirit's guidance, or we risk being misled by our own prejudices.

MY FOURTH PREMISE:

The Bible is a book about God -- not a book about human sexuality.


The Bible is the story of God's love for the world and the people of the world. It tells the history of God's love at work rescuing, renewing, and empowering humankind. It was never intended to be a book about human sexuality. Certainly, you will agree.


In fact, the Bible accepts sexual practices that we condemn and condemns sexual practices that we accept. Lots of them! Here are a few examples.
  • DEUTERONOMY 22:13-21
    If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.
  • DEUTERONOMY 22:22
    If a married person has sex with someone else's husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death.
  • MARK 10:1-12
    Divorce is strictly forbidden in both Testaments, as is remarriage of anyone who has been divorced.
  • LEVITICUS 18:19
    The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman's period. If they disobey, both shall be executed.
  • MARK 12:18-27
    If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.
  • DEUTERONOMY 25:11-12
    If a man gets into a fight with another man and his wife seeks to rescue her husband by grabbing the enemy's genitals, her hand shall be cut off and no pity shall be shown her.
I'm certain you don't agree with these teachings from the Bible about sex. And you shouldn't. The list goes on: The Bible says clearly that sex with a prostitute is acceptable for the husband but not for the wife. Polygamy (more than one wife) is acceptable, as is a king's having many concubines. (Solomon, the wisest king of all, had 1,000 concubines.) Slavery and sex with slaves, marriage of girls aged 11-13, and treatment of women as property are all accepted practices in the Scriptures. On the other hand, there are strict prohibitions against interracial marriage, birth control, discussing or even naming a sexual organ, and seeing one's parents nude.


Over the centuries the Holy Spirit has taught us that certain Bible verses should not be understood as God's law for all time periods. Some verses are specific to the culture and time they were written, and are no longer viewed as appropriate, wise, or just.


Often, the Holy Spirit uses science to teach us why those ancient words no longer apply to our modern times. During the last three decades, for example, organizations representing 1.5 million U.S. health professionals (doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and educators) have stated definitively that homosexual orientation is as natural as heterosexual orientation, that sexual orientation is determined by a combination of yet unknown pre- and post-natal influences, and that it is dangerous and inappropriate to tell a homosexual that he or she could or should attempt to change his or her sexual orientation. (See Recommended Resources, p. 23-24.)


Homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus there is no need for a cure. The American Psychological Association
While there are some people now living in heterosexual marriages who once perceived themselves to be gay, there are millions of gay and lesbian persons who have accepted their sexual orientation as a gift from God and live productive and deeply spiritual lives. The evidence from science and from the personal experience of gay and lesbian Christians demands that we at least consider whether the passages cited to condemn homosexual behavior should be reconsidered, just as other Bible verses that speak of certain sexual practices are no longer understood as God's law for us in this day.

MY FIFTH PREMISE:

We miss what these passages say about God when we spend so much time debating what they say about sex.


If the Bible is the story of God's love for the world and not a handbook about sex, then that should shape how we read the Scriptures. So as we take a look at the six biblical texts that are used by some people to condemn homosexuality, let's ask two questions about each of them:


First, what does the text say about God that we need to hear but might be missing?


Second, what might the text be saying about homosexuality?


PASSAGE 1
GENESIS 2:21-25
THE CREATION STORY

Let's start "In the Beginning..." What does the creation story in Genesis 1-2 say about God?
I'm so tired of reading signs carried by protesters that say: "It's about Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." In fact, the creation story is as important to Adam and Steve as it is Adam and Eve. Gays and non-gays alike need to know and celebrate the truth at the center of this story.


This creation story is primarily about God, a story written to show the power of God who created the world and everything in it. It teaches us that ultimately God is our Creator, that God shaped us, and that God said, "It's good." Isn't this the heart of the text?


Now what does the creation story say about homosexuality? Because the text says it is "natural" that a man and a woman come together to create a new life, some people think this means gay or lesbian couples are "unnatural." They read this interpretation into the text, even though the text is silent about all kinds of relationships that don't lead to having children:
  • couples who are unable to have children
  • couples who are too old to have children
  • people who are single
  • couples who choose not to have children
Are these relationships (or lack of relationships) "unnatural"? There's nothing said here that condemns or approves the love that people of the same sex have for each other, including the love I have for my partner, Gary.


So I believe the creation story says a lot about God's power and presence in the universe -- but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.


PASSAGE 2
GENESIS 19:1-14
THE STORY OF SODOM

Now let's consider the second biblical text used by some people to condemn God's gay children. You remember the ancient story of Sodom. First, what does the story of Sodom in Genesis 19 say about God?
When Gary and I arrive at a college or university to speak, there are often protesters carrying signs that read, "Mel White, Sodomite." (Has a nice ring to it.) Actually, I'm not from Sodom. That city was buried beneath the Dead Sea centuries ago. I'm from California -- but perhaps that just confirms their suspicions!


Once again, this story is not primarily about sex. It is primarily about God. Some people say the city of Sodom was destroyed because it was overrun by sexually obsessed homosexuals. In fact, the city of Sodom had been doomed to destruction long before. So what is this passage really about?


Jesus and five Old Testament prophets all speak of the sins that led to the destruction of Sodom -- and not one of them mentions homosexuality. Even Billy Graham doesn't mention homosexuality when he preaches on Sodom.


Listen to what Ezekiel 16:48-49 tell us: "This is the sin of Sodom; she and her suburbs had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not help or encourage the poor and needy. They were arrogant and this was abominable in God's eyes."


Today, heterosexuals and homosexuals alike do well to remember that we break God's heart when we spend all we earn on ourselves, when we forget the poor and hungry, when we refuse to do justice or show mercy, when we leave strangers at the gate.


I admit, there are a lot of gay folk who are Sodomites (and a lot of straight folk as well). Sodomites are rich and don't share what they have with the poor. Sodomites have plenty and want more. While millions are hungry, homeless, and sick, Sodomites rush to build bigger homes, buy bigger cars, and own more property -- putting their trust in safer stock portfolios and more secure retirement accounts.


Whatever teaching about sexuality you might get out of this passage, be sure to hear this central, primary truth about God as well. God has called us do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our Creator. Sodom was destroyed because its people didn't take God seriously about caring for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, or the outcast.


But what does the story of Sodom say about homosexual orientation as we understand it today? Nothing.
It was common for soldiers, thieves, and bullies to rape a fallen enemy, asserting their victory by dehumanizing and demeaning the vanquished. This act of raping an enemy is about power and revenge, not about homosexuality or homosexual orientation. And it is still happening.


Louima
Louima


In August 1997, Abner Louima, a young black immigrant from Haiti, was assaulted by several police officers after he was arrested in Brooklyn. Officer Charles Schwarz held Louima down in a restroom at the precinct, while Officer Justin Volpe rammed a broken stick into Louima's rectum. These two men and the three other officers involved in this incident and its cover-up were not gay. This was not a homosexual act. It was about power.


The sexual act that occurs in the story of Sodom is a gang rape -- and homosexuals oppose gang rape as much as anyone. That's why I believe the story of Sodom says a lot about God's will for each of us, but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.


PASSAGE 3
LEVITICUS 18:22 AND 20:13
THE HOLINESS CODE

Let's move on. What do the two verses sometimes cited from Leviticus say about God?


Leviticus 18:6 reads: "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female. It is an abomination." A similar verse occurs two chapters later, in Leviticus 20:13: "A man who sleeps with another man is an abomination and should be executed." On the surface, these words could leave you feeling rather uneasy, especially if you are gay. But just below the surface is the deeper truth about God -- and it has nothing to do with sex.


Leviticus is a holiness code written 3,000 years ago. This code includes many of the outdated sexual laws we mentioned earlier, and a lot more. It also includes prohibitions against round haircuts, tattoos, working on the Sabbath, wearing garments of mixed fabrics, eating pork or shellfish, getting your fortune told, and even playing with the skin of a pig. (There goes football!)


So what's a holiness code? It's a list of behaviors that people of faith find offensive in a certain place and time. In this case, the code was written for priests only, and its primary intent was to set the priests of Israel over and against priests of other cultures.


At the age of 10, I signed a holiness code written by the Women's Christian Temperance Union that said I would never taste beer, wine, or liquor. I thought signing it would please God and my grandmother. That's a holiness code. When I was in high school we evangelical Christians had an unwritten holiness code that went like this: "I don't drink, smoke, or chew, or go with girls who do." Now I know what you're thinking. That last part about "girls who do" proved especially easy for me. But the point is that I obeyed this evangelical holiness code because my parents said that breaking these rules didn't please God, and I knew it didn't please them.


We had another evangelical holiness code while I was in high school that prohibited dancing. I was student body president, yet I refused to go to the prom because I had promised not to dance. I did this to please God and my mother -- whose mother had made her sign a holiness code that she wouldn't go to dances either.


What about this word abomination that comes up in both passages? In Hebrew, "abominations" (TO'EBAH) are behaviors that people in a certain time and place consider tasteless or offensive. To the Jews an abomination was not a law, not something evil like rape or murder forbidden by the Ten Commandments. It was a common behavior by non-Jews that Jews thought was displeasing to God.
Jesus and Paul both said the holiness code in Leviticus does not pertain to Christian believers. Nevertheless, there are still people who pull the two verses about men sleeping together from this ancient holiness code to say that the Bible seems to condemn homosexuality.


But wait, before we go any further, let's ask: What does this text say about God? Even if the old holiness codes no longer apply to us as Christians, it's important to remember that in every age, people of faith are responsible for setting moral and ethical standards that honor God. But we people of faith must be very careful not to allow our own prejudices to determine what those standards should be.


Instead of selecting one item from an ancient Jewish holiness code and using it to condemn sexual or gender minorities, let's talk together about setting sexual standards that please God -- standards appropriate for heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, standards based on loving concern, health, and wholeness for ourselves and for others.


Now what do the Leviticus passages say about homosexuality?


I'm convinced those passages say nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today. Here's why.


Consider this single Bible passage that was used for centuries to condemn masturbation:
"He spilled his seed on the ground... And the thing which Onan did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also" (Genesis 38:9-10).


For Jewish writers of Scripture, a man sleeping with another man was an abomination. But it was also an abomination (and one worthy of death) to masturbate or even to interrupt coitus (to halt sex with your spouse before ejaculation as an act of birth control). Why were these sexual practices considered abominations by Scripture writers in these ancient times?


Because the Hebrew pre-scientific understanding was that the male semen contained the whole of life. With no knowledge of eggs and ovulation, it was assumed that the man's sperm contained the whole child and that the woman provided only the incubating space. Therefore, the spilling of semen without possibility of having a child was considered murder.


The Jews were a small tribe struggling to populate a country. They were outnumbered by their enemy. You can see why these ancient people felt it was an abomination to risk "wasting" even a single child. But the passage says nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.


The Apostle Paul


We've talked about the passages in the Hebrew Scriptures that are used (or misused) by some people to condemn sexual minorities. Now let's look at three verses from the letters of the apostle Paul in the Christian Scriptures that are used the same way. Remember: First, we'll ask what the text says about God; second, we'll consider what it may or may not say about sexual orientation.


PASSAGE 4
ROMANS 1:26-27
NATURAL AND UNNATURAL

What does Romans 1:26-27 say about God?


For our discussion, this is the most controversial biblical passage of them all. In Romans 1:26-27 the apostle Paul describes non-Jewish women who exchange "natural use for unnatural" and non-Jewish men who "leave the natural use of women, working shame with each other."


This verse appears to be clear: Paul sees women having sex with women and men having sex with men, and he condemns that practice. But let's go back 2,000 years and try to understand why.


Paul is writing this letter to Rome after his missionary tour of the Mediterranean. On his journey Paul had seen great temples built to honor Aphrodite, Diana, and other fertility gods and goddesses of sex and passion instead of the one true God the apostle honors. Apparently, these priests and priestesses engaged in some odd sexual behaviors -- including castrating themselves, carrying on drunken sexual orgies, and even having sex with young temple prostitutes (male and female) -- all to honor the gods of sex and pleasure.


The Bible is clear that sexuality is a gift from God. Our Creator celebrates our passion. But the Bible is also clear that when passion gets control of our lives, we're in deep trouble.


When we live for pleasure, when we forget that we are God's children and that God has great dreams for our lives, we may end up serving the false gods of sex and passion, just as they did in Paul's time. In our obsession with pleasure, we may even walk away from the God who created us -- and in the process we may cause God to abandon all the great dreams God has for our lives.


Did these priests and priestesses get into these behaviors because they were lesbian or gay? I don't think so.


Did God abandon them because they were practicing homosexuals? No. Read the text again.


In our Soulforce video, There's a Wideness in God's Mercy, the Rev. Dr. Louis B. Smedes, a distinguished Christian author and ethicist, describes exactly how the Bible says these promiscuous priests and priestesses got into this mess. Once again it has nothing to do with homosexuality:
SMEDES: "The people Paul had in mind refused to acknowledge and worship God, and for this reason were abandoned by God. And being abandoned by God, they sank into sexual depravity."
SMEDES: "The homosexuals I know have not rejected God at all; they love God and they thank God for his grace and his gifts. How, then, could they have been abandoned to homosexuality as a punishment for refusing to acknowledge God?"
SMEDES: "Nor have the homosexuals that I know given up heterosexual passions for homosexual lusts. They have been homosexual from the moment of their earliest sexual stirrings. They did not change from one orientation to another; they just discovered that they were homosexual. It would be unnatural for most homosexuals to have heterosexual sex."
SMEDES: "And the homosexual people I know do not lust after each other any more than heterosexual people do... their love for one another is likely to be just as spiritual and personal as any heterosexual love can be."
Thank you, Dr. Smedes. (To get a copy of the video featuring Dr. Smedes, There's a Wideness in God's Mercy, visit http://www.soulforce.org/.)


Getting to know a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person of faith will help you realize that it is unreasonable (and unjust) to compare our love for each other to the rituals of the priests and priestesses who pranced around the statues of Aphrodite and Diana. Once again, I feel certain this passage says a lot about God, but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it.


You'll also note that Romans 2 begins with "Therefore, [referring to Romans 1], you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself..." Even after he describes the disturbing practices he has seen, Paul warns us that judging others is God's business, not ours.


PASSAGES 5 AND 6
1 CORINTHIANS 6:9 AND 1 TIMOTHY 1:10
THE MYSTERY OF "MALOKOIS" AND "ARSENOKOITAI"

Now what do the writings of Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 say, first, about God, and then about homosexuality? These are the last two places in the Bible that seem to refer to same-sex behavior. We can combine them because they are so similar.


Moses holding the ten commandments


Paul is exasperated. The Christians in Ephesus and Corinth are fighting among themselves. (Sound familiar?) In Corinth they're even suing one another in secular courts. Paul shouts across the distance, "You are breaking God's heart by the way you are treating one another."


Like any good writer, Paul anticipates their first question: "Well, how are we supposed to treat one another?" Paul answers, "You know very well how to treat one another from the Jewish law written on tablets of stone."


The Jewish law was created by God to help regulate human behavior. To remind the churches in Corinth and Ephesus how God wants us to treat one another, Paul recites examples from the Jewish law first. Don't kill one another. Don't sleep with a person who is married to someone else. Don't lie or cheat or steal. The list goes on to include admonitions against fornication, idolatry, whoremongering, perjury, drunkenness, revelry, and extortion. He also includes "malokois" and "arsenokoitai."


Here's where the confusion begins. What's a malokois? What's an arsenokoitai? Actually, those two Greek words have confused scholars to this very day. We'll say more about them later, when we ask what the texts say about sex. But first let's see what the texts say about God.


After quoting from the Jewish law, Paul reminds the Christians in Corinth that they are under a new law: the law of Jesus, a law of love that requires us to do more than just avoid murder, adultery, lying, cheating, and stealing. Paul tells them what God wants is not strict adherence to a list of laws, but a pure heart, a good conscience, and a faith that isn't phony.


That's the lesson we all need to learn from these texts. God doesn't want us squabbling over who is "in" and who is "out." God wants us to love one another. It's God's task to judge us. It is NOT our task to judge one another.


So what do these two texts say about homosexuality? Are gays and lesbians on that list of sinners in the Jewish law that Paul quotes to make an entirely different point?


Greek scholars say that in first century the Greek word malaokois probably meant "effeminate call boys." The New Revised Standard Version says "male prostitutes."


As for arsenokoitai, Greek scholars don't know exactly what it means -- and the fact that we don't know is a big part of this tragic debate. Some scholars believe Paul was coining a name to refer to the customers of "the effeminate call boys." We might call them "dirty old men." Others translate the word as "sodomites," but never explain what that means.


In 1958, for the first time in history, a person translating that mysterious Greek word into English decided it meant homosexuals, even though there is, in fact, no such word in Greek or Hebrew. But that translator made the decision for all of us that placed the word homosexual in the English-language Bible for the very first time.


In the past, people used Paul's writings to support slavery, segregation, and apartheid. People still use Paul's writings to oppress women and limit their role in the home, in church, and in society.


Now we have to ask ourselves, "Is it happening again?" Is a word in Greek that has no clear definition being used to reflect society's prejudice and condemn God's gay children?


We all need to look more closely at that mysterious Greek word arsenokoitai in its original context. I find most convincing the argument from history that Paul is condemning the married men who hired hairless young boys (malakois) for sexual pleasure just as they hired smooth-skinned young girls for that purpose.


Responsible homosexuals would join Paul in condemning anyone who uses children for sex, just as we would join anyone else in condemning the threatened gang rape in Sodom or the behavior of the sex-crazed priests and priestesses in Rome. So, once again, I am convinced that this passage says a lot about God, but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.

MY SIXTH PREMISE:

The biblical authors are silent about homosexual orientation as we know it today. They neither approve it nor condemn it.


We've looked closely at the six biblical texts used by some people to condemn homosexuality. But we must also remember that Jesus, the Jewish prophets, and even Paul never even comment on the responsible love a gay man or lesbian feels for another.


The Bible is completely silent on the issue of homosexual orientation. And no wonder. Homosexual orientation wasn't even known until the 19th century.


The discovery that some of us are created and/or shaped in our earliest infancy toward same-gender attraction was made in the last 150 years. Biblical authors knew nothing about sexual orientation. Old Testament authors and Paul assumed all people were created heterosexual, just as they believed the earth was flat, that there were heavens above and hell below, and that the sun moved up and down.


Ulrichs
Ulrichs


In 1864, almost 3,000 years after Moses and at least 18 centuries after the apostle Paul, the German social scientist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs was the first to declare that homosexuals were a distinct class of individuals. It was a big moment for all sexual minorities. It's our Columbus discovering the New World. It's our Madame Curie discovering radium used for Xrays. It's our Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. It may seem like one small step for the rest of you, but it's a giant leap for us.


Ulrichs assured the world of what we who are homosexual already know in our hearts. We aren't just heterosexuals choosing to perform same-sex behaviors. We are a whole class of people whose drive to same-sex intimacy is at the very core of our being from the very beginning of our lives.


Although the word homosexual was not used for the first time until later in the 19th century, Ulrichs recognized that homosexuals had been around from the beginning of recorded time, that we were "innately different from heterosexuals," and that our desire for same-sex intimacy and affiliation is intrinsic, natural, inborn and/or shaped in earliest infancy. According to Dr. Ulrichs, what may have looked "unnatural" to Moses and Paul was in fact "natural" to homosexuals.


So this is my sixth premise. The Biblical authors knew nothing of homosexual orientation as we understand it, and therefore said nothing to condemn or approve it.


The authors of the Bible are authorities in matters of faith. They can be trusted when they talk about God. But they should not be considered the final authorities on sexual orientation any more than they are the final authorities on space travel, gravity, or the Internet.


Since the writers of Scripture are not the final authorities on human sexuality, since they didn't even know about sexual orientation as we understand it today, since Jesus and the Jewish prophets were silent about any kind of same-sex behavior, I am persuaded that the Bible has nothing in it to approve or condemn homosexual orientation as we understand it.

MY SEVENTH PREMISE:

Although the prophets, Jesus, and other biblical authors say nothing about homosexual orientation as we understand it today, they are clear about one thing: As we search for truth, we are to "love one another."


We may not be able to use the Bible as our final authority on sexual orientation. But as we search for the truth, we can and should use the Bible as our final authority on how we should treat one another along the way.


A young Jewish scholar asked Jesus, "What is the greatest commandment?" Quoting the prophets, Jesus replied, "The great commandment is this... to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second command is like it, to love your neighbor as you love yourself."


"This is my commandment," Jesus said, "that you love one another, as I have loved you." On this the Bible is explicitly clear. Even if we disagree about what the Bible seems to say about homosexuality, we can agree that above all else we are commanded by the Scriptures to love God and to love one another.


Since God is the God of truth, since Jesus himself told us that the truth would set us free, one way that we love God and love one another is by seeking the truth about sexual orientation wherever we can find it.
There is a growing body of evidence from science, psychology, history, psychiatry, medicine, and personal experience that leads to a clear verdict: Homosexuality is neither a sickness nor a sin. Unfortunately, the church has always been slow, if not the last institution on earth, to accept new truth.


In 1632 the scientist Galileo (who was a man of faith) dared to support the radical 15th-century idea of Copernicus that all planets, including the earth, revolve around the sun. Immediately, Galileo was proclaimed a heretic by the Pope who quoted Scriptures in his attempt to disprove what science was proving.
Earlier, Protestant heroes had joined in quoting Scriptures condemning Copernicus. These weren't evil men. But they couldn't admit that the Bible was a book about God, not about astronomy -- just as good men and women today have trouble admitting that the Bible is a book about God, not about human sexuality.


Martin Luther said, "This fool Copernicus wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture in Joshua 10:13 tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth."


Calvin
Calvin
Melancthon
Melancthon


John Calvin quoted Psalm 93 in his attack on Copernicus. "The earth also is established. It cannot be moved." Calvin added, "Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?"
Melancthon, one of Luther's closest allies, used Ecclesiastes 1:4-5 to condemn Copernicus. "The sun also rises, and the sun goes down and hurries to the place from which it came." Then he added these dangerous words: "It is the part of a good mind to accept the truth as revealed by God and to obey it." In other words, believe what the Bible says -- even if science disproves it.


Because Christians refused to let their understanding of God's Word be informed by science, Copernicus was condemned and Galileo was declared a heretic and placed under house arrest for the remainder of his life. In 1992, 359 years later, Pope John Paul II finally admitted the church had been wrong to ignore science and to interpret the Bible literally.


The Pope said something we must never forget: "Recent historical studies enable us to state that this sad misunderstanding now belongs to the past." Unfortunately, the apology came too late to relieve Galileo of his suffering. What if the biblical scholars of Galileo's day had said to Galileo, "We don't agree with your Copernican theories, but we love and trust you. As long as you love God and seek God's will in your life, you are welcome here."


Imagine the suffering that could be avoided if the church could say this to their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children: "We don't understand your views about sexual orientation, but we love and trust you. As long as you love God and seek God's will in your life, you are welcome here."


Instead, well-intentioned Christians are driving their own children away from the church, using Scripture passages that may not even pertain to sexual orientation as we understand it.

MY EIGHTH PREMISE:

Whatever some people believe the Bible says about homosexuality, they must not use that belief to deny homosexuals their basic civil rights. To discriminate against sexual or gender minorities is unjust and un-American.


Please consider one last thing. I love the Bible. I read God's Word in it and hear God's Word through it. But the United States is not a nation governed by the Bible. Our nation is governed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Our laws were created to protect an individual's right to disagree. If the Bible (or someone's view of the Bible) replaces the Constitution as the law of the land, we undermine the great foundation upon which this country was built.


When I was a guest on a talk show in Seattle, I saw what might happen to me and to millions like me if a genuine literalist gained political power over this country. The other guest on the show was an independent Presbyterian pastor. When I told him that I was gay, he said without hesitation, "Then you should be killed." A Christian brother sentenced me to death, guided only by his literal understanding of Leviticus 20:13.


I asked him, "Who should do the killing, you church folk?" He answered, "No, that's the civil authorities' job. That's why we need to elect more good men of God into government." I sat there in stunned silence, until he added, "I know it must be hard for you to hear it, Dr. White -- but God said it first and it's our job to obey."
I hope we can agree that all of us must stand together against those who would replace the Constitution with biblical law. That's why, when I lecture on a university campus, I carry a Bible in one pocket and a Constitution in the other.


Can we support full civil rights for all... even if we disagree?


In this last premise, I'm asking you who disagree with my stand on homosexuality to support my stand on full civil rights for all people, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans.


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Jefferson
Jefferson


I hope you'll agree that we are family, all sisters and brothers of the same heavenly parent. We may be different, but we can still live together in peace.


Thanks for reading this pamphlet. I'm grateful. If you are interested in learning more, I've listed a few resources on the next few pages. You can also find resources online at our Web page, www.soulforce.org.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Kindred Soul


I had lunch a few days ago with a kindred soul -- another straight wife I met in my town.  After I invited her to lunch, I had a bit of panic because I wasn't quite sure where to start or even what mine or her expectations were.

But once we got through the formalities of ordering and settling into a booth, it was as if she knew just the right things to say.  She's been divorced about five years and was married for about thirty years.  She shared her story briefly with me and then let me share mine.  With every statement I made, she'd nod or agree. 

She UNDERSTOOD!  She'd lived through the betrayal and hurt.  She'd been lied to and had her trust destroyed.  When I said that sometimes the situation just overtakes me out of the blue and I wonder how I ended up like this, she shared that she'd often find herself on the sofa in a sitting fetal position just staring at the television.

What a feeling of validation!  Over her objections, I'd paid for her lunch, and after our discussion, I felt like it was worth every penny because I got as much from our talk as I do from a session with my therapist.  Don't get me wrong, my therapist is terrific.  But my lunch friend has lived what I've lived.  And that's the only way anybody will understand what I've been through.  EVAH!

Have you had the opportunity to sit down and talk with another straight wife?  If not, Bonnie Kaye has an opportunity coming up in September in Philadelphia.  I can't go, but you might want to see about attending if you can.  You can email her and get more details.  Her website is on the resources page of this site, and her contact info is there.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

He thinks I have issues

I've lately begun to interact with some gay married men who have blogs.  It's no secret that I harbor less than positive feelings for gay men who marry straight women.

Before you click on the next link, BEWARE.  It is not safe for work.

One of the bloggers referenced my blog in a recent post of his. 
Maggie is an ex-wife of a gay man. She has an interesting blog..but, obviously, has "issues" with regard to closeted married men who are gay/bi. You're blog entries are littered with comments questioning other blogs like mine about the sexuality of the writers. You are, understandably, biased toward men coming out to their wives. That doesn't make your blog wrong or anti-male. It's just written from a life full of your experiences.
My hope is that with the input of others, whether they're guys or girls, that we can all learn from each other here. I am not without faults or biases..and I don't think any of us are.
True.  I do have issues.  And here's my comment to him.

Hi, BLM. Maggie here. Yes, I have issues with married gay men. I learned after 35 years of marriage that my now ex-husband was gay and had been screwing his way across America on business trip for four years. And when I was out of town, he did it in our bed. He knew he was gay when he married me. He knows the difference between right and wrong and chose to commit adultery. He admitted in numerous emails to other people that he would imagine I was a man when we had sex so that he could perform. I hafta tell ya, that really does a number on a girl's self-esteem. Over half my life was spent with a man who imagined he was screwing another man. When I found out, I didn't go running to our kids or his family. I simply told him I wanted a divorce. He chose to make it ugly. He did eventually come out to the kids. Funny thing is, the older one had found his dad's gay porn stash when he was a teenager and had to keep his dad's secret all those years. Would YOU like to be a teenage boy who learns his father is gay?

We're both entitled to our thoughts and opinions and attitudes. I can tell you, though, when your wife finds out -- and trust me, she will -- it probably won't be pretty.

Cameron posted on his blog about a terrific book. It's called Over the Cliff: Gay Husbands in Straight Marriages by Bonnie Kaye and Doug Dittmer. It might be worth your while to read it since I do truly believe you want to do the right thing.
I still have to ask this question:  If he's bisexual, why are there no photos of naked women on his blog?  There are only men, which begs the question,  is he really attracted at all to women?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Feedback from a blogger

WARNING!  The link below is NOT safe for work!

Two weeks ago I blogged about another blog where a gay man married to a straight woman talks about doing the right thing. 

He and I have emailed back and forth a few times and last Thursday he posted about me and about Bonnie and Doug's book.  He's even said my blog has made him consider the straight wife's point of view, especially when she's been blindsided by the news her husband is gay and cheating.

So I'm finally beginning to think this blog might be accomplishing something and is worth the effort. 

I've also created a little more publicity for Bonnie and Doug's book.

And because he put a link to my blog on his sidebar, my hits have skyrocketed.

Such is life in the blogosphere.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yeah. What the heck is he?

Found this post in a bisexual men's group online and wanted to share it and my thoughts.

What the heck am I?

This week I turn 54. 50-freakin'-4! How did that happen? I've been married for 30 years and truly love my wife. Still, as with many guys, when I'm out and about, attractive young women catch my eye. A glimpse of thigh or cleavage and she's got my attention.

Guys rarely get the look over from me. Oh, maybe once in a while if the guy is undeniably hot.

Ah, but then why am I so attracted to man-on-man sex? Why do I want to find some guys who want to 'hang out' naked? How come I long for a special male friend? Someone who shares my interests. Someone who wants to get intimate, but not to run around humping anything that bends over for him? Someone who simply wants one special male friend in his life?

I don't like labels. Gay. Bi. Straight. Human sexuality follows more of a gradient, I think. While there are guys who definitely are straight or gay, I suspect there may be a large percentage who fit in on a sliding scale between those extremes.

If it's women who catch my eye, but guys who I want to strip down with, maybe my scale veers slightly more straight than gay.

Then again, maybe the thought of physical contact with another guy fills some need in my life. I do not have any really close male friends. The friends I share with and open up to are all women. So, perhaps, the attraction to sex with another guy is really an attempt to simply develop a close bond with another male, which is something lacking in my life.

My wife and I love each other deeply. We have not had intimate sexual contact for about two years. In that time, I've had sex twice with the same person . . . another guy. I won't be seeing him again. He's looking for a gay life partner. I'm looking for a fun friend who is OK with my commitment to wife and family.

I'm not interested in being a male slut who jumps from guy to guy. Lots of reasons for that. Not the least of which is concern from a health and wellness perspective.

So what am I? Bi? Pansexual? Confused? :)

I'm not sure, but I won't be branded by a label. And I do love myself. If only I could find a friend who could also love me!

Sorry for the rambling. Just some thoughts as another birthday approaches.

To paraphrase Bonnie Kaye, if you are a man and you want to have sex with someone who has a penis, you are gay.

Still confused?  Can I make it any clearer for you?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Keep it private

Many of us found out things about our gay husbands by the trail they left in the browser history.  But what about you?  If you're following him all over the internet, you're leaving a trail too.

Unless you're using InPrivate browsing.

This is available on newer versions of Internet Explorer (not sure if other browsers like Firefox have this but you could probably Google it) and it sure helped me search online for my ex's online presence without worrying about leaving a browser history he could find.

We both had our own computers and rarely did we use each other's.  But on the rare occasion I did use his, he'd left his email open to some pretty racy emails and that gave me my first inkling my ex was gay.

When I finally stepped out of the shadows of denial and into the light, I began looking on his computer for any evidence.  But I also didn't want to leave a trail of my exploration and would have to clear the cache every time I used his browser.  Then I updated to a new version of IE and one of the new features was InPrivate browsing. 

To access it, press Control + Shift + P while you already have a browser window open.  Then a new window will open and the words InPrivate will appear on the left side of the address bar just like in the example below. 

When you close that window, *poof* your browsing history is gone.

You can read more info here.




Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sheesh! They have an association.

of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area





From the "Talking to Your Wife" page.  Comments in red are mine.


ADVICE FROM AN EXPERT

The following is quoted from When Husbands Come Out of the Closet by Jean Schaar Gochros (Harrington Park Press, 1989). Gochros holds a doctorate in social work. Her book is based on extensive interviews with women whose husbands are gay. In Chapter 10, she provides advice to wives and husbands and summarizes the general conclusions of her study.   Set forth below are brief excerpts.
Gochros general advice is encapsulated in a comment that she quotes from one of her interviewees: "Tell my husband I'm trying to understand. But I don't know what he thinks or how he feels. Tell him not to shut me out. Tell him to talk to me!"
Advice to Wives
1. Having company in one's misery doesn't necessarily make one happy, but it does help to relieve the sense of isolation. So try to remember that you are not alone. You are in an extremely large crowd.
2. Try to remember that you are not alone in the kinds of feelings you have had, presently have, or may have in the future. Whether those feelings are positive, negative, or simply confused and ever changingthey have been shared by others.
3. If you have just learned of the homosexuality, try not to panic, and avoid hasty, impulsive decision. Your marriage is not necessarily doomed, and it may well improve. You have many options. Like staying married to a man who has lied to you about his sexual orientation and has most likely cheated on you?
4. Try not to blame yourself and don't accept others blaming you foryour husband's homosexual thoughts or behaviors. You did not cause either his homosexual feelings or actions.  Amen!
5. Avoid letting this issue take over your life. Uh... it's a little hard to NOT let it take over your life when the rug has just been pulled out from under you.
6. Shutting the door and pretending the homosexuality doesn't exist is not helpful to you in the long run. You need to confront the issues squarely.
7. Be prepared for periods of confusion, anger, depression, discouragement, turmoil, stress, and mood changes. Ya think???
8. Be patient with yourself. The situation you are facing can be complex and confusing.
9. Try to look beyond the homosexuality in assessing your options and in how you solve both big and little problems in your marriage. You also need to stand up for your own rights, ask the questions you need to ask, and insist on the same flexibility, consideration, and understanding from your husband that he asks and expects from you.
10. Don't blame yourself for your choice of husband. You probably had good reason. Now you need to examine those reasons. Do they still exist? Are the qualities you liked before still there?  You also need to find a good psychologist and the best divorce lawyer in town.
11. You may need to explore new sexual options. Can you accept the possibility of an open-sexual contract that allows for extramarital sex? If so, what ground rules can you set?  Are you prepared for the fact your ex may give you STDs?  Don't even consider this.
12. Don't try to struggle with this situation alone. It simply becomes too confusing. Get professional counseling quickly before confusion sets in. Try not to isolate yourself. Talk with others and to learn the art of coping with stigma. But be cautious in dealing with straight society.   Okay, so I already told you to get a good counselor.  And confide in your best friends who won't be judgmental.  Your gay husband's stigma doesn't have to be yours. 
Advice to Husbands
1. There is no pat rule for whether to tell or when to tell a wife about homosexual needs and either past or present activity. Honesty is usually (though not always) the best policy. Usually, the sooner you talk with your wife, the less "betrayed" she will feel.  Honesty is NOT the best policy???  Since when?
2. "Honesty" should not become equated with "cruelty" and must be tempered with sensitivity.
3. Try to make your disclosures as positive as possible in your timing and sensitivity to your wife's feelings.
4. Do your best to avoid making promises that you do not intend or may not be able to keep, and be scrupulously honest in obeying both the spirit and the letter of any contracts you make.
5. You need to be prepared for and willing to suffer through your wife's anger, grief, and hurt. Try to meet her feelings with empathy and understanding. Wives, don't be surprised when he has no empathy for you.  He probably won't give a damn that you are suffering.  If you want sympathy, you'll find it in the dictionary between shit and syphillis.  If you're really lucky, you'll find it from good friends and a good counselor.
6. Help her cope with stigma. It is as real a problem for her as it has been and will be for you.  He's not going to care about this either. 
7. Try not to feel railroaded by others into choosing between marriage and homosexual expression. You have options. If you and your wife can work out a mutually satisfying contract, there is no reason why you should not do so. If you cannot honestly commit yourself to and be happy in a heterosexual relationship, don't string your wife along.  There is no such thing as a mutually satisfying contract between a gay man and a straight woman.  Period.  Eventually, his suppressed feelings will explode to the surface and he's going to find other men.  The sooner you can get out, the sooner you can start to build a new life free of the lies and betrayal.
In my opinion, this group has good intentions but a lot of bad advice.  Gay men should be encouraged to come clean with their wives as soon as possible and not fight them in divorce court.  When you've stolen years of a woman's life -- years she could have spent with a man who would love her with real passion -- you have no right to make the divorce difficult.

Grow a set and do the right thing.


Providing peer counseling, support, and outreach to gay and bisexual married men, their wives, partners, and friends.


I wanted GAMMA to be a place where people who feel this special kind of love would be welcomed and accepted. I wanted to create a framework for discussion that was respectful and humane, for ourselves, our wives, and others. — Joshua, one of the founders of GAMMA

What is GAMMA?

GAMMA is a peer support group for men who:
  • Identify themselves as gay or bisexual or are simply attracted to men, and
  • Are now or have been in a relationship with a woman, or are contemplating such a relationship.
Some members are in satisfying, conventional marriages, some in less happy ones. Some are separated or divorced, some have lovers. Some have never had a sexual experience with a man and some have worked out unique living arrangements.


Some have had free and open discussions with their spouses and children. Others have never spoken to anyone about their feelings.

All are welcome and should find among us others who share their experience.


GAMMA has no official party line. It neither encourages nor discourages its members from relationships with their wives or other women. Rather, it seeks to assist each man to find his own best road to travel in life. Much of this is accomplished through open, candid, and sympathetic sharing of thoughts, experiences and feelings.

At meetings, you can say as little or as much as you like. Most attendees introduce themselves using only their first name and then describe their current situation and issues. The discussions during the rest of the evening depend on the interests of the group. There are typically about 10 people in attendance – with ages ranging from the 20's on up. The men's group is just a bunch of guys discussing their issues, so don't be shy... there's nothing bizarre going on here!

Support for Wives

Support for wives is available through the Straight Spouse Network.