Burch: Pray away the gay?

Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

Apple and the Christian group Exodus International have hooked up to sell an app designed to help people “pray away the gay.” But human sexuality is not a disease and how many red-blooded heterosexuals have ever been “cured” of being attracted to people of the opposite sex? Baptist ministers and Catholic priests regularly get caught with their pants down, sometimes in public. As Mark Twain noted, most men would give up any chance of heaven to be with the Eves of their preference for a few moments of earthly bliss. So why not be honest: If God doesn’t cure heterosexuals of their sexual desires, should we expect non-heterosexuals to experience divine intervention?

Unfortunately, Nashville seems to be the nerve-center for the stone-age Neanderthalism that results in gays being discriminated against and threatened with an “eternal hell” if they don’t “repent.” Nashville is home to the Southern Baptist Convention and its LifeWay publishing arm. According to its website, LifeWay “is one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products and services, including Bibles” which it sells through 162 LifeWay Christian Stores. The website also informs visitors that “LifeWay has produced one of the most accurate and readable Bible translations ever — the Holman Christian Standard Bible [HCSB].”

Wow, that’s wonderfully impressive, but the SBC and LifeWay are strongly involved with the movement to condemn non-repentant gays and lesbians to the flames of an eternal hell, in the names of God and Jesus. Does this mean God and Jesus are bigots?

Curiously, the highly accurate HCSB translation of the Bible doesn’t contain the word “hell” anywhere in its Old Testament, or in any of the epistles of Paul, or in the book of Acts (the self-recorded history of the early Christian church). In fact, the word “hell” appears in a scant 10 verses, primarily in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. Bible scholars generally agree that Matthew and Mark are based on the same original text, so this suggests that only one Bible writer knew anything about a place called “hell.”

“Hell” obviously didn’t preexist, according to the Bible, because such a place was never mentioned to Adam, Eve, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Moses or a long line of Hebrew prophets. But neither is there any verse in the Bible in which God or any prophet ever announced the creation and purpose of “hell” (a curious omission, to say the least, when the SBC and LifeWay earn truckloads of money by convincing people they need to be “saved” from “hell”).

So why is the SBC blaspheming the name of God by saying gays have to repent or suffer for all eternity? Perhaps God and Jesus aren’t bigots and torturers of human beings, after all.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary,” at www.thehypertexts.com.

120 Comments on this post:

By: yogiman on 3/25/11 at 12:04

Interesting, Mr. Burch only mentions Baptist ministers and Catholic priests getting "caught with their pants down". Are they the only two "masters" of religious organizations that get caught? Doesn't any of the preachers of other different churches "get caught"? I have known quite a few who have in my life and I don't believe being a religious superior gives them any exemption as so many believe.

Everyone's personal way of life is determined through their brain, individually. Everyone's sexual desires are personal. Of the homosexuals I have known in my life, I have never known one who said they resented being homosexual.

By: bnakat on 3/25/11 at 12:41

@ Mr. Burch: You seem curiously obsessed with the defence of homosexuality. Your inordinate passion is portrayed in your frequent op-eds. If we link all of your articles on this subject, a common practice is observed: sophistry.

Anachronisms and non sequiturs appear to be your favorite devices. For example, you cite parts of the Mosaic Covenant, such as dietary laws, and sarcastically ask if they should apply today. In the above piece, you assume that to pray for perversive desires and practices to cease implies that sexual desire is a disease. You then proceed to debunk a false premise that you constructed.

Your hubris is perhaps most evident when you proclaim that since a certain topic is not mentioned in several locations, it must not exist. With a few strokes on your keyboard you extinguish Gehenna. Yes, the purpose of hell is given in the Bible. Its existence is described in various terms. But I suspect that you know this. However, it does not fit your narrative.

Homosexuality is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. The abuse, misapplication, and other twisting of the sacred writings to escape this truth avails nothing.

By: dargent7 on 3/25/11 at 4:49

Excellent, well written article.
Assuming the population is 20% "gay", I currently don't know even one here in Tenn.
Growing up in Detroit, I never met ONE.
Moving to San Francisco, CA after college, everyone was "gay".
I guess it depends on where you live and the attitudes.
Gays have to be laughing their socks off with this Apple app.
No one alive on this planet that's gay can, "pray away the gay".

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 5:26

Good morning

http://www.marcadamus.com/images/large/Sunrise-River.jpg

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 5:31

Thank God I am a recovering Southern Baptist.

There are gays in Nashville. I had one as a boss once and two I call good people. Just like the rest of the populations there the good and bad, intelligent and not so smart. Tall, short thin and overweight. They are just people, who have a different outlook on life.

By: Loner on 3/25/11 at 5:43

Good morning, Nashville!

Two of the hot-button 4 G's, (God , Guns, Gays and Guvmint), are on the griddle this morning....God and Gays. This should be a lively discussion.

Mike Burch is a powerful writer and I enjoy reading his stuff. I tend to agree with Mike on this subject.

Since Christ never mentioned homosexuality, but did condemn divorce, I'd say the Southern Baptist's have their priorities confused. That's nothing new, those Bible-thumping loudmouths actually think Christ advocated carrying a weapon and practicing self-defense, and supporting the theocratic, Jewish State concept.

The Southern-fried heretics have perverted Christ's message of love to one of hate; but again, this is nothing new for the South....they thought Christ approved of African Negro slavery...... Yee-Haw!

By: Loner on 3/25/11 at 5:44

Bnakat's pedantic mutterings are entertaining, but hardly valid. This is a great LTE.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 5:54

From yesterday

By: yogiman on 3/24/11 at 4:32
May I reiterate, dumba..? I am not referring to dumba when I post your name as dumba.., I am simply trying to be polite to the ladies on this site when I say dumb ass in referring to you, which you have proven time and again I'm right. Do I need to offer further proof than yours
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Dumba and dumb ass is two separate thing yogi. Now that you have been able to say what you really intended, the effect is lost. If you are really trying to make an insult, first you will have to say what you mean and not pussy-foot around.

Keep trying yogi! Lol

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 5:58

By: yogiman on 3/22/11 at 3:21
Captain Nemo,

May I ask a simple stupid question? How can anyone on this post, post a statement as absolute proof that their post is absolutely correct if they weren't where the original statement was made? Whose word are they allowed to take for it to be a fact?

For your valuable information, I only post a comment or repeat a statement or remark I have heard, or read, but the brilliantly knowledgeable idiots like you want absolute proof it accurately occurred in your way of thinking.
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You don’t have to ask yogi, you will say something stupid anyway.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 6:03

Good morning Loner!! I think God has to have a good sense of humor to watch over our antics. Because crying is all that is left and with one mighty swipe we would be a sad memory.

By: house_of_pain on 3/25/11 at 6:13

TGIF.
Good letter. I know several homosexuals, and they all tried(desperately) to be heterosexual, because of the stigma attatched to their true desires. My gay friends are wonderful, kind-hearted people, and should not be asked to pretend to be someone they aren't.
Who needs "hell" when you have LifeWay, Exodus International, & the SBC to torture souls, right here.

By: PhiDelt496 on 3/25/11 at 6:21

Just let gays be gay! Their "personal salvation" is their own business. It is not a sin to be gay. It is a sin to act on homosexual tendencies...but on that same line it is a sin to act on heterosexual tendencies outside of marriage.

Why cant people believe what they believe and let the person next to them believe what they believe? You never find out if you are right until you die, and at that point it doesnt matter to the next person anymore. Now I am all about insightful debate between people of differing opinions, but it has to be consentual to both parties.

I want to also state that I dont support the GLBT protections bills for government employees. Sexuality shouldnt be in the workplace in any form, so I dont see why the law needs to protect them. If I have a good worker who is gay, and I fire them because they are gay, who lost out more? I did because I lost a good worker due to a personal bias.

By: dargent7 on 3/25/11 at 6:24

"pain": You forgot to mention they do wonders with silk and their clothing always matches. Not too shabby in the kitchen with quiche, either.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 6:25

My thought exactly, Phil and a nice post.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 6:29

Speaking of TGIF, has anyone heard from Blanket?

By: dargent7 on 3/25/11 at 6:30

PhiDelt: Just for the sake of argument, define: "homosexual tendencies" for us.

By: Moonglow1 on 3/25/11 at 6:32

Moonglow1: recently on the history channel there was a program about technology & ancient aliens. Many scientists have found proof that ancient astronauts visited the earth & gave us advanced technology to build the pyramids. Ancient airstrips have also been found. Some believe that we are worshiping ancient aliens. So if true can you imagine the impact on organized religion. The Southern Baptists must be going crazy. The idea that we might be worshiping aliens would be enough to get a Southern Baptist to drink alcohol & perhaps tolerate others who are different. Also don't our politicians just love these wedge issues. Why is this news when we have a major nuclear catastrophe, no jobs, 3 wars-actually 4 if you count the war on the middle class.

By: gdiafante on 3/25/11 at 6:35

"I want to also state that I dont support the GLBT protections bills for government employees. Sexuality shouldnt be in the workplace in any form, so I dont see why the law needs to protect them. If I have a good worker who is gay, and I fire them because they are gay, who lost out more? I did because I lost a good worker due to a personal bias."

Tell me the difference between what you wrote and this:

If I have a good worker who is black, and I fire them because they are black, who lost out more? I did because I lost a good worker due to a personal prejudice."

Or this:

If I have a good worker who is Jewish, and I fire them because they are Jewish, who lost out more? I did because I lost a good worker due to a personal bias."

Is there really a difference between the three?

What if the roles were reversed...

"If I were a good worker who is heterosexual, and I am fired because I am heterosexual, who lost out more? They did because they lost a good worker due to a personal bias."

I'm sure that would be your exact attitude...

By: dargent7 on 3/25/11 at 6:41

gD: At the core of the bias toward homosexuals is the the underlying belief that their orientation is "chosen". They purposely "decided" to become gay and choose the gay lifestyle.
Obviously being "Black" isn't chosen. Being Jewish is an inherited religion from your parents. Or in Liz Taylor's situation, a conversion.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 6:43

Moonglow1

When I hear the phrase Intelligent Design, I always think they are talking about Ancient Astronauts. lol

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 6:52

That is true Paul.

I never recalled when I decided to be straight, I just was. It is the same for being gay….you just are.

By: house_of_pain on 3/25/11 at 6:56

Nemo, did you just call d7 "gay"?

By: PhiDelt496 on 3/25/11 at 7:03

Dargent,

If we could only post pictures here...

I probably should have said "engage in homosexual acts". The point is that all sex before marriage is a sin, and since gays cant marry (sometimes I think that they are the lucky ones for that :) then it is all "premarital". Not being prudish, but just making the point that just being gay is NOT a sin, and it is also something that you need to "get over". Just live your life, pay your taxes, dont hurt anyone else, and give back to the community. I dont care who you sleep with, do those and you are alright in my book.

The Transgender/Transsexual stuff is a little out there for me since it openly draws attention to your sexuality, but I really havent thought a whole lot about that yet.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 7:06

Oh crap!!! Not is not what I meant. What I was trying to say that people are just gay, because they are gay.

Sorry d7. I did more coffee.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 7:07

shb No and not..not.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 7:12

shb i need more coffee.

By: treefrogdk on 3/25/11 at 7:23

maybe you've had enough coffee, nemo.....

By: dargent7 on 3/25/11 at 7:23

Stop it you guys...couple days ago "House" called me a "half-breed Samoan" and today "Nemo" called me "gay". If I wasn't from Detroit I'd be a little pissed-off.

By: Funditto on 3/25/11 at 7:27

D7 - you're saying you've never met one gay here in TN? And you live in Sylvan Park? I'm assuming you must never leave your house...

By: dargent7 on 3/25/11 at 7:36

PhiDelta: You're still digging even a bigger hole for yourself.
What's this, "engage in homosexual acts"?
I think we all know how "gays" have sex.
And pre-marital sex is a sin? Since when?
You think today's brides are all virgins at the altar at 21?
Bet you 85%-90% have "done it".
And more than once.

By: dargent7 on 3/25/11 at 7:40

Fun: Knowingly. And I'm being serious.
I see young people with streaked blonde and pink hair, studs, tats, earrings (men) ...I don't assume they're gay.
I work with 10 people who are in their low 20's who have all the above, and all are "straight".
As far as I can tell.

By: yogiman on 3/25/11 at 7:44

dumba..,

Consider this to be your lesson for the day. I post your name as dumba.. as an abbreviation of your true title of "dumb ass". It is like your posting want instead of won't when you mean 'will not'.

When you act like one, I must consider you are one until you prove otherwise.

By: Moonglow1 on 3/25/11 at 7:57

Moonglow1: Captain Nemo: the ancient astronauts. messed up big time on the "intelligent design." We must have been a pilot project for them. However some of us are more "intelligently designed" than others. Like for example Ann Coulter or Glen Beck who believe radiation is good for us. I am thinking those two should fly to Japan to help those brave workers down in the reactor.

By: PhiDelt496 on 3/25/11 at 8:00

dargent,

I know that about 90% of people commit the "sin" that I referred to...including myself. And that is my point. Gays are no more of sinners than straight people, so leave them alone and stop pushing religion on them.

By: dargent7 on 3/25/11 at 8:09

PhiD: We're straying off topic. Which was to "pray away the gay".
Being "gay" is genetic, and irrefutable. And is being "straight".
Acting on either orientation is a manner of personal decision.
Like a hardened con on Death Row who killed his neighbor/ wife/ children/ stranger....you cannot accept Jesus Christ and be forgiven....then get a pass into Heaven.
Life is based on the laws of physics. Wishing/ praying it away is nonsense.

By: yogiman on 3/25/11 at 8:51

dargent7,

How can you say we're straying off the topic when I often see a LTE posted and maybe one or two comments made about it, then pages after pages of different topics are posted in it's place?

By: Loner on 3/25/11 at 8:56

Phi Delta (PD?) wrote: "Sexuality shouldnt be in the workplace in any form, so I dont see why the law needs to protect them."

Well, Phi, it's already there, in the workplace, in many forms. One form in which sexuality manifests itself is called "spousal benefits". Spousal benefits are included in the health-care and retirement packages available at most workplaces; spouses are usually covered by the worker's plan.

The real reason for the right-wing rejection of same sex marriage is that employers would have to extend benefits to more people, if same sex marital partners were included in the coverage.

Cloaked in all sorts of high-minded moral reasons, the pro-DOMA people are really useful idiots for Darwinian capitalism. It's all about increasing profits, not saving America from moral turpitude.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 9:03

By: dargent7 on 3/25/11 at 8:23
Stop it you guys...couple days ago "House" called me a "half-breed Samoan" and today "Nemo" called me "gay". If I wasn't from Detroit I'd be a little pissed-off.
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Now dargent you was borned pissed. ;-)

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 9:05

By: Funditto on 3/25/11 at 8:27
D7 - you're saying you've never met one gay here in TN? And you live in Sylvan Park? I'm assuming you must never leave your house...
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Hello Fun how are you doing today? d7 must be pulling our legs.

By: Loner on 3/25/11 at 9:07

Off-topic Alert:

While the cat's away the mice will play...that old adage seems to apply to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Now that Uncle Sam is hip-deep in Holy War, on 3 fronts, our "allies" are openly threatening to go into Gaza again, this time it will be bigger and deadlier than Operation Cast Lead, according to Israeli officials.

I left a comment, #12, on the talkback for the JPost story. Here is the link:

http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=213813

Care to play more than one BINGO card at a time? You too can join the heated discussion.

Now, back to God and Gays....

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 9:09

By: Moonglow1 on 3/25/11 at 8:57
Moonglow1: Captain Nemo: the ancient astronauts. messed up big time on the "intelligent design." We must have been a pilot project for them. However some of us are more "intelligently designed" than others. Like for example Ann Coulter or Glen Beck who believe radiation is good for us. I am thinking those two should fly to Japan to help those brave workers down in the reactor.
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I think Coulter and Beck are the three eyed mutants.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 9:13

By: PhiDelt496 on 3/25/11 at 9:00
dargent,

I know that about 90% of people commit the "sin" that I referred to...including myself. And that is my point. Gays are no more of sinners than straight people, so leave them alone and stop pushing religion on them.
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I confess to the heterosexual part of sin.

I started to just say I confess, but then I figured yogi would get confused unless I made clear as to which I was confessing too.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 9:14

By: yogiman on 3/25/11 at 8:44
dumba..,

Consider this to be your lesson for the day. I post your name as dumba.. as an abbreviation of your true title of "dumb ass". It is like your posting want instead of won't when you mean 'will not'.

When you act like one, I must consider you are one until you prove otherwise.
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What can I say.......yogi you are a pigs ass.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 9:22

Loner lets talk about God, Guns and Gay’liens.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 9:29

OH BTW dumba..., is still not and insult.

By: Loner on 3/25/11 at 9:37

Aliens are always probing body cavities...if they have sex with an earthling, to their race, it's probably akin to what we would call "bestiality". If a hovering UFO starts playing the opening chords of "Deliverance", lubricate yourself...they have no mercy.

Gentlemen, please, enuff of the name-calling and ad hominem....it detracts from the quality of the discourse, IMO. Exchange e-mails and harass each other in relative privacy.

By: PhiDelt496 on 3/25/11 at 9:40

Loner,
Just because its there doesnt make it right. Also, when asked my opinion on gay marriage, my answer is "I dont care". Not to be apathetic, but I dont see how it affects me. If i want to cover my wife under my employer health benefits, it costs me more money, but not the company that much more money. So I dont think that anyone is going to start a huge social battle over the low percentage of GLB workers that want to cover their spouse. Most of the GLB couples that I know are both gainfully employed and would both have benefits from their employer, so "spousal" for GLB is going to be such a small number, it is rediculous to try to fight that.

As for the "destruction of the american family"...Straight people have done enough to destroy the american family with a 66% divorce rate, and now kids with parents that are still together are now "abnormal".

I definately do NOT support an amendment to any constitution preventing gay marriage. Constitutions are there to protect rights, not take them away.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 9:41

Shucks Loner. You just want let me have any fun. lol

Alright I will if he does.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 9:44

When my wife was alive we looked at each and laughed at the thought of gay marriage and wonder how that would destroy our marriage, unless one of us was gay.

Phil I agree that is one of the silliest explanations ever.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/25/11 at 9:47

Maybe I should have said arguments instead of explanations.