Conservative "Christian" groups are voicing opposition to anti-bullying legislation in Illinois because they say that it is part of a "homosexual agenda" and will infringe upon their right to deride gay and trans people. The groups include the Illinois Family Institute and Concerned Christians of America, who say that anti-bullying rules "promote unproven, non-factual beliefs about the nature and morality of homosexuality and 'transgenderism'." The anti-bullying rules do not mention homosexuality or transgenderism. Whatever that is.

167 Responses to “Christian groups oppose anti-bullying rules, demand right to fear teh gay”

  1. PathogenAntifreeze says:

    With “Christian” in quotes, I’m wondering, are these fringe, faux Christians espousing a non-Christian ideal that the hierarchical leaders of large Christian sects denounce?  Is there a vocal “don’t be assholes to LGBT people” Christian movement that most Christians have flocked to?

    • Peppermint says:

      Well the original Christian ideals are stuff about tolerance, love thy neighbour, try not to be an asshole and all that kind of stuff. You know.

      • PathogenAntifreeze says:

         I’ll agree that some of “Christian ideals” are exactly as you characterize… John 8:1-12, providing the whole “don’t throw rocks at that ‘ho message” is great… but this isn’t about the thoughts and deeds attributed to Christ.  This is about the behaviors and philosophies of “conservative Christian groups” which are pretty much something completely different.

        • chgoliz says:

          What’s different is that they’re neither conservative or Christian; they simply lie and call themselves such.

          Oh, yes, and bully anyone who questions their lies.

          • templarsmonochromata says:

            Because no TRUE Scotsman would be seen without a kilt. Those people are definitely not -real- Scotsmen. I agree entirely. *liked*

          • SamSam says:

            I’m pretty certain that every single thread that has ever existed on BoingBoing that has involved some Christians being assholes has required someone to bring up the No True Scotsman fallacy.

          • chgoliz says:

            I keep a fallacies Bingo card myself, but in this case, I actually think the distinction could serve a useful purpose:  it would be smart for liberals to start reminding voters that Democrat — not Republican — policies are WJWD.  In a country where religion is woven into every aspect of government and much of society, the Republican party needs to lose the mantle of  being the “Christian” party.

            (Not that I’m a Christian myself, but I live in the US and I’m a pragmatist.)

      • Jonathan Badger says:

        Of course “all that kind of stuff” includes things like murdering adulterers and their children (Revelations 2:22-2:23). Cherry picking the parts you like and discarding the parts you don’t (or claiming that they are just “symbolic”) doesn’t really work.

        • Joshua Ochs says:

          Well, that’s life. Everyone engages in picking parts they like and don’t like – otherwise we’d be stamped out cookie cutters of each other.

          For better or worse, people focus on what they want to believe and tailor faith to fit themselves. I’m liberal, so I focus on the gospels and *some* sections of Paul’s theology. Basic morality, Psalms, Proverbs, etc are also good. I largely discard Old Testament law and Paul’s writings that I believe aren’t consistent with Christ. Revelation I look on as an incomprehensible dream he was sent and wrote best he could. Other people will choose to focus on other aspects – whether end times, the harshness of Old Testament law, or what-have-you.It’s not just religion – ror instance, do you always wait until the crosswalk sign says walk, even on a widely visible street at off hours? Do you ever come to a rolling stop at a stop sign? Do you studiously obey the speed limit, even on the interstate? Just based on observation I’d say everyone out there cherry-picks traffic laws.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Joshua Ochs,

            I see that you’ve made eleven comments so far in this thread and not once have you addressed the problem of bullying.  You’re too busy circling the wagons around the poor, oppressed Christians to bother taking any kind of moral stand in defense of the people who are being abused.  Thanks for outing yourself as a self-centered Pharisee.

            You are a contemptible example of why people are so pissed off at Christians and a complete failure at demonstrating any ‘Christian values’.

          • Joshua Ochs says:

            You’re right – and that’s because I agree with opposing, marginalizing, and calling out these groups for their reprehensible behavior. Perhaps it was just so bloody obvious that they’re assholes that it spoke for itself.

            The comments I’ve been replying to are the ones who take this as an excuse to by extension bash all Christians as agreeing with that hateful stance, since as of the time I posted, none had argued against that.

          • AnthonyC says:

             If you look at the bible and decide that some parts are worth following and others aren’t- if you believe you know which parts are good and which aren’t- then you don;t need the bible, and you certainly don’t believe it’s the word of a deity with the authority to command your obedience.

            None of which, of course, has anything to do with bullying, which is what the so-called christians in this post are making sure no one tries to alleviate.

          • Joshua Ochs says:

            The Bible didn’t appear out of heaven, fully formed and translated. It was written down by Man, edited by Man (especially the early Catholic Church), and interpreted by Man. Even beyond the issues of writer/editing bias and mistranslations through the ages, the core tenant of Christianity is that of the New Covenant, i.e. that the sacrifice of Jesus took the place of the “Old Covenant” between Moses and God, and takes the old laws that went along with it. Jesus never said “follow the Laws of Moses” – he said “follow me”, and Christians are followers of Jesus Christ.

            This does result in a lot of interpretation and (in Protestant sects especially) a lot of variation and veering from official doctrine. Protestantism specifically emphasizes a personal relationship, and reading the Bible and coming to your own conclusions. My personal conclusion is that the New Covenant supersedes the Old Covenant, and thus I can safely disregard much of Leviticus and similar passages. Others will not come to that conclusion. This doesn’t mean they’re any more or less Christian, as long as they are following Jesus’ teachings as a base.

          • FelixDio says:

            “Everyone engages in picking parts they like and don’t like”

            Nope, not everyone. A lot of people don’t go for the “Buffet Bible” approach you seem to endorse. Either it’s the word of god, or it’s not.

            Given how repulsive and disgusting the document as a whole rolls, I think it’s easy to see why most sane people treat it as little more than “New York Post, 35 A.D.”

            At best. 

        • Peppermint says:

          …I’m an atheist? I don’t like any particular part of Christianity, and I actually don’t know much about it, to be honest.

          It’s just amusing to see people claim purportedly tolerant values and then apply the complete opposite… And that’s why I agree with the choice of putting “Christian” in quotation marks. That’s why I was commenting – not to come flying in defense of Christianity.

        • hymenopterid says:

          It works with addition as well as subtraction. The bible wasn’t written all at once, so somebody must have thought it needed more rules. If the religion doesn’t suit the powers that be, It will be made more suitable. Just ask Henry VIII.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          Cherry picking the parts you like and discarding the parts you don’t (or claiming that they are just “symbolic”) doesn’t really work.

          I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to consider the Gospels separate from the rest of the New Testament, particularly from the ergot-fueled parts like Revelations.  The Gospels are (to whatever level of accuracy) primarily histories, whereas the rest of the anthology is primarily a How-To section.

          • awjt says:

            The Gnostic Gospels read like letters written to old friends.  The New Testament reads like zealots staking a claim on the truth.

          • Marja Erwin says:

            Revelation was a late addition though. It was probably written in the 1st century, but it was mostly considered apocryphal until the late 4th century.

          • This. Paul was an asshole. Seriously, read his letters. He was a self-important “convert” to a cult that he clearly wanted to remake to fit his own vision. Peter was barely better. Read how they lead the early Christians around by the nose, telling them who to associate with and what Christs’ teachings really meant, most of which were pretty hard to fuck up. Remember too that Paul was the original bully. He went around with his gang oppressing early Christians. His own autobiographical writings make a good case that he was a raving sociopath. It’s my opinion that the Gospels stand on their own. Take from them what you will and ignore the letters and revelation.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            I tend to regard Paul as the Anti-Christ.

          • teapot says:

            I just tend to consider the whole lot a bunch of shit not worthy of the paper it’s written on.

            I can see how some people would read it thinking ‘what is this crap and why do people believe it?’ but for me that’s akin to giving time and credence to the idiocy that is the 911 truthers. They believe dumb shit and expect we all believe it or be damned for all eternity. That is all you need to know about religion.

            I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve asked god to strike me down to prove his/her existence. What’s that Christians? God is gracious you say? He/She was also pretty happy to drown all of humanity except one family, so I don’t think god would have too many qualms smiting a non-believer whose reason to exist on earth is to criticise belief in fairy tales and the supernatural.

            Any religious text is better used to start a fire than to read.

          • wysinwyg says:

            The Gospels are (to whatever level of accuracy) primarily histories, whereas the rest of the anthology is primarily a How-To section.

            They don’t read like histories.  There’s no reference to sources of information, no hints as to the identity of the narrator…some scenes could not have been witnessed by anyone who might later narrate the story…the gospels actually have all the textual hallmarks of fiction. 

        • abstract_reg says:

          Show me all the people who follows every part in the bible, and I’ll show you all the cheese found on the moon. And together we will have an invisible art exhibit.

          Just because the bible says one thing at one point, doesn’t mean that Christians are required to be bullies for all time.

          • Martijn says:

            Required to be bullies? If you can take Jesus Christ’s words for it, then Christians are prohibited from being bullies.

        • Martijn says:

          Do you understand the difference between weird visions that only just made it into the bible, and words that Jesus himself said?

          No matter what parts of the bible you like to pick and choose, surely if you reject the words of Jesus Christ himself, you have no business calling yourself his follower. And that’s what “Christian” means. If you think Revelations outranks the gospels, go call yourself a Patmosian.

    • joeposts says:

      Is there a vocal “don’t be assholes to LGBT people” Christian movement that most Christians have flocked to?

      Atheism?

      • Joshua Ochs says:

        They don’t come off much better in the media than these asshats. While there are a great number of quiet, solid thinkers in the Atheist camp, we typically only hear the ranters (the ones who will argue “you’re wrong!” until red in the face, but aren’t doing much else). Which leaves them in much the same state as Christianity, being warped by the actions of a few.

        • Guido says:

          Right, because being argumentative is juuuuust like asking gay people to be sent to concentration camps.

          • Guest says:

            Apparently (as of now) nine people like strawman arguments. Yay for logical fallacies that make us feel better (comment comparing that to religion in 3…2…1…).

        • Ah yes, the wonderful “New Atheist” phantom.
          “I prefer the old quiet atheists. These New Atheists are far too vocal, with their insistence on calling out destructive delusional bullshit.”

          • Joshua Ochs says:

            You can be vocal without being nasty. Calling religion “destructive delusional bullshit” will not win people to your cause, so saying it does what? Reinforces how superior you feel?

            If you want to call it out as irrational, contradictory, harmful even – fine. Those assertions you can easily back up, reason through, and make people think – even convert them (un-convert them?). Furthermore, if you really want Christians to listen to you and help marginalize the fuckwits in the article above (you know, to bring this back on topic), then you probably don’t want to piss off your potential allies.

        • marilove says:

          Ironic, considering your comments here.  I guess it’s only okay to be vocal when you’re a Christian.  We Atheists just need to shut up and let y’all talk, amiright?

          • Guest says:

            Wil Wheaton said it best: “Don’t be a dick.” That goes equally well for homophobic bigots in the article, as well as the smug rebuttals down here.

        • teapot says:

          Actually, although Dawkins has a grating unpleasant personality at times, he runs intellectual circles around anyone who dares to run the gauntlet. He’s also the most public face of Atheism.

          Watch him (metaphorically) crap all over a prominent Australian cardinal: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3469101.htm

          • Tynam says:

            Please don’t do that.  Dawkins has a grating and unpleasant personality almost all the time, and I resent that being an atheist leaves me associated with him.  I want a prettier public face, dammit.  (Antinous?  You busy?)

          • Fnordius says:

            Au contraire, Stephen Fry is a much better public face for atheism.

      • Scurra says:

        Yeah, because there are absolutely no atheists who are “assholes to LGBT people”…
        (I hear rumours that there are some sane Republicans too.  Wonders will never cease.)

        • Peppermint says:

          I think the main difference is that they don’t use their (absence of) religion as an excuse to be assholes to LGBT folk… I don’t know, I feel like there’s a difference between being an asshole and using part of your identity as a justification for being an asshole.

          • Marja Erwin says:

            Objectivists are atheists, and historically they’ve been strongly anti-lgbt. Stalinists are atheists too. I think there has been widespread anti-lgbt prejudice, and some folks pick up on pseudoscientific rationales, and others on religious rationales, and some on both.

        • marilove says:

          Yeah, they exist, but they aren’t very vocal and they certainly don’t exist in such numbers as “Christians”.  They are about as notable as the Amish when it comes to public policy.

    •  Several: The Metropolitan Church, various Quaker & UU congregations…

      • EH says:

        I’m not sure those qualify as the destination of “most Christians.”

        • Joshua Ochs says:

          And Methodists, ELCA Lutherans, Moravians, and most congregations of any sect (well, except the Southern Baptists, perhaps – they’re pretty damn conservative).

          I’m guessing the only definition of “most Christians” you’re going to allow is “ones in the news that I don’t like”.

          • danimagoo says:

            You might need to rethink where you’re putting the Methodists. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/methodists-homosexual-act-incompatible_n_1476042.html

          • Joshua Ochs says:

            That saddens me deeply to read. I knew in my church growing up (a deeply conservative Methodist church in the South) that this was the case; I had thought the actions in my present church (liberal Methodist church in the North) were more broadly applicable.

            I read up some more on the recent Methodist general conference (just a couple weeks ago), and sadly confirmed this. Next time I’m looking for a church, I’ll look elsewhere if nothing’s changed.

            “Harrison said delegates left unchanged the church’s policy opposing gay marriage and practicing gay clergy, despite a strong lobbying effort by gay-rights advocates.”

    • pridkett says:

      Yes, there are parts of the Church that choose not to be assholes. The St. Paul synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America just voted against hate when they chose to oppose the gay marriage ban in MN http://www.startribune.com/local/stpaul/152149765.html . They also allow openly gay pastors. I don’t think you’ll have most people saying the hotdish toting Lutherans are a fringe religion.

    • Joshua Ochs says:

      Yes, there are numerous Christian denominations that are liberal and accepting. I belong to one. http://faithatfirst.com

      Unfortunately, the news concentrates on the nut jobs and conservatives because 1) Look at those crazy assholes! and 2) the conservative ones form the base of one of the two major political parties in this country. Liberal Christians are much more like normal non-Christians – nice people who subscribe to a variety of other political beliefs, and thus aren’t all that noteworthy.

      • PathogenAntifreeze says:

         See, I get along well with those kind of Christians, and I remember them from when I lived outside of the south east US.  I know my viewpoint is partly colored by regional perspective and by media sensationalism, but my question stands: are groups like those referenced in the main article so “outside,” so very different from Christianity by and large, that they should have the label of “Christian” placed in quotes, as a journalistic practice?

        • Joshua Ochs says:

          I wish it would be – but journalism is all about creating controversy anymore. And making the far right look mainstream is part of that.

          I’m sorry if I misunderstood your original post; I took your comment to be more antagonistic than it was intended.

          • PathogenAntifreeze says:

             Perhaps my question is meant as a bit of a push… a “get angry and get vocal” sort of push to the good people out there who identify as Christian and really do think people pushing the anti-gay, anti-women, etc… agendas *should* be termed “Christians” with quote marks.  It would be a refreshing shift in the “culture wars.”

        • faithnomore says:

          Well, I’d say yes. I’ve long felt that the media should be more responsible and deliberate about putting quotes around ‘christian’ (or ‘islam’ or whatever), if the words and actions of that particular group are not consistent with the generally (and historically) accepted tenets of the religion even if that group is large and influential. 

          Rule number one of any bad actor is to use self-identifying terminology that is conventional and pacifying in an effort to mis-direct the masses about their real goals. Even when it’s obvious, the media still typically don’t call out the hypocracy: I get totally pissed off that the they continue to refer to the Westboro cult as the “Westboro Baptist Church”.

      • teapot says:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/methodists-homosexual-act-incompatible_n_1476042.html
        +
        http://faithatfirst.com

        “accepting”

        Are you seriously advertising your denomination (which opposes total inclusion of homosexuals) in a thread that is critical of religions which oppose inclusion of homosexuals? Congratulations… you’ve now made it to my list of BB regulars whose points I’ll completely ignore.

        And just in case you somehow believe I’m mistaken about your religion: http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1324
        Summary: “If you’re gay you can come to our church – but don’t even think about trying to become part of the clergy or expecting us to marry you.”

        • Joshua Ochs says:

          Yes, and the Methodist church I grew up in was extremely conservative. First Methodist of Evanston is most certainly not. From the about page (and also posted out front of the church itself: “First Church is a vibrant, accepting congregation that welcomes all who seek God, inclusive of age, race, education, economic status, sexual orientation and special needs.”

          But feel free to keep generalizing, and ignoring those who would otherwise be your allies.

    • Ryan_T_H says:

      The United Church of Canada (the largest Protestant church in Canada and the second largest Christian church after the Catholics) first recommended ordaining openly gay ministers back in the 1980s.

      The official position of the United Church is that “human sexual orientations, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are a gift from God and part of the marvelous diversity of creation”.

      It also supports access to safe, legal abortions as well as access to contraception, and comprehensive sexual education.

      I’m something of a lapsed member myself, but as far as churches go the UCoC kicks ass.

    • abstract_reg says:

      There once was a guy who suggested not being assholes to others. They crucified him.

    • marilove says:

      There is a small one, within the LGBQT community itself.  There are quite a few LGBQT churches in my area (Phoenix, weirdly) and they are trying, trying, trying to say, “HEY!  We believe in God and we love you! God loves you, too!”

      I’m an atheist but have volunteered at/with one such church because we need more of that message (plus they don’t give a shit if I don’t believe; they only give a shit that I have love and a desire to help in my heart).

    • bardfinn says:

      In short : they’re not fringe, nor are they Not True Scotsmen.

  2. awjt says:

    I always thought turning the other cheek was pretty gay too.  So is meek shall inherit the earth, what’s this gay crap God???

    • Sagodjur says:

      Don’t worry, they probably removed all that crap in the Conservative Bible Project. You’re free to hate on teh gays because conservative Jesus hated them too and thought that the poor, crippled people should just get a job instead of lying around waiting to be healed. 

    • EH says:

      Some take the bible for what it’s worth
      When it says that the meek shall inherit the Earth
      Well, I heard that some sheik has bought New Jersey last week
      ‘N you suckers ain’t gettin’ nothin’

      “The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing” – Frank Zappa

  3. Marc says:

    They say a person is judged by the company they keep. Judging Jesus based on his followers shows him to be a hypocritical, narrow-minded bigot.

    • awjt says:

      Who likes prostitutes.

      Wait, that could be a question, too.

      Well?

    • Joshua Ochs says:

      Of course, the point wasn’t that the disciples were saints, but that they were willing to follow Jesus when no one else was. There is self-discovery and improvement in there along the way, and of course Saul’s reform into Paul (although even Paul still had issues of his own).

      I always note that people who dislike Christianity rarely have any issue with anything Jesus said, but usually argue against the Old Testament, Paul, or the Church (whichever group or denomination is in the news).

      You’d go a lot farther in convincing other Christians to marginalize and ignore these asshats if you weren’t busy painting everyone with the same brush.

      • ChicagoD says:

        I don’t agree with that. Other Christians, as well as members of other Christian denominations know these people are asshats already. I think of them the same way I think of white “nationalists.” Sure, we’re both white, and that’s a point of commonality to people who don’t know us, but we’re not the same.

      • wysinwyg says:

        You’d go a lot farther in convincing other Christians to marginalize and ignore these asshats if you weren’t busy painting everyone with the same brush.

        Better yet, “other Christians” should go ahead and marginalize and ignore these asshats, and then I wouldn’t have a reason to paint them all with the same brush.  I’d have a reason not to.

        Oh, but I suppose that’s terribly unfair of me, asking Christians to stand up for moral behavior before I give them credit for doing so.

    • Martijn says:

      Do you see Jesus taking their side anywhere? His company were mostly poor, prostitutes, sick and sinners. He had mostly criticism for the religious establishment of his days for being hypocritical and narrow-minded.

  4. Pedantic Douchebag says:

    If we disallow people the right to be huge, homophobic assholes, then how will we be able to tell when we are interacting with a huge, homophobic asshole? These behaviors are helpful as red flags for meeting new people.

    • Ender Wiggin says:

      not really, these assholes are driving kids to suicide in record numbers…michelle bachmanns home district for example is racking up an impressive kill count.

      • Pedantic Douchebag says:

        You might want to work on your reading and humor comprehension skills. Maybe.

        • bardfinn says:

          You might want to work on your not-being-flippant-about-actual-tragedy skills.

          • Pedantic Douchebag says:

            “Flippant”? I was being quite serious, with just a tinge of humor. Or maybe the other way around.

            I grew up as a weird theatre kid in Texas. I have fought against bullies and hate and homophobia for a very, very long time. I’ve buried gay friends beaten to death by skinheads. I’ve been called “fag”, “homo”, “cocksucker”, and any variety of names by people like those described in this article, despite those labels being inaccurate. I believe I’ve earned my right to make a joke or two in the darkness.

            Either way, do enjoy the cranial tour of your sinister egress, won’t you?

          • Fnordius says:

            His user name is “Pedantic Douchebag”, how can he possibly be otherwise?

            And now we will devolve into ruminations about this coming from someone who calls himself “Fnordius” and uses a picture of Adam Weishaupt as his icon…

        • marilove says:

          Perhaps there’s nothing humorous about children committing suicide because they are bullied not only by their peers, but by politicians and other people of power, very vocally, and constantly, day in and day out?

          You might want to work on your empathy and sympathy skills. Maybe.

          • Pedantic Douchebag says:

            Please see my response in this thread to bardfinn, and perhaps consider directing your fire at more worthy (read: actual) enemies, okay?

    • corydodt says:

      In my experience, there are lots of other red flags that go along for the ride. Eliminating this one is fine with me.

      • Pedantic Douchebag says:

        Have you met Ender Wiggin?

        • hymenopterid says:

          Given the subject matter I totally thought you were referring to the fact that Orson Scott Card is a homophobic douche and I was trying to think of any red flags I missed from his novels.

          But no.

  5. B E Pratt says:

    Hey, they might be onto something here. I mean, I certainly don’t want to be called a bully for screaming at these people, “You God damned motherfucking ijits!!!!”

  6. bothauseffect says:

    Just more misinterpretations of their own holy book. More safe havens for bigotry under the umbrella of “faith”. Irony is hilarious, if sad. ” I am a Christian and I have SO MUCH HATE”

    • Joshua Ochs says:

      It is sad and ironic – people will twist *anything*. For many centuries at the beginning of Islam, it was known for being very open and tolerant of other religions. They’d still preach theirs was the true one, but they left alone people who disagreed – quite the novel concept a millennia ago. Now they’re unfortunately mostly associated with handfuls of extremists.

  7. StephenJJohnson says:

    And they have a problem with “unproven, non-factual beliefs” because…?

  8. Deidzoeb says:

    Should call themselves “Illinois Family Limitation Institute”. Like all of these anti-gay groups with Orwellian names, they are about restricting and limiting the definition of a family, or limiting the kinds of people who should be qualified to call themselves a family. People with actual “family values” would want to see lesbians and gays and -BTQQs forming more families. These groups are quite literally ANTI-family.

  9. hymenopterid says:

    Personally I would’ve gone with, “Citizens With Sticks Way Far up Our Asses”, but “Concerned Christians of America” really is an excellent name for a bunch of holier-than-thou killjoy prudes.

  10. Nick Eden says:

    The thing I keep finding myself wondering is whether groups like this ”Illinois Family Institute” have ever read the gospels? Christ’s no friend to families.

  11. Jupiter BFPOE says:

    Then I guess they’ll have no problems with the bullying of christians. 
    LET THE GAMES BEGIN….

  12. lknope says:

    If bullying is a part of your religion, you might want to think twice about your religion.  It’s a choice, after all.

  13. SedanChair says:

    Translation: “If  I hadn’t been bullied into repression and neurosis, I’d be gay! Can’t have that”

  14. s2redux says:

    Maybe if we built a great, big, large fence — 50 or 100 miles long….

  15. IronEdithKidd says:

    I’m impressed.  23 comments and no whingy “christian” apologists yet.

  16. foobar says:

    No true Scotsman. These folks are Christians.

  17. dougr650 says:

    The leader of the Illinois Family Institute, Nelson Muntz, had this to say: “Haw Haw!”

  18. Bob N Johnson says:

    This is the face of Christianity, there are no moderates; there is only a silent majority. And, as in everything else, silence equals collusion. The silent majority tacitly or effectively agrees with the vocal minority. Out of weakness and fear they remain silent, unable to act in support or opposition. The silent majority creates the next generation of hate, fear, and acquiescence.

    • ChicagoD says:

      Oh, shut up. 75% of America self-identifies as Christian. 50+% of Americans support gay marriage. There are millions of mainstream Christians who simply ignore church leadership on these issues and live their lives as they see fit. These people are not “silent,” they are parents of gay kids, they are voters in places that have enacted any law friendly to the LGBT community. They do, however, get tired of hearing people like you prattle on about how they are effectively agreeing with loud, marginal populations.

      • Bob N Johnson says:

        Then they are no longer Christians. They should renounce Christianity and speak out against Christianity. Christianity is a totally unredeemed hate filled, unforgiving cesspool, whose entire modern outward appearance of moderation is a mask.

        If they can not live without a religious affiliation then they should join the Unitarian Universalist organization.

        P.S. Do not ever tell me to shut up again.

        • Shinkuhadoken says:

          Because you say they aren’t?

          I can’t believe you’re honestly trying to fight stereotyping with stereotyping.

          • Bob N Johnson says:

             No, because their beliefs are no longer Christian. Christianity is a lie. Christianity is not about love or forgiveness. Christianity, in fact all religions of the Middle-East, are hateful, intolerant, and unforgiving authoritarian screeds.

        • Kevin Baker says:

           Anyone close minded enough to dismiss the entirety of Christianity as hate filled wouldn’t be welcome in a Unitarian Universalist church.

          • Bob N Johnson says:

            Please reference my response to hymenopterid, thanks for taking the time to read my comments.

            BTW I think you have misunderstood my comment. If they no longer believe in the dogma or the policies of their churches, which are informed by the dogma, then they are no longer a true member of their church, I n that case the only honorable and honest path is out of the church, otherwise, they continue to support by their membership and financial contributions policies which they oppose.

            Those who decide on personal integrity, and leave their church and Christianity to join a UU organization, would be more than welcome.

        • Martijn says:

          It is not church leadership that gets to decide who is Christian and who isn’t. I mean, I’m sure they’d like to, and in the past they had enough political power to do so, but that doesn’t make it Christian.

          If the word “Christian” does not mean “follower of Christ”, then what use is that word? Let’s judge them by the words of the person they claim to be following, rather than by whatever perversion political power mongers have corrupted it into.

          • Bob N Johnson says:

            I suppose this is what I am saying, abandon these churches, deny them your membership and money, which in turn will deny them their place at the table of public discourse. Let them stand in empty halls spewing their rhetoric and hate.

            Though, I see no reason to follow Jesus. He was not all that great a man if he did not repudiate the biblical god of the Hebrews. Jesus did not say, all that stuff is wrong. Jesus did not say free your slaves. Jesus did not say anything new at all, other than I’m the only way to the father.

            Why not follow Gore Vidal? He is infinitely wiser. The words he wrote are in fact words he wrote. There will never be any question as to what he meant.

            The only reason people follow Jesus is out of fear and in the belief of some divinity. These common miracles, were a dime a dozen. Resurrections were also quite common, in fact Jesus met some in his travels.

            To follow Jesus is to know Jesus will return and the only way to escape the wrath of the father and son is through Jesus.

            I think I prefer Gore Vidal.

      • foobar says:

        Plus, you know, Anglicans.

    • hymenopterid says:

      Where do you get this idea that all Christians agree with each other?  History is filled with examples of Christians killing other Christians over matters of faith.

      • Bob N Johnson says:

        Individual beliefs, when silent, are powerless. If they truly understand the nature of Christianity, yet remain in the church, they are hypocrites, whose silence and membership allows the church to retain its place in society.

        • hymenopterid says:

          The differences between christian denominations are not just based on personal beliefs.  There are dogmatic differences too.  Catholics are told to believe that the Eucharist is one thing, while protestants are told to believe it is something else.  They believe this because they are instructed to, not because they arrived at it by their own reasoning.  So, it just strikes me as weird that you would characterize all Christians as being part of the same monolithic faith when they’re clearly not even espousing the same beliefs publicly.  

          I actually wonder whether the American tradition of “Big Tent” evangelism has allowed us to forget the sectarian violence that drove some people to flee to the colonies in the first place.

          • Bob N Johnson says:

             Your reply mentioned Christians, I spoke to Christianity. When I speak of Christianity I speak from the position that this incredibly fractured and diverse religion, is based on a god whose holy screed is one of fear, hate, distrust, and retribution in the form of genocide.

            First of all, the fact that this religion has so many divergent groups speaks volumes as to the uselessness of their divine books. That this supposed word of a god can be so horribly misinterpreted, as they claim anyone who disagrees with their opinion is doing, is living proof of the shallowness of the tomes.

            That Christians have been dividing themselves into smaller and smaller groups of insanity is not forgotten, but, as previously stated, stands as proof of the weakness of their faith and the scripture upon which they base their beliefs.

            Now, when I speak of Christianity as a hate filled, unforgiving business I am referencing their god’s own actions. The very first time god had a chance to prove his unconditional love and forgiveness he banished Adam and Eve’s descendents to an eternity of toiul and painful childbirth. Then, sometime later, when he became dissatisfied with his creation, which as a reminder was created in his own image, he committed the first genocide by flooding the Earth and drowning his children.

            So, yes, all of Christianity that believes in this god is hateful, unforgiving, and intolerant, because they profess a belief in a hateful, intolerant, and unforgiving god, who at every turn proved the truth of my statements. Furthermore, they continue to believe that the punishment for failure to follow this god is eternal condemnation, without reprieve.

            How can any of these beliefs, regardless of denomination be thought of as anything else but hateful, unforgiving, and intolerant?

          • Marja Erwin says:

            Bob Johnson,

            “First of all, the fact that this religion has so many divergent groups speaks volumes as to the uselessness of their divine books. That this supposed word of a god can be so horribly misinterpreted, as they claim anyone who disagrees with their opinion is doing, is livingproof of the shallowness of the tomes.”

            Those books don’t claim to be the Word of God. One of them claims that Jesus is the Word of God in human form. And some scriptures were added quite late – Revelation being added and Shepherd of Hermas being dropped in the 4th century.

            “Furthermore, they continue to believe that the punishment for failure to follow this god is eternal condemnation, without reprieve.”

            Many early Christians, perhaps most, believed in universal salvation. Origen, the leading theologian of the 3rd century and still the most influential into the 4th, did. Some supposedly-universal doctrines, such as trinitarianism, eternal damnation, and particularly penal atonement, are quite late. That last one was only invented in the 11th century.

            Also, the creation myths have never had only one interpretation within Christianity. Some have always rejected them. Some have even interpreted them as the work of a false god.

          • Bob N Johnson says:

            Hi, Marja Erwin,

            Are you saying that the core belief of Christianity, the beliefs which define Christianity, that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and that only by accepting Jesus as your only Lord and savior will you enjoy everlasting life with gods is false? Because, failure to accept this as true would mean one is not by definition a Christian.

            Lets look at the teachings of Jesus, if the Bible is not to your liking. Where did Jesus ever say slavery is wrong? How is it that this living word of god got slavery wrong. Of all the moral issues of any time, how did this great thinker fail in this respect?

          • Marja Erwin says:

            “Are you saying that the core belief of Christianity, the beliefs which define Christianity, that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and that only by accepting Jesus as your only Lord and savior will you enjoy everlasting life with gods is false? Because, failure to accept this as true would mean one is not by definition a Christian.”

            Are you saying that some of the most respected theologians of early Christianity were not Christians?

            “Lets look at the teachings of Jesus, if the Bible is not to your liking. Where did Jesus ever say slavery is wrong? How is it that this living word of god got slavery wrong. Of all the moral issues of any time, how did this great thinker fail in this respect?”

            I think it’s implicit in Mark, where Jesus contrasts the hierarchies of the nations with the egalitarianism of the movement. I suspect that Jesus explicitly denounced slavery, but it’s been lost or distorted at some point. In the Pauline letters, the incompletely-preserved Gothic version explicitly denounces the slave trade; most other versions instead denounce gay men. It’s a real what-the moment to compare them.

          • Bob N Johnson says:

            Marja Erwin,

            Marja, you are obviously a far more knowledgeable and intelligent person than I. My knowledge of the early church is almost non-existent, but I don’t believe this is the issue. If you are correct and the earliest theologians’ opinions are at odds with modern Christianity, do you really believe there is any hope of returning to those positions?

            For me the issue is what is the state of Christianity today. That anyone in this day and age still believes in the supernatural seems absurd. To be a member of what is no more than a group of cults seeking to influence modern opinions and control governments based on supernatural beliefs is dangerous. Because, even the most reasoned argument, based upon solid evidence, will never convince those who believe in the supernatural that they are wrong.

            These people believe in an invisible, omnipotent entity. Worse than that, they believe to know the mind of this invisible entity. Worse than that, they believe this invisible omnipotent entity needs their help in carrying out those plans. And finally, worse than all that, anyone who disagrees is unworthy of this life until they repent and accept that all of this is true.

            Jesus said only through me. This simple statement is enough to condemn the entire enterprise as absurd and provides its adherents with a dangerous arrogance.

    • Joshua Ochs says:

      Well, then how does said majority get airtime for their beliefs, as they aren’t controversial, extraordinary, or guaranteed to generate page views and advertising revenue? It’s kind of like positive, uplifting reality TV – that doesn’t tend to happen either, because no one cares about it. It’s uninteresting.

      • Bob N Johnson says:

        They don’t need air time; they need to leave their churches. Leaving their churches will deny the church leadership air time.

        • Joshua Ochs says:

          Most of the fringe churches have very few members, and are just where the local assholes congregate. They’ll stay and make waves with a handful of members. And if the congregations do die out, they’ll just join these “protect the family” groups and carry on from there. It doesn’t matter if there are any numbers behind them – they’re willing to say the shocking things, so they get covered.

          • Bob N Johnson says:

            The Catholic Church is no minor player. They speak with authority and are accepted as a spiritual and moral center, which they are obviously not. The Church has millions of members and billions of dollars. The Catholic hierarchy is listened to by hundreds of millions of people. The Catholic church would no longer have a seat at the table without this membership, most of which disagree, silently, with Rome.

          • Joshua Ochs says:

            Very true.

          • PathogenAntifreeze says:

             What part of the country (if US) are you in?  It’s refreshing and nice sounding.  Here, the Southern Baptists have international airport sized facilities, “Megachurches,” attended by vast numbers of people, and the attitudes towards homosexuals, women, etc… that show up in their sermons and activities would make Jesus very sad.  The “fringe” churches that get labeled as “not really Christian” in this area are the ones that welcome LGBT people (not for “conversion therapy” but for who they are), etc…

  19. Joshua Ochs says:

    You know, I only came into the comments today to thank Cory for listing Christian in quotes. Perhaps if that were more widespread on stories like this, people might realize that most Christians – in the US and worldwide – aren’t the Westboro Baptist Church and Fred Phelps. The “love thy neighbor” ones don’t get much press.

  20. CastanhasDoPara says:

    Christ, what a bunch of… Christian Assholes!

    FWIW, (sorry ‘good’ x-tians) every time I see the word Christian my brain just replaces it with Asshole; which means that I read the above as Assholian Assholes. Which is what they are. So EFF you Assholian Assholes. Go horship your angry dog somewhere very fucking far away from me, or you know, go die in a fire or something like that.

    • ChicagoD says:

      Well, I have no problem with that reading of Christian. When asked whether I am Christian I almost always reply that I am not Christian, I am Catholic. “Christians” know EXACTLY what I mean.

      • CastanhasDoPara says:

        No offense but Catholic is not necessarily a better distinction than Christian or “Christian” for that matter.

        You do get a lot of fun pomp and circumstance with Catholicism. But it is what it is. Even if it[The Catholic Church] purports to be the original flavor of Christianity it is –just as a huge swath of Christianity’s thousands of splinter sects–  literally light-years away from the core teachings of Jesus (of Nazareth, a simple carpenter/teacher born in a barn to poor travelers over two thousand years ago who did some nice things and was killed by jerks for almost no reason (full stop)).

        Again no offense. But truth trumps superstition every time.

        • ChicagoD says:

          Sure. No offense taken. You got my original point and I don’t get any extra points for bullying people into the Church (see what I did there?)

          • wysinwyg says:

            I don’t get any extra points for bullying people into the Church

            Actually, I’m pretty sure Catholic doctrine says you do.

          • CastanhasDoPara says:

            You may not get any “points” (what does that even work out to? More indulgences, more heavenly crowns, more glorified body parts, a better seat at god’s longest running improv comedy theater or some silly shit like that?) but The Catholic Church was and still is one of the biggest bullies the Earth has ever seen.

            Just how many people have been slain by “righteous warriors of god” (what a ridiculous concept anyway) because they held other beliefs. (And yes both sides of this coin are equally guilty of being barbarous idiots.)

            How many cultures have been shoved in the hole by missionaries converting the locals to their western brand of mythological bullshit(and dragging along guns, disease, and white western hubris).

            How many kids have been buggered and tortured by church authorities.

            How many women’s lives have been hijacked by backward fucktards who think they know better what is good for them.

            How many major and minor atrocities were either ignored or actively enabled by The Church? (The Holocaust is a good example of the Catholic church “turning the other cheek” instead of combating evil. Suppressing scientific progress by destroying and imprisoning scientist who dare offer a better explanation of how the universe works that doesn’t necessarily include god is another.)

            That’s just the tip of the ice-burg too.

            So you may be just a guy who happens to identify as Catholic. And you may be one of the nicest persons you know. However, when you hitch your wagon to a train of faith-based hegemonic thugs who have a proven track record for doing awful nasty things to people because they can then you are really no better than those you choose to associate with and support (I assume you still tithe). After all, it’s not like you were bullied into the church right?

          • ChicagoD says:

            @boingboing-6197642a2f218aa4cdc6af1ba8f213bf:disqus  Just to be clear, I’m not going to fight with you. I’m not asking you to believe anything. Frankly, I give a shit what you believe. I have always found the aggressive “education” from people like you ironic because you misstate some important issues, miss some others, and focus on issues that are more “Western” than “Catholic.” Thanks though.

      • marilove says:

        ….You think being Catholic is somehow BETTER?  Wtf.

        You know what I think of when I think of Catholics?

        People who hate women with a passion. People who equate birth control with evil.

        Catholic/Christian — it’s all the same.

        • ChicagoD says:

          I’m glad that’s all sorted out. So, the assholes in the story support bullying because of their fake Christianity, and you support bullying me because of my fake Catholicism, and it’s still the internet, so I can continue to not give a half a flying shit. Awesome.

      • donniebnyc says:

        Absolutely correct.  Boy oh boy, I can’t stand those non-catholic christians.  Why I bet they would support their church no matter what the heirarchy did.  Even if it did something horrible like enable and protect pedophiles for decades.  What a bunch of assholes.

        So yeah, I know exactly what it means. 

  21. Es See says:

     Right Because Christianity and all their beliefs are factually based! HAHAHAHAHA Go Christianity for sticking your foot in your mouth from atop the heap that is your non-factually based religion.

  22. Teirhan says:

    someone has probably made this remark already, but surely “transgenderism” is the belief in the existence of people who are transgender?  as opposed to, uh, the apparent belief that transgender people are not people at all and deserve to be the focus of vicious hate speech.

    • foobar says:

      Wouldn’t it be the hatred of trans folks, like racism?

    • Peppermint says:

      “Transgenderism” is probably the result of some sort of Jack Chick-like paranoia claiming that “liberals” are trying to “turn” all the boys into girls and all the girls into boys with their horrendous agenda of terror and sin.

      Yeah, I don’t know either.

  23. gedsudski says:

    This is exactly why the flocks are flocking.  And because the reasonable flocks are flocking…the only remaining flocks are the crazy mother flockers.

  24. I stand with Jesus, because Jesus bullied people all the time. Oh Wait! What? You mean he didn’t? Oh crap.

  25. bardfinn says:

    The only requisite to being a Christian is the personal belief that an historical personage whose name would be today spoken as “Jesus Christ” is the Messiah of the Old Testament.
    Nothing else matters. Not the divinity of that personage, not any other beliefs, neither Resurrection nor Ascension, not the Ghost or the Crucifixion or abiding by any particular tenets. Not Baptism, not Confirmation, not saviourhood nor Heaven nor Hell nor souls nor angels nor demons.

    These people are real, actual, factual Christians, whose behaviour is driven by a long-standing tradition among Protestant (Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and on and on) sects (as well as Orthodox, Catholic, yadda yadda yadda) that:
    A Levitican law that applied solely to priests who were to be eligible to enter the Temple, should — After Jesus Christ Freed All People From The Levitican Laws And Offered Them Salvation Through His Sacrifice On The Cross, Full Stop — be applied to run-of-the-mill everyman and everywoman, and which Levitican law is so important that temporal government must be overthrown and hijacked in order to kill these people. DESPITE THE COMMANDMENTS AND NUMEROUS ADMONITIONS THAT HUMANS CANNOT DIVINE THE WILL OF THE ALMIGHTY.

    Ignoring that Jesus blessed a Roman Centurion’s relationship with his male lover, who was at home while the Centurion was in the field.

    Ignoring all the other Levitican laws.

    This theological doctrine carries as much legitimacy as the government of China — which denounces reincarnation as superstition — wanting to choose the reincarnated personage of the Dalai Lama.

    • CastanhasDoPara says:

      Short version: Ignorant bigots who claim an association to a long dead Jewish carpenter willfully misinterpret a set of very old books to suit their own twisted agenda of hatred and fear.

      Or: Even the devil can quote scripture to suit his current needs.

      And that is exactly what bothers me about a great many “X-tians” I have and do meet. They are in it for the show, for the moral authority, for the air of superiority that is inherent in having miraculously arrived at the decision to believe in the “one true faith.” They are typically very closed-minded, viciously circular in matters of logic and rabidly attached to church dogma. They should not call themselves Christians as the term indicates an interest in being Christ-like or following the teachings of Christ (peace, love, tolerance, succor, etc.); they should instead call themselves Churchians, because all they believe in is what some organized “Church” tells them to believe in. And that is for one thing sad but for another dangerous. These dangerous idiots should be opposed and corrected at every opportunity possible.

  26. teapot says:

    Maybe they’re onto something considering douchebag Christians have a significant market share on unproven, non-factual beliefs.

    Also if we have anti-bullying laws our kids will no longer be able to bully dumb ass religious kids who’ve adopted their parents retarded belief system without question or consideration of alternatives.

    (Just in case you’re in any doubt: I don’t agree whatsoever with these conservative fucksticks)

  27. noah django says:

    brb, bullying christians.

  28. At the comments of those like Bob Johnson who see religion as a sort of political party and the bible as a manifesto of christianity, to be taken literally or not at all,  I don’t know whether to collapse into giggles or bang my head against the desk violently. 

    How difficult is this to understand? Anyone may call themselves a christian if they feel that they identify with the label.  The pope can’t stop them, the local priest can’t.  Passing atheists might find this awkward, but that, I’m afraid, is their problem.   (And of course, this applies equally to all the other religions … although for some reason this particular sort of atheist is only interested in christianity.) 

    It’s refreshing to remember that the majority of atheists are not like this, just as the majority of christians are not like The Illinois Family Institute, et al.

    (I am, BTW, neither christian nor atheist.)

    • Bob N Johnson says:

      I don’t care what anyone believes or wishes to call themselves. My concern is with groups of people believing in a supernatural being, believing they know without doubt the mind of that god, and attempting to force those beliefs on society. This is what I believe and, having many atheist friends, I can say this is what most atheists are like. Believe whatever you want, but leave the rest of us alone.

      The people you speak of are not a problem, unless they continue to support an organization that wishes to use their membership and donations to influence government.

      For me the issue is that many people, of every dangerous religion, view themselves as moderates. They profess not to believe in the more extreme positions taken by the leadership of their respective organizations, but they remain in the organization. By remaining in the organization they are in effect supporting positions they do not believe in personally. At this point they are just as dangerous as the most fanatical leader of their organization.

      If a person is not homophobic, they believe in equal rights for all, they are not a misogynist, and they are pro-choice, yet continue to belong to the Catholic church, then they are not Catholic, they are simply a hypocrite.

      • “My concern is with groups of people believing in a supernatural being, believing they know without doubt the mind of that god, and attempting to force those beliefs on society.”

        Just as you are attempting to force your beliefs on society, in your own small way, by telling them that they are wrong.

        ” Believe whatever you want, but leave the rest of us alone.”

        Quite.

        “If a person is not homophobic, they believe in equal rights for all, they are not a misogynist, and they are pro-choice, yet continue to belong to the Catholic church, then they are not Catholic, they are simply a hypocrite.”

        NO, they are NOT.  They are simply not practicing the same sort of catholicism as the official line of the catholic church — which does not have a copyright on belief, or christian belief, or even catholic belief.  You might as well say, with equal inaccuracy, that the catholic church is being hypocritical for not representing *their* views.

        You can’t have it both ways — if you criticise (rightly, in my mind) the church for their odeous views on certain matters, but then criticise any lay member of that church for NOT having those views, then you lay your own self open to claims of hypocrasy.

        Now, I personally, would not care to call my religion by the same name as an organised religion that had a take on such issues that opposed my own.  But I’m not everyone.  And neither are you.

        By representing catholicism (and why just catholicism? Never mind) as if it were a political party or a club, where the chairman makes the decisions and  the rules, you are doing yourself and the perfectly valid cause of outing religious hatred and stupidity a major disservice. 

        The truth of the matter is that belief — even a belief in the supremacy of rational thought — is of infinite variety; it comes one-to-a-customer.  There is a sort of atheist that reads the bible, koran, or whathaveyou and decides that he now knows what everyone who reads that book as a holy book believes.  You would do yourself a great service if you worked hard to avoid such a petty mistake.

  29. Antinous / Moderator says:

    167 comments and almost no attention to the victims of the bullying.  Just endless wrangling about religious ideology.  I’m going to declare this thread a big fat fucking failure of humanity and close it.   How depressing.

  30. PathogenAntifreeze says:

     The fact that you don’t get it and think you “love” them and “care for” them is damning of your outlook and your faith.  You, along with the NC Pastor in the news lately, and the Westboro folk, you all do an excellent job of highlighting something rotten that is a tenet of that faith.  There are those who have kept the faith and dropped that tenet, just as there are a great many who dropped the tenet about shellfish consumption being abomination, and they get a lot more respect.  In fact, if the faith didn’t evolve to drop a lot of its past nonsense, the faith probably wouldn’t exist today in any double digit percentage of any country’s population.  Meanwhile, as you cling to this vile approach to loving and caring for your neighbors, you drive people away from *EVERY* other aspect of your faith.  And as an outsider to your faith, I applaude you and say “Keep up the good work.  You’re doing better than someone like me ever could.”

  31. Aloisius says:

    I recommend spending a day trying to “choose” to be gay. See if you can get aroused sexually. See how that goes. Then try to not be sexually aroused by those of the opposite sex.

    If you can choose to be gay, that should be rather easy shouldn’t it?

    This little test should prove one of two things to you. Either you are gay (or bisexual) or people can’t really choose to be gay. Either way a win-win for someone like you.

  32. Bruce Heerssen says:

    Sexual orientation is not a choice. Insisting otherwise is not simply wrong, it is willfully wrong. When did you decide you were attracted to the opposite sex? 
    Deal with it. I recommend science. It has better tools for dealing with reality than does any religion.

  33. AnthonyC says:

     Btw, Dan Savage challenged Herman Cain to do this last year http://www.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/10/05/herman-cain-choicer&view=comments

  34.  You know, as an aside, I honestly think that “sexual orientation is not a choice” is a more complex thing than most people think it is.

    It seems to me that *who you are (sexually) attracted to* is not a choice.  And for most people that includes gender.   You do get some choice about who you actually sleep with, though. 

    Of course, so long as you are sexually attracted to consenting adults, I certainly fail to see why there should be any dissonance.  But I wonder whether one or more sides of this debate are having problems because of conflating those two.

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