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BS: major religions and homophobia

Haruo 21 Feb 01 - 07:14 PM
katlaughing 21 Feb 01 - 06:44 PM
wysiwyg 21 Feb 01 - 06:25 PM
wysiwyg 21 Feb 01 - 04:26 PM
Ely 21 Feb 01 - 03:47 PM
katlaughing 21 Feb 01 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,Blind Desert Pete 21 Feb 01 - 03:22 PM
Grab 21 Feb 01 - 01:11 PM
katlaughing 21 Feb 01 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Blind Desert Pete 21 Feb 01 - 12:52 PM
Amos 20 Feb 01 - 07:55 PM
CamiSu 20 Feb 01 - 06:53 PM
Matt Woodbury/Mimosa 20 Feb 01 - 04:43 PM
mousethief 20 Feb 01 - 04:29 PM
kimmers 20 Feb 01 - 04:12 PM
Pseudolus 20 Feb 01 - 04:01 PM
katlaughing 20 Feb 01 - 02:50 PM
Pseudolus 20 Feb 01 - 02:20 PM
katlaughing 20 Feb 01 - 01:46 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 20 Feb 01 - 01:01 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 20 Feb 01 - 12:56 PM
Bagpuss 20 Feb 01 - 11:16 AM
Pseudolus 20 Feb 01 - 10:21 AM
John P 20 Feb 01 - 09:57 AM
Amos 20 Feb 01 - 09:06 AM
Bagpuss 20 Feb 01 - 07:59 AM
Katcina 20 Feb 01 - 04:57 AM
blt 20 Feb 01 - 03:50 AM
GUEST 19 Feb 01 - 11:41 PM
kimmers 19 Feb 01 - 11:33 PM
catspaw49 19 Feb 01 - 10:27 PM
Amos 19 Feb 01 - 09:57 PM
catspaw49 19 Feb 01 - 09:26 PM
Bagpuss 19 Feb 01 - 09:12 PM
Bagpuss 19 Feb 01 - 08:57 PM
catspaw49 19 Feb 01 - 08:55 PM
Grab 19 Feb 01 - 08:36 PM
Jock Morris 19 Feb 01 - 07:49 PM
Amos 19 Feb 01 - 07:28 PM
Penny S. 19 Feb 01 - 07:19 PM
mousethief 19 Feb 01 - 07:00 PM
RichM 19 Feb 01 - 07:00 PM
Amergin 19 Feb 01 - 06:57 PM
harpmolly 19 Feb 01 - 06:39 PM
mousethief 19 Feb 01 - 06:30 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 19 Feb 01 - 06:22 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 19 Feb 01 - 06:17 PM
Amos 19 Feb 01 - 01:43 PM
Bagpuss 19 Feb 01 - 01:41 PM
Troll 19 Feb 01 - 01:08 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Haruo
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 07:14 PM

I just posted a new thread to continue this one, since it's up to 115 and 100 is usually a good place to break it off. I'm a Baptist who has no use for homophobia, myself, and hopefully I'll have a chance to read this thread and post in the new one tomorrow. I've got a couple pertinent songs in my online hymnal (namely, the MCC hymns "We are the Church Alive" and "Our God is like an Eagle") in both Esperanto and English.

Liland


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 06:44 PM

Ely, my point exactly, I guess I just didn't phrase it very clearly. I meant that I'd like Blind Desert Pete to back up his statement claiming that heteros are catching AIDs more because they use anal sex as birth control. I don't believe it.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: wysiwyg
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 06:25 PM

Roger, on reflection I've realized that the foregoing was Part One of the answer I owe you. There will be more.

Part Two will address the way human idiocy on the personal level so often lets us feel that we actually know what we think about Big Questions-- when we have not yet been personally touched by them. *G*

Part Three will address how human idiocy gets moved up from the personal to the institutional level.

And I will be speaking mostly to you and the questions you posed, although I imagine someone will manage to get pissed off at me and answer me in ire.

In the meantime, though, I'm going to go fish up a thread we had about whether Mudcatters ever really change their minds about what they've read or discussed in Mudcat threads. I'm one of the ones who has had changes of mind or heart but, as I recall, people saying that were in the minority. I love how people have acknowledged in some other recent threads that mostly they post to share what they think, not to exchange it with someone else in mutual listening and discussion. What I find intreresting about it is that it seems to me that when we entrench ourselves further in our own positions, we are less likely to find ways of working together to change what we don't like. But, whatever!

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: wysiwyg
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 04:26 PM

On the point of why stay in a denomination you don't fully agree with--

Sometimes it's because the denomination is one that is committed to continuing thought and prayer and discussion of difficult subjects, and is devoted to a larger mission than any one subject of current dispute. The Episcopal Church (the Anglican church) has historically been one of these.

Does every parish operate from complete wisdom? No, of course not; but what are they supposed to be attemtping to approximate? That's the operant question.

The presiding bishop for the US church recently summed it up by saying that heresy is prefereable to schism. He was talking about the church having to be willing to allow enough present-time interpretation of matters to risk the occasional heresy. The alternative, when passions run high, is schism-- "I and my friends are putting OUR marbles in another collection plate, our butts in other pews, and our prayers in another direction! And BTW, YOU are going to HELL!"

This perspective-- heresy over schism-- allows for the rethinking and eventual clear sight of what may turn out, in hindsight, to have been incorrect. But schism cuts the communication off. A people can heal and grow from the former much more easily than from the latter. And who do we learn the most from? People we agree with, or people who irritate us into fresh thought?

One of the things I love about our denomination is that it has TOOLS to use to handle these difficult topics. At its best, it does not usurp what it sees as God's prerogative-- to evaluate. Rather, it seeks to provide a setting and an attitude of prayerful dialog with God, within which to seek His wisdom.


Another look at these sorts of discussions comes from the Re-evaluation Counseling community (RC).

There was a lengthy battle years ago, among RCers, over whether sexual preference is a choice, a distress recoding, or predetermined. The ultimate question was, how do we exchange good counseling on matters touching on our sexuality? (It's a peer counseling system.)

It was finally recognized, after all positions were thoroughly aired and after massive amounts of session time was spent just on the communication about it (I do not mean session time trying to "cure" gays), that the most important thing to see was this: All present developed countries' societies carry so much massive distress about ALL things having to do with sexuality that the answer to this specific question is not important in itself. The larger questions were agreed to be: "What exactly did you experience and how did it hurt you? How is it still holding you back? And in present time, how do we choose to treat people, and how do we want to BE treated?"

It always comes down to respect and a commitment to do one's own best thinking, guided by whatever one chooses to be guided by, within whatever ethics one has adopted, and always subject to continuing learning and understanding.

And truth and love are never far apart.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Ely
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 03:47 PM

Not sure what you mean, kat/katlaughing. I don't imagine that anal sex is as popular with heterosexual couples since it's not as, um, anatomically necessary, but if they do it, they can certainly transmit HIV.

Any Bishop Spong readers in the house? I'm not saying he's Gospel (no pun intended) but his case is that the Bible is largely political--pieced together and made up to make Jesus look really good. Not that he wasn't a remarkable person to begin with.

My parents never made a big deal out of it, so by the time I knew what it was, there had been gay people around me for years whom I knew as people, not as gay people. I think my reaction was something like, "Oh, her marriage failed because she was married to a guy but she liked women. Yeah, I guess that would be a problem."


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 03:27 PM

Do you have any solid data which says it is because it is used as birth control? I've never heard that one and it seems very far-fetched to me given that most developing countries have centuries old taboos plus, in all of the research I've done, I've never seen any evidence that heteros are catching it through anal sex.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: GUEST,Blind Desert Pete
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 03:22 PM

Kat: Of course Iknow that Its because anal sex is often used as birth control. Its the behavour not who or what we are.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Grab
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 01:11 PM

Fionn, I'm quite happy offending anyone who believes that anything written down can be the literal word of God. If you're not in that category, I didn't mean to offend you. Sorry, it did sound a bit all-inclusive, didn't it? Let me rephrase more accurately (but slightly more long-windedly. :-)

(BTW, the word "you" below means "one" - I use "you" bcos "one uses" is not normal English usage. To prevent any offense being taken, "you" does NOT apply to any person in particular!)

The "viral" quality is in religions (or more accurately, subsets of religions) which believe in writings as being the literal word of God - in other words, fundamentalism. If you use your intelligence to reason about why some of the writings exist, then you're fighting the virus of fundamentalism. If you just accept that it _is_, without ever wondering _why_ it is, then you've caught the virus. Children are naturally vulnerable, since they don't have any point of comparison, and are still learning what's "normal". Kids naturally ask "why this/that" bcos they don't know stuff. If your answer is simply, "bcos God says so, and if you ask about it you'll go to Hell," then they'll believe that it's the case. They may shake it off as they grow up; they may be affected for the rest of their life, and pass on their indoctrinations to their children.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 01:05 PM

"They" didn't bring "us" anything. I guess it's too much to hope that you know AIDS is more prevalent among heterosexuals in developing countries, which comprise 95% of new reported AIDS cases.

There is also legitimate controversy, among experts, as to how it is spread and what causes it. Some respected researchers seem to have proven that testing HIV positive does NOT cause AIDS, but it is not in the ecomomic interests of the drug companies, etc. to admit this and back further research, etc.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: GUEST,Blind Desert Pete
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 12:52 PM

I know Ill catch h*** for this but my 02 cents worth. I was just a private in the sexual revolution and although hit on frequently had nothing against gays, ( always figured that it just meant more gals for me) then they brought us AIDS. its not private behavior that is nobodys business. it has affected all of us.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Amos
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 07:55 PM

CamiSu:

Homosexuality was a plot by the Reds started in 1811 to deflect attention from the machinations of the nascent underground international Communist movement. This is a well-known fact. Those Pinkos are nobody's fools, remember! In fact that's the ORIGINAL etymology of the expression "red herring", which was indirectly immortalized in the famous Communist Negro folk verse that starts out,

"What's that smells like fishes?
Tell ya if ya really want to know...."

Now that we have eestablished a musical basis for this thread.... :>)

Remember the perspective and the conditions when those od Laws cited above were imposed. It was a time of very slow communication, when technology was limited to hand tools, when survival was an exhausting battle against the forces of weather and gravity every single day, and when life was a risky proposition even if you cleared some reserves herding or farming, because the world was full of plunderers and murderers in various guises. The strength of the tribe -- not of the individual or single family -- was the sole assurance of survival, and these laws were tribal laws. A tribe is a different kind of group. It is kept together through different kinds of beliefs, especially one that is not exposed to post-scientific reasoning.

Under those circumstances, laws like the ones espoused above might be the elders' best guess at what kind of conduct would keep the tribe together and keep it surviving.

Sure, they may seem absurd from a perspective informed by two to three thousand years of intellectual advances and the evolution of forms and agreements amongst humans. Sure they are O.B.E. as a Confederate dollar. Sure they are vaguely ridiculous by modern standards of relevance. But they might have worked a little once.

'Course that's no call to make religious doctrine out of 'em... A little applied rationality can go a LONG way in such matters!:>)

Regards,

A


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: CamiSu
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 06:53 PM

There have been so many things said here, and lots of people have said things I want to say as well. Probably a lot will have been said by the time this gets posted, as I am off line and writing as I get my thoughts organised.

blt, you have said it so well and so eloquently. And I will id myself. I am a straight woman (Wavestar's mother in fact, so my daughter's best friend is a lesbian), who does not care what other people do in bed. It is none of my business. However, I do think it is my business to do what I can to help ensure that people have the legal right to form a relationship with whomever they want, provided the feeling is mutual, and both parties are competent to decide. I am a Sunday School teacher in a Chrisstian Science church, and have really had to think about this, in terms of how openly I express my opinions. (They got expressed on the front page of the upper valley paper, and I still teach the high school and college class.) I truly believe God is incusive of all the qualities we associate with either gender, and is NOT He or She. (Unfortunately we don't have a word for this inclusiveness.) Thus I look upon people as reflections of God first, and gender identity is just a part of who they are, along with lovingness, honesty, talents, etc. It is certainly not the sum total of that person, nor all I see when I think of that person.

It is astonishing to see what people will do when someone they've known for a long while, comes out. I was gratified to see my father, who was a noisy raging homophobe in my high school years, change his mind when the daughter of a close friend, came out. I could wish that more parents could manage this feat.

Of course it is also astonishing to see some of the ideas some people have... A man in our town, a recognised "expert" (quotation marks are mine)on Russia, is certain that homosexuality is a communist plot! I'm not kidding! He's written in the paper under his own name, PhD!!!

The comments about many of the rules being set up to keep the "alpha males" in power rings very true. Most of the people I heard testify against the Civil Union legislation last winter, were raging about the fact that the Bible says it is abomination. The Bible also says not to eat pork and (sorry John) the FAT of beef or mutton. (One offers the fat and organs to God, and eats the rest, or offers it all--and after God is done with it, it is given to the poor). There are lots of rules that were germaine to the times (pork could kill you) and are no longer. And the last time I looked the commandments did not mention homosexuality. It does mention adultery, but our laws still, except for Vermont, prevent those of us who are not heterosexual from publicly and legally committing to a single partner. Makes it kinda tough. I really like the comment about Church/State separation in this context.

The other people who squawked against the bill were concerned about the sexual acts. I don't want to know what ANYone does in bed! Not my business! But I do want people who love each other to be able to care for each other, speak as next of kin in medical matters, be able to care for each others' children, and so on.

I also want to end the us/them attitude. It's all US. One race (human), one people, one family. (Do I REALLY want to be brother to bigots? Oh dear! But I have to, to be true to myself.) Oh dear, this sounds SO self righteous. I do laugh at myself! HONEST!

Love to all.

CamiSu


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Matt Woodbury/Mimosa
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 04:43 PM

I was raised in a church that taught that it was "The Only True Church" and therefore essentially infallible. They went mixing their doctrine, which held that Blacks were not entitled to their priesthood, with the Boy Scout program, and ended up changing their doctrine to avoid a lawsuit. They claimed a new revelation from God.

The churches and Eminem are entitled to spout whatever beliefs they want, and I, for one will enjoy the opportunity to group Eminem with the Pope, the President, the US Attorney General, and the (purportedly closeted) president of the Mormon Church.

When they start attempting to force their religious views on others through the State, they can bring the whole mess down upon their own heads.

I think the people who stay in the church and attempt to change it from within are as important to change as the people who leave in loud protest. Eventually, the churches will have to change, because they can't keep their noses out of politics, but I left the Mormons because I didn't want to spend the rest of my life waiting for the church to offer me full citizenship.

Mimosa


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: mousethief
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 04:29 PM

Mousethief, I think John P has covered most of the bases for me. I used "judgmental" because that's exactly what your attitude is. To me it's breathtaking that you can't see it.

What in what I said is judgmental? Please be specific. Just saying "it's breathtaking you can't see it" isn't teribly helpful, and looks like a dodge. What exactly did I say that was judgmental?

I used "homophobic" in the sense that most people do these days. What I meant by it was "anti-homosexual" or "anti-same-sex sex" - something you are against because (for reasons you can't explain) it offends your God. You're entitled to your prejudice, but don't blame it on your religion.

When did I say I was against same sex sex? When did I say it "offended my God"? You are putting words in my mouth.

What I said was that according to the teachings of my church, homosexuals are expected to remain celibate. I went on to say that I know lots of gays who are wonderful people and a whole hell of a lot "like folks." If this is prejudice and judgmentalism, you will have to do a little more than the handwaving you've done so far to explain why.

I didn't invent this religion. I inherited it from the people who went before me. If you want it to be changed, maybe you should join it and try to change it. I don't feel inclined to try to change it, and for that, apparently, you are calling me homophobic and judgmental and prejudiced.

So far all the judgmentalism and prejudice has come from your side of this debate. Hmmm.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: kimmers
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 04:12 PM

It's funny to hear all this about the Catholic church. When I think of homophobia and intolerance, the Catholics are *not* the first branch of the church that springs to mind. Yes, they're big, ancient, and well organized, so their public positions get more press. But they have changed their minds on various positions, through the years. I'd like to see more change, but on the whole I see the Catholics moving forward rather than backward. There have always been gay priests, for one thing, even if they are almost all living a secret life... and I think that this must give some undertone of tolerance.

For a dose of real, paranoid, gibbering-with-misplaced-fear intolerance, you need to hang out with the Right-Wing Evangelicals. My apologies to those of you who are of that religious persuasion... and my condolences as well. While a gay Catholic (or Anglican) might simply remain quiet about his or her sexual orientation, a young person growing up gay or lesbian in the fundamentalist tradition is in for a hellish time.

I like the point made earlier (by blt, I think) that same-sex relationships aren't necessarily only about sex. We're also talking about attraction between hearts and minds. There have been times in Western culture where a man or a woman would spent most of his or her leisure time with companions of the same sex, then go off to have sexual relations with their spouse without a whole lot of friendship being involved.

If I were lesbian, I think I'd rather be in a celibate relationship with my true love than be in a miserable marriage with societally-approved sex. Heck, that's true even as a heterosexual.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Pseudolus
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 04:01 PM

I certainly did not take it as a personal attack. Where most people shy away from discussions about religion, I actually enjoy it......I'm weird that way!!! I guess I don't see religion and faith as an all or nothing kind of thing and perhaps we part ways right there. But I don't think that when there is a difference of opinions, let's say me and the Pope, that I should bail out and move on. I don't feel that I'm culpable for the effects Catholicism has on Social issues like homosexuality any more than I am culpable for effects my government has on world issues. I'll take any heat for effects that I myself have on the issue whether it be my own actions or my kids actions as I see it my responsibility to teach them acceptance and sharing. I don't advocate tolerance in this case because in my mind the word tolerance implies that somebody did something wrong. It is a difficult concept to teach a child NOT to prejudge or assume since by nature we as thinking, breathing, humans are formulating opinions all the time. this doesn't mean that there aren't people out there that I don't care for, I just would like to think that I tried my best to like them first!!

So, hopefully I didn't come across as being on the attack or being defensive, I didn't intend either. Like I said, I enjoy an argu...uh, I mean a figh...uh, hmmmm, a LIVELY discussion when it comes to religion and its issues. I seem to learn a lot about people, their beliefs, and even myself in the process.

Take Care, Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 02:50 PM

I agree, there are many religions which exert the type of pressure I was referring to and I understand that you have your own relationship with God, regardless of the teachings of your church. My point, which I should have stated more clearly, is that, IMO, anyone who supports a church, I will use the Catholic Church as an example, by belonging to it and tithing to it, and giving it credence in the eyes of the world, is culpable for the effects it has on social issues, such as homosexuality.

One may say they don't agree with certain teachings, and you are right, Frank, there probably is not one religion of which all parts are agreeable to its folowers, and that they do not follow those teachings, BUT they are giving tacit approval to the church to continue the teachings regardless. 'Twere me, my conscience wouldn't be very comfortable with that.

I apologise to anyone who may feel this as a personal attack; it is not meant to be.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Pseudolus
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 02:20 PM

Is there a religion out there that is THE one? As far as I can see any religion you choose is run by, made by, governed by human beings. I think the REAL naive thing would be to say that there is a religion out there that has rules that you can believe in across the board. If all of the followers of any religion blindly followed all of its teachings then that religion would never change or evolve in any way. I am not the role model Catholic by any means but as I said in another post, I believe that I will be judged more by how I treat others than how I followed a set of man/woman-made rules.

I find comfort in prayer. My wife is a Lutheran, I am a Catholic and we got married in a Methodist Church! Just what church we go to depends I guess, we've been to them all!! But, when I go, I am able to take comfort in the service, in the prayers, and in the music.

I agree about the pressures put out by the Catholic Church but they are not the only ones. Many religions depend on followers who have the blind faith you were referring to. Many depend on guilt and fear. What it really adds up to is manipulation and I don't like it even if it is in my own religion. The bottom line is (for me that is...), my relationship with God is a personal one. It is not dictated by people who try to decide what I should do with my life, when or where I should pray, and who I should or should not be intimate with. I respect their right to interpret the "word of God" differently than me, I just don't feel the need to go blindly down that path. It didn't make me a bad family member and it doesn't make me a bad Catholic.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 01:46 PM

The Catholic church may be like your parents with rules you agree with or not, but, unlike your parents, in most cases, the Catholic church can and does exert tremendous pressure around the world for conformity to its rules. I would think that the majority of its members are still following the tenets of the Pope with blind faith, esp. those in underdeveloped or developing countries.

You are certainly entitled to whatever brings you comfort, but I think it is naive to believe that the Pope is going to heed a few unsettled Americans, etc. and totally turn over the teachings. Also, isn't it hypocrticial to belong to a church and not follow its teachings? I have Catholic relatives who take everything the church teaches with a grain of salt. That to me is hypocritical and also does nothing to encourage growth in consciousness, for the church as a whole or as an indiviual. Sorry, if that offends any of you, it is my opinion.

blt, I am enjoying your posts esp. Very well said. I've come out before somewhere in the threads as bisexual. (I even made it up to the final cut of the first definitive book of bisexual experiences, "Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out.") I am sorry I didn't saying anything earlier in this thread. I guess it was partly out of fear and out of pain, but also partly because this is an issue I speak out on, a lot, at every opportunity, and this time I felt I needed to be quieter and watch.

Bi, for now and always,

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 01:01 PM

Hadn't seen your last post, Bagpuss. You've obvously done your best, and that's all anyone can do. I have no argument with anyone who takes your line.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 12:56 PM

Fight for a bar of chocolate, yes - now you're talking, Bagpuss!

John P, if we ever meet, I'll shake your hand. And the beer's on me. I might even shag your arse off - a mixed blessing indeed, according to my more intimate friends.

Spaw, your post about rights was a bit convoluted for me, but if I followed it, I can't find much to disagree with. My quarrel was with Mousethief, whose post you found so wonderful.

Mousethief, I think John P has covered most of the bases for me. I used "judgmental" because that's exactly what your attitude is. To me it's breathtaking that you can't see it.

I used "homophobic" in the sense that most people do these days. What I meant by it was "anti-homosexual" or "anti-same-sex sex" - something you are against because (for reasons you can't explain) it offends your God. You're entitled to your prejudice, but don't blame it on your religion.

Religion may indeed be a viral infection - very well put, Grab - but our bodies have mechanisms for fighting off such diseases. If you don't want to resist, that's your choice. But I'm entitled to ask: how can you be comfortable peddling an attitude that is calculated to offend for no purpose?


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Bagpuss
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 11:16 AM

Why don't we just leave? Because that solves nothing - its not going to change the view of anyone else in the church. But if I stay as a member and challenge it, I can and indeed have changed the minds of quite a few people. Therefore I have in my own small way changed the church for the better. Its not good enough, but its starting to change.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Pseudolus
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 10:21 AM

I'm catholic and I don't have all the answers....I do however have several opinions. I think one of the reasons the Catholic Church might see homosexuality different than the other items you listed might be because they also believe (at least they used to) that the purpose for sex was for making babies and not necessarily for pleasure......alright, stop laughing ok??? Anyway, I've been perplexed with the same question and that is the best explanation I can muster. I don't agree with it, I just think that it could be the reason.

So why am I still a catholic?? I guess I compare it to my childhood...I didn't agree with all of my parents' rules either but I didn't run away from home. As I got older I've argued with my parents over several "rules" and I've won them over on some and fell sadly short on others. I believe that you MUST question your own religion when you disagree so that one of two things happens. either you convince some folks that you are right, or maybe you better understand why the rule exists. Or maybe a third thing happens and that is you agree to disagree somewhat. I don't think there is a religion out there that I would agree across the board with every rule. However, there's a lot there that makes sense and that brings me comfort in times of stress. The Catholic family has its problems no doubt, but what family doesn't? I'd rather keep the comfort it brings and fight the battles to change the things that need changing...

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: John P
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 09:57 AM

Why is homosexuality such an issue for Christians? Yes, the bible condemns it. What about all the other things the bible comdemns? Why aren't there national debates about these other issues? Why don't we have laws against them?

Lev. 18:19 says that we shouldn't have sexual intercourse during menstruation.
Duet. 22:22 says that adulterers should be stoned to death.
Lev. 7:23 says that we should not eat beef or mutton.
Duet. 22:13 says that a bride who is not a virgin should be stoned to death.

The list goes on. Why should anyone, or any religious organization, or any government, give a damn about what people do in bed with each other? Why does anyone think it's any of their business? Those of you who are members of religious organizations -- why do you belong to a church that tells you who can and can't sleep with? Why are you willing to give someone else that kind of power over you? If you don't personally agree with the tenets of your church, why do you remain a member? If you are not homophobic yourselves, why do you support a homophobic organization? Why should my government extend tax-exempt non-profit status to an organization that is discriminatory? If a chuch decided that being a practicing African-American was sinful, would anyone give them the time of day? Why is homophobia any different? How can anyone who is not bigoted against women continue to be a Roman Catholic? Or do you just take what you like and leave the rest? If so, why? Do you support the church financially?

Sorry, the whole question of gay and lesbian rights makes me rant and rave. I'll be better now.

John Peekstok


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Amos
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 09:06 AM

blt -- graciously said and true as a bell.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Bagpuss
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 07:59 AM

Just to be a little light hearted, anyone seen the Goodness Gracious Me sketch where an Indian boy brings his boyfriend home for the first time and is "coming out" to his parents. And the parents say "But why couldn't you have chosen a nice Indian boy?"

blt - personally I didn't bring up my sexuality because I didn't need to in order to make the points I was making. I did need to say what religion I was in order to make those points. Perhaps if I was gay, then I might have brought it up because I would have had more personal experience of the issue and therefore more points to make on my stance. But I didn't expect everyone to assume I was heterosexual and I have no problem with everyone knowing I am heterosexual. Maybe we are all required to state what political party we support now, as politics was part of the whole discussion originally.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Katcina
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 04:57 AM

Oops, I didn't realize I needed to reset my cookie and wasn't paying attention. I'm the last guest and dtill have to agree with Spaw & Amos' last postings as much as it pains me.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: blt
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 03:50 AM

In some of these posts, if the word "heterosexual" were substituted for "homosexual" or gay/lesbian,or the ever popular "they," a good deal of mystical logic would be readily apparent. Why is this topic painful and for whom? Unless this discussion is allowed to be fully aired, the words themselves become weapons--insults and epithets.

I understand and experience homophobia as a real concept, not a political construct, in the same way (with a very different history) that racism is a real concept. Politically, fear is useful no matter which stereotypes are harvested to serve an interested power and homophobia in these conservative times has been useful for some folks. However, that does not mean that homophobia is only a slogan. Those who wave their intolerance around like a flag often have no direct understanding of the pain homophobia causes, or refuse to believe that homophobia hurts other human beings. This is the function of a stereotype--it allows us to dehumanize others. Once the words "gay" or "lesbian" become attached to someone's face--a daughter, a son, a neighbor, a teacher, a minister--the stereotype stands a chance of being broken. Sadly, it's no guarantee. There are many stories of children being kicked out of their parents' homes for coming out of the closet. There are also many stories of parents learning about their own fears and changing. I guess I could put my father in the latter category, although it's taken him over 20 years to do it.

It's interesting that few posting to this thread identify their own sexual identity. At first, I thought this was due to a presumed heterosexual stance, like the use of the word "man" to mean men and women. It's safer to be heterosexual writing about what it means to be homosexual than it is to be homosexual writing about what it means to be heterosexual. And, just in numbers, there are more hets than homos, so there's some safety issues there. It appears easier to admit to being Christian, lapsed or otherwise, than it is to clearly state one's own sexuality, which is another very interesting thing. I'm not implying any judgement, I'm just curious what it means.

Personally, faith or the lack of it has absolutely nothing to do with being heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or transexual. It simply has no relevance. Codified laws and beliefs cannot change the fact that some men and some women will choose the same gender for primary relationships, some of which will be sexual. Not all relationships, gay/lesbian/heterosexual, are built on sex although this is the lens that fundamentalist beliefs seem to have glued to their brains. What seems to get lost in the shuffle of defensiveness and fear is that human beings need to be in relationship to evolve. I believe that this is a primary drive, perhaps even more important than sex. At the risk of sounding like a line out of The Lion King, it is what connects us to all life forms. That one aspect of this very human characteristic terrifies many people is, as I said in my last post, the price of change. We are evolving, whether George W. Bush, the Taliban, and the Army of God want to or not. It's bigger than they are, like global warming. It's happening no matter what the USA decides to do. We're (speaking as a US citizen)going along for the ride like small children, tantrumming the whole way, not able to grasp that it doesn't really matter that we don't understand. We can either open up a bit and grow or scream our heads off--the earth doesn't really care, she's a single mom and right now she's having a stressful day.

blt


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 11:41 PM

DAMN IT!

I've got to agree with BOTH Amos and Spaw at the same time. There ought to be a law against that. But there ain't and I do.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: kimmers
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 11:33 PM

Hmm. This is always a toughie.

I grew up Conservative Baptist and there was no doubt of the position of my childhood church on this issue. Homosexuality was wrong, but one could promise to "hate the sin and love the sinner". Our church even had a sort of Moral Watchdog Committe, just waiting to jump on some real or imagined offense.

We were lucky enough to have a very intelligent and insightful youth pastor, however, who encouraged us to look critically at the Bible. He introduced to me the concept that the Bible, though inspired by God, was written by human beings who were creatures of their time. That's why the Bible is riddled with scientific inconsistencies; God was working with mortals who had a Ptolemaic world-view and didn't exactly know much in the way of chemistry or physics.

So, when I read the Bible, I look at each statement and ask myself whether I am truly reading a principle that is true for all time, or something that is merely a reflection of the culture prevalent at the time the Bible was written. "Do Unto Others" clearly falls into the first category. For me, issues such as the role of women in the church and how long my husband should wear his hair are clearly cultural, and I do not feel bound by the cultural beliefs of people who lived over 2000 years ago.

Homosexuality fall somewhere in the middle, for me. I do still believe (despite my years of liberal Anglicanism) that sex outside of the context of the marriage commitment ain't such a bright idea. Yet I have enough gay friends to realize that there are a lot of people out there with same-sex partners who are willing to make that same kind of commitment. I cannot find it in myself to call their behavior wrong, and I can only trust that someday I will stand before God and get to ask these questions, and it will all make sense. In the meantime... it is not for us to judge, only to love our fellow man.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 10:27 PM

Thank you Amos. That's the idea in a nutshell. Much Obliged!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Amos
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 09:57 PM

You may have a "God-given" right -- such as those to life and liberty -- but if another seeks through means overt or devious to corrode that right, then it comes down to Spaw's framework -- give in or refuse. If you refuse, then you have the integrity of your convictions. If he rejects your refusal, then you have a contention, which will be resolved one way or another in the course of time. When I was very young, I thought I had to go to church X because if I didn't I would be presneted with overwhelming emotional, rhetrocial and perhaps even physical persuasion. When I got a little older (perhaps too heavy to carry around) I gained the right to make "No" stick and got to stay home on Sunday. The core right was mine "by nature", in the best Jeffersonian sense. But the implementation of it was easily over-ridden until I massed a few more kilos.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 09:26 PM

Yeah BP it is why we have the laws.......they are what stands for the "fight." Your "right to life" is worthless if I shoot you isn't it? So we have laws to try to insure against that......not always successfully, but we try. Who makes the laws? The strong make the laws. I'm saying that when we allow ourselves to become so weak that we allow the bigoted, racist, and homophobic and others to make the laws, we lose!

What I fear most is that so many are willing to say, my church say X, but I like the rest of it, so I just do it my way and ignore that. Sadly then, the church issues statements against X and touts its membership as behind them. The "fight" in this case is standing up and getting others who agree to say....."The church is wrong and I will not support it."

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Bagpuss
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 09:12 PM

Spaw - are you saying that a right is only a right if you will fight for it? So what is your definition of a right? Anything that a person is willing to fight for. Some days I would fight for a bar of chocolate - but that doesn't mean I have a right to it. Likewise I would fight being killed. Do I have the same right to life as I have to chocolate.

I believe rights are more abstract. They are what a substantial proportion of people believe that every person in the world should have - and should not be denied them. The right to life, the right to freedom of speech etc. They are dependent on the community, but not necessarily on the individuals ability to stand up for them. Thats why we have human rights laws - to help protect the weak who cannot defend their rights so easily.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Bagpuss
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 08:57 PM

You know what - If there is a God, I don't think he would give a toss whether we believed in his existence.

Mousethief, I don't agree with the "if you don't like it, leave" philosophy you have. All that does is cause more division - which inevitably leads to bigotry and hatred. I believe in unity and ecumenism, not more division.

Although I mainly follow a broadly christian religion, I think that all religions are an attempt to know God (the same God) - or to create god if you dont believe in him. The main differences between religions are the bits where we got it wrong.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 08:55 PM

Fionn....What did you miss? What I said was simple. Anyone can assume they have rights. They don't unless they are willing to fight for them in some way and yours extend only as far as you can make them. Same is true with me. The concept is tenuous and dependent upon one's ability to stand up for them.

I agree wholeheartedly that what you, Alex, Joe, or anyone else do is not of my concern and THAT is what bothers me about the whole damn thing. A church, a group, an individual who proposes to tell me, you, Joe, or Alex what to do is not going far unless we allow it. I'm not willing to tell anyone what to do or think.......are you? You want to screw chickens, go for it. You want to kill me? Then there's gonna' be a fight. You want to force my attendance at something, I have to "give in" don't I? If I don't give in, then your right to tell me what to do or think is nonexistent. If I can't enforce what I think you should do, then you have the right. If I can, you don't. We allow the friggin' government and churches and businesses to have the rights when we give them up.........that's the problem. We have given up rights for securities and recapturing any part of them is extremely difficult.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Grab
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 08:36 PM

Penny, that sounds about right. I once read an article about the Book of Job which had the line, "'Where were you when I made heaven and earth?' asked God, like a peevish ageing builder." If you see it that the rules are MAN-MADE, then it makes sense - the rules aren't the requirements to get to heaven, but guidelines on how to live a good life. If all that stops you killing your neighbour and stealing his car are 3 or 4 of the Commandments, then you're as mad/bad as they come anyway.

The trouble is that it's a virus. The Bible and the Koran contains passages saying "this is the word of God", and if it's God's words then you can't argue with it; God is by definition perfect and can't be wrong. So it gets copied, just as a virus gets copied, and the carrier then passes it on to their friends and family. Not a nice analogy, I know, but that is the traditional way religion works, through indoctrination of children rather than free choice of adults. And once it's getting passed around, it's awfully difficult to protect against the effects of it, especially for those in whom the bug bites hardest.

Of course, given that typical folkies are pretty laid-back, this is all preaching to the choir...

Grab.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Jock Morris
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 07:49 PM

Amos, you had me going there with the anti-witch stuff; just as well I read on a bit:-)

Blessed be,

Scott


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Amos
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 07:28 PM

God isn't like that. Religions which feel the need to organize are. It is a popular stunt to run on the not-quite-bright the concept that "if it is good, we're to be thanked; if it is bad, you probably brought it in with you." Thus all blessings are of God but all not-blessings are your fault. A lot of cults do this trick as well -- if you have good luck, be thankful you have opened yourself to the benevolennt radiation of Cult Leader. If you have bad luck, flog yourself for not having opened yourself up to the benevolent radiation of Cult Leader, and thus sinning and causing your own bad luck. For my part, I think I should take absolute responsibility for all my luck, even when it is too good to be believed. Or too shitty to stand.

'Course I'm not entirely up to that standard yet. Maybe I should start my own cult, with self as sole member. Then I can beat myself up for not being worthy of my own benevolence! Er....ah....hmmmmmm.... how would that work, again?

Regards,

A


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Penny S.
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 07:19 PM

I think Bagpuss' test is on the right lines. "Why would God command this?" usually confirms the basic rules about relating to others. I'd add "How does this fit with the God revealed in Jesus?" for Christians, which in my book rules out a lot of the pernickety detail, the jots and tittles of the law. It depends how you perceive Christ, of course, and your concept of God.

Yesterday I glanced at the beginning of a book on creationism. It postulated that the negative aspects of our world, such as radiation in the rocks, were the result of Adam's fall, not because of some link between him and the world inherent in the nature of creation, that was a spontaneous result, but because God went round afterwards, retuning the setup to make all sorts of nasties happen. I paraphrase, but not much. It is that sort of God who is a stickler for meaningless laws, or rather, the sort of person who would feel comfortable with that sort of God who is responsible for the problem. And if God is like that, I want a recount.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: mousethief
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 07:00 PM

The bottom line is this: if you're going to be a member of a religion, you might as well believe what that religion teaches. If you don't like the teachings of any given religion, then you are free to start your own religion. I would never tell somebody what to do, but my religion says basically, "if you want to be one of us, here's what you gotta do." If you don't want to be one of us, fine, go your own way. Here are the tools and rules we have inherited. If you would like to join us, feel free. If not, that's your choice.

But the idea of telling me that I should try to change my religion because it doesn't meet your idea of what a religion should teach about some particular issue? And who appointed you God?


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: RichM
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 07:00 PM

Religions have always defined their current beliefs in tandem with their times; or more precisely, in tandem with the previous generation's beliefs.

So, at various times, it has been a sin to believe the world was round; the world was NOT the center of the universe;that you could marry catholics -protestants -jews-hindus etcetcetc;that you could go to Hell for missing church attendance on the designated day, eating meat, and so on.

To paraphrase a famous quote about generals: churches are always superbly prepared to define sin by the previous generations' definition.

What is it, then that consistently keeps a belief system from changing with the times?

I believe that knowledge of other cultures and peoples - on a daily basis - is what slowly erodes the differences between us, and paves the way for not merely tolerance but actual acceptance of others.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Amergin
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 06:57 PM

Amos, that ought to be a very dull game show...


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: harpmolly
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 06:39 PM

"... but we don't go around lambasting people about their choice of food."

Bagpuss--obviously you haven't been watching "Survivor II: The Australian Outback." ;)

OK, after that totally OT tidbit, I'm retiring. ;)

M


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: mousethief
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 06:30 PM

You're pretty quick to fling around words like "homophobia" and "judgmental" there, Fionn. And to tell people in religions which you don't ascribe to, how to run their own business.

God save me from such open-mindedness.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 06:22 PM

Er, I think maybe that should be "meek." Must be this PC I've borrowed......


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 06:17 PM

Spaw, what two guys or more, of either/any sex, choose to do in private in no way compromises your own rights, so I don't think you can go very far with that line. Mousethief belongs to a church which is judgmental about same-sex sex, and in my book he either speaks out against that position or he goes along with it. One or the other - there's nowhere to hide.

Some people evidently have little choice about what religion they belong to - witness the staggering proportion of people,t he world over, who meakly subscribe to the same religion as their forbears. (And blessed are the meak, as those who rate Jesus's teaching will know.) Thus some homosexuals find themselves in churches like Mousethief's, and endure all kinds of self-doubt, diminished confidence, guilt etc, because of the judgmental attitude Mousethief espouses. OK, they bring it on themselves by believing such nonsense, but why the hell does any church need to bother itself with issues like this anyway? What purpose do the churches serve when they inflict this misery on their blessedly meak sinners?

Joe, I am afraid that within catholicism, the homophobia comes from the church itself. Your church. Liberal minded people in that church surely have a duty to challenge the church - to challenge papal authority - on this issue, as notable elements of the American hierarchy have indeed been prepared to do. (Just as they have also challenged papal authority on birth control etc.) Of course, once a church (especially one with built in infallibility clauses) starts to compromise in the face of such lobbying, the whole edifice is in danger of crumbling. To which I say God speed the day - and say without irony, because I have no problem with God/the Gods - just religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Amos
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 01:43 PM

Where's my remote.....oh please! Where's my REMOTE!!!!?? They're gonna make a game show out of TROLL'S MIND!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Bagpuss
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 01:41 PM

My acid test for whether a religious belief is justified (to me) is "Why is this rule here?". Lying, murder, adultery are against the rules because they harm other people. In christianity Jesus summed it up very simply - love your neighbour as yourself and the rest will follow naturally from this. If you love and have compassion for another person, you will try to avoid hurting them. Any other rules are pointless - either they naturally occur from following the main rule - or they are irrelevant nonsense that came from the minds of people. The old testament tells us all sorts about what sort of food we should and should not eat, but we don't go around lambasting people about their choice of food.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: major religions and homophobia
From: Troll
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 01:08 PM

I agree with Alex. In the past I have agreed with Kendall.
What's happening to me? Will I start agreeing with Skeptic next?
Stay tuned.

troll


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