United Methodist Groups and Positions on Homosexuality

See http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_umc3.htm for an excellent article examining different churches and groups in the United Methodist denomination, both positive and negative on the issue of homosexuality.

Discussion

What if Rev. Juillart were a Methodist clergywoman?  What should she have done when she met the woman and discovered that she had “feelings” for her?

What should she have done when the relationship developed into a lesbian relationship (whatever that means?)

If she lived with that woman in a loving, but nonsexual relationship, would that make a difference?

What effect did the much later lesbian relationship have upon Rev. Juillart’s teenage call to the ministry, if any?

What reaction do you have to “the Sacramento 95?”

What is the significance of acts of Civil Disobedience?

Why should the fact that there were so many ministers involved in the service of union performed by the Sacramento 95 make a difference in how the UMC applied its Discipline?

Why should the outcome of that union service be different from that of Rev. Jimmy Creech?

What significance do you see in the act of Rev. Jimmy Creech?  In the UMC’s discipline of him?

What is your opinion of the Reconciling Congregations?  Pros and cons?

What implications do expenditures for reconciliation have concerning the Discipline provision prohibiting expenditures for promotiing the acceptance of homosexuality?

What of the Transforming Congregations?  Pros and cons?

Do you see the conflict over homosexuality in the UMC as different from “ordinary” bias against bi-sexuals or trans-sexuals?

Do you see any way to resolve the conflict other than splitting the church?

 

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United Methodist Groups and Positions on Homosexuality

Two Evangelicals on Gay Marriage

For a transcript of an  excellent interview by NPR’s Krista Tippet of two evangelical Christians concerning gay marriage, see http://being.publicradio.org/programs/gaymarriage/transcript.shtml.  The same internet site has a podcast of the interview.

 

Next blog post: Beyond Homosexuality: What Is Transsexual               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/101

Two Evangelicals on Gay Marriage

Is There a Gay Gene? What If . . . ?

See http://drdeborahserani.blogspot.com/2006/05/genetics-and-sexuality-gay-gene.html for studies to determine if there is a genetic basis for homosexuality.  The author, Dr. Deborah Serani, reviews studies on the issue and she finds them inconclusive.  She notes that, “Rev. Mohler was astute with his statement to fellow Southern Baptists that homosexuality might have a biological base.”  And Rev. Mohler asks, “What if?” 

See, also, http://genetics.suite101.com/article.cfm/sexual_behavior_in_mice for an article by Barry Starr entitled “Pheremones Decide Mice Sexuality; Sexual Behaviour and Genetics Study Reveals Causes of Bisexuality”

 

What would it hurt if we suspended judgment on homosexuality until more evidence can be gathered concerning any physical determinants of the orientation?

Discuss

What do we really have to lose by assuming that the answer may be in the affirmative and so we treat it, until proven otherwise, as though it is not a choice but a biologically determined condition?

 

Next blog post: Two Evangelicals on Gay Marriage               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/99

Is There a Gay Gene? What If . . . ?

Psychiatric Association: Homosexuality Is Not a Pathology

See  http://www.jeramyt.org/gay/gayhealth.html for the source of the article, below.

Homosexuality is Not a Pathology

 1) Professional Opinions

One of the primary turning points in the official acceptance of the healthy mental status of homosexuals came in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality from the DSM-IV, the primary tool used by psychiatrists to diagnose patients with various mental illnesses.

Historically, psychoanalysts have been the primary opponents to the depathologization of homosexuality in the 1973 APA decision, Socarides and Bieber being by far the most vocal opponents of the decision. However, in a recent survey of psychoanalysts (n=82; Friedman) they found that “no respondents strongly endorsed the type of pathological model proposed by Socarides” (p. 84), and that “the responses of the group as a whole were more towards a health than illness model.”

2) Gay Relationships

a) 40-60% of gay men, and 45-80% of lesbians are in a steady relationship

b) Studies of older homosexual people show that gay relationships lasting over 20 years are not uncommon

c) In a large sample of couples followed for 18 months the following “break up” statistics were observed: lesbians=22%, gay=16%, cohabiting heterosexuals=17%, married heterosexuals=4%

d) Homosexual and heterosexual couples matched on age, etc, tend not to differ in levels of love and satisfaction, nor in their scores on other standardized scales

e) gay/lesbian parents report no greater stress than heterosexuals, and children are not adversely affected by being raised by homosexual families

3) Homosexuals are no more promiscuous or predatory than heterosexuals

Statistical research indicates that gay men may have fewer number of sexual partners than heterosexuals.

c) Homosexuals are NOT more likely to be child molesters. In a random sample of 175 child sex offenders 76% report having exclusive adult heterosexual behavior, and 24% report having adult bisexual behavior. The sexual attraction towards children is a pathology unrelated to sexual orientation.

4) Psychological Testing Affirms the Mental Health of Homosexuals

This represents the evidence that homosexuality is not pathological, and comes from studies that were primarily done in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. There were a flurry of studies done after the classical study by Evelyn Hooker in 1957, which produced the large body of studies from the 60’s -70’s. Then the studies dwindle down as the 80’s progress, and very few studies can be found in the 90’s. This is because all of the evidence is convergent, so no further studies were warranted, and the conclusion was that homosexuality evidenced no pathological characteristics that were significantly different from heterosexuals.

 

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Psychiatric Association: Homosexuality Is Not a Pathology

Publications Concerning Hate Crimes Relating to Sexual Orientation

See http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/hate_bib.html for the source of the article, below, discussing hate crimes related to homosexuality.

Matthew Shepard, a 21-year old college student, was lured from a bar by two other men. He was beaten and robbed of his wallet and black patent leather shoes. Twelve hours later, passers-by found him unconscious and tied to a fence along a rural highway. He was suffering from severe head injuries and hypothermia. He was taken to a hospital where he died.

Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D.Selected Publications on Hate Crimes
Herek, G.M. (1989). Hate crimes against lesbians and gay men: Issues for research and policy. American Psychologist, 44 (6), 948-955. Antigay hate crimes (words or actions that are intended to harm or intimidate individuals because they are lesbian or gay) constitute a serious national problem. In recent surveys, as many as 92% of lesbians and gay men report that they have been the targets of antigay verbal abuse or threats, and as many as 24% report physical attacks because of their sexual orientation.
Herek, G.M. (1990). The context of anti-gay violence: Notes on cultural and psychological heterosexism. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 5 (3), 316-333. Hate crimes against lesbians and gay men occur within a broader cultural context that is permeated by heterosexism. Heterosexism is defined here as an ideological system that denies, denigrates, and stigmatizes any nonheterosexual form of behavior, identity, relationship, or community. It operates principally by rendering homosexuality invisible and, when this fails, by trivializing, repressing, or stigmatizing it.
Garnets, L., Herek, G.M., & Levy, B. (1990). Violence and victimization of lesbians and gay men: Mental health consequences. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 5 (3), 366-383. When an individual is attacked because she or he is perceived to be gay, the negative mental health consequences of victimization converge with those resulting from societal heterosexism to create a unique set of problems. Such victimization represents a crisis for the individual, creating opportunities for growth as well as risks for impairment. The principal risk associated with anti-gay victimization is that the survivor’s homosexuality becomes directly linked to her or his newly heightened sense of vulnerability.
Berrill, K.T., & Herek, G.M. (1990). Primary and secondary victimization in anti-gay hate crimes: Official response and public policy. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 5 (3), 401-413. Lesbian and gay male targets of hate crimes face multiple levels of victimization. In addition to suffering the effects of being a crime victim, they also face secondary victimization (i.e., additional victimization after a crime that results from societal heterosexism). Examples of secondary victimization include losing one’s job, being evicted from housing, or being denied public services or accommodations once one’s sexual orientation is disclosed as the result of an anti-gay attack.
Herek, G.M. (1993). Documenting prejudice against lesbians and gay men on campus: The Yale Sexual Orientation Survey. Journal of Homosexuality, 25 (4), 15-30. College and university communities recently have begun to confront the problems of harassment, discrimination, and violence against lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people on campus. A first step in responding to attacks against gay and bisexual people is to document their frequency and the forms that they take. . . . The Yale survey revealed that lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people on campus lived in a world of secretiveness and fear. Although experiences of physical assault on campus were relatively infrequent, many respondents reported other forms of discrimination and harassment. A majority reported that they feared antigay violence and harassment on campus, and that such fears affected their behavior. Replications on other campuses have yielded similar results. . . .
Herek, G.M., Gillis, J.R., & Cogan, J. C. (1999). Psychological sequelae of hate crime victimization among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 945-951. To assess the psychological correlates of hate crime victimization based on sexual orientation, and to compare the sequelae of bias crimes with those of other crimes, questionnaire data about victimization experiences were collected from 2259 lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals (total N = 1170 females, 1089 males) in the Sacramento (CA) area. Approximately one-fifth of females and one-fourth of males had experienced a bias-related criminal victimization since age 16; one-eighth of females and one-sixth of males had experienced a bias crime recently (in the previous 5 years). . . .  Gay and lesbian hate crime survivors manifested significantly more fear of crime, greater perceived vulnerability, less belief in the benevolence of people, lower sense of mastery, and more attributions of their personal setbacks to sexual prejudice than did nonbias crime victims and nonvictims. . . .
Herek, G.M., Cogan, J.C., & Gillis, J.R. (2002). Victim experiences in hate crimes based on sexual orientation. Journal of Social Issues, 58 (2), 319-339. . . .   Although many hate crimes are perpetrated in public settings by groups of young males who are strangers to the victim, the data show that victimization also occurs in a variety of other locales and is perpetrated by neighbors, coworkers, and relatives. Victims tended to rely primarily on explicit statements by perpetrators and contextual cues in deciding whether a crime was based on their sexual orientation, and interviewees’ categorization of incidents as antigay generally appeared to be accurate. Hate crimes were less likely than other crimes to be reported to police, and concerns about police bias and public disclosure of their sexual orientation were important factors for victims in deciding whether to report. Many interviewees weighed the severity or importance of the crime and the likelihood that the perpetrators would be punished in making their decision. . .
Herek, G. M. (2007). Hate crimes and stigma-related experiences among sexual minority adults in the United States: Prevalence estimates from a national probability sample. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, in press. . . .  Gay men were significantly more likely than lesbians or bisexuals to experience violence or property crimes. More than one third of gay men (37.6%) reported experiencing one or both types of crimes, compared to 12.5% of lesbians, 10.7% of bisexual men, and 12.7% of bisexual women. Gay men also reported higher levels of harassment and verbal abuse than the other sexual orientation groups. Employment and housing discrimination were significantly more likely among gay men and lesbians (reported by 17.7% and 16.3%, respectively) than among bisexual men and women (3.7% and 6.8%, respectively). More than half of the respondents manifested some degree of felt stigma, as indicated by their perception that most people think less of sexual minorities, that most employers will not hire qualified sexual minority applicants, or that most people would not want a sexual minority individual to care for their children.

DISCUSSION:

Why do you think that some people hate homosexuals?  Why would some of those people act violently toward them?
Anger and hatred are defense mechanisms.  That being said, what does the hatred say of one’s perception of self that the mere existence of the homosexual threatens?  Is it possible that the hatred of a homosexual person is reflective of self-loathing?  of fear?  What is the basis for such fear?

Is it possible to have “righteous hatred?”

Is it possible to hate the act but love the sinner?

How does any hatred impair our capacity to love?

 

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Publications Concerning Hate Crimes Relating to Sexual Orientation

A Christian Response: Gays – No Easy Answers

See http://theparson.net/gays.html for the entire sermon.  A portion of the first part of the sermon is set out below.

Gays—No Easy Answers; A Christian Response

Acts 8:26-40
By C. David Hess

American Baptists and other mainline denominations are deeply divided over the question of what is the appropriate stance the church should take toward gays in our midst. I think it important to share with you my interim reflections on the matter.

The first thing, and the main thing, I want to say is that we need to forget about simple answers. There are none. We are fooling ourselves if we think there are. There are certainly no simple answers as to how or why someone becomes a homosexual. The debate still rages as to whether it is caused by genetic or environmental factors. The two are not mutually exclusive. There is evidence that there is a genetic linkage with homosexuality (twins studies), but the same studies indicate that genetic factors alone are insufficient to cause a person to be homosexual. Some theorize that homosexuality is at root heterophobia (essentially the Freudian view). Maybe for some it is. We do not know enough to come up with any one theory or explanation as to why or how a person becomes homosexual.

There is common agreement among psychiatrists that individuals do not choose their sexual orientation. However, human beings are flexible creatures, and there is evidence that the sexual orientation and behavior of some can be modified. It is the general consensus among psychiatrists that most cannot change their sexual orientation. We in the church should keep all this in mind as we wrestle with the issue. We should not be too eager to offer simple solutions. If gays know anything, they know there are no simple answers. If we want to have any credibility with them, we should not offer any. Unfortunately we do, again and again. The answers we offer are different, but usually plagued by the same defect. They are too simple.

. . .

[Visit the above site for the rest of the sermon, which examines the inadequacy of the range of views within the church to confront the homosexuality issue.]

DISCUSSION:

Old Testament scholar, Walter Bruegemann, writes in his book, Countering Pharaoh’s Production-Consumption Society Today,  that the Commandment, “Do not take the Lord God’s name in vain,” means, also, that you shall not glibly claim God’s authority for your pet projects, as, for example, your fund-raiser.

What is your view of Mr. Brugemann’s interpretation of this commandment?

Is invocation of God’s judgment on the homosexual a mis-appropriation of God’s authority?  How is that so, or not so?

Do you have a position among those listed by Mr. Hess?  Conservative? Progressive?  Moderate?

As to each, what are the benefits and the negative consequences?

What would be wrong to simply accept homosexuality, at least in some, perhaps many, cases as just nature’s creation?  What if we saw it as nature’s specific gift?

What role should religion have to inform us of how we should treat people of a sexual orientation other than our own?

What evidence do we have that God loves them as they are, or that God hates the expression of their “alternative” sexual life-style?

 

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A Christian Response: Gays – No Easy Answers