October 11, 2014

Homosexuality, Christianity, and Me

It's funny how this topic reappears about once a year, or at least it has for the past three years. I have written on this topic three times before (other than the odd mention here and there), all in the past three years. Over the past few days it has popped up again on Twitter and Facebook with people either misunderstanding something I wrote, intentionally distorting something I wrote, or responding with burning self-righteous anger at something I wrote. Myself, I really don't see what all the fuss is about. To start with, let's take a look at those three posts I mentioned:

February 4, 2011: Genuine Tolerance

Believe it or not, it is not Christians who give me the most grief over my defense of any individual homosexual's right to their lifestyle. It is atheists and homosexual activists who condemn my blog posts, pour out profanity on my YouTube channel, and rail against me in Facebook discussions.
Then, as now, if someone drops into a discussion I have either stumbled onto or initiated it is inevitably the Christians who are most willing to respect the choices made by lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) individuals. Granted, there do exist groups like the Westboro Baptist Church with their propensity to picket the funerals of combat veterans who died defending the freedom to picket funerals. For better or for worse, I have met very few people online with that kind of deep-seated hatred of LGBT people and when I do, I instantly block them and go about my day. If I come across one in real life, I smile politely until they finish ranting and then never talk to them again. I have much better things to do with my time than argue with people whose reality is so distorted they cannot accept the humanity in people with a different lifestyle than their own. Bigotry is bigotry, whether it comes from Christians who claim every combat casualty is a result of God's judgement, lesbians who want to pretend their union can magically produce a child, or Muslims who believe homosexuals should be executed. I find this kind of extremism intolerable. And yes, that lack of tolerance extends to any school district that would rather call children "Purple Penguins" than risk offending sensitive souls who feel trapped in gender-specific social expectations. Boys are boys, girls are girls, and adolescents are young men and young women. We cannot pretend that biology does not exist simply because a few people are unhappy with their own reality.

February 10, 2012: Gay Marriage is not about Love

A "marriage" is a man and a woman who decide to start a family together. The piece of paper is nice, but that's not what a "marriage" is. That is why most states have a "common law marriage" definition. If gay marriage is the law, then two people of the same sex who live together fall under the same legal requirements for a common law marriage as would a man and woman living together.
The biggest problem I have with "gay marriage" is not happiness or love or Bible verses condemning homosexuality. The biggest problem I have with gay marriage is the horrible impact it will have on common law marriage, an impact that no one is talking about. I can easily imagine obsessed former roommates with stalker type personality disorders following around their ex-friends demanding compensation for the time they spent together. Court dockets in states that have passed gay marriage laws are already seeing cases combining common law marriage and gay marriage in legal suits against same-sex friends who parted on bad terms after sharing an apartment or a house long enough to fall into common law requirements for joint ownership of televisions, cars, furniture, luxury items, and pets. It is bad enough when genuine lovers part company and file for divorce from someone they never "officially" married to begin with. When ex-roommates start using the same laws to extort items they cherished or seek revenge against someone who wronged them then our entire legal system is reduced to a farce with all the merit and value of a circus sideshow. I'm sorry if this offends same-sex couples who are deeply in love and have successful relationships that last for decades, but marriage is about securing the providence of families and the protection of children. It is children that represent the future of humanity, not young people so in love they are drunk on their own endorphins.

March 28, 2013: A Gay Man who Opposes Gay Marriage

In our sometimes misguided efforts to expand our freedom, selfish adults have systematically dismantled that which is most precious to children as they grow and develop.
That quote is from the article linked to in my blog post. Doug Mainwaring spoke the truth far more clearly than I could ever hope to, and being homosexual himself, did so with an authority I could never earn and would never claim. In summary, his truth is quite similar to what I have stated, and comes together perfectly in this quote:
Children are being reduced to chattel-like sources of fulfillment. On one side, their family tree consists not of ancestors, but of a small army of anonymous surrogates, donors, and attorneys who pinch-hit for the absent gender in genderless marriages. Gays and lesbians demand that they have a “right” to have children to complete their sense of personal fulfillment, and in so doing, are trumping the right that children have to both a mother and a father—a right that same-sex marriage tramples over.
The objectification of children and the reducing of these future custodians of our planet to mere possessions whose only purpose is to bring happiness to their parents is the real reason behind my harsh response a few days ago to the case of a woman in a lesbian "marriage" suing a fertility clinic after she gave birth to a baby with a different skin tone from her own. Children are the future of both humanity and our entire world. If we do not raise our children to become compassionate, civilized adults then all the vaunted social progress that made homosexuality an acceptable dinner table conversation and a valid lifestyle choice will be destroyed in a single generation. If you truly want your children to have the freedom to fall in love with anyone they want, to define their social identity independent from their biology, to have the respect of their peers, and to enjoy the dignity that is the birthright of every living creature then you should oppose the institutionalization of gay marriage. It might even be worthwhile to oppose government involvement in marriage altogether. If we are going to learn to love one another then the very first thing we must do is prevent the government from defining "love" for us. If love is restricted to legal definitions and descriptions that are both protected by lawyers and overseen by armies of bureaucrats then tyranny will truly be complete and we will have reduced humanity to livestock that lives, dies, and breeds on the whims of the elite.

And now we come to the point where I take the stand that will no doubt have liberal progressives everywhere burning in self-righteous fury. The Bible contains an unequivocal condemnation of the homosexual lifestyle, and the transgender lifestyle is so deeply offensive to Biblical writers that it does not even bear mentioning. If there were any place where transgender topics would exist it would be in the New Testament because during the Roman Empire men living as women and women living as men (referred to as "hermaphrodites") were just as common as they are today. Such lifestyle choices were protected by law and even inheritance was divided according to how one lived rather than what genitalia one was born with. And yet, there is not a single mention of an hermaphrodite in the New Testament. There is quite a bit about homosexuality, showing a clear continuation of the Judaic viewpoint described in the Torah.

Leviticus 18:22
Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.

Leviticus 20:13
If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Romans 1:26-27
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Timothy 1:8-11
We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

Clearly, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, homosexuality is a sin. Lesbian and transgender lifestyles are extensions of homosexuality, or perhaps homosexuality is an extension of the others. It does not matter. This kind of sexual behavior is completely detached from biological imperatives to produce children. Sex can either create an unbreakable bond between two people who already love one another or it can destroy what had been a strong, intimate relationship. In some people sex goes far beyond the simple urge to procreate and becomes a life-affirming pleasure that is addictive in the level of obsession it creates. Freud built much of his psychoanalytic practice on his ability to understand how sexuality affected individuals (The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud), so much so that his ideas created an entirely new branch of science. Sex and sexuality are so powerful that at least one Amazonian tribe (The Canela: Kinship, Ritual, and Sex in an Amazonian Tribe) uses it as one of their primary sources of social bonding and hierarchy. Even in the animal kingdom it is easy to find species where procreation (and by assumption, sexuality) becomes the basis of lifelong sexual relationships. One branch of the chimpanzee family, the Bonobos, even uses sex and sexuality to overcome conflict, establish hierarchy, and insure conformity (The Bonobos: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation). Regardless of whether someone believes in the Seven Days of Creation as described in the Bible (Genesis, chapters 1 through 4) or in evolution and the natural selection of species, almost no one would honestly describe sex and sexuality as something minor and inconsequential. Sex and sexuality are critical determinants in the most fundamental aspects of every individual's self-image and personality.

So then, the Bible is unequivocal in its condemnation of homosexuality, yet science clearly indicates that sexuality is fundamental to creating and maintaining satisfying, lifelong relationships. Others have pointed it out and been ridiculed for it, but I for one cannot deny that the Biblical passages condemning homosexuality are clearly directed at homosexual behavior. "Men who have sex with men" are clearly singled out as practicing sinful behavior that marks them for condemnation, which of course, also means an eternity in hell. It is what it is and there is no justification for trying to pretend otherwise. That does not mean I personally condemn homosexual behavior, nor does it justify the seething hatred of the Westboro Baptist Church. I should probably point out here that I personally cannot see any place in the Bible where it explicitly states "God hates homosexuals", therefore, I can only conclude that the Westboro Baptist Church is reading a different Bible than I am. My Bible takes exactly the opposite approach. My Bible emphasizes love, while condemning homosexual behavior and homosexuality as a lifestyle choice. There is nothing in the New Testatment (and only one verse in the Old Testament) calling for homosexuals to be stoned. Since Jesus did not allow the woman caught in adultery to be stoned, it is reasonable to assume he would also not allow homosexuals to be stoned. The New Testament is "new" because the sacrifice of Christ, verified by his resurrection, cleanses the believer of the punishment required from breaking Old Testament law. Many passages in the New Testament (including 1 Timothy 1:8-11 above) either explicitly state or directly imply that the real purpose of the Old Testament law is to teach people what sin is and how to recognize it. Under the New Testament, once sin is recognized, the condemnation and guilt it brings can be removed through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus and the power of his resurrection. Any Christian who runs around demanding people abide by Old Testament law or encouraging hatred based on violations of Old Testament law has not grasped the real meaning of Ephesians 2:8-9:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Even here though, there are limits. Anyone who has been cleansed of sin has also been cleansed of the impulse to sin. They can still be tempted, and they can still choose to sin, but the addictive power of sin has been broken. It can still be a daily struggle. No one is perfect, no one is righteous (Romans 3:10). Everyone has something they must daily fight to avoid. We are each called to carry the Cross of Christ in our own way. Perhaps those who are inclined to homosexual behavior must bear that cross daily by reminding themselves that no matter how pleasant it is a homosexual relationship cannot produce children and children are the future of humanity. Perhaps the same holds for anyone who feels they are "born in the wrong body". There are many things in reality that bring us pain. There are many things in our hearts and minds that bring us even greater pain. If someone tells me they believe they were born in the wrong gender, I have no reference point to deny that internal reality. However, it would not be Biblical for me to encourage those feelings. I won't tell them they are "wrong" or "crazy" to feel that way, but neither will I affirm it is somehow "natural" or "normal".

However, despite all I have said to this point, if someone feels they are born in the wrong gender, if someone tells me they love someone of the same gender and want to spend their life with them, I will still treat them will all the respect and dignity I would accord to anyone else. They have every right to make their own choices. I will be happy to explain my own choices, and I will be happy to explain the Bible's position, but I will neither label them disparagingly nor treat them badly. Humans, regardless of any personal quirks or differences, are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect simply because they are human. And although the same is true of animals (or even aliens from distant planets if it comes to that), animals are not humans. I will not grant animals the same level of dignity as a human being. However, I do support current animal cruelty laws and will certainly report anyone who treats an animal badly. (As for how I would treat interstellar aliens, I'll cross that bridge if and when I come to it.)

LGBT lifestyle followers are human. I will not allow others to treat them as something less. If you make jokes at their expense I will neither laugh nor encourage you. If I find you beating someone up simply because they are LGBT and you perceive them to be deserving of a good beating, I will pull you off of them and give you the beating you were just giving them. If you harass them I will report you to the local authorities. If you vandalize their property I will help them get you arrested and sent off to prison. If they put gay marriage on the ballot I will vote against it. If it passes and they invite me to their wedding I will be happy to attend and I will even bring a gift. While I am there I will not launch into a sermon condemning their choice, not even if some fool tries to bait me into it. If one of my sons suddenly declares himself gay I will still love him and he will still be my son. If he chooses gender reassignment surgery I will try my very best to learn to think of her as a daughter. Last but not least, if through tragedy or divorce I wound up single again and not only found myself back in the pool of eligible bachelors but also found myself in a relationship with a post-transgender surgery woman I would treat her as a woman even though she was born a man. Respect and dignity are still respect and dignity. (I should probably add the caveat here that if I suddenly found myself single again I would not seek out a romantic relationship at all, therefore, it is extremely unlikely such a situation would ever arise in the first place. One lifelong love is enough and mine is one that I could never hope to replace.)

The short answer to how I feel about my relationship to Christ, the Bible, and the LGBT lifestyle is this:
People must be free to make their own choices. I will not play God. If they ask me what the Bible says about their choice I will tell them, but I won't pound it into them verbally or physically. It's their choice and their eternity. All I can do is report what I know and allow them to make their own choices.

October 08, 2014

Economic Magic

I'm getting a wee bit annoyed with Keynesian economists calling me "idiotic", "ignorant", or "illiterate". Seriously, folks, if you want to know what happened to "civil discourse" perhaps you should start by looking in the mirror.

We live in a global economy. Events on Wall Street affect the quality of life in a Nigerian slum while Islamic terrorists in Nigeria have a direct impact on Wall Street. That is a simple reality that most economists readily acknowledge regardless of which school they follow. Our world is completely interconnected. It does not matter if you or I or anyone else happens to like this simple fact, the fact itself does not change. Keynesian economics posits that by changing the tax rates, using debt to fund poverty relief, or some other economic witchery, a national government can magically gain control over this global monster. That is not science. That is simple old-school numerology. A numerologist believes that equations not only describe reality, they control reality, therefore by changing a number in the equation the numerologist can change reality. Well, I do apologize, but it just doesn't work that way. At least, not for very long.

Consider, for example, solar power. A Keynesian economist would have us believe that if the American government simply borrows enough money and pours it into solar power we can eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels. They ignore that fossil fuels have been the basis of multiple human societies for at least seven thousand years, and possibly longer. Evidence of coal burning has been uncovered in archaeology sites all over the world. Everywhere that coal can be found on or near the surface humans have used it to fuel their forges, heat their homes, and cook their food. No matter how hard we try to break away from coal it remains one of the most efficient, easy to use heat sources ever discovered. Those are simple facts that no amount of disgust with coal-based pollution can overcome. We can minimize coal burning by replacing it with cleaner burning natural gas in many circumstances but we cannot change the fact that as long as we can keep digging coal out of the ground people will keep finding reasons to burn it. The coal is there, it burns well, and it is easy to use and transport. Until we have exhausted it completely someone, somewhere is going to use it. Meanwhile, at last count nearly 50 Obama-backed Solar Companies were bankrupt or nearly bankrupt. Changing the equation does not change the reality.

"But what about the poor? Surely it is the duty of government to help the poor!"

A very long time ago the Earth's climate changed dramatically. A combination of changes in the sun, volcanic eruptions, the flooding of the Baltic Sea, and many other variables shifted the heat patterns of the world and the atmosphere began retaining a tiny bit more heat than it reflected. The polar ice caps melted. Tens of thousands of species went extinct. The planet began to warm. That warming trend continues right to this very day. And yes, there is considerable evidence that it might be gaining momentum, but that does not automatically mean humans burning fossil fuels is the cause. Volcanoes are still exploding, ocean tides are still shifting, the sun is still expanding, all of these things have a far more powerful impact on our climate than burning fossil fuels. The Centralia Mine Fire has been burning since it was ignited on the night of May 27, 1962. Environmentalists are quick to blame a team of Centralia firefighters who ignited some trash at the town landfill, however, no one has yet proven that the trash fire ignited the coal seam. More importantly, it does not matter if the trash fire is indeed to blame. The seam is burning and will continue to burn for another century, possibly for another two centuries. Every year the Centralia coal seam fire dumps millions of tons of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other gases into the atmosphere. No one is quite sure how much, and the Centralia coal seam fire is only one of several known to be burning. These fires cannot be extinguished, so even if humanity completely eliminates industrial use of coal, millions of tons of carbon pollution will continue pouring into the atmosphere from these fires.

What does feeding the poor and providing them medical care have to do with global warming and unstoppable coal fires? Quite simply, everything. As the Earth began warming many of the species that went extinct were species humans depended on for food. Unable to produce enough food by hunting, many small groups began farming. Technology and techniques improved with practice and within a dozen or so generations humans were more dependent on some level of farming than they ever had been on hunting. The idea that until a few centuries ago most of the human race relied on hunting and gathering to eat is simply false. It's not based on fact. It is based on romantic notions about free-ranging ancestors and nomadic societies living at the very fringes of arable land. For at least twenty thousand years, the primary food source for humans in every corner of the globe with arable land has been farming. Dry-land grains or wet rice farming have been feeding us for nearly as long as we have been human. Grains were supplemented by meat either harvested, traded for, or raised, and that meat is vital to keeping our brains fully functional (clearly before we were hunting we were scavenging, and that is why our brain depends on a steady diet of meat). For at least 250,000 years we have depended on meat to keep our brains working and therein lies the problem.

No prehistoric human society existed that did not include consumption of meat. This simple fact has been verified through both archaeology and paleontology. For as long as we have been "human" we have needed meat. Control over meat determined social rank, leadership, problem-solving ability, creativity, tribute authority, trade wealth, and countless other facets of human society. Every "economy" humans have ever functioned under has involved some kind of meat, some kind of grains, and some kind of luxury items. Meat, grains, and luxury items are our human economy. Access to economic participation has always been determined by two things: resources and ambition. It is the combination of resources and ambition that makes some people succeed while others fail. Wealth is derived by transforming labor into one of two things: food or material goods. If a person has no food, they must either produce food or trade for food. In order to trade for food, a person must find or create something the person who has food is willing to trade for. Work and not money, is the basis of all real economic activity. Money is simply an easy way of trading my food for your material goods or vice versa. "Capital" is a concept that arose once we realized that "money" represented food, material goods, or labor. It simply abstracts an existing reality. Capital and the movement of capital is what economists describe. Regardless of how they label themselves or which school of economics they follow, the real-world subject of all their fancy equations is capital and "capital" is simply an abstract way of thinking about food, material goods, and labor.

And that is why I insist that Keynesian economics is not science. Keynesian economics ignores food, material goods, and labor. Keynesian economics only recognizes the abstraction, not the reality. That is why Keynesian economists are completely convinced that if they move a few numbers around they are changing reality. Well, they aren't changing reality, at least not for very long. The real world of food, material goods, and labor can be described mathematically. Economists of all schools are very good at describing the real world with numbers and equations. However, that does not give them any form of control over the food, material goods, and labor that are the real basis of human economic activity. It is possible to describe economic activity through mathematics, but it is not possible to control human economic activity through mathematics. There is one simple reason for this: numbers can't control people and people's choices are what create economic activity.

October 04, 2014

A child is a person, not a possession

Huffington Post: White woman who sued sperm bank over black baby says it's not about race

This is one of the clearest examples of how deeply racist the progressive movement really is that I have ever read. I raised two sons to adulthood in a culture intolerant of difference and I can say from firsthand experience this woman's complaint is entirely the fault of her own racism. She is horrified her baby doesn't look like she does and if that is not the very definition of racism then I do not know what is. This is what happens when people are such self-absorbed narcissists that their own children are seen as nothing more than appendages of their personal self.

Some important quotes from the article:

"wanted their child to bear some resemblance to them"
"because Payton isn't completely white, Cramblett said the family will have to move away from their current home "
"a friend has spoken with her about his experience as a black child who was adopted by two white parents"
"I’m not able to give her that part of heritage"
"it's been difficult to figure out how to get her daughter's hair cut"
"even well-meaning comments about Payton’s appearance have led to uncomfortable situations"

Based on the woman's own words, it is brutally apparent to me that the problem is not her baby, the problem is her own sense of shame and guilt. Again, this is the very definition of racism.

Some people will surely say, "doesn't everyone want their baby to look like they do?"

My reply would be that even though it doesn't annoy me when someone says about one of my sons, "gosh, he looks just like you," neither do I find it flattering. Instead, I find it shallow. Yes, I know, that probably makes me the odd man out, which is why the "experts" suggested removing narcissistic personality disorder when DSM-V was edited to become DSM-VI. Our society has become so deeply self-absorbed and so profoundly narcissistic that we don't even recognize how completely destructive a narcissistic personality disorder is. Narcissism is incapable of self-based reform because narcissists see themselves as perfect. They cannot see their own flaws so they cannot acknowledge room for personal growth. As a result, they remain infantile and lacking in self-discipline their entire life long. Modern liberal progressivism is so wrapped up in personal crusades designed to grant them total control over everyone and everything around them that they never, ever stop to consider the very real likelihood not only are they unqualified to judge how others should live their lives, they have absolutely no right to do so. To the narcissist, their own sense of self and morality is perfect and therefore it is only natural to impose that same sense of self and morality on everyone else.

Unfortunately for the narcissist, people are people and every individual has the right to define their own identity and life purpose. Race is irrelevant to this quest for purpose and to a great extent, so is gender. When we truly focus on individuals instead of collectives then skin color becomes just another descriptive no different than eye color or hair color. The woman in this article, on the other hand, cannot see past her baby's "blackness". She is so wrapped up in collective identities that she has lost sight of her own individuality and as a direct result of this, she can neither recognize nor acknowledge her child's individuality. She defines herself by stereotype and she defines her child by stereotype. This kind of blind prejudice is exactly why I am no longer a liberal, despite being very active in liberal causes when I was young. I only truly began to grow as a person when I abandoned collective identities and stopped trying to conform to the image of myself that liberal "wisdom" tried to impose on me.

Payton (if you don't know who this is, go back and read the article at Huffington Post!) could easily grow up to be anything she dreams of. The only thing that will stop her is her mother's reliance on collective identity as she tries to force Payton into "appreciating" being "half-black". Being half-anything is an irrelevant and damaging burden to place on a child. I never, ever allowed such terminology in my house as my sons were growing up. When other people called them "half", I pointed they were not "half" anything, they were both. That means that as they grew and matured they did not have to conform to either culture but could pick and choose the things they liked from whatever influenced them most.

The last vestiges of barbarism in Western culture are the same elements that drive people to support terrorists. There is nothing sane or productive about defending the actions of men who hide behind women and children, slaughter innocent lives to "combat oppression", kill off any group who disagrees with them, or string the heads of their enemies from the powerlines of captured towns. There is nothing rational or progressive about considering Shari'a a "religious freedom", taking child brides as "cultural relevance", or sending thousands of rockets into unarmed neighborhoods as "defiance". Going to a sperm bank and seeking out a father based primarily on looks is no different then demanding the government regulate the size of sugary drinks and limit the amount of ammunition a pistol magazine can hold in reserve. All of these choices are based on the very mistaken belief that the person holding such views is more enlightened and better educated than anyone who does differently. Choosing a sperm donor based on "blond hair and blue eyes" is nothing more than pure narcissism. Trying to pretend that a lesbian relationship can produce a child is purely delusional right from the very beginning, but to then turn around and become furious when the child lacks the same racial characteristics as the lesbian couple making the choice is beyond insane. It is destructive to the child and condemning of the couple's ability to be good parents.

Unconditional love is not based on how someone looks. Every child needs the unconditional love and support of their parents. It does not surprise me when the mother of a murderer praises her child. It does surprise me when a woman takes on the responsibility of motherhood and then complains her child has the wrong skin color and uncooperative hair. That is not love. That is racism produced by a narcissistic personality disorder. Payton is not a piece of furniture. She is a person who needs unconditional love, clear teaching, careful nurturing, and the freedom to develop her own personality independent of the dreams of her parents.