Some antigay Christians are uncomfortable thinking about the world in tangible, rational, measurable, logical terms.

These individuals — indeed, whole denominations — may be more comfortable reducing the world to primeval “curses and blessings” — superstitions and ghosts.

Douglas Jones and Douglas Wilson present themselves as two such individuals. In Owning the Curse: Rethinking Same-Sex Marriage, Jones and Wilson reduce readers’ moral vision to the following flawed, unidimensional assumptions. Wilson, a Calvinist, earns praise from Marvin Olasky.

The authors’ assertions are in italics below, followed by my response.

Homosexuality is a judgment from God. Citing just a single sentence of the Bible, the authors assert that homosexuality (which they do not define) is God’s end-times infliction upon a society that He has abandoned. In order to justify this assumption, the authors:

  • misappropriate and exaggerate an isolated Bible verse;
  • ignore the simple fact that homosexuality has always been widespread — but brutally and hatefully suppressed by authoritarian societies in which individual freedom does not exist;
  • perceive that homosexuality is God’s punishment for the “normal idolatries” of the authors’ religious community — but they decline to name the idolatries of which they are guilty.

Homosexuality is primarily a judgment against the Church. Well-disguised victimology here: The church is being righteously victimized by an angry God, and homosexuals — lower than a plague of locusts in the authors’ scheme of things — are God’s passive-aggressive way of lashing out in vengeance.

Curses are removed by our repentance, not denunciations of “them.” This assertion should make Exodus officials squirm on two counts: Alan Chambers’ claim that saved Christians like himself do not qualify as sinners, and more broadly the exgay political leadership’s false assertion that, unlike gay people, exgay activists are repentant of their sins. (Quite the opposite: Many gay individuals, like many heterosexuals, possess a broad perspective on the scope and depth of right and wrong — while activists affiliated with the religious right trivialize morality by reducing it to a mud-slinging fight over abortion, euthanasia, and homosexuality.)

While this effort by the authors to assume some moral responsibility is noteworthy, the writers unfortunately veer into antisecularist bigotry, falsely equating secularism (freedom of religion) with agnosticism.

We should, therefore, “own” homosexual sin. One cannot own what one does not understand, and the authors clearly do not understand homosexuality:

Homosexuality is about resentment. “At its root, homosexuality is a love of sameness rather than difference.” This is sheer, unsubstantiated bigotry. “We understand that homosexuality is a deep longing for communion with the masculine, a longing that has been trampled by neglectful or abusive fathering.” Sexist pseudo-Freudian rubbish. The authors complain about secularism one moment, then indulge in a 19th-century atheist’s prejudices the next.

Christian fathers are a primary cause of the curse of homosexuality. This is an adolescent blame game.

Homosexuality will only pass when Christian fatherhood is pleasing to God. The authors speak only vaguely about fathers’ “refusal to live self-sacrificially.” They fail to define exactly what forms of fatherhood would be pleasing.

Our repentance lives under a curse. On the surface, this may sound like more pre-Christian superstition, reminiscent not of true Christianity, but of witches and goblins. But the authors seem to be saying that antigay Christians must repent rather than fight an opposing category of sinners.

Our repentance must defy all attempts to make our repentance illegal. I sense a trace of paranoia and scapegoating here — a denial of ample evidence that conservative Christians have sought to make being gay illegal through discrimination and sodomy laws, while the U.S. tolerance movement has made no comparable effort to discriminate against or imprison people because of their Christianity. (While many antigay activists have sought to silence, fire or imprison people merely because they are same-sex-attracted, a mere fringe of militant progay activists has sought to silence people — not because the targets are Christian, but because they use taxpayer-subsidized venues to air antigay religious propaganda that are deemed incendiary by the would-be silencers.)

We must have reformation in the Church. This is political correctness by another name. Which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily — sometimes political correctness of the left or right is really just an expectation by some that others will conform to common decency and good manners. But please spare me any self-congratulatory talk about “reformation” — if political correctness is an unsuitable description, then please try “power grab”: The authors position themselves as the sole arbiters of worship that is “false and corrupt” and then demand that the entire nation “submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”

Side issues about science: The authors declare genetics irrelevant, and I agree but for very different reasons.

Language: Having failed to define sodomy, the authors eschew left-right rhetoric but resort to an even sluttier reduction of morality: Faithfulness vs. sodomy — as if sodomy (whatever it is) were the only sin. To their credit, the authors acknowledge gay-baiting (whatever that is) as a sin — but then return to their superstitious assumption that a “homosexual lifestyle” exists and that gay people of faith are at odds with faith and virtue — how so, the authors do not bother to explain. Among their superstitions, the authors falsely assert, “Homosexuals say they are ‘queer’,” “they are miserable….”

The destruction of our civil order: The authors conclude by returning to their atheist 19th-century father-bashing. In doing so, they ignore the damage potentially done by the religious right to civil order.

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