Letters to the Editor: March 17, 2014

other_letters_editorAttitudes are changing about same-sex marriage

The Oscar-winning movie “Dallas Buyers Club” brought a vivid reminder of the harsh realities of what it was like to be a gay in the culturally conservative South of the mid-1980s. As someone born, churched, and educated in the South during that era, I remember that the idea of being gay or lesbian was simply dismissed, and the term “homosexuality” was reserved for hushed conversations about those sinful urban areas far north and west of the Mason-Dixon Line. While the film has been in theaters, however, the news has also been filled with contemporary coverage of a remarkable bevy of judicial decisions overturning bans on same-sex marriage in southern states such as Virginia, Kentucky, and Texas. While serving as the lead author of a recent study from the PRRI about attitudes about same-sex marriage, I was astounded at the shifts we found in southern attitudes over the past decade.” (Robert P. Jones, Public Religion Research Inst., The Atlantic, March 10, 2014)

During the generation gap 10 years ago when the majority of same-sex- bans were legislated and implemented across the southern states, the vast majority of today’s “Millennials” were neither counted in public-opinion surveys of adults nor eligible to vote.” Their attitudes diverge a great deal from those of parents and grandparents.

“Nationwide, nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) Americans ages 18 to 33 favor same-sex marriage, compared to just 37 percent of Americans ages 68 and older. This generation gap is evident in virtually every subgroup in America, including southerners.”

Southern hospitality creates a “growing friends and family effect” which is changing southern attitudes.” More gay – lesbian southerners are coming out to those closest to them; 64 percent of southerners today claim a family member or close friend is gay or lesbian helping to influence support for marriage equality; 56 percent of that group favor legal gay marriage; intimate social connections have moved the debate from the abstract to the personal, to one about the rightness of denying legal recognition for the relationships and commitments of close LGBT friends and family members.

Today, nearly two thirds of southern millennials (65 percent) support same-sex marriage, compared to just 28 % of southerners in the “silent eneration.”

Al Bratton


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  • tom Neiman

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11

    King James Version (KJV)

    9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

    10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

    • FrereJocques

      There you go again. Taking a translation of the original Greek Bible at face value. The word “effeminate” as we understand it today does not have the same meaning as the Greek word that was used in the original text. The original Greek word used literally meant “soft”, and even that word meant something entirely different at the time the Bible was written than it does now.

      The second phrase, “abusers of themselves with mankind”, was translated from a word so seldom used that its original meaning has probably been lost forever. If Paul had been meaning to describe the homosexual act, there were other far more common and better descriptive words at his disposal.

      A little research on your part would go a long way further than relying on a biased translation and taking its words at face value. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

      • tom Neiman

        I stand by what I believe these verses address on the matter of homosexuality. Tell me since you are so willing to prove me wrong on the matter of homosexuality being sin what other more common and descriptive words could Paul have used on describing the homosexual act rather than the phrase “abusers of themselves with mankind”? Be specific now on the matter of common and descriptive words that Paul could have used to describe the homosexual act.

        • FrereJocques

          All right, you want specifics, here they are:

          arrenomanes – meaning mad after men or boy crazy

          dihetaristriai – a synonym referencing lesbian sexuality, meaning essentially the same thing as hetairistriai, tribad, tribades, from: Love Between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism, Brooton, Bernadette, p. 23.

          erastes – a sometimes older man who loves a sometimes younger male

          eromenos – a sometimes younger male who loves an older male

          euryproktoi – men who dress as women, also a vulgar reference to anal penetration

          – Latin word referring to a lewd woman and sometimes used to refer to a
          lesbian. Tertullian, 160-220 AD, translated tribas (a masculine woman)
          as frictrix.

          hetairistriai – women who are attracted to other women, used by Plato’s character Aristophanes, in The Symposium. May also refer to hyper-masculine women, from Lucian’s Dialogue of the Courtesans, cited by Brooten, p. 52.

          – a word for effeminate, κίναιδος or kínaidoi (cinaedus in its
          Latinized form), a man “whose most salient feature was a supposedly feminine love of being sexually penetrated by other men.” Winkler, John J., 1990, The Constraints of Desire: The Anthropology of Sex and Gender in Ancient Greece, New York: Routledge.

          some scholars, like Dr. Robert Gagnon, understand kinaidoi to mean the
          passive partner in a male couple, Davidson argues that kinaidoi refers
          to a man insatiable and unrestrained in his sexual appetites instead of
          merely effeminate or passive. Davidson, J. 1997. Courtesans & Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens, New York, p. 167-182.

          lakkoproktoi – a lewd and vulgar reference to anal penetration

          – a synonym referencing lesbian sexuality, meaning essentially the same
          thing as dihetaristriai, hetairistriai, tribad, tribades, from: Love Between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism, Brooton, Bernadette, p. 23.

          paiderasste – sexual behavior between males

          paiderastes or paiderastïs – παιδεραστής derived from the Greek word pais, παῖς a boy, meaning lover of boys

          paidomanes – a male mad for boys or boy crazy

          paidophthoros – a Greek word meaning corrupter of boys

          pathikos – the passive penetrated partner in a male couple

          – an ancient Latin word indicating the active female partner of a
          lesbian pair, sometimes interpreted to mean a pseudo-male, referencing
          genital contact between women. Rashi defines it as “rubbing in a sexual manner.”

          tribas – the active partner in a lesbian relationship, who takes the male role
          Paul had used one of these words in Romans 1:26-27 or 1 Corinthians 6:9
          or 1 Timothy 1:10, we could be reasonably certain of his meaning.
          However, Paul did not use any of these words, suggesting he had some-
          thing else in mind, like rape, interspecies sex or shrine prostitution,
          when he coined his interesting new Greek word, arsenokoitai.

          Paul intended to remind his readers of the real meaning of arsenokoitai,
          based on the way first century Jews understood Leviticus 20:13.
          Therefore modern readers need to remind themselves that in the first
          century, Jewish religious leaders understood arsenos-koiten as used in
          Leviticus 20:13, as condemning shrine prostitutes and the sex rituals which accompanied their worship of false gods.

          is not a shred of historical evidence that anyone in the first century
          A.D. understood arsenokoitai to refer to male and female homosexuality
          in general.

          Quoted from the website

          • Ells Worth

            Bro. John, I think you just about wore yourself out and used every quote you could find that disputes what the Bible teaches. Even quote scholars? those people that spend their lives trying to justify bad behavior. The truth the reason I quote the same old verses is because God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The truth is the truth is the truth and no amount of quoting hollering or screaming will change the truth. Now you will probably spend the rest of your life trying to change the meaning of the Bible, however it will not change. You either have to accept the Bible or forget about man made reasoning unless it does not matter to you.

          • FrereJocques

            It’s interesting that you don’t challenge my assertions, but rather attack the source of them. I myself am not an expert scholar in matters of ancient languages, but I AM smart enough to read their research and understand their reasoning. Which is obviously more than you are capable of.

            The KJV was written between 1604 and 1611. Its writers did not use the ancient Greek manuscripts, but rather the recent translations already in existence! And the authors were also charged with making the translations compatible with the teachings of the time. These facts alone make the accuracy and legitimacy of the KJV to be suspect. A lie is a lie is a lie. Just because the same lie has been told for hundreds or thousands of years doesn’t make it the truth. It’s an old truism that the bigger the lie, and the more it is repeated, the easier it becomes to believe it. Can you say, “Man-made Global Warming”?

            Homosexuality was a more or less normal part of life until the advent of Christianity. It started becoming unacceptable when certain leaders in the church, in their own opinion, decreed it to be so. Since all political and religious movements need a rallying point to fight over and defend in order to maintain the fervor of the masses, homosexuality eventually became the “cause celebre” to keep the movement alive.

            I am not trying to change the meaning of the Bible, I am one who is trying to expose the errors that have crept into it.

            As to your last sentence, I no longer accept the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, because there is good evidence that it isn’t.

          • Ells Worth

            I am impressed that you read greek so well. THATS ALL

  • Ells Worth

    Al like any good liberal can find places that throw out figures that cannot be proven.
    Bro, John can keep denying what the Bible teaches trying to make a false case. Homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality.
    Jude 1:7, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26 and l Cor,6:9 are just some of the examples of the scripture condemning homosexuality.

    • FrereJocques

      You keep quoting the same, tired arguments that have been made over the centuries. You did a pretty thorough job of quoting all the “clobber texts” that have been used to beat gay people over the head with. Gay people got tired of this, and have done research and investigations of their own. Surprise, the Clobber Texts don’t say what the religious fundies have been claiming all these years.

      And you are wrong about Sodom and Gomorrah. God did not destroy them because of homosexuality. Read Ezekiel 16:49: “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of
      bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters,
      neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” The men who came to Lot’s house to do harm to his guests were RAPISTS. It had nothing to do with consensual gay sex.

      The truth is, you believe what you do because you WANT to believe it. You are not interested in the truth, new revelations of facts, and especially not change of heart. You want justification to continue your hatred of gay people, and you use whatever statements you choose, regardless of whether they are accurate or not. You and Mr. Neiman are the Poster Children for Closed Minds.

    • TWBDB

      Mr Worth, yes, according to the Bible, God has rewarded and / or punished mankind for our deeds through the ages. According to the Bible, this will continue throughout eternity. I’m not here to discredit the Bible or anyone’s faith. IMHO, the article in discussion is not in conflict with any faith based issue either, it simply appears to be more of a report on the changing attitudes toward gay people and our legal issues here on Earth.

      The Bible teaches many things, not the least of which is humility and forgiveness.

  • Ells Worth

    26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

    27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet

    .You cannot misinterpret effeminate here.
    I do find it a little strange that those that do not believe the Bible know so much to defend their sins.

    • FrereJocques

      As is usual, Romans 1:26 and 27 are taken out of context here. Read the rest of the chapter, especially the five previous verses:

      “21 For
      although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave
      thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts
      were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”

      Paul is describing reprobate Christians who have abandoned God, and turned to IDOL WORSHIP. And idol worship involved rituals that included sexual acts. They started with sex between males and females (“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.”) and this degenerated even further into same-gender sex acts. And these sex acts, both heterosexual AND homosexual, were often not consensual. Therefore, the texts do NOT condemn loving homosexual couples (note that if it did, these texts would also be condemning HETEROSEXUAL love as well), but rather the forced, UN-NATURAL sex acts that the individuals found repugnant.

    • barney fife

      An individual has no more choice in their sexual preference than they do over just who the parents are.
      It doesn’t take memorizing an ancient series of fictional writings to defend my position.

  • Dale Warren

    Dear Editor,

    As a rank amateur ethicist, I’m quite perplexed by Al Bratton’s “Attitudes are
    changing about same-sex marriage” on the Editorial Page of the Monday, March
    17, 2014, Daily Journal. He appears to base his system of ethics on three pillars of authority: U.S. judicial decisions; public opinion; and family practices. His argument seems to be that: (A) What judges say determines right and wrong; (B) what the majority wants determines right and wrong; and (C) whatever any member of one’s extended family practices determines right and wrong. I find such an assertion totally irrational, illogical, and an overt threat to society at large. Human judges are fallible (capable of making mistakes). Majority opinion is fluid and can change from one day to the next. Every belief and behavior that Mr. Bratton holds to be wrong, immoral, and unacceptable is believed and practiced by someone who is a member of a family. For his ethical system to have merit, Mr. Bratton is obliged to defend horrible wrongs. Would he defend the Dred Scott decision? If the majority favored persecuting some specific religious group, would Mr. Bratton feel obliged to acquiesce? Would Mr. Bratton call for tolerance of cannibalism should some member of his family come out as a connoisseur of the consumption of human flesh?

    I firmly believe that everyone has the right to express his or her opinion. I also believe that everyone has the responsibility to form and express a rational, logical, and socially beneficial opinion. Also, every opinion is subject to logic and critical thought to determine its merit or lack thereof. I fail to find any logic, critical thought, or socially redeeming value in Mr. Bratton’s opinion regarding ethics. His writing smacks of propaganda rather than a thoughtful contribution to public discourse. Perhaps he is one of those eccentric individuals who is so enamored with riding a contrarian high-horse that he has neither the time nor the patience to engage in such mundane matters as critical rational thought.

    On the bright side, Mr. Bratton’s foray into the public square is cause for hope in one specific area of societal well-being. We can all now set our minds at ease that, if our region is ever attacked by Zombies, the brain eating rascals will starve slap to death in short order.

    Pro Bono Publico,
    Dale Warren

    • FrereJocques

      You DO make at least ONE accurate statement: You are a “rank amateur ethicist”. The rest of your post compares apples to oranges, makes wild leaps of logic, and argues that the State should bow to religion and control peoples’ sexual activities, not to mention who they can and can’t love.

      • Dale Warren

        I do not have the good temper nor the inclination to discuss intellectual matters that are so obviously beyond the mental capacity of a propagandist fellow traveler of Mr. Bratton’s.

        • FrereJocques

          And I do not have the time and temperament to suffer fools who will not even consider that others might have answers to perplexing questions. Good day, sir.

        • TWBDB

          Perhaps Mr Warren, you’d care to discuss intellectual matters with me. I know neither Mr Bratton or any of you

    • Jack Makokov

      “As a rank amateur ethicist, [WALL O TEXT REDACTED FOR DERP]”

    • TWBDB

      Mr Warren, I fail to find where Mr Bratton was making any attempt to write an opinion on ethics in the first place. The title to the opinion piece is ‘attitudes are changing about same-sex marriage’. Then he proceeds to support that title with survey results.

      Perhaps the Zombies have already had a go at you.

    • Winston Smith

      I can’t stand overly verbose faux intellectualism. You seem to be confusing ethics with Christian morals.

  • Larry Knight

    There’s compelling biblical evidence that the Apostle Paul, who wrote Romans, Corinthians, and some other books, and his “companion” Luke were both homosexuals and invented the concept of “God’s grace,” something which Jesus never mentions, as a way for god to forgive Paul and Luke for an abomination punishable under Judaic law with stoning to death.

  • ldub

    Why are all of us spending so much judging and debating sin in others’ lives? I have enough sin in my own life to spend energy debating others’ sin. If I felt called to be Nathan to a David person in my life, then I would rise to the occasion, but I haven’t felt that whisper or gentle nudge yet. Is the matter in question right? Is it wrong? I don’t know, but that’s not my job to decide- that’s God’s. We are called be Christ to each and every individual in a hurting and broken world. Not be held accountable to judge is freeing to show God’s love unconditionally. I pray Jesus would never think me to be a modern day Pharisee- judging unnecessarily. Our time here on earth is but a drop in the bucket of eternity.

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