Letter to the Editor

Monday, December 6, 2010 at 9:05pm

Did Belmont University do the “Christian” thing when it learned Lisa Howe is gay? 
Is God a homophobe, or does Belmont have bats in its belfries?

Yes, there is a Bible verse that calls homosexual sex an “abomination,” but the Bible also contains eight verses that call it an “abomination” to eat prohibited foods, including shellfish. If God loathes seeing people eat shrimp, why doesn’t Belmont fire employees who eat at Red Lobster?

Trying to derive proper ethics from the Bible is like trying to find an oasis in a desert: one must constantly beware of mirages. According to the Bible, extramarital sex is a “sin” but “men of God” can sell their own daughters as sex slaves (Exodus 21), must slaughter captured women and male infants, keeping only the virgin girls alive as sex slaves (Numbers 31), and must murder girls who have been raped, or sell them to their rapists (Deuteronomy 22). Just a few years ago, Christians were using the Bible to defend racism and slavery, since the Bible explicitly commands and condones slavery in a multiplicity of verses. Did those horrendous verses come from God? Is God a bigot?

Obviously, Christians must be very selective about the parts of the Bible they choose to believe. So why pay any attention to the verse about homosexuality being an “abomination”? Is God a homophobe, really, or did ancient nomadic goatherds who stoned their own children to death for being “stubborn” still have a lot to learn about compassion and justice, at the time the really terrible parts of the Bible were written? Jesus never said a word about homosexuality, so why do Christians inflict so much injustice and unnecessary suffering on non-heterosexuals today?

Mike Burch

Nashville 37221 

Filed under: City Voices

43 Comments on this post:

By: dargent7 on 12/7/10 at 6:44

I thought we did all the heavy lifting on this "gay" stuff yesterday?
Oh, well, great LTE. I'd forgotton all the bad admonishments.
I disagree with ,"trying to find proper ethics in the Bible is like..."
The New Testament included Jesus and 100% of what He did, said, and stood for was "ethical".
Back to the firing: she'll sue, win, and move out of state. One where the humans walk upright.

By: govskeptic on 12/7/10 at 8:33

So, we are to pick and choose what we like or dislike from the
bible, the Constitution, the laws of state or federal that we like,
what we like or dislike from marriage vows, ghees this is like
the Shoney's breakfast bar. Just pick what you like in life and
we will all have individual happiness forever! Are we sure that
will work out OK?

By: dargent7 on 12/7/10 at 8:37

"gov": The LTE writer quoted the Bible. Even gave the passages, "Bible and verse".
It says what it says.
If I were you, I'd start a yard sale and get ready for May 21, 2011.

By: gdiafante on 12/7/10 at 8:51

Homosexuality can be found throughout history and has even been found in some animals. Yet some keep thinking it's a choice.

I would have loved to read the Bible verse where Jesus made his choice and why.

By: global_citizen on 12/7/10 at 8:58

Well well stated Mike Burch.

One curiosity about the bible that many people probably have never heard. Try to find one single verse in the bible that prohibits a father from having sexual relations with his own daughter. Go ahead, try. It's not in there.

If that doesn't tell you the bible's "morality" is a bit messed up, I don't know what does. It also might give you insight into who "really" wrote the bible.

By: gdiafante on 12/7/10 at 9:02

Morality out of necessity, citizen. If you start with only two people, incest cannot be avoided, therefore acceptable.

I think Elvis sang that we're all kissing cousins because we're children of Adam and Eve. Elvis was wise.

By: govskeptic on 12/7/10 at 9:16

D7, I appreciate the curt remark, but no I don't feel any need for
yard sell in preparation for 5/21/11. We all know there are those
that go totally wacho on many subjects in and out of the bible!

By: dargent7 on 12/7/10 at 9:30

gD: Some flowers, plants and trees are "gay" too.
God has a sense of humor. Belmont, does not.

By: budlight on 12/7/10 at 9:45

For God So Loved The World.

By: AmyLiorate on 12/7/10 at 10:00

Love the sinner, hate the sin.

I don't think that means you should disown anyone. And probably firing them from a coaching job is a bit harsh. But apparently she "resigned" and we're reading between the lines that it was under duress.

WWJD? He got a lot of bad PR in the day as well, but somehow he still has the respect of billions of people. Can Belmont say the same?

By: BenDover on 12/7/10 at 10:01

The students should break out the bibles and ask the administrators to point out where Jesus condemns homosexuality. I'll give them a hint... He didn't. As a follow-up exercise please count the times He harshly condemns divorce. The churches and this school would have a tough time being so firm on this, now acceptable, cultural shift of divorce. There's also that whole 'throw the first stone' thing and 'motes in the eyes' and such.

The letter writer makes some moral equivalences to Old Testament and New Testament though. That's a broad and self-serving stroke against the general Judaeo / Christian teaching and cultural norms against homosexuality that have served our culture through the ages. There is a lot to be said for the surviving cultural norms of our societies because they, in fact, survived and have thrived. Making these crass leaps between 20 centuries before Christ juxtaposed against Christ's Teachings about the New Law undermines the letter writer's credibility among Christians, I suspect.

I think, in the New Testament Paulian Epistles, St Paul admonishes homosexuality... somewhere in Romans if memory serves. Paul never spoke to me in the way the Gospels do though.

There is a biblical argument to be made in support of this employee. Let's focus on the top 10 list and the golden rule and loving the Father instead of these polarizing arguments.

That said, it is the final decision of the University to establish its own codes of conduct. They'd do well to focus more on the direct teachings of Christ if they want to get past this issue.

By: BenDover on 12/7/10 at 10:03

Belmont stood up to their benefactors at the SBC in the past. I suspect they've got the b@lls to do the right thing here... the question is, do they have the wisdom?

By: Captain Nemo on 12/7/10 at 10:10

Good morning

Lake Phelps
http://naturalsciences.org/microsites/education/treks/birds_09/images/06 - Sunrise over Lake Phelps.jpg

By: Captain Nemo on 12/7/10 at 10:10

Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands? ~Ernest Gaines

By: Captain Nemo on 12/7/10 at 10:14

Hello Ben. I was starting to worry about you. Is everything good with you?

By: BenDover on 12/7/10 at 10:18

Yes, thanks for asking, Nemo. I've just been busy lately... I think we overlapped our breaks from the CP, in that a few weeks ago I was worried about where you were. Hope you are well now also.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/7/10 at 10:27

I'm doing fine Ben. I had a double knee replacement on Oct 25. Everyone I talk too can believe how well I am doing. So when I see my doctor today I am going to see if he will let me go back to work.

By: BenDover on 12/7/10 at 10:36

That's great to hear you are doing so well after such a traumatic surgery, Nemo.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/7/10 at 10:44

I knew it would be bad and I hope that I never have to do it again. They tried to get me to do one at a time, but I had heard the horror stories and insisted on having both done at once. I still hurt, but nothing compared to before the operation.

Now I got to go. I will check back later.

Good talking with you Ben.

By: brrrrk on 12/7/10 at 11:59

For all you seafood lovin', gay hatin' true believers...

http://www.godhatesshrimp.com/

By: brrrrk on 12/7/10 at 12:16

Looks like the the Supreme Court is getting ready to step all over womens rights....

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/12/06/at-u-s-supreme-court-christmas-comes-early-for-wal-mart/

By: Activate on 12/7/10 at 12:28

"she'll sue, win"

This is from the State's website...
"Tennessee is known as an 'EMPLOYMENT-AT-WILL' state. Generally, this means that an employer may legally hire, fire, suspend or discipline any employee at any time and for any reason - good or bad - or for no reason at all. However, an employer may not discriminate against any employee on the basis of the employee's race, sex, age, religion, color, national origin, or disability."

The law does mention discrimination based on 'sex' but it leaves out discrimination based on 'sexual orientation.' In legal terms, 'sex' refers to either gender or intercourse. 'Sexual orientation' refers to an individual's sexual identity, be it gay or straight. Unfortunately for Ms. Lowe, the omission of the term 'sexual orientation' from the law means that she probably won't have much legal recourse, at least on the state level.

By: dargent7 on 12/7/10 at 12:50

Activate: You need to get out more.
You know how many "pre-nups" still have the "ex-wife" win large sums of money, property in court? In court, there are more loopholes and caveats than the Hoover Dam. This is America:
Where you can kill two people (OJ), your wife (Robert Blake), or make 4 wives dissappear (Drew Peterson).
The US courts are a crap shoot, beating Las Vegas in odds against the house.
She's getting major traction on this story, locally, and Nationally.
If she lawyer's up, which I bet she will, she'll get a windfall settlement, if only to make her go away.

By: brrrrk on 12/7/10 at 12:57

dargent7 said

"She's getting major traction on this story, locally, and Nationally.
If she lawyer's up, which I bet she will, she'll get a windfall settlement, if only to make her go away."

Say hello to Tennessee's next millionaire. I hope she takes Belmont to the proverbial Vestment cleaners.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/7/10 at 1:09

By: Activate on 12/7/10 at 11:28
"she'll sue, win"

This is from the State's website...
"Tennessee is known as an 'EMPLOYMENT-AT-WILL' state. Generally, this means that an employer may legally hire, fire, suspend or discipline any employee at any time and for any reason - good or bad - or for no reason at all.
*******************************************************************************************

I just wonder what the cost of this publicity is for Belmont U.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/7/10 at 1:13

The doctor has given me clearance to go back to work.

By: AmyLiorate on 12/7/10 at 1:19

congrats Nemo.

More fun at walmart:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/homeland-security-messages-coming-walmart-hotels-malls/

By: Captain Nemo on 12/7/10 at 1:37

Thank you Amy.

I wonder if we should report the suspicious activities of bud and yogi. ;-)

By: gdiafante on 12/7/10 at 1:42

Congrats Nemo.

I've heard from Joe Namath that after knee replacements you have the incredible urge to kiss Suzy Kolber.

By: dargent7 on 12/7/10 at 1:51

Yes, but Namath was cute as hell. Not to mention a Super Bowl III ring.
Ever seen Nemo's profile, coming or going?

By: BenDover on 12/7/10 at 1:59

I agree with darge that the fact that there is no criminal misdeed here would not limit the coach from suing in a civil trial and possibly winning or forcing the school to back down. I don't think any judge would override any contractual relationship the school may have had with the coach but a jury trial might. Do they do jury trials in civil cases anymore?

By: Captain Nemo on 12/7/10 at 1:59

Hay d7!! I resemble that remark.

http://www.painsupport.co.uk/newsletter/thinking.jpeg

By: AmyLiorate on 12/7/10 at 2:20

Isn't Namath also the one wearing nylon stockings? I wonder if he likes the same shade as me.

Headline from the UK

"WikiLeaks cables: Barack Obama is a bigger danger"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/dec/05/obama-us-security-danger-threats

(article by former UN ambassador John Bolton)

By: brrrrk on 12/7/10 at 2:30

"It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach." - FDR

By: AmyLiorate on 12/7/10 at 2:40

Which do we hear more often around here?

Empty minds

Empty stomachs

By: bfra on 12/7/10 at 2:42

Congrats Nemo! Which 5K are you looking into? LOL

By: bfra on 12/7/10 at 2:44

d7 - Watched a clip on Namath just lately, he is still cute as hell.

By: global_citizen on 12/7/10 at 3:33

"Morality out of necessity, citizen. If you start with only two people, incest cannot be avoided, therefore acceptable."

Pfft. Nice try. I think the Pentateuch was written LONG after the world was adequately populated, negating the need for incest (and probably written by patriarchal misogynists who liked to bang their own daughters).

By: Kosh III on 12/7/10 at 4:04

"Pfft. Nice try. I think the Pentateuch was written LONG after the world was adequately populated, negating the need for incest (and probably written by patriarchal misogynists who liked to bang their own daughters)."

Just for the record, Abraham was married to his half-SISTER, Sarah.

By: budlight on 12/7/10 at 6:42

For God SO loved the world.

By: Loner on 12/7/10 at 8:28

Late to the table, I had stuff to do today. Mike Burch wrote an excellent LTE. I'd give it an A+.

Dr. Dover wrote,"The letter writer makes some moral equivalences to Old Testament and New Testament though". I think that Ben Dover missed Mike's point; those who "juxtapose" Old Testament concepts of morality over Christian concepts of morality are the ones who are opposing equal rights for gays, not our LTE writer.

Mike Burch was pointing out the hypocrisy and moral dishonesty of those who "juxtapose" in this manner, he was not establishing any kind of justifiable "moral equivalence" or use that idea as support for his argument.

I did hear witnessing for Jesus of Nazareth , Son of God, from two of our regulars, Ben and D7. I look forward to seeing their Christianity in action as we go forward. I expect there to be some turning of the cheeks, loving of their enemies and being their brother's keepers. I expect these two witnesses for Christ to treat others as they would like to be treated themselves. Additionally, I expect them to forgive any and all trespasses made against them, so that they might likewise be forgiven of their trespasses..... and not only that, I expect them to give unto Caesar's what is Caesar's....and to the Lord, what is the Lord's.

I make no claim of being Christian....but I'll try to live up to those standards as well.....because they make sense, not because I fear post-mortem justice or believe that a human being who lived over two thousand years ago was and is God almighty, the immortal creator of the universe and an all-too-human, vengeful supreme being who is coming back with revenge in mind.

By: yogiman on 12/7/10 at 11:15

Glad to hear you are back on your feet, Captain Nemo. Just hold that rig between the white lines.

I understand Ms. Lowe resigned from her job. If that is a fact, what basis would she have for a lawsuit?

By: budlight on 12/8/10 at 7:04

Loner said "I make no claim of being Christian....but I'll try to live up to those standards as well.....because they make sense, not because I fear post-mortem justice or believe that a human being who lived over two thousand years ago was and is God almighty, the immortal creator of the universe and an all-too-human, vengeful supreme being who is coming back with revenge in mind."

They do make sense.

For God SO LOVED the World. . . . . . .