published Friday, June 28th, 2013

Cook: Angry over gay rights?

Spitting mad? In deep distress over the direction our country's going?

I know the feeling.

Some days, the world seems like it's coming apart, doesn't it? What was once down is now up, right is now left and the things we run from are the things we should embrace.

Truth? It exists. As sure as the sun rises in the east. There are things that are right and things that are wrong.

The trick is discerning which is which. The right. The wrong.

Gay marriage? This is where you and I differ. I thought the news out of Washington this week was wonderful. Just. Liberating. A reflection of a world to come where all people are honored for who they are.

But you're probably tired of hearing that. So let me say something else:

Thanks.

Thanks for fighting the good fight, burning the midnight oil, trying to keep morality a household word.

To make America a more perfect union, we need religion and morality at the table. Thanks for not folding your hand when so much is stacked against you.

(Let me say clearly: not one syllable of this column is directed to all those who use violence and "God hates gays" type of intimidation. Your faith seems like a millstone.)

To all who earnestly try to love your neighbor without compromising your beliefs, thanks. Really and truly.

We may disagree on this issue -- I believe gay people will parade, proudly, straight into Heaven -- but you're not lukewarm. You're fighting, standing up for what you believe, and the last thing we need is a country where people don't do that.

Perhaps it's time to change the way you fight.

"Christianity, when it is taken seriously, compels its adherents to engage the world, not retreat from it," writes Larry Alex Taunton in The Atlantic.

Taunton, a Christian, spent years engaging atheists (like Christopher Hitchens) in public debate. Not long ago, he stumbled onto a novel idea: He and colleagues invited atheists from near and far to sit down with them.

Not to evangelize, argue and dispute.

But to listen.

Tell us your story, they said.

"We just wanted to listen to what they had to say," he wrote.

Instead of atheists, what if the conservative American church began to listen to the stories of their lesbian, gay, transgendered neighbors?

Listen to the gay woman who spent years in a suicidal depression because the church told her, repeatedly, she was going to hell. Ask her what that did to her perception of a loving God. Ask her how many tears she cried.

Listen to others describe how being gay was with them since their first breath, how they could no more remove it than the color out of their eyes. Change? Like telling the sky to stop being blue.

Listen to those who have encountered a loving God, and felt embraced by a peace that passes understanding, lawmakers and society's judgment.

Just listen.

"We are firmly in a post-Christian culture. We have to change tactics," said Dan Wilson, director of Harvest USA, a locally based ministry. "Getting mad, angry, distraught, disgusted or despairing is not the ticket."

Religion matters as much as it ever has. Maybe more so. You really want to establish legitimacy in a post-Christian culture?

Spend some time listening.

Then more people will want to listen to you.

Contact David Cook at dcook@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DavidCookTFP.

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

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daytonsdarwin said...

Good article, David. Unfortunately the christian reconstructionists and uber-fundamentalists have the "Mission from God" to re-create a world of slavery, women as chattel, and Creationism as science. The only thing missing are the snappy SS uniforms.

However, other faiths are realizing that a non-literal Bible interpretation includes being kind to neighbors, allowing others to seek a personal hegemony of divinity, and realizing that the path to a good life is not defined by religious authority but by personal actions and responsibilities.

I applaud the decision for equality before the law. If that's not an American ideal to strive for, then this government is for naught.

June 28, 2013 at 9:31 a.m.
benburke said...

Angry? No! Grieved? Yes! For I know what God's Word says. I will continue to love the sinner and hate the sin. God will take care of the rest. And if He doesn't, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. And make no mistake; my God apologizes to no one!

June 28, 2013 at 9:43 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

It's hard for an imaginary god to apologize, ben. And that crap about loving the sinner while hating the sin is complete BS, but only said to give the uber-fundamentalist christian nutters a pat on the back for their feigned compassion.

Much like the Germans who approved Hitler while saying they personally liked Jews.

Little difference between those who read the Bible as literal and those who read Mein Kampf as Germanic gospel.

June 28, 2013 at 10 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

"Once you've mentioned Hitler/Nazis, you've lost"

June 28, 2013 at 10:16 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

LaughingBoy said...

"Once you've mentioned Hitler/Nazis, you've lost"

Except when the analogy is correct as in this case.

June 28, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.
benburke said...

The day will come when every knee will bow; every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. And then daytonsdarwin will be reminded of this discussion of a very real God and how he (daytonsdarwin) rejected the Truth. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. (Luke 16:22-25)

June 28, 2013 at 1:41 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

I always reject myths as realities, fairy-tales as science, and imaginary paranoid-schizophrenic deities as powerless to do squat except promote fear, fanaticism, and vengeance in the little minds of the trembling ignorant.

June 28, 2013 at 1:50 p.m.
TonyGottlieb said...

While I am grateful for some resolution on this issue, I know that the financial consequences of the SCOTUS decision have only just begun. Frankly, like many Americans I do not really care if people are "gay" and chose to be married. However, I believe that the procreative rights of gay couples change at the fertility clinic door. I do not believe you have the prerogative to change the natural birthright of another human being.

June 28, 2013 at 2:56 p.m.

“Privatizing Marriage Will Expand the Role of the State” by Jennifer Roback Morse , April 3rd, 2012 http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/04/5073/

Libertarians are being taken in by rhetoric that sounds libertarian but, in fact, will lead to a dramatic shift in the balance of power between the state and civil society, indeed between the state and the natural order itself.

”Privatizing Marriage Is Unjust to Children” by Jennifer Roback Morse, April 4th, 2012

Children are entitled to a relationship with both of their parents. They are entitled to know who they are and where they came from. Therefore children have a legitimate interest in the stability of their parents’ union, since that is ordinarily how kids have relationships with both parents. If Mom and Dad are quarreling, or if they live on opposite sides of the country, the child’s connection with one or both of them is seriously impaired.

But children cannot defend their rights themselves. Nor is it adequate to intervene after the fact, after harm already has been done. Children’s relational and identity rights must be protected proactively.

Marriage is society’s institutional structure for protecting these legitimate rights and interests of children.

This is not only a humane answer, it is also the proper libertarian answer, indeed the only possible truly libertarian answer. For only this answer allows the possibility of a society in which every individual person is recognized as valuable, as bearing intrinsic human dignity, of holding rights against other people and against the state …

This is why I do not believe it is possible or desirable to “get the state out of the marriage business.” The primary business of the state should be providing justice. Children are the most vulnerable parties in any society. But children are particularly vulnerable in a society like ours that values autonomy and independence so highly. Children cannot be autonomous and independent. Adult society owes children an obligation in justice to provide institutional structures that protect their most basic interests. This is why it would be unjust to children for the government to attempt to “get out of the marriage business.” Providing justice to the vulnerable is precisely the business of the government. If it doesn’t perform that function, it has failed.

See also:

“The Same-Sex “Marriage” Proposal is Unjust Discrimination” by Patrick Lee

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/01/4597/

June 29, 2013 at 1:13 a.m.
conservative said...

I don't believe I have ever read such upside down perverted thinking.

Mr. Cook wrote in favor of sexual perversion:

"Thanks for fighting the good fight, burning the midnight oil, trying to keep morality a household word."

I noticed in his perversion of truth that he used the words "fighting the good fight," an allusion to the words of the Apostle Paul who wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing."2Timothy 4:6-8

There will be no crown of righteousness for those who pratice homosexuality or those who encourage others to practice such abomination:

You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Leviticus 18:22

If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.Leviticus 20:13

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor HOMOSEXUALS, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1Corinthians 6:9-10

June 29, 2013 at 9:15 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

conservative said...

"I don't believe I have ever read such upside down perverted thinking."

You mean you don't read what you write? Not only is it perverted against humanity, it's downright funny.

You may now return to your rubber room where the attendants will soon bring your medications.

June 29, 2013 at 10:35 a.m.
EaTn said...

I can't imagine our country sinking any further into depravity than the past few weeks.

June 29, 2013 at 1:15 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

EaTn said...

"I can't imagine our country sinking any further into depravity than the past few weeks."

Just wait until the christian uber- fundamentalists have control. Just like their uber-fundamentalist Muslim pals have done around the world.

Nothing is so bad that a religious fundamentalist wacko can't make it worse.

June 29, 2013 at 1:20 p.m.
klifnotes said...

conservative said... Mr. Cook wrote in favor of sexual perversion:

You should move beyond and stop fantasizing about what others do in their bedroom. There's more to marriage and being in a relationship than what a couple choose to do in the privacy of their own bedroom.

June 29, 2013 at 10:27 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

With Conservative's constant discussion of sexual perversions makes me wonder if there is a Mrs. Conservative.

If so, she has my deepest sympathies on so many levels.

June 29, 2013 at 10:51 p.m.
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