Rev. Steve Heiss, pastor at Tabernacle United Methodist Church in Binghamton, N.Y., officiates at the July 2, 2002 commitment ceremony of his daughter, Nancy Heiss (blue dress) and Kim Willow (pink and white dress) in a field in Norwich, N.Y. Photo courtesy Steve Heiss

The Rev. Steve Heiss, pastor at Tabernacle United Methodist Church in Binghamton, N.Y., officiates at the July 2, 2002, commitment ceremony of his daughter, Nancy Heiss (blue dress) and Kim Willow (pink and white dress) in a field in Norwich, N.Y. Photo courtesy of Steve Heiss


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

(RNS) Almost daily, evidence mounts of defiant United Methodist clergy breaking church law on behalf of gays and lesbians as the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination struggles with what may be its most vexing rebellion in decades.

Consider:

  • A retired seminary president, the Rev. William McElvaney, said Sunday (Jan. 19) that he is willing to officiate at same-sex weddings. The 85-year-old former president of St. Paul School of Theology made the announcement at Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas. He called church trials “the Methodist version of inquisition in the 20th and 21st centuries.”
  • After the Jan. 14 federal ruling striking down a gay marriage ban in Oklahoma, a group of Methodists favoring same-sex marriage took out ads in the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman praising the ruling and inviting people to Methodist churches.
  • Every week, another Methodist minister “comes out” and acknowledges performing a same-sex wedding on the website of the New York-based Methodists in New Directions. So far, 14 clergy have made such disclosures; none has faced a church complaint, said Dorothee Benz, MIND spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, Frank Schaefer, the former Pennsylvania pastor stripped of his clergy credentials after presiding at a same-sex ceremony, continues to receive emotional and financial support. A collection organized by Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., raised more than $30,000 for Schaefer.

United Methodist Rev. Frank Schaefer serves communion to his supporters at the end of his two-day church trial. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert/United Methodist News Service

Frank Schaefer serves communion to his supporters at the end of his two-day church trial. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert/United Methodist News Service


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

The ongoing crisis over gays is embarrassing to the denomination, says a Southern California bishop who offered Schaefer a job working in her conference.

“The defrocking of Frank Schaefer brought great shame to our denomination and much pain to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” said Bishop Minerva G. Carcano of the California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church.

“It saddens me and many others that we continue to use trials as a way of addressing this. It does not look good at all,” she said.

She sees the growing movement challenging church policy as a turning point.

“People are stepping up and expressing what they feel in ways I have not seen before,” she said. “It is a moment of real possibility for change in the church.”

Carcano’s comments follow the Jan. 17 news that a second United Methodist pastor faces a church trial for officiating at the wedding of his son to another man. The Rev. Thomas Ogletree, 80, retired pastor and former Yale Divinity School dean, faces a March 10 trial in Stamford, Conn.

United Methodist law since 1972 has defined marriage as between a man and a woman. It bans clergy from performing and churches from hosting same-sex ceremonies.

Carcano said Schaefer met with her and her Cabinet on Jan. 12 to discuss his potential hire in California, but no decision has been made.

Retired United Methodist Bishop Melvin G. Talbert photo by John C. Goodwin/courtesy UMNS

Retired United Methodist Bishop Melvin G. Talbert. Photo by John C. Goodwin/courtesy UMNS


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

The Rev. Bill Bouknight, associate director of the Confessing Movement, an evangelical group, said church trials are necessary to hold clergy accountable.

“The developments sadden us because they are clearly contrary to Scripture and to doctrines of the United Methodist Church,” said Bouknight, a retired pastor who lives in Columbia, S.C.

Bishop Melvin Talbert, the only bishop known to have presided at a same-sex marriage, said the number of people challenging what he considers unjust church law encourages him.

“Biblical obedience means we decide to do the right thing no matter what,” he said.

Several other clergy are likely to face church trials soon.

YS/MG END GADOUA

 

64 Comments

  1. One small step forward in the moral evolution of a christian movement toward humanity based on logic and reason? Darwin would be impressed.

    Religion is poison!!

  2. Apparently, people are realizing that their morals are better than those of the Bible.

    The next step is to realize that if you are good enough to know right and wrong without the dictates of a Religion, what do you need the religion for?

    Don’t listen to preachers who disparage humanity with “you are not worthy” – you are indeed worthy and plenty capable of making right and wrong choices without the ancient nonsense of religion.

    • Sure…that’s easy-peasy after 2000 years of Judeo-Christian influence in the west informing us of what is “moral,” Would love to send you back to the pre-Christian world to check out the ancients’ notions of “morals” and human “rights.” Methinks you’d be in quite a hurry to get back.

      • SHAWNIE5,

        You said, “Would love to send you back to the pre-Christian world to check out the ancients’ notions of “morals” and human “rights.”

        You think the 1500 years of Dark Ages was an IMPROVEMENT over Ancient Greek culture!? You think ‘Judeo Christian holds a candle to the Analects of Confucius?

        What part of Witch burning do you think is moral?
        What part of Hitler’s Catholic SS “Gott Mit Uns” was moral?
        What is moral about banning Homosexuals from normal society?
        What is NOT barbaric about Leviticus?

        God’s rules for Sex Slaves:
        “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.” (Exodus 21:7)

        Sex slavery is an IMPROVEMENT over Marcus Aurelius or Socrates?
        REALLY!!???

        • AtheistMax, you would get a kick out of this article

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/01/24/these-cleverly-designed-billboards-would-preach-the-bible-right-back-at-christians/

          A person wants to make billboards illustrating various anti-social Biblical quotations with illustrations.

        • It didn’t take you long to demonstrate your ignorance. The very early middle ages used to be referred to sometimes as the “dark ages,” but today no historian uses that term anymore in reference to ANY part of the middle ages. Because the middle ages were not dark. Progress continued throughout that time, particularly such progress as improved the lives of ordinary people instead of just the pampered elite.

          But to answer your question in a nutshell…when Marcus Aurelius and Socrates walked the earth Europe was at least one-third slave, and the institution was accepted by every culture on earth as utterly natural and moral. By the end of the 11th century, however, slavery had virtually disappeared from the legal record of Christian Europe, thanks to the efforts of heroic Christian abolitionists and the more low-key, steady chipping-away conducted by the clergy. What made the difference was the Judeo-Christian view of humanity (introduced by the Jews, refined and expanded by Christ) as possessing fundamental and innate rights simply by virtue of human birth and completely independent of social and tribal ties. And although we’ve certainly faltered at times, this is the view that has always come out on top and made the west the standard-bearer of human rights. The same can not be said of the east, Confucius notwithstanding.

          • SHAWNIE 5,

            I may not be nearly as ignorant as you think.

            You said, “Europe was at least one-third slave, and the institution was accepted by every culture on earth as utterly natural and moral.”

            If it is true that God is always Moral, and God Law is always Perfect, then why has God’s Slavery been abolished by modern people? Shouldn’t it still be moral and perfect? Are gods laws only good for certain times and then they grow stale?

            THE LORD SAYS, MAKE SLAVES OF ANYONE AROUND YOU. CLAIM THEM AS YOUR OWN PROPERTY – OWN THEM FOR LIFE.

            “You shall purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you…also the children..You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this…” (Leviticus 25:44-46)
            Jesus strongly indicates that Leviticus should be followed as part of the Commandments (Mark 10:19)

        • The Torah represented the absolute bare minimum of morality that man in his natural fallen state and circumstances could be expected to keep. Jesus stated specifically that it contained certain concessions to evil human nature that were never part of God’s original plan for mankind (divorce being another example). And as it turned out, fallen man could not even live up to the bare minimum, let alone God’s original plan. This was the entire message of the Sermon on the Mount –that the holiness that is necessary in order to enter into relationship with God is so absolute and extensive that man in his natural state can not hope to achieve it on his own.

          Yet Christ promised that His atonement, to those who received it, would bring reconciliation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which would in turn bring about new awareness and insight, and new desires to do what is pleasing to God. This is why the spread of Christianity brought with it such a sea-change in values and ethics throughout the formerly pagan world, such that human life was no longer cheap but deserving of respect regardless of its origin, and compassion was no longer an odd character weakness that interfered with the more important virtue of “justice” but instead became enshrined in our culture as the supreme human virtue–and remains so to this very day.

        • Yes actually, the “Dark Ages” as you call them were a huge moral improvement over ancient Greek culture. The fact that you don’t know that displays your utter ignorance.

      • That garbage again?

        Your view of religious morality is downright psychopathic. Nobody knew morality until some unquestioned authority told you so? Really? Are you that far removed from humanity and normal existence? You have to be instructed that stealing, murder and lying could be wrong?

        If you required a book to tell you not to act in a wicked and harmful way to another person, you have no idea what morality is. You are merely a psycho on a spiritual leash. You have no idea how atheists can be moral because you have no actual concept of morality.

        Your version of morality is all about deferring decisions to an outside authority and acting in self-interest.

        “Would love to send you back to the pre-Christian world to check out the ancients’ notions of “morals” and human “rights.”

        You are ignorant!

        Facepalming would not do justice to my reaction.

        Our political system Democracy was conceived centuries before Christianity and put to full use after centuries Christianity approved absolute hereditary dictatorships. Our formal adversarial legal system is based on Roman civil law (and extremely secular minded English Civil Law).

        • Obviously reading comprehension is not your strong suit. You continue to miss the point.

          Continue to facepalm. You would need some actual education in order to do better.

          • In other words, you don’t have an intelligent response to a word I said and are just flinging your poo like a chimpanzee.

            Not only are your responses ignorant, they are bigoted as well. In your attempt to elevate Christianity into the sole arbiter of all that is moral, you insulted the beliefs of the original believers of the Bible. Calling their belief a concession to the evils of humanity and not part of “God’s plan”, essentially calling all Jews an unworthy faith. Its typical when a Christian fundamentalist starts talking about morality. It always leads to some bigoted, sectarian, hateful statements they are completely tone deaf to.

            Its safe to say you have nothing intelligent to say and just want to proclaim your faith from the rooftops.

            “Beware of rpracticing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.”
            Matthew 6:1, 6

        • I answered your “words” long ago and it flew right over your head.

          Trying to strain a racial “insult” out of this line of thought is laughable, as well. According to Christ, not just Jews but all of humanity is unworthy. “There is none good save God.” Everything the gospels record Him as doing and saying emphasizes that point. Which is, of course, the main reason why people wanted to throw rocks at Him, push Him off cliffs, etc.

          • No, you gave a self-serving bullcrap answer and then repeated the same nonsense on another article. Your ignorance of history is duly noted. You prefer cutting and pasting Bible quotes over knowledge of a subject.

            The fact that you are tone deaf to your own sectarian bias is not unexpected. If someone is not your brand of Christian they are hellbound. Its tough to express that POV without coming off as offensive. The hubris and self-righteousness of it makes it hard for you to pick up where people might take offense.

        • Who exactly did I say was hellbound? And who was the first to cut and paste Bible quotes???

          And it is not an argument to call someone’s position “self-serving bullcrap” or “offensive.” Your failure to address my point indicates that you either did not understand it or that you are unable to refute.

          Wipe your foam and try to think rationally.

          • No, its not an argument to call your position self-serving bullcrap. Because I can’t take your position seriously as an argument. It is merely a statement of ignorance and belief.

            But since I am dealing with someone who is willfully ignorant of facts and just trading on propagandist nonsense, there really is no point in in taking it seriously.

            There is a great disconnect to Christ’s words and the behavior of the adherents to said words. Btw, life is still considered cheap to many a Christian. Christians can’t even get along with each other. The first 2 millennia of Christianity in the West has been marked by unremitting violence between Christian sects and every other faiths. Sectarian sniping is still rife today in words (they can’t get away with the deeds anymore)

            To claim that morality did not really exist until Christ came on to the scene betrays a fundamental ignorance on what morality is, what Christianity really represents, and any notion of historical knowledge.

            Only a person truly bereft of facts or even the slightest degree of critical thinking could come up with a position such as yours.

        • “To claim that morality did not really exist until Christ came…”

          That was not my claim, as you still fail to see. The teachings of Christ did not introduce moral duties themselves but instead changed our concept of to whom those duties are owed.

          Not that I expect that you could grasp the difference. You’re hopelessly out of your league, but unfortunately in this history-challenged age you’re not alone in that..

    • Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

        • Daniel Berry, NYC

          one of the punchlines in that story is that the god lied about the tree (told ‘em that they’d die the same day they ate the fruit) and the serpent had told the truth–that they wouldn’t die, but would be more like the god. The god was so busted – and even admits to whomever he’s talking with later in the story that “something’s gotta be done” to keep the humans from becoming “like us.” Pretty lame god if you ask me.

  3. This is why defrocking is not enough. Period.

    Schaefer’s defrocking was immediately followed with Methodist gay-marriage ministers promising to follow his lead, and a gay-marriage Methodist bishop offering to hire him for her conference, and now his supporters have even given him an extra kitty of $30,000.

    So now it’s clear that even if Ogletree is defrocked, his lack of repentence will be supported, and meanwhile you have 14 other Judas ministers in the New York area who have already happily confessed their mess but haven’t even reaped one complaint or “trial” date for it.

    That’s why a little excommunication goes a long way. Defrocking is not enough. Methodists, your cancer is spreading. Metastasizing. Time for radical surgery.

    Heat up that biblical scalpel and cut all of ‘em clean outta there. That includes those Judas bishops in California and New York too!!

    • Why not? Because the publicity on the church actions has been so positive as of late. /s

      If the United Methodists wants to uphold bigotry and make heroes out of former members, that is their right. Just like it is the right of people to criticize them for it.

      • There you go again, Larry, equating bigotry with protest against the redefining of marriage. I suggest you write the Liberal Dictionary so that the rest of us can consult it to learn what you’re really saying.

        • Why do you oppose the redefining of marriage? Because you are a bigot who does not want to treat gay people with respect and want the sanction of law for your views. That is the more honest way to describe your view.

          Criticizing being called a bigot is not a denial of it. I equate bigotry with a concerted effort to treat a group of people without dignity or basic respect based on outside characteristics. Something you support. Ergo, you are a bigot.

          • I oppose the redefining of marriage because the redefining is being sought for superficial reasons–in a nutshell, some people FEEL that they’re not being treated right. You object and think you have the right to call opponents bigots–because you think you have the right to redefine the language in any way that suits your purposes. That’s the more honest way to describe your view.

            We know what you equate bigotry with, and you assume that reserving the concept of marriage to a union between heteros is de facto treating others without respect.

            You took two short paragraphs to say the same damned foolish thing. Repetition makes it correct, eh? Enough heads full of mush repeating it, especailly with the help of the lapdog media, makes it correct, eh?

            States granting some sort of protection for gay couples and calling their arrangement a civil union isn’t enough, is it. Of course not. When your goal is to eliminate the very concept of marriage–so that we’re all “equal,” which is what your rabid activists want, you’ll continue the whining, the namecalling, and the reinventing language to work it in your favor.

            Again, write a Liberal Dictionary and make some big bucks. You’re a whacko, too.

            When you’ve finally finished venting your juvenile spleen, maybe then you can take up a rational argument. To this point you’ve been a bust.

          • There is nothing honest about your statement.

            You are saying those gay couples should just keep to themselves and not seek equal treatment under the law. They should just accept your view that they are an abomination and accept discrimination under the law (despite no rational reason for it). Pretty much the same view anyone who opposes civil liberties says. Somehow equal treatment of a minority becomes “special treatment”.

            Yes, its bigoted. Yes, you don’t like it when I call you one. Nobody does. Every bigot likes to think their views are somehow socially acceptable and not subject to criticism. But it doesn’t make it so.

            Why should the union between heteros be so reserved under the law? You won’t give an honest answer to that. Certainly not a rational or secular one either.

            Civil unions as a “separate but equal” situation is not enough because it is not ever equal under the laws or society. You want to put a group of people in the position of second class citizens. You oppose any situation which would give them equal treatment. Which of course would be marriage.

            My goal is not the elimination of marriage, far from it. My goal is to purge harmful, irrational, sectarian beliefs from our laws. Nobody should have to care what your God says on any subject.

    • DOC ANTHONY
      You said, “This is why defrocking is not enough. Period.”

      That’s right – enough of Jesus and his ‘forgiveness’ of every sin and our injunction to follow Jesus. I AGREE COMPLETELY.

      Thanks for abandoning the worst parts of Jesus’ message of Forgiveness and taking up the Atheist’s approach to find JUSTICE.

      Just don’t throw all that Jesus stuff at us Atheists next time we hate on the churches for their evil deeds.

    • “Mainline” Protestantism is hardly a force to be reckoned with anymore, and Methoidism might just be placing itself further into oblivion, as the Episcopalians have successfully done to themselves.

      The continued uproar is likely to split Methodism into factions, neither one being able to have much influence because of its reduced population.

      The same might be taking place in the Catholic Church in the USA as well. Note the strong disconnect between the semi-regulars in the pews and the teachings of their Church. When we have “Catholics for Choice” we know we’ve got some serious waywarding, not to mention people like myself who’ve simply decided to opt out without going elsewhere or becoming agnostics or atheists.

      None of this is true for the Church “in the South,” meaning South America and by extension Africa and Asia. Catholicism is flourishing there, and the present pope is acknowledging this in the appointments he’s making.

      • This is true. If the Methodists chase after pop culture on this one, they’re doomed to the slow death that the other wishy-washy mainlines are already experiencing. And rightly so.

        We need another John Wesley.

        • Somewhere in between, Earold; and it’s been that way for quite awhile. I believe that there is a higher principle of some sort to explain existence. I also think there’s a necessity for a metaphysical structure to be the basis for morality. The teachings of Jesus seem to be a good “concretizing” of metaphysical principles or truths.

          Atheism is every bit as dogmatic as religion, for both are based on unprovable a-priories. I can’t logically justify going there. Agnosticism says “I just don’t know.” I’m a bit closer to “I’m not certain, but I think that some sort of supreme force is necessary to explain things.

          There are plenty of religious spokespeople who are not representative of the extremes that draw so much attention and fire. As I said before, I don’t think you can find that the substance of Christianity is inimical, but you can sure find many of examples of that substance being twisted to suit various ends, including political ones.

          I don’t do “Church” these days, but I stay up on “church stuff.”

  4. There is nothing biblical or Christlike is affirming sinful behavior and denying Gods will for sexuality and marriage.

    Clean house Methodists you will be a stronger church for doing so.

  5. FRANK,

    You said, “There is nothing biblical or Christlike is affirming sinful behavior”

    Not true. Jesus affirmed many things which are considered sins. And countless more horrors IF HE WAS GOD:

    Slavery, lying, abortion, maiming, repression of women, and summary execution…it is all affirmed if Jesus was God.

      • “Jesus answered them, ‘I and My Father are one.’ ” – John 10:30-33
        “The Lord our God is one”. – (Deuteronomy 6:4)

        God in heaven said, “As you approach a town to attack it…all the people inside shall serve you as slaves.” (Deut. 20:10)

        This is the Word of the Lord.

        If God and Jesus are the THE SAME then Jesus is responsible for all of the Old Testament Laws as well as Yahweh.
        If God and Jesus are not THE SAME, then who is Jesus?
        If there is only ONE GOD as is repeated over and over in the Bible then God and Jesus must be the same. They AGREE COMPLETELY on every matter of rule.

  6. Do Methodist still believe in the Bible? I don’t really care what different faiths teach but they need to quit claiming they are something when they are not. If you guys want to be driven by humanists principles then fine, but quit claiming to be biblical Christians.

  7. The handwriting is on the wall. Soon, the UMC will have to make a decision. Either, it will expel those who violate church law or change the church law. The UMC does not have enough qualified pastors to fill all the empty pulpits if all those who support the LGBT agenda are defrocked. On the other hand, if the UMC changes church law, hordes of UM pastors and parishioners will leave the UMC and stop paying connectional apportionments. That will bankrupt the denomination and cause the general boards and agencies to stop functioning. There are two other options. First, the UMC could let the various jurisdictions and conferences make independent decisions about this issue. This would preserve the connection on paper but destroy national and global unity. If we pick this option, the issue will continue to divide the general church and cause great antipathy between various sections. Plus, the local churches in each conference are also split on this issue. For example, in the Mid-west, the full connection pastors are largely pro-LGBT and the rural congregations are traditional. The second option is to acknowledge the reality that UMs are not of one mind on this and many other issues. Furthermore, in the current climate, UMs will never be of one mind on this pivotal issue. Frankly, conservative portions of the UMC will not budge on this issue. Mostly the divide reflects the growing popularity of the progressive agenda in politics, the growing chasm between rural and the urban, and the influence of UM seminaries. Should we admit that the connection is already broken and go our separate ways or should we seek an option that will keep the connection together? If you pick the latter, what is that option?

  8. Evidence that the Methodist Church my be moving toward logic, reason in the treatment of all humans equally despite what religious texts say?

    Could be religious evolution displaying one of it’s best moments. Now if only the catholic church would let their priests and nuns get married, we would have another.

    Religion is poison!!

  9. Daniel Berry, NYC

    @Earold Gunter: you left out the phrase, “Bronze Age” before the phrase “religious texts.” Not to put too fine a point on it; but it amazes me how perfectly capable readers are so not tuned in to the barbarian ethos forming the cultural context of much – or most – of the OT literature. What a profound cognitive dissonance they must experience when they talk about the bible as “the word of god.”

  10. Revelation 17 and 18 talk about “Babylon the Great”. This “harlot” represents the world empire of false religion of which Christendom is a large part. Soon God will judge her and totally destroy her. She will NEVER be seen again.(Rev.18:21) Just because the churches and clergy have twisted the scriptures and misrepresented God doesn’t mean HE is guilty of all the things being said and done. Don’t think HE isn’t paying attention…. The waters of Babylon (representing the people- Rev.17:15) are drying up. Soon, you will see the governments “do away with” Babylon.(Rev.18:4-8)

  11. I just found this site, and was at first excited, because it seemed to be a place for different “religions” and “religious people” to intermingle and maybe compare their ideas or share information (news). But instead, it did not take long, to see that this is a secularist organization giving greater praise and approval to secular-humanistic reforms within religion, as in encouraging the gay agenda (even Buddhism frowns on it), while masquarading as an inter-religious voice. Moreover, the loudest voices in the comment sections are atheists and the irreligious (out right anti-religious), making this another forum where the new Roman Persecution can take root. They won’t be happy until we all denounce anything in religion that is politically incorrect (including and most especially belief in the deity of the Bible or Koran), and embrace the secular-humanistic socialist view of the world. But beware, for as the West folds to popular culture, there are a couple billion people rising against it (even in Russia).

    • Victor, perhaps sites exists in places like Russia where only one point of view is discussed, but in America we cherish open dialogue, and that means that those who you agree, and disagree with will have equal opportunity to be presented.

      By the way, have you read anything commented on by Duane Lamers, Doc Anthony, Deacon John, and even some yipping Chihuahua named Frank who occasionally gives his little one or two sentence quips? I think you will find they are closer to your mindset.

      If you are not looking to read honest opposing points of view, perhaps you should start a web site, or even a television network where you control what is presented, and how it is presented. That way you can be reasonably sure that, for the most part, those who visit will watch, listen, or read only what you want, so you can be sure they only espouse your views to others, so you can control all of them. Isn’t that what religion is all about anyway?

      I would disagree that the news articles on this web site leans ideologically either way. I have however seen commentaries, which are not news, but rather opinion, that lean definitively in one direction or the other.

      You wrote, “They won’t be happy until we all denounce anything in religion that is politically incorrect (including and most especially belief in the deity of the Bible or Koran), and embrace the secular-humanistic socialist view of the world.”

      As far as I’m concerned your statement above is not true, for me it would take much more that getting rid of the things in religious belief that have negative affects on humanity. That would be akin to a cancer in remission that no longer has harmful affects, but looms in the background of the body ticking like a bomb ready at some point to poison all over again. No, I would rather that man recognize that religion is belief in something that doesn’t really exists, and that it be put aside just like thousands of other superstitious beliefs in our history.

      I suspect that you are just like me, and are an atheist about all gods, but in your case with the exception of one, and in mine just one god further.

      Religion is poison!!

        • GEOFF,

          You said, “And you go along, unaware atheism gives you no basis for calling anything poison.”

          The Good Samaritan was an Atheist. If he didnt need God to know what is right and wrong – why does anyone else?

          If such morality comes ONLY from God why is it that little children in the schoolyard know the meaning of ‘fairness’ long before they know anything about Gods?

          All mammals understand fairness. It is evolutionary biology and it is proven.

          Our sense of Fairness is what gives us our morality. The Golden Rule does not require Gods and it is an empty assertion to claim that it does.

          • The Samaritans were not atheists. They practiced a form of Judaism and, as the Samaritan woman at the well demonstrated, had messianic beliefs.

            “Little children in the schoolyard” (most of them) have an understanding of fairness because they have learned it from their parents. An unsocialized infant understands only two things: “Mine!” and “Now!”

            If our sense of “fairness” is inborn then how is it that both slavery and infanticide were near-universals in pre-Christian human society? Do you consider these to be “fair” practices that we’ve simply forgotten the fairness of, or unfair practices that our innate sense of “fairness” somehow failed to detect? :-D

          • SHAWNIE5,

            You said, “The Good Samaritan was not an Atheist”

            WRONG. The Good Samaritan was Atheist.
            The Samaritan was not Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, OR JEWISH. The Samaritans were (and still are) Pagans – known in the religious vernacular as ‘atheists’. They do NOT follow Yahweh but have always been nominally part of the Jewish culture. The Torah is NOT their book.

            FACT: We inherit a sense of fairness. That is what the evidence proves beyond a doubt. That is where morality comes from.
            Atheist children understand fairness as well as Jewish, Hindu, Christian and any other children.

          • SHAWNIE5,

            YOU ASKED, “If our sense of “fairness” is inborn then how is it that both slavery and infanticide were near-universals in pre-Christian human society?”

            Yes. YOUR God is immoral and always has been. Power to the strong – that is all you have with Yahweh. NO morality whatsoever:

            God’s rules for Sex Slaves:
            “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.” (Exodus 21:7)

            Now, tell me how this BS morality is ‘written on your heart’.???

          • Atheists by definition believe there is no God. Samaritans were monotheists who worshipped Yahweh on Mount Gerazim, duly observed the Jewish feasts, and considered the five books of the Torah canonical. The Jewish objection to them was primarily racial, not religious. Why do you struggle so hard to redefine atheism? Why is that important to you?

            “Yes. YOUR God is immoral and always has been.”

            Which, of course, did not answer my question. Am I to surmise that you do not intend to answer it?

    • Victor, I feel slighted! Ignored!.

      First, I agree with you that the commentaries on this site are liberal in tone and direction, overwhelmingly. I’ve mentioned this to the editor, and he seems not to agree with my assessment. On the other hand, I find this to be the only site that I’ve encountered that does not curtail conservative expression. You should see what happens when a conservative attempts to engage liberals on the various “Patch” sites across the country that are based on local communities. RNS allows all of us to have at it.

      Secondly, in sheer number of column inches, I think I do quite well, thank you. I try to keep discourse guided by the necessities of logic and fact. That sometimes is a tough road to follow, especially when the facts come into question.

      Please, join us. If you make anyone’s life here a bit miserable at times, perhaps we should consider that masochism has no small role in our seeking out places like this–and keep returning to them.

  12. “But inasmuch as love suffers me not to be silent in regard to you, I have therefore taken upon me first to exhort you that you would all run together in accordance with the will of God. For even Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, is the manifested will of the Father; as also bishops, settled everywhere to the utmost bounds of the earth, are so by the will of Jesus Christ… Let us be careful, then, not to set ourselves in opposition to the bishop, in order that we may be subject to God”. — Letter to the Ephesians,

    This is taken from Saint Ignatius of Antioch (a disciple of the Apostle John) around the year 105. When the Protestant Reformation broke the anchor of Christianity away from the successors of the Apostles (the Bishops), and turned it into a free for all self interpretation of the Bible, it was only a matter of time before beliefs obviously contrary to Biblical truths would become accepted by “Christians”.

  13. Food for thought from Mother Nature: As the ranks of defiant Methodist pastors (marrying same-sex couples) continue to rise, the number of Methodist christenings/baptisms will continue to fall. Fewer pastors needed.

    One more unintended consequence of politics in the church.

  14. You really make it appear so easy with your presentation but I to find this matter
    to be actually one thing that I believe I’d never understand.
    It sort of feels too complicated and very vast for me. I am looking forward to your next post,
    I will attempt to get the grasp of it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments with many links may be automatically held for moderation.