18 My Response to My Friend

Thanks, My Friend.  This is helpful to me, as I want to deal with the facts of human existence as Nature gives them, and how we deal with the ambiguities, even conflicts, of nature.

Acknowledging that such mixed sex persons exist, I understand that you believe that if the hermaphroditic condition could be determined in time to legally abort the fetus, it would be a sin to do so.  So, accepting that the infant should be born, do you think it is sinful for parents or doctors to then make choices, as they in fact do, to eliminate some of those characteistics, such as a penis or a vagina, or breasts, so that the child can be identified and accepted as one of the sexes and not as both together in the same body? We know of cases where the parent or physician opted to eliminate one of the sexual characteristics (usually they opt to preserve the penis) to find as the child developed that it felt psychologically like the sex that was discarded.  How would your religious views judge the decision to give the child the markers of only one sex so as to protect the child from exclusion and derision?

If the argument against homosexuality is that humans are commanded to marry and to multiply, then what does the hermaphrodite, providing that it chose to keep both sexual sets of organs, select as the means for multiplication?  Would it be a sin for he/she to marry a woman, because he/she had a woman’s sex organs to go along with his/hers male organs, or would it be sin to marry a man because he/she had male sex organs to go along with his/her female organs.  I consider this to be a legitimate question, as oppposed to the question put to Jesus about who would be the wife in heaven.  Contrary to that test, these are real questions faced by parents of hermaphrodites.

Do you think it is sinful for the hermaphrodite, when he/she is old enough to make a decision, to eliminate the sexual characteristics that conflict with the sex that he/she identifies with psychologically, so he/she can be one or the other as is normal, and not both together?

What do you think of the man who married a woman who could not conceive (he was on Oprah a while back) so he chose to be inseminated to bear a child, (I assume he did this in a medical procedure rather than an adulterous act), and after the delivery he planned to continue to function as a man and a husband.

If you think that the hermaphrodite should alter nothing, but should celebrate his/hers natural gift for both sexes, what would such a permissible celebration look like?

Again, these are not just some mind games to play with a religious litmus test.  Julian finds himself in a similar circumstance, and, according to what I understand your position to be, the discerning Christian must find his transgender decision to be sinful.

I appreciate your sincere reply to what I consider to be hard and real questions that Christians face.

Rob

 

19 Concluding Response to Georgiahttps://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/374

18 My Response to My Friend

What about Maladapted or Stressed Children of a GLBT Couple?

This weekend, I was discussing this blog with a good friend. He was not in disagreement with my position in this blog, necessarily, that we have a moral and religious obligation to love each of our neighbors, including those of the GLBT community; but he said he was concerned about the impact of GLBT parents upon their children.  I can’t deny that in such relationships it is not likely uncommon that the child would be subjected to derision directed at the parents. I recognize it may be difficult for a child who has called her mother “Mom” to transition to call that same person, “Dad.” I am aware that before doctors will perform necessary operations to accomplish trans-gender purposes, the patient is required to have counseling. I wonder whether their existing children, and those that might join their family later, are included in that counseling process; and, if so, how are they prepared for that transition, what are the techniques, what are the challenges, and what are the success rates?

My friend wonders to what degree would-be transgender persons are counseled to consider the impact of their decision upon their children, both pre-trans and post-trans.  He asks, “If the child is seriously stressed by the transition or the non-traditional relationship of the parents according to “accepted” social conventions, to what degree is an observer of that stress obligated to report physical and mental abuse in a state, such as this, Nebraska,  that has mandatory abuse and neglect reporting statutes?”

Then, as to a father, such as nmyself, who is prevented by physical circumstances from significantly participating in my child’s activities, how is that different? If my child is acting out because of stress relating to his concern for my health, how should the child be helped to deal with that stress – by removal from my home or by help to cope with those special circumstances?  Not to suggest that hermaphroditic persons should be considered sick, which it is not, but only the natural gift of nature, how is their genetically ambivalent inheritance different from my illness which is a challenge for my child to adjust to?

I think my friend has a point that adults have some obligation to consider the impact their choices will have upon their children, present and future, who have no choice in the matter.  I also wonder whose job is it to determine whether GLBT issues as affecting children is abuse or neglect of that child?  It strikes me as an attorney that any child who has special needs, which such children would appear to have, that are not being met for whatever reason, that person likely has a legal and moral obligation to report that to the appropriate authorities, and then allow those authorities, as provided by the law, to make their determination as to the child’s abuse or neglect and, if abuse or neglect, to determine an appropriate disposition.

It strikes me that mere difficulty is no reason, of itself, to prevent an otherwise healthy and advantageous venture. But the effect of that difficulty and effectiveness of means in surmounting it is an issue that would be appropriate for discussion, which I invite.

 

Bob and Betty Dorrs Story https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/302

What about Maladapted or Stressed Children of a GLBT Couple?

“Spiritual Violence”

I have been reading Gandhi’s Autobiography and Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God is Within You:  Christianity not as a Mystic Religion but as a  New Theory of Life.  The latter helped inspire in Gandhi the power of non-violent resistance to injustice, even state-sanctioned injustice. Then I thought of my friend who wrote to me of the “spiritual violence” of the organized church against the GLBT community.

I had addressed in this blog physical violence against the GLBT community in the post of February 9, 2011, entitled, “Publications Concerning Hate Crimes Relating to Sexual Orientation.”  The vast majority of the Christian community would not profess that their aversion to the GLBT community would justify criminal action against it.  But how many of us do spiritual violence by denying that God loves and accepts them as they are; that they can reflect the love of God as we hopefully do; that we need them as much as they need us; that they have the right to fully participate in our church organizations, both spiritually and in leadership?

Is “righteous hatred” of the GLBT community consistent with the true spirit of Christ?  Other than the obvious difference in social consequences, what really is the difference between physical violence and spiritual violence against another?  To what degree do our churches see the GLBT community as a threat and respond by marginalizing or even exclude them from the social and the spiritual life of the church?

The established church in all its forms and manifestations has a heritage giving rise to its present state.  Predominantly, it upholds the heritage that castigates members of the GLBT community, and it justifies that position by isolated biblical passages.  Tolstoy addresses this persistent reign of unexamined heritage:

The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow- witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.

Have we used our heritage to justify our idolization of God in our own image?  What are the fruits of our treatment of the GLBT community?  Do they fall from the tree of life and God’s love for all?  If the fruits are bitter for anyone, what shall we do with the tree that bears them?

 

Next blog post: We Understand and Mean the Lyrics That We Sing?               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/173

“Spiritual Violence”

It’s a Matter of Choice

It’s a Matter of Choice

We often hear of objections to the GLBT community: “It’s a matter of choice – to sin or not to sin.”  I believe the resolution of the conflict in the various Christian churches over full inclusion in the life of the church is a matter of choice, not of gender or sexual orientation, but of where we put our faith.

I note in the article concerning Rev. Amy DeLong , http://www.rmnetwork.org/trial-of-rev-amy-delong-approaches/, that it concludes that the trial is “incompatible with scripture . . . [and] with our larger Church Tradition . . .”  I do support Rev. DeLong in this matter.  But I think it is as mistaken to quote scripture as though it is definitive on loving inclusion of the GLBT community within our own  as are the various biblical arguments for judgment and exclusion.

To some degree faith is a gift; but it also involves choice.  I am reminded of Hans Kung’s book Does God Exist?  He proceeds through the proofs of God and concludes that there is no ironclad proof of God’s existence.  He then traces the proofs that there is no God to its ultimate conclusion of nihilism. He likewise concludes that it cannot be proven that there is no God, or that there is no purpose in life.  As I interpret my recollection of the book, one is left with a choice: choose God or no God and take the consequences: meaning in life or no meaning.

Eric Fromm, in Psychoanalysis and Religion asserts that a healthy religion is necessary to mental health.  Interesting coming from a person popularly categorized as an atheist and a humanist. He defines religion as that which gives us an object of devotion and a sense of orientation.  Rev. Bruggeman says that the command not to worship idols also means not to reduce God to our private purposes, as in church fund-raising.  Have we idolized God into the form of our image, our prejudices or our purposes?  That would certainly be contrary to the Jewish (Christian Old Testament) notion of the nameless God and the living God.

How does this apply to my view of GLBT issues?  We must accept that the Bible can be used to support almost any position, no matter how disparate.   We find the same of Jewish, Muslim and other sacred scriptures.  We like things to be black and white, right or wrong.  But, as our world is a mixture, from our individual point of view, of good and bad, so is our scripture.  The Wesleyan Quadrilateral recognizes this.  In this blog, I have attempted to set out the various biblical arguments used by some Christians to judge GLBT issues (sometimes politely distinguished as “discernment”) and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, I set out a homosexual’s biblical argument justifying his sexual orientation.

I suggest here and in the blog that we will not find clear, consistent answers in the Bible on the issues of gender, sexuality or sexual orientation.  We are in the same position Hans Kung found himself on the issue of whether God exists:  we must make a choice, and that choice will have practical effects: ranging from “life has meaning” to “it has no meaning;” or from, “I am the center and condition of all existence”  to “life is bigger than I am;” or “I am the author  of my fate” to “life is something that happens to me.”  My father, Rev. Edgar F. Wheeler, once put it to me this way, “People think Christianity is all about dying and going to heaven.  I say, ‘No.  It is about living a life of eternal significance.’”

For my part I choose for my object of devotion and sense of orientation Matthew’s quotes of Jesus: “Inasmuch as you did or didn’t do it unto others, you did or didn’t do it unto me;” “By their fruits you will know them.”  To paraphrase a great figure in another day and situation, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”  Life involves choice.  It just does.  Make your choice and see what kind of fruit it bears.  Does it bear hatred and exclusion or love, respect and inclusion?

In this blog, I note the biblical contradictions and I suggest that if you can find an honest way to both judge and to love unconditionally, to both judge the act and love the “sinner,” and if it bears good fruit, do it.  As for me, I must make a choice between the two.  I can’t hold onto judgment of another’s gender or sexual orientation, whether by choice or circumstance, and still love the person.  I choose to love unconditionally and share in the rich give-and-take of community.

 

Next blog post: “Clergy Call for Justice and the Quality” by Bishop Minerva C, Carconia               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/151

It’s a Matter of Choice