Monday, March 09, 2009

Help needed: LGBT crisis pregnancy manual

HT: Turn the Clock Forward:

ProLife Alliance of Gays and Lesibians and the Nonviolent Choice Directory are collaborating on a crisis pregnancy manual for the LGBT community. Please check out their survey and see if you can offer any assistance.

My initial response was, "How can lesbians experience a crisis pregnancy?" But the link explains, and really raises some awareness. And the manual will likely develop into something that will also help in all pregnancy center situations. Look at some of the areas they're exploring:

The Lifesaving, Life-Affirming Power of Acceptance (Acceptance by others and one’s self as a preventive for suicide, substance abuse, sexual abuse, unprotected and risky sex, & other problems with a bearing on the incidence of crisis pregnancy & abortion. Some “how to’s” for achieving acceptance.)


I can not count the number of times I've lamented that women end up on the abortion table because they're so desperate for acceptance and affection that they'll have sex with men that are, frankly, loathsome. I listened sadly to a tape of National Abortion Federation nurses commiserating about how they couldn't get their patients to abstain from sex while healing from their abortions, not because the patients were unwilling to abstain, but because their "boyfriends" simply won't allow it. Not to mention the "boyfriends" refuse to wear condoms, and have sex with multiple other women.

NB: Don't go if you're going to get snarky about sexuality issues. Gay, lesbian, and other nontraditionally-sexual people don't operate in a nice cocoon of acceptance the way straight prolifers do. They exist largely on the political Left, where they will be under vicious attack for not marching in lockstep on abortion, but when they try to work with prolifers, they get attacked for their sexuality. They have no place to call home, but are under constant attack no matter where they are and what they do. Well, let's look at it this way: Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. These folks are standing up for TRUTH and for LIFE, and as such, whether consciously or not, they are facing persecution for ... Jesus. Fill in the blanks! Let Jesus decide for Himself how much weight he wants to give to who they're sexually attracted to and what they do about it. If you can't work beside them, just leave them in peace. Or you will have to answer to Jesus for tearing them down when they were trying to stand for Truth and Life. Or do you think you have everything 100% nailed down and have no sin?

13 comments:

army_wife said...

I agree that we should be concerned with and loving towards ALL people (because everyone is a sinner, nobody is perfect). However, I am concerned about all the pro-homosexual rhetoric. I just hope no Christians are taken in by it. Homosexual sex is just as much of a sin as heterosexual sex outside of marriage. We need to remember that and not get taken in by the "homophobia this" and "equal rights that". If there is a way to work with them on prolife issues WITHOUT giving any kind of legitimacy or affirmation of their lifestyle then fine. I would hope for the same with heterosexuals in non-marital sexual relationships. We don't need to sell out Biblical truth to have some common ground with non-Christians in ungodly lifestyles (including but not limited to the homosexual lifestyle). I have a friend who is an open lesbian and claims that she's in good with God. Twisting scripture to meet our own sinful wants is very tempting and something to be avoided at all costs. It would be nice for me to tell my friend that what she does is OK with God but the reality is that it is not. I'd like to comfort my friend that way but I know it would be WRONG. So I am determined to love her as a friend and tell her the truth gently if she asks or brings it up. I don't think that this point of view makes me "snarky" about their sexuality. God calls us to call a spade a spade -- heterosexual or homosexual, it's all a sin unless it is one man with one woman within marriage.

Amy said...

They exist largely on the political Left, where they will be under vicious attack for not marching in lockstep on abortion, but when they try to work with prolifers, they get attacked for their sexuality.

I agree. I stand in alliance with anyone - athiest or believer, gay or straight - if it means defending the life of the unborn.

GrannyGrump said...

army wife, there are a number of areas where I can not work with them, because they support or at least condone behavior that I believe is sinful, but I CAN work with them in areas of agreement, or I can stand back and let them work without attacking them.

I think back to my own pre-Christian days. I was the Resident Heathen among the prolifers. I KNEW -- as PLAGAL folks know -- that the Christians disapproved of any number of my behaviors. And I flaunted those behaviors trying to get them to attack me, to see if their love was real or not. But they were able to just keep loving me.

As I spent more time with them I started to ask them questions about their faith, and about how they saw questions of good and evil. And those people loved me into the Church, all without saying a single word about my particular sins. God worked on them with me in His own way and His own time, and I believe that they trusted Him to set His priorities with me.

I extend the same grace and courtesy to others now. I won't concede that fornication, adultery, or homosexual behaviors are Scriptural. I don't bring it up unless they do, and I say, "What I see is X. And I let it slide with you because I see A B C examples of God's grace in your life and I leave the rest between you and Jesus." I ask them to respect the fact that I don't make an issue of it by refraining from making an issue of it themselves. There's no confusion, no thinking I'm condoning behaviors. I'm merely leaving it up to Jesus to deal with things I think are problematic -- after all, I'm sure there's sin in MY life that I'm either justifying somehow or utterly oblivious of. All have sinned and fallen short, etc.

Marysia said...

Christina,

Thank you for calling attention to the manual we are developing on the much-neglected but serious issue of the LGBT community and crisis pregnancy.

I am glad you all are open to alliances with LGBT prolifers. Really glad. Especially when PLAGAL has been excluded from prolife events...

But some of the commenters here seem pretty sure that Jesus and the Bible frown on the preferences and behaviors of LGBT people.

I hope you will consider also that there are prayerful Christians, LGBT people and straight allies alike, who interpret the teachings of Jesus differently on this matter. Not to twist the truth around to justify sins, but as a matter of the justice and mercy that are the heart of God and the heart of the Christian religion.

I highly recommend this booklet (available free online) by Rev. Mel White, who was once Jerry Falwell's speechwriter and then came out as a gay man. Rev. White speaks with such an obvious love for and engagement with the Bible, and for those Christians who disagree with him on the issue of homosexuality:

What the Bible Says--and Doesn't Say--About Homosexuality

http://www.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-bible

Even if you are not persuaded at least you can learn more about why anyone would take such a perspective.

I also hope that in reading Mel White's booklet, or in reading about our LGBT pregnancy project, you will remember the teaching of Jesus to "judge not that you be not judged."

Please remember that you are listening to the case and plea of a community of people who have so often been scapegoated and crucified.


I'm not accusing anyone here. But there are many prolifers whose hurtful words and deeds about their LGBT sisters and brothers drive them to take sexual risks that result in crisis pregnancies and often in abortions. Prolifers of all kinds can help to heal and to prevent these hurts.

Thank you.

Naaman said...

Marysia, you have a nice way with the backhanded compliments. Your comment reads something like: "Thank you for trying to be nice, unlike all of those other Christians...."

You wrote:
But some of the commenters here seem pretty sure that Jesus and the Bible frown on the preferences and behaviors of LGBT people.

Well, yes. The Bible is very clear that homosexual sex is sinful. Any honest reading of Holy Scripture will show you that.

That said, lots of things are sinful. That's why Jesus died for us. The only unforgivable sin is blaspheming the Holy Spirit -- not gay sex. A lesbian lifestyle is no more (or less) sinful than a pornography addiction, pedophilia, adultery, or any other form of sexual immorality. Sin is sin.

Christians have a difficult path to walk with those who are trapped in sexual sin. We must be gracious and extend help to them, but we must not condone their sin. We must love them as Christ did, but we must not pretend that their sins are "no big deal". In a way, our response to the LGBTQ community has to stay on the same narrow path as our response to unwed mothers: How do we speak the truth in love?

You also wrote:
I hope you will consider also that there are prayerful Christians, LGBT people and straight allies alike, who interpret the teachings of Jesus differently on this matter. Not to twist the truth around to justify sins, but as a matter of the justice and mercy that are the heart of God and the heart of the Christian religion.

Once again, Scripture is clear. It doesn't matter how many misguided people you can find to support your position. The Kingdom of God is not a democracy. God has spoken, and that settles the matter.

You also wrote:
I highly recommend this booklet (available free online) by Rev. Mel White....

No offense, but that's not worth my time. I live near Patrick Henry College, and I've seen Soulforce in action. I'm not interested in anything that those folks have to say.

You also wrote:
Even if you are not persuaded at least you can learn more about why anyone would take such a perspective.

Why do so many liberals assume that conservatives haven't heard their arguments? My own mother & father can give me plenty of arguments for why homosexual actions are supposedly just fine with God. I know the arguments in favor of normalizing homosexuality, just like I know the arguments in favor of abortion rights. And I find them to be equally unconvincing.

You finally wrote:
But there are many prolifers whose hurtful words and deeds about their LGBT sisters and brothers drive them to take sexual risks that result in crisis pregnancies and often in abortions. Prolifers of all kinds can help to heal and to prevent these hurts.

We must speak the truth in love ... but all we can speak is the truth.

Marysia said...

Naaman,

Some Christians *are* unloving hypocrites, some aren't. The unloving hypocrites are not the fault of Jesus. They are their own fault, and they exist in unplesantly high numbers. Enough to drive gay kids to suicide, enough to pressure single women to have abortions so they don't face the scorn of their church communities for not being virgins.

The verses that people often invole to condemn homosexuality are upon closer inspection about *sexual abuse*--which is against the Way of Jesus whatever the respective genders of the perpetrator and victim. These verses are irrelevant, say, to a same-sex couple who live a lifetime of commitment more deeply and lovingly than a lot of heterosexual couples.

So what do you object to about Soulforce?

Marysia said...

PS Why do you seem to equate abortion and homosexuality? Same-sex relations prevent abortions!

Kathy said...

Marysia,

I read the link you posted, and was unimpressed by it. First, he says there are several "premises" he makes; if he is incorrect in these premises, his whole document falls. While I am not going to take up each point with which I disagree with him, I will point out one thing that if you are the least bit honest, you will see that he completely twists, and that is in his "Passage 3" about Bible verses on homosexual behavior -- Lev. 18:6 [it's actual Lev. 18:22] & 20:13.

First, he downgrades the Law of God, which Paul says in Romans is perfect and faultless, to a mere "holiness code" of man. He says "it's a list of behaviors that people of faith find offensive in a certain place and time." Actually, no -- what is in Leviticus is the Law of God, that HE said was an abomination. He completely wrests the Scriptures by saying that verses talking about sex "has nothing to do with sex." Now, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law to those who believe in Him, so we are not bound by the ceremonial laws (such as those dealing with sacrifices, because He is the Perfect Sacrifice); but "the things that were written aforetime were written for our learning" -- and you should not cast them aside lightly.

The specific lie that I want to point out in this discussion is that he says "the code was written for the priests only." But what does the Bible say? In the first and second verses of Lev. 18, it says that God said to Moses, "Speak unto the children of Israel" -- not just to the priests, but the entire congregation. Read the whole chapter -- it is giving laws and rules and regulations for all of the nation to observe -- and the verses immediately after those verses which forbid homosexual sex and bestiality reiterates that the nation of Israel is not to "defile" themselves with any of these sexual sins and deviancies (including incest and adultery, as well as child sacrifice), says that for these sins, the land itself was vomiting out the Canaanite nations who were currently inhabiting the land; and also that if the Israelites engaged in these behaviors, that the land would vomit the Israelites out as well.

Again, Lev. 20 is also directed towards "the children of Israel" -- not just the priests. This is a lie that Mel White is preaching. While no one is perfect, I counsel you to look very closely at the rest of his claims, since you see that he cannot be trusted in something so small, yet so obvious.

Finally, can you give me even one single verse from the entire Bible which supports homosexual sex as being good or even tolerable? From what I can see, the only sexual activity that God smiles on is that which takes place in the context of marriage, between a man and a woman. All other sex is frowned on, whether pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, post-marital sex, homosexual sex, bestiality, prostitution, etc.

You are on shaky ground, and I beg you to reconsider your position.

Marysia said...

Kathy,

Have you ever considered that *you* may be on shaky ground as well? Why is it only people who advocate LGBT justice who are on shaky ground and of questionable integrity?

I don't think Mel White is lying about the significance of God's law in Leviticus. Rather he would disagree with your interpretation of the dictates in Leviticus and their current relevance/irrelevance.

Just because someone interprets a point in the Bible differently--that doesn't mean they're lying. It means they interpret it differently from you, and probably have their good, well-considered reasons for it.

In the Hebrew Bible there's a lot of polygamy, an institution that treats women as chattel. So there's not just one view of marriage or sexuality in the Bible. And not every view is to be taken as a blueprint for behavior today. Each one has to be weighed and considered.

The prevalence of polygamy shows that just because something's in the Bible doesn't mean it is to be taken uncritically and literally as a model for behavior today.

The Song of Solomon is often considered a celebration of one man one woman marriage--but never mind that Solomon had all those concubines...

We have to use the intellects and hearts that God gave us to engage with the Word and figure out what it means in the present context.

From prayerful consideration, I, like many others, have concluded that the Bible, today, calls for couples to have commitment, reciprocity, compassion...but there is no reason why these partnerships cannot take place between two people of the same gender as well as people of different genders.

Homosexual sex between two consenting, loving partners can in no way be equated with child molestation or bestiality, which are the abuse and exploitation of God's vulnerable children and animals by the more powerful, who are responsible to know and do better than engaging in such harm.

Marriage can be about procreation, but fundamentally it is about something else: partnership.

If its most primary meaning is procreation, then marriage is not only off limits to same-sex couples, but heterosexual couples with members who are infertile, or past menopause, or who have disabilities that make pregnancy too risky, or who simply choose not to seek out conception, temporarily or permanently.

Honestly, would God be so cruel as to deny marriages to people who can't have kids, or who can't medically risk pregnancy, or who want to devote their energies to other socially beneficial activities besides childrearing?

So why would God deny marriage betweem two people who love their members of their own gender?

Kathy said...

Marysia,

You missed my point entirely -- please go back and reread what I said. Mel White lies when he says that the commands given in Leviticus 18 and 22 were "for the priests only." Read the first three verses of each of those chapters, and you will see that they are directed to the whole nation of Israel.

Please go back and read what Mel White said, and what I said -- I directly quoted him, when he relegated these passages in Leviticus to a "holiness code" which he defines as follows:

"So what's a holiness code? It's a list of behaviors that people of faith find offensive in a certain place and time. In this case, the code was written for priests only, and its primary intent was to set the priests of Israel over and against priests of other cultures."

He doesn't say that the Law given in Leviticus is a law from God, but rather "behaviors" that "people of faith find offensive in a certain place and time." He then goes on to talk about other "holiness codes" which he was a part of, which were all man-made, and included dancing. In everything he says in this section, he downgrades the Law to make it sound as if it is merely man-made, for instance, "It was a common behavior by non-Jews that Jews thought was displeasing to God"; and "in every age, people of faith are responsible for setting moral and ethical standards that honor God." Is this so? *People* set moral and ethical standards? I thought that GOD sets moral and ethical standards, and we are to abide by those!

So, besides the fact that he continually sets aside Scriptures as if they were just man-made laws, Mel White wrests the Scriptures when he says that these passages are "only for the priests," when anyone who can read can see from the opening verses of these chapters that God told Moses to tell the entire nation of Israel these things, not just the priests.

If we can't even agree that Lev. 18 & 20 were written for the entire nation of Israel, it is pointless for this discussion to even continue.

Naaman said...

Marysia wrote:
Some Christians *are* unloving hypocrites, some aren't. The unloving hypocrites are not the fault of Jesus. They are their own fault, and they exist in unplesantly high numbers. Enough to drive gay kids to suicide, enough to pressure single women to have abortions so they don't face the scorn of their church communities for not being virgins.

This statement is sadly true, and it is one of the Church's great shames. As long as the Church continues to be made of fallen human beings, it will remain an imperfect institution. When Christ returns for His Bride, we will be perfect ... but not one day before then.

That said, the imperfections of the Church do not change or diminish the perfection of God's Word. In other words, just because many Christians are hypocrites, that doesn't mean that we should stop trying to live in accordance with God's commands.

You also wrote:
The verses that people often invole to condemn homosexuality are upon closer inspection about *sexual abuse*--which is against the Way of Jesus whatever the respective genders of the perpetrator and victim. These verses are irrelevant, say, to a same-sex couple who live a lifetime of commitment more deeply and lovingly than a lot of heterosexual couples.

Sexual abuse is bad, and no sensible person would claim otherwise.

That said, I simply don't see what you're talking about when you try to pass off the Bible's condemnation of homosexual behavior as really about sexual abuse. Where do you see that? What is the basis for your claim?

Here's one example of the Bible's characterization of homosexual behavior as sin:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (1st Corinthians 6:9-10, NASB)

Lots of sins are mentioned in that list, and they're all described as bad. How bad? These sins will deny someone entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. That's how bad.

The Good News comes in the next verse:
Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

That's the hope of the Gospel. People who are trapped in destructive patterns of sin can be set free by the power of Jesus. Good News indeed!

But we won't get there if we persist in denying our sins. In fact, God's Word also has something to say on that topic:
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. (1st John 1:10)

The Good News is that sins can be forgiven. The bad news is that denying our own sinfulness is not any kind of answer at all. In that respect, ardent defenders of "homosexual rights" are in the same position as the RCRC and other pro-choice organizations. By deceiving people about their own sinfulness, you are denying them the opportunity to seek true forgiveness. Instead of loving sinners enough to encourage them to repent and be saved, you are comforting them right into Hell.

You also wrote:
So what do you object to about Soulforce?

As I wrote, I live near Patrick Henry College. Soulforce's confrontation with PHC was well-documented by one of our local bloggers:
First link
Second link
Third link (which includes pictures and a dialogue with David Weintraub, a pro-Soulforce commenter)

Also, I notice that Kathy took the time to dismantle the Soulforce arguments, so I will not repeat her efforts. Thanks, Kathy! :)

Finally, you wrote:
PS Why do you seem to equate abortion and homosexuality? Same-sex relations prevent abortions!

Then why does the LGBTQ community need a crisis-pregnancy manual? ;)

More seriously, I didn't attempt to equate abortion and homosexual acts in any way other than mentioning that they're both sins. As such, I can't really recommend one over the other. :(

Marysia said...

Kathy,

Who were the various dictates of Leviticus intended for, and when? My considered conclusion is that it's open to interpretation, and that Rev. White's is a fair one.

If you believe so quickly and strongly that it is a closed question and that he is purposefully deceptive, then I don't know how we can have a discussion about it. I suspect that we have each have very different beliefs about the meanings and interpretation of the Bible.

Naaman,
As for the evidence that the Bible is talking about sexual abuse and not condemning homosexuality--the original words for these practices in their original languages, in the social context of the ancient world, refer particularly to relationships in which adults sexually dominated children.

I read the blog posts about Soulforce. Soulforce is consciously resorting to tactics of nonviolent resistance and confrontation similar to those that Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. employed. More power to them for that.

Yes, people get upset when deeply entrenched attitudes about the social value and status of despised/mistreated groups are challenged. Look at how upset people get when you defend the humanity of the unborn, for instance.

There's no way around that for anyone who dares to name and challenge discrimination, including that against LGBT persons.

Just as there is no way I can simultaneously please and come off as "nice" to white people who say nasty things, whether consciously or unconsciously, about my grandchild of African descent. Or people who say nasty things about the disabled, a group to which I belong.

So why is an LGBT crisis pregnancy manual needed? Because being queer is so stigmatized and so many youth face such pressure to pretend to themselves and others that they are not gay. Along with resorting to substance abuse and/or becoming suicidally depressed, many end up risking unprotected heterosexual sex and becoming pregnant or impregnating a partner.

To say the least, the prolife community is not well known for its loving welcome of LGBT people. So, many people in this pregnancy situation have nowhere to turn but abortion clinics.

Another issue is that bisexual people are rendered invisible and regarded as suspect in both the gay and straight communities. So education on pregnancy prevention often overlooks the needs and concerns of bisexual persons.

And if someday there is a prenatal test for sexual orientation--we all probably can figure out which unborn children are going to get it.

Carrying a child with the trait for LGB or T will pose a severe quandary for some families who wish to believe they are prolife, but are so repelled by this trait that they conclude it's better to abort.

by the way, Naaman, I did not mean to suggest *anywhere* that you or anyone else here has never heard the particular arguments I personally advocate. I was simply pointing out better explications of these arguments than I can give at the moment.

Even though I passionately, passionately disagree---I don't think people are "dumb" or "uniformed" necessarily, simply because they advocate conservative positions. "Dumb" and "uninformed," along with their opposites, are present throughout the entire spectrum of religious and political beliefs!

Kathy said...

Marysia,

You asked me who the dictates of Leviticus were for. I already answered that question. Read the opening verses of Lev. 18 & 20 and then you tell me who was under consideration here.

Frankly, when it reads, "God said to Moses, 'Speak to the children of Israel and say, "Do this... Don't do this..."'" then that's pretty clear. I'm reading through the Bible right now and am part-way through Numbers, so Exodus and Leviticus are still pretty fresh on my mind. There are numerous commands in Leviticus dealing solely with the priests, others dealing only with the high priest, others that deal with all Levites, and then there are commands like these which are given to "the children of Israel." It seems crystal clear that when God was speaking to one group of Israelites, He would delineate that; and when He would speak to another group, He would say it clearly to them as well.

You obviously think that when it says, "speak to the children of Israel" that it really ought to read "speak to the priests" -- what reasons do you put forth for this interpretation?