11th-13th Century English Attitudes Towards Homosexuality

Originally presented for HIST 4080.001, Dr. Laura Stern, April 14, 1999

Discussing the social environment of the past is proving to be an interesting challenge to all historians, especially those who view it with a modern perspective. The past should be acknowledged as alien to us, and to understand its complexities one must learn to think like an ancient and use their value system to determine right or wrong. Modern-day attitudes towards homosexual behavior are strong and opinionated, a far cry from the environment found in medieval England between the 11th and 13th centuries. In that time, many could argue that such debate was not mainstream and that life was good for those who loved the same sex, whether in the secular or religious worlds. This attitude can be found across the continent and it proved to be strong and healthy in England, which always enjoyed a degree of independence from the Church in Rome. Was sodomy a concern for the medieval Englishman? If not, what caused attitudes to evolve into their modern form? To discuss England’s hospitable environment, reasons for persecution must be discussed as well as how same-sex affection was expressed.

It is useful to briefly discuss the reasons for Christian society to outlaw homosexual behavior and to discover where such references to ancient law originated. Important to note is the term homosexuality, which is a 19th century invention. In medieval times, no such word was used; instead, practicioners of same-sex love were grouped together by scholars with other deviants such as masturbators, fornicators, and molestors of both children and animals. All together, they were called “Sodomites,” a reference interperting them as inhabitants of the city of Sodom and possessing their special sin. What makes Sodom’s sin so exceptional is the punished meted out by God: a rain of fire and brimstone intent on wiping out all evidence of sin, producing a desolation that remains to this day as a reminder of God’s justice.[1] Modern scholars generally concur that the lesson learned from God’s exceptional punishment of the city of Sodom is not one that preaches against same-sex relations, but against inhospitality. Providing shelter in the ancient world was considered an obligation amongst the people of the Middle East, for there were a lack of inns and other shelters in the harsh geography of the eastern Mediterranean.[2] Indifference can be seen by the number of the early Christians, some of whom were canonized, who continued to practice same-sex love even after learning this tale.[3] For the purposes of this paper the word homosexuality will be used to describe the wealth of passionate acts associated with same-sex love, but it must be stressed that the harsher term of sodomy was the popular way in medieval times to address a most heineous sin.

In England, persecution against homosexual behavior was greatly hindered by the attitude towards it taken by the English bishops. English bishops descend from a Anglo-Saxon background, where homosexuality had existed far longer than the Catholic Church. Indeed, few references against homosexuality exist in English law-codes, perhaps indicating an indifference to it amongst the authorities. A Catholic belief is that the entrance to Heaven can only be granted by divine authority.[4] Sacraments, the tools needed to gain this salvation, were held by the Church and employed by the bishops. Already, bishops possessed strong divine powers, including the power to forgive certain sins.[5] Concerning clerical sins, accepted punishments for sodomy involved different levels of penance, ranging from one to ten years on average depending on the act performed.[6] Most of the English bishops were content to employ such traditional punishments because of their desire to reform the sinners and continue to keep them in the Church. The Church always protects its own, and once the offender completed their penance he was reinserted into their former positions. Every holy man spends his life attempting to control his desires, and the Pope advocated humane treatment of those who slipped in their duties.

Practices as ingrained as these are near-impossible to eradicate, especially when using just church decrees and papal edicts.

There has always been a pastoral concern for homosexual behavior within the ranks of the clergy, but little material exists that describes stance of the general populace towards or against it.[7] Accusations of sodomy are evident in the chronicler’s histories of the Norman kings and reflect native resistance to their new rulers. Sodomy was just one of the many scandals associated with the conquorers, a long list of sins serious and silly that include removing holy days from the calendar to possessing effeminate haircuts.[8] Archbishop Anselm was known to accuse the Normans of sodomy, and his frustration from being appointed to the Diocese of Canterbury against his will was obvious in other affairs. The chroniclers even went so far as to attribue the drowning at sea of Henry I’s sons William and Richard (along with three hundred others) as God’s just punishment for the royal party’s sexual immorality. An inportant event that many of the chroniclers fail to note is that William was originally safe but drowned after returning to save his sister Mathilda. The bitterness of the conquored taints their histories, and therefore the chroniclers cannot be completely relied upon for truthful insight.

English literature possesses a distinctiveness that illustrates the isle’s separation from the continent. The vivid sources of Sts. Anselm and Aelred give colorful insights into monastic life and the emotions they expressed and struggled with. Both were involved in the national debate concerning sodomy, but neither figure showed interest in actually rooting out the practice.[9] John Boswell provides passionate excerpts of the epistles that Anselm, then abbot of Bec, addressed to his brethern. Take this example, a letter by the abbot addressed to a friend:

“Brother Anselm to Dom Gilbert, brother, friend, beloved lover…sweet to me, sweetest friend, are the gifts of your sweetness, but they cannot begin to console my desolate heart for its want of your love…Not having experienced your absense, I did not realize how sweet it was to be with you and how bitter to be without you.”.[10]

As can be seen, this relationship shows Anselm’s capability for the profound expression of affection, which is not an isolated incident in Church circles. Boswell also writes of Aelred, abbot of Rievaulx, as a major figure in the expression of same-sex love in a Christian context:

It was Aelred who specifically posited friendship and human love as the basis of monastic life as well as a means of approaching divine love.[11]

The examples of Anselm and Aelred show the emotional aspect of same-sex love that came to be widely practiced and celebrated by the English clergy.[12] The latter was known for indulging himself in casual physical encounters, but the love he felt capable to express was for God alone. Aelred would use the discipline of his vows to overcome his sexual urges, perhaps providing an example for the monks in his care on how to properly express their strong feelings for one another.

Beginning in the mid-11th century, the papacy in Rome began a sweeping reform that sought to regulate many social institutions. The effects of this movement seem mixed in regards to same-sex love. The struggle to eradicate sodomy was an important issue for the Church to tackle, since it was side note to the reorganization of marriage in both the laity and clergy. The Urban reformers of this time saw the abolition of clerical marriage (and the sexual relations it brings) as one of their foremost goals. If force was required to do this, so be it.[13] An important figure in the early stages of this reform was Peter Damian, an Italian monk and author who was zealous in his anti-homosexual opinions. His open letter was Book of Gomorrah, a monograph written c. 1049 for Leo IX’s consideration and addressed to those who practice sodomy. The book is exceptional for being the earliest example of a greviance concerned with ridding the Church of sodomy. Opinions differ on the motivation for Damian’s authorship, but most suthorities speak of his attenance at the Council of Reims in 1049 and the supression of his concerns about homosexuality in the Church.[14] Damian not only took issue with clerical sodomy, but also with other deviant practices including mutual masturbation and lover’s confessing to one another, both of which are attempts to absolve freshly-committed sins (the blind leading the blind). To Damian, Church authorities sanctioned this behavior by not taking as strong of a stance against it as he was. Perscribing penance was not effective enough in removing this scandal. Damian advocated severe punishments and was zealous in his belief that defrocked priests must never be allowed to return to the Church.[15] Damian wrote in a fanatical tone, hoping to persuade the Pope that reform had to be initiated. Unfortunately, the papacy newly-elected and indifferent to Damian’s book, which was subsequently shelved and ignored.[16] The Book of Gomorrah’s publication had little effect in England before or after the Norman invasion, since all English reform was traditionally directed from Rome.

The first prohibition against homosexuality occurs in 1102 at the Council of London.

It would be over 150 years before serious action on these issues was taken by the Pope, Innocent III.

These historical records show that in medieval times homosexuality was seems as a learned behavior alien to England, capable of being transmitted from one area to another. Logic would tell the modern reader that it is not possible for England, or any place, to have been a natural, sexually neutral paradise that had not already incorporated sodomy into its practices; the public then was not as aware as it is today.

Footnotes

[1] Jordan, Mark D. The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), 32. “(Sodom) is a memorial site that records God’s power to judge…a most articulate reminder of the consequences of rebelling against God. We remember (it) because we need to learn obedience from it.” On p.101 Jordan also relates Sodom’s punishment to their rejection of “God’s gift of a sexed body,” so made for the singular purpose of procreating with a member of the opposite sex.

[2] This could mean that when the inhabitants of Sodom press Lot to bring himself forth so that they might know him, they were questioning his practices as a foreigner. Two words used by the Greeks for “to know” are similar, but one has a social meaning, the other a sexual. It would have been very easy for one scholar to misinterpert the word and hence taint any translations.

[3] John Boswell. Chritstianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), p. 135. Perhaps this attitude arises from the early Christian emphasis on love, and that quest for divine love can be explored through same-sex love.

[4] John 10:7.

[5] Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People. (London: Penguin Books), 90-1. Bede provides the precedent of Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, who was granted the ability by Pope Gregory in 601 to establish bishoprics and appoint their rulers. This was done to help ease the distance between Canterbury and Rome and assist the conversion of England. Often the English clergy have been given special powers that the Pope might possess exclusively in other areas of the continent.

[6] Brundage, James A. Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), p. 600. Bede advocated at least a year for beastiality and four years for anal sex. Burchard of Worms provides examples of extreme penances, but those were mostly concerned with limiting adultery and deviant sexual behavior like beastiality and oral sex. This author could find no reason for the omission of punishments for anal sex, it is known that Burchard imposed harsh penalities for fornication because of the fact penetration was involved.

[7] This dichotomy makes perfect sense. After all, the clergy in early England and elsewhere were the literate class, the ones that had the ability to produce the histories read today. Their records more often than not are concerned with the Church’s particular brand of politics.

[8] Frantze 243 and Boswell 229. Interesting to note is that homosexuality was considered by some to be an Arab vice, which Robert of Normandy perhaps imported upon his return from the Crusades.

[9] Boswell 216. An interesting coincidence is that Pope Alexander II and St. Anselm were both pupils of Lanfranc, perhaps explaining their similar disinterest in rooting out sodomy.

[10] Boswell 219.

[11] Boswell 222.

[12] Boswell 224. “Aelred stressed that friendships could not simply be intellectual. ‘Feelings,’ he observed, ‘are not ours to command.’” Aelred also believed that carnal relationships produce a lover’s joy, a powerful stepping stone to a greater relationship between the lovers and God.

[13] Brundage 183.

[14] Brundage 215. Brundage talks about Damian’s crusade against clerical marriage and links that interest with his widely-known “deeply-rooted…personal horror of sex.” As previously evidenced, clerical marriage and sodomy were practices linked together in the eyes of the reformers, the elmination of one necessitating the eradication of ther other.

[15] Damian, Peter. Book of Gomorrah. trans. Pierre J. Payer. (Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press), 35. “(If) an unclean man has no inheritance at all in heaven, by what rash price should be continue to possess a dignity in the Church which is no less the Kingdom of God?”

[16] Boswell 213. Interestingly enough, Pope Alexander II, an important reformer in his own right, was so annoyed with Damian’s persistence on eradicating gay sexuality that he actually stole his lone copy of Book of Gomorrah and kept it locked away. See the note below concerning Alexander’s link to Anselm.

About Matthew

Husband to Jenn, father to Zachary and Penelope, blogger, artist, WordPress consultant, OpenCamp organizer, and running enthusiast. Brother, can you spare an extra hour in the day?

Comments

  1. Jeff Harvey says:

    While I do not agree, I like that you researched and formed an actual reason behind your thoughts. So many take any opportunity they can to go at others’ throats or bash them. Thanks for your well-reasoned argument and way you went about delivering it.

  2. Brett Johnson says:

    I guess I’ll start the discussion by stirring up the hornet’s nest.

    I don’t agree with homosexuality on multiple levels. In the liberal’s eyes, this automatically makes me a bigoted, homophobic, racist, evil hater who slowly twists the heads off of kittens, puppies, and bunnies while they scream for mercy in pain. I don’t believe Matt to be like this (or I wouldn’t have wasted my time with a post), but there are plenty of others out there who do. They’d rather shoot their mouths off than think for themselves. For those people I say: “Go look in a mirror first. I can logically explain my views, can you?”. We all have our opinions. The knee jerk hatred of those who don’t agree just furthers the divide. While I get irritated and annoyed with certain groups, I don’t generally advocate gay bashing unless they’ve done something to piss me off… but this is true for just about any population group. In case some are wondering, this isn’t the first discussion on the topic and won’t be the last.

    I’ll start with a question: We have societal boundaries for a reason. What’s the benefit to society for breaking them? For this we have to step way back and look at a much larger picture.

    The link that brought all of us here indicates that homosexual laws voted on and passed by the people are going to the courts to be over turned. Why is it a “good thing” to bypass the will of the people and have the courts force on them something they didn’t want? For the record, we already have plenty of laws protecting people groups’ equality, so this is nothing like “separate but equal”. Why haven’t those who drafted the bills said, “Golly gee! We should have written this differently!”? To me it sounds like they are trying to make trouble and deliberately force the will of a few on the will of the many.

    For my disagreements with homosexuality, I have 3 main views from 3 very different sources:

    1) Christianity. Have compassion for the people, not for what they do. True readings of the Bible are very clear on this. Anything else is outside of Christianity and comes with a curse. Since liberals like to “rewrite what doesn’t agree with them”, I’d encourage a lot of caution with this one. For those who love to spout hatred, don’t blame me, I didn’t write the Bible. This link is mainly geared towards Mormons, but it gets the idea across:
    http://www.letusreason.org/LDS28.htm

    2) Atheistic/Darwinism: “Homosexuals make Darwin cry.” I was a bit surprised the first time I heard this, but it makes sense. What does Darwin and the evolutionists believe in? Genetics and enhancement through breeding. Homosexuality has no part in this. The “Natural Law” argument also has some basis here.

    3) Agnostics: “We’ll never come up to the higher levels of spirituality, enlightenment, and societial building by acting like animals”. I’ve heard this in a couple places and was also surprised at how direct it was. This one has some origins in paganism and a much wider view outside of homosexuality, but it generally fits into the agnostic view of the universe. It means that if we want to advance, we must over come our primal urges.

    Some gays don’t want “marriage” for various reasons. I found these stories interesting as it is a view from their perspective:
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/03/28/gay-man-pens-op-ed-against-same-sex-marriage/
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/im-gay-and-i-oppose-gay-marriage
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/08/the_soul-crushing_scorched-earth_battle_for_gay_marriage.html#ixzz2OrjxtEJF

    Here’s also a legal view that brings up some interesting points:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-legal-case-against-gay-marriage-2012-11

    Here’s something that’s been bugging me for a very long time… By definition heterosexual men don’t have any sexual desires for other men, and heterosexual women don’t have any sexual desires for other women. Where does that leave bathrooms and locker rooms in terms of homosexuality? I personally don’t like the idea of having a homosexual man getting “excited” and wanting to rape me from behind while I’m changing clothes in a locker room. For women it’s probably similar. Throwing homosexuality into the mix, we might as well have combined men’s and women’s bathrooms and locker rooms. Somehow I don’t think this will ever happen (this isn’t Starship Troopers, BSG: Blood & Chrome, or San Francisco). Having separate gay bathrooms only partially fixes the issue since they are sexually attracted to each other, and I don’t mean that all gays are promiscuous. Prior to all these arguments, I never considered bathrooms and locker rooms as “strip joints”.

    Getting back to the paper…

    Sodom & Gomorrah. Nearly everyone gets this one wrong. The stories on face value are true, but there’s something much deeper hiding. I was in this camp for a long time until the proper question was asked: Why was Sodom & Gomorrah burned to the ground (and then some) when most cities of the day were destroyed by bladed weapons? Anybody know? This is a 2 part answer breaking out into some sub-parts. Hint 1: Matt’s description of the aftermath was correct. Hint 2: Is there really such a thing as unbridled sexual freedom without consequences (also listed in Matt’s description)? Hint 3: What is fire often used for?

    It’s true that homosexuality has been around a long time, but murder and theft have been around even longer. This doesn’t make them right. This is part of what I reference to “societal boundaries”. We can also add lying, greed, and adultery to the mix. These are also part of The 10 Commandments. As a side note, it’s funny how The 10 Commandments must be removed from court houses now… Just imagine what would happen if lawyers started following a few of them…

    “Penance Payments” of the ancient church were more about greed and money than acceptance. This is a sin in itself and not Christian. By definition, a Christian is one who believes in The Christ who died and already paid for their sins on the cross. So for those who violate the principles of The Christ, are they really Christians? The New Testament does teach of tolerance and grace, but these are not excuses. There are plenty of other things wrong with the church of today and the past, but that’s another argument for another day.

    Pointing to past bad behavior throughout history to justify current and future bad behavior is a logical fallacy. It happens a lot in society. As an example, this was one of the main argument methods leading up to the Civil War and a very dark time in American history. It’s important to know what has happened throughout history, but it’s also not an excuse.

    That’s my response. Get off your lazy butts people and discuss.

    • Let me be the first to say that you can be disgusted by homosexuality, or any other expression of physical love, and not be a bigot or a psychopath. Still, while there are people who despise any display of affection in their presence, they have to accept that they are on the wrong side of society, and that people will still hold hands, hug, and even kiss in public. You are allowed to be offended, but that isn’t actually a public problem, it is a personal one.

      “The link that brought all of us here indicates that homosexual laws voted on and passed by the people are going to the courts to be over turned. Why is it a “good thing” to bypass the will of the people and have the courts force on them something they didn’t want? For the record, we already have plenty of laws protecting people groups’ equality, so this is nothing like “separate but equal”. Why haven’t those who drafted the bills said, “Golly gee! We should have written this differently!”? To me it sounds like they are trying to make trouble and deliberately force the will of a few on the will of the many.”

      I know you don’t want to give this the consideration that it deserves, but this is the same kind of argument made for “separate but equal” when it was before SCotUS. This is everything like that, because people who love someone of their own gender are being denied visitation in hospitals and immigration status for a legal spouce. These are not small things that we can over-look as a society.

      I, personally, love it when Americans talk about “Truth” in the Bible. The books of the Bible contradict each other repeatedly, they have been translated beyond any semblance of the original text, and they are being taught to promote specific agendas, rather than in attempts to really understand what they have to say.

      “Darwinsism” isn’t a real thing. Darwin was a scientist, and science doesn’t dictate how the world works, it seeks to understand what is actually happening. Homosexuality is a real thing, and any real disciple of Darwin would realize that when the facts don’t fit the theory, it is the theory that is in error. More over, Darwin only addressed the biological element, and not the psychological or social aspects of life. Homosexuality was around long before Darwin, and simply had no place in his work. It exists in many other species, including all of those who seem to enjoy recreational sex.

      Finally, to address your assessment that we have to stop acting like animals, I point out that we are animals, and if enjoying sex with someone you find appealing is animalistic, then any marriage to a person you would want to have sex with falls under the same banner, regardless of gender. If you are calling sex base, then you fall in to the category described in my first paragraph. You are allowed to be offended, but that is your problem, not ours.

      From there your arguments really just sound silly. Homosexuals in bathrooms? Who cares? If you think that you are just so hot that you are going to inspire rape, then you clearly know nothing about the psychology of rape, which is about power and dominance and not sex. More over, making it illegal to have sex with men won;t change who gay men are attracted to, and your disgust at being ogled is nothing new; most women deal with those feelings every day. You are simply saying that, as a man, you feel that all men do it, even though you would hate to be on the receiving end. Maybe we should talk about why that is inappropriate behavior, regardless of what genders are involved.

  3. Very interesting paper. Thank you for researching and sharing. I respect anyone’s viewpoint, because everyone is different and sees things only as they can see it. That said, with all due respect to Brett, it is unlikely you will be ass raped the the gym locker room. While I’m changing in the women’s locker room I never give it a second thought if there is a gay woman in there looking at me or getting excited. Even if there was, it is unlikely she would act upon her feelings. For the record, there are unisex restrooms in Europe where men and women use the facilities in harmony.

    Here is a post of mine on the subject of same sex marriage, though not as professionally researched as Matt’s ;)
    http://firstofalleveryoneisstupid.blogspot.com/2013/04/happy-anniversary-wiener-unless-youre.html

  4. Brett Johnson says:

    Interesting start… :-)
    (and sorry for the delays, getting off my butt to continue and answer…)

    Since we all know what’s on this page, I’m going to slim down the quotes a bit in the interest of space. Feel free to do the same with mine. I’ve also been pushed pretty hard this week and am having even worse medical related concentration issues. If I miss something or go to gibberish, call me out on it and I’ll get around to it next time.

    So nobody can answer the Sodom & Gomorrah question? Other parts of this debate depend on it.

    Thomas Earthman: “sides of society”.
    From the psychological view point, this is more like “stampeding lemmings”. I don’t fully buy into these kinds of reasonings by themselves. Both sides make these kinds of arguments, though. I prefer to zero in more on specifics (or at least try to). I come more from a traditionalist stand point and make no overt hostile actions unless intentionally provoked (but that’s true of most people).

    Other “sides of society” include the NAZI’s who killed millions in the name of purification (also happens a lot in African countries we could care less about), the Russians under Stalin who was fine starving his own people and killing millions… and a liberal favorite: Chairman Mao… who killed more of his own people than Hitler ever did for a similar reason to Stalin… stating it wasn’t a bad thing to thin out the population a little. Let’s also not forget Che Guevara who was a known murderer for Cuban Communism. Being in a “Che Prison” wasn’t what it was cracked up to be. I think we can agree these “sides of society” believed in what they were doing, but they were outright wrong.

    I’ll try to clarify my “side of society” a little more from the “#2 Atheistic Perspective” above in that homosexuality is biologically unnatural. If we were to take a Muslim religious perspective, for example, homosexuals would be outright killed. Like I said before in #1 above, I don’t believe in this level of hatred from religion.

    Thomas Earthman: “separate but equal”.
    This started out when there was persecution of blacks by the people supported by the government. With gays, there is no deliberate persecution in this context. There’s just a lack of support for it. And yes, there will always be haters, but they are not in government control at the moment calling for decapitation.

    Thomas Earthman: “Truth in the Bible”.
    You’re a bit out of your league here. You’re confusing self interested churches who will twist anything to their own benefit. The Bible itself has far more coherency than you give it credit for.

    Thomas Earthman: “Darwinism isn’t a real thing”.
    Try telling that to the high school students who get it forced down their throats. It may not be an official religion, but it sure smells like one (in the name of science?). For the true believers I offer this question: Do you have a time machine and/or were you there when the events happened? So far this has been answered with “no”… so all evidence is circumstantial and circular… but that’s another argument.

    For the “social aspects” of Darwinism, they are very much in play. Just watch the Discovery Channel sometime. Animal social behaviors very much determine mating habits which determine future genetics. Males often fight over females, but females don’t always choose the strongest male. Females have certain preferences in males but may settle for a lesser male in certain circumstances. Some females have been known to kick out abusive males… and so on…

    Thomas Earthman: “Finally, to address your assessment that we have to stop acting like animals”…
    1) It wasn’t my original assessment, but I do find it curiously deep. 2) You missed the first part of the statement: “We’ll never come up to the higher levels of…”. I’m all for moving humanity forward, but that’s just me.

    Thomas Earthman: “You are allowed to be offended, but that is your problem, not ours.”
    On the micro level, yes. When it comes to a large population level, it becomes a societal problem. This is where we stand at today.

    Thomas Earthman: “From there your arguments really just sound silly.”
    Saul Alinsky would be proud.

    Thomas Earthman: “Homosexuals in bathrooms? Who cares?”
    I do. Others do. See above. You might not have this problem, but with my medical problems, I do have the hot lesbian body gays seem to like. I find it offensive and I believe they know it. You forget that rape is also about uncontrollable urges (often reported in the news as various types of date rape, usually with chemicals involved). And yes, there’s a lot of inappropriate behavior on multiple levels. As a society, we are still a sexually immature species.

    Shay: “That said, with all due respect to Brett, it is unlikely you will be ass raped the the gym locker room.”
    Generally speaking, that would be correct. What really bugs me are the guys who like to get naked and then try to start up a long conversation. This has happened in every gym I’ve been a member of. To be fair, I don’t know if they’re gay or not (I never stick around long enough to find out any real details), but these people do need psychological help.

    Shay: “I never give it a second thought if there is a gay woman in there looking at me or getting excited.”
    I generally equate that situation as parading around naked in the open. I guess some people don’t seem to mind it, but that can’t go for everyone.

    Shay: “For the record, there are unisex restrooms in Europe where men and women use the facilities in harmony.”
    Interesting. How far do these go? or are these the ones around the nude beaches?

    From Shay’s post in semi-random order:
    (I may sound somewhat critical at times, but it was an interesting read.)

    I agree with the current mockery of marriage. Society seems to accept this. I find it insulting. I would toss this one up into the “sides of society” paragraph above. (as in just because society accepts it doesn’t make it right)

    “There are some that say marriage is between a man and a woman and God. To that I say- not anymore.”
    “So with this information alone (people marrying in non religious-civil ceremonies) the argument can no longer be made that marriage is solely a godly union.”
    Response: Great! Then don’t call it marriage. Don’t pollute the meaning by mutating it into something it was never intended to be. According to atheistic law, marriage is just a word that could be substituted with another word or phrase. I stand by my argument that they are needlessly looking to stir up trouble. From my perspective, I’m still not for gay marriage/unions, but at least the semantics would be clear for the various arguments/debates/etc.

    “But apparently you DO need a piece of paper to be treated equally in the eyes of the law.”
    Response: Get that same piece of paper under a different definition. There is absolutely nothing stopping a set of laws from being created like that… except the vote of the people being over turned by activist judges.

    As far as activist judges go, the Supreme Court didn’t turn it into a grand slam. A 5-4 vote is hardly a home run.

    As far as the tax arguments go (throw in hospitals and some other legal complaints), we really need to skin our politicians alive… slowly and painfully. We have a government of bloat, corruption, and greed, not a government for the people like this country was originally established. Most of the arguments around this would go away if the population would wisen up and stop playing popularity games with votes and demand that politicians actually do the jobs they were voted in to do. For the record, I have hatreds of all political parties for various reasons. In this case I use the word “hate” as a hate-word. A lot of people are getting screwed over and many have had their lives ruined. This isn’t just a homosexuality issue. Look into my medical back story for a starting point.

    Separation of church and state: This is another phrase that is often misunderstood and abused. The true form of this statement is that there can be no “ordered religion of the government”… although I’d argue liberalism is becoming a government religion considering how liberals love to attack people for traditional beliefs. (I’m not accusing anyone here of that, but it’s common to see on the news.) Many government laws were based on religious laws in a secular implementation because they are based on common sense (like murder and stealing… few would argue over those, leaving out the death penalty). Yes, this country was founded in Christian beliefs and reflect a lot of that. Most of those laws have been either struck down or perverted over the past 200+ years. Be glad we weren’t an Islam founded nation. Besides the fact that all of them are in trouble right now, Sharia isn’t the happy go lucky legal system the press makes it out to be. Try using Google Translate on a pro-Muslim web site and see what they’re really saying about the infidels… especially the homosexuals.

    “So why then are church organizations allowed to lobby and dictate to our government what laws and rights its citizens are entitled to?”
    Response: There are plenty of other non-profits that also don’t pay income taxes and “lobby and dictate”… many of them liberal and supporting homosexuality. Just thought I’d throw that out there as the fallacy of the argument. A proper church gets tax exemption because it’s out there to help the people and often the poor. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t the government’s job (we’ll save the porkulous and corruptions for another day). Other non-profit’s are “supposed” to be doing the same thing but tend to do the opposite in their own self interest.

    “God forbid the Atheists start trying to get rid of churches and religion stating it is against their beliefs.”
    Response: They’ve been doing this for hundreds of years. Atheism is it’s own religion based solely on how those people act… but again, another argument for another day.

    “So here’s hoping the near future will bring true equality to all citizens and humanity.”
    Response: Here-Here! Men acting like men, and women acting like women… But I took this phrase out of it’s original context a little. (sorry Shay)

    So is “equality” acting against natural design? Or is “equality” doing whatever the hell we want to and any consequences be damned? These questions are far more expansive than the current topic.

    • Brett,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post as well and offer your thoughts and responses on certain points. I appreciate all viewpoints.

      I can understand you feeling uncomfortable in the gym locker room while in various states of undress and having men strike up a conversation. My hope is that people do it as a nervous distraction to the elephant in the room and not to make others uncomfortable or to “hit on them,” but you never know. And I certainly am not dismissing or trying to invalidate your feelings, but that kind of uncomfortable feeling is something many women must deal with almost on a daily basis whether it be in the gym, on the street, on the road, in shops, restaurant and bars. They are ogled and given the up down / once over and we must always have our guard up to potential threats. Again, not making light of your situation, just pointing out that type of feeling goes for both men and women, straight or gay.

      As for the unisex restrooms in Europe, I encountered them in the heart of Paris and in Rome, nowhere near the nude beaches, though I’m sure they had some there too…

      I personally have no issue with calling gay marriage something other than marriage, such as a civil union or what have you. But, I am not gay and cannot speak for how that community feels. I do know that marriage is defined (in short) as: “A social union or legal contract between people called spouses that establishes rights and obligations between the spouses. People marry for many reasons, including: legal, social, libidinal, emotional, financial, spiritual, and religious. Marriages can be performed in a secular civil ceremony or in a religious setting.” So the term “marriage” itself isn’t a religious term and therefore, I think it would stand to reason it would apply to same sex as well as opposite sex couples.

      I’m trying to go through your comments point by point, but as you said, some of them are topics for another day and/or thread. I do agree there is a lot of corruption in politics and we are in desperate need of political reform. Yes, there are other non-profit groups lobbying the government and they may support gay interests. And perhaps they should have to pay taxes too if they want more of a hand in dictating the law. But I do like how you said “proper” churches get tax exemptions because they are there to help the poor. I would like to know how the mega churches help the poor with their huge buildings on vast acres with multi-million dollar electronics and video equipment. Yes, I’m sure they still do their part and help feed and clothe hungry people and contribute a portion of their “income” to other outreach programs, but that kind of set up is a far cry from the humble beginnings of Jesus tending to the sick and poor.

      Anyway, thank you again for your comments. As you could probably tell, my post was tongue in cheek, but I do enjoy getting different perspectives on things and gaining insight on alternate viewpoints.

  5. Brett Johnson says:

    I guess I’ll answer the Sodom & Gomorrah question. Be warned that these answers aren’t popular with liberals, but they are grounded in facts. They were destroyed by fire with nobody and nothing spared because they had to be. Why? “Unbridled sexual freedom” has some serious consequences on 2 fronts: biological and psychological.

    Biological. Given that the people of Sodom & Gomorrah would demand sex with anyone and everyone (especially foreign visitors), STD’s were likely beyond rampant. Some have also theorized bestiality, contaminating the food supply. Most infections of the day had no antibiotics to cure them with. Once caught, an infection was a life long problem, often killing people early and horribly. The only real way the ancients could stop the mass spread of a disease would be containment, killing, and fire. This would also include their sex toys and living places (while not admitted to much, many STD’s can be caught off a door knob under the right circumstances… viruses and bacteria can be vicious). This may sound a bit barbaric by modern standards, but allowing infected people to live and infect others was a death sentence to the others. The cities being burned deep into the ground would indicate that some type of infections were water born and could be passed by human fluids, cooking left overs, animal slaughters, etc. (just burning the top of the ground wasn’t enough to kill what had seeped in). An interesting side note is that ancient Jews had all sorts of laws and regulations to limit biological contamination, even if they weren’t fully aware of microbial biology back then.

    Psychological. This has 2 related parts. (1) People of a false religion being allowed to integrate with people of a true religion wasn’t allowed. They would often bring in their paganistic beliefs and pollute the true religion. This is the general base reason for “kill everyone, destroy everything” during wars. (2) For similar reasons to #1, the perverts of the cities would have infected the population of other cities with their misguided beliefs. This would have undermined the basic family unit and started tearing down the basis of society, eventually leading to the demise of the city/local civilization (think bestiality again). While some of the people from Sodom & Gomorrah might have been “untrained”, that wouldn’t apply to all of them. While many of the people probably weren’t sexually active in those cities, they passively agreed with what all was going on. This made them a liability to the other cities. The people who disagreed with the goings on in Sodom & Gomorrah would never have stayed or gone there in the first place.

  6. Brett Johnson says:

    Shay: “My hope is that people do it as a nervous distraction to the elephant in the room”
    Unfortunately the times it has happened to me it was to show off the “elephant”. The guys would just sit there naked and keep talking.

    Shay: “I certainly am not dismissing or trying to invalidate your feelings”
    Nah, don’t worry about me.

    Shay: “that kind of uncomfortable feeling is something many women must deal with almost on a daily basis”
    Yeah, unfortunately I see that a lot. Be glad the guys aren’t naked during the ogling… or hopefully aren’t. Many will “peacock”, though. This can almost be as bad on a beach.

    This brings up an interesting point the BBC did a documentary on recently. If you (or anyone else lurking) can catch “India: A Dangerous Place To Be A Woman”, it’s a good watch. Some of their traditions and practices are really messed up. Thankfully they’re changing, but it’s slow.

    Shay: “I personally have no issue with calling gay marriage something other than marriage”
    The little voices in my head keep trying to define this more clearly. I think the thing that bugs me the most is that gays force their ways on the rest of us and complain when tradition (much bound in reason) and fixed definitions don’t get cast aside. Why shouldn’t we push back? I feel like I’m still missing something here, but my brain is mushy with my health issues. I’ll probably figure it out in a few months.

    I have an old paper dictionary somewhere that was printed before excessive political correctness. I’d be curious for its definition of marriage, but I’m not sure where it is.

    I still agree with your blog’s assessment that marriage is messed up. If you really want to see messed up, have a look at that India documentary mentioned above. I’m surprised the women of India don’t have an all out revolt.

    Shay: “I would like to know how the mega churches help the poor…”
    Some of them will do local and international works. Those should be listed on their web sites. Many are just a fad by hipsters that come and go in 3-7 year cycles… that are rather embarrassing. With some research they can be identified. Some will embellish their works, though.

    Shay: “my post was tongue in cheek…”
    :-) This topic needs a little humor from time to time. My humor is rather dry by most people’s standards.

Speak Your Mind

*