Betty Greene Salwak

Mitchell Gold: Fighting The Crisis Of Religious Bigotry

Filed By Betty Greene Salwak | April 11, 2010 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: coming out of the closet, Faith In America, LGBT community, LGBT rights, Mitchell Gold, religion, religious bigotry

Mitchell Gold is a successful home furnishings designer and manufacturer and co-owner of the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams chain of signature furniture stores. Mitchell Gold.pngWhile he is long known for his advocacy in grassroots organizations and national nonprofits, Gold also formed his own foundation, Faith In America, to fight religious bigotry against the LGBT community.

He published a book that compiled stories of what it's like to grow up gay. That book, Crisis: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America, is an integral resource for me as I reach out to fellow straight Christians. Mr. Gold was kind enough to take some time recently to answer some of my questions. Due to the length of the interview, it is being posted in two parts.

Q: You are a successful furniture designer. What do you see on the horizon on the fashion scene in home furnishings: colors, textures, use of space?

(Part One continues after the jump)

A: Colors and textures are all about soft and happy. Textures are beautiful tightly-woven chenille or smooth and suede-like. When I say "happy colors" they are exactly that: something that when you look at them either make you smile or relaxed. We like soft chalky colors rather than primaries. If we do use a primary it's only one and we mix it with softer shades. In our new book The Comfortable Home we show people how to think about colors that will work for their life style. We also urge people to think about how they will use their spaces: for media, reading, eating, etc. We really want people to get the most use out of each room so that their investment in their home pays off... every day.

Q: A good designer has to be able to anticipate trends in the way people are thinking. How are you able to use this skill in your advocacy?

A: I think a big part of our success is that Bob and I study the way people live and the way they want to live. That last part is really important. What are they thinking about that they don't even know they're thinking about? We did this by carefully observing people in stores. What were the dynamics of the purchasers? Were they alone? With a mate? Same sex? Opposite sex? With kids? Pets? What were they wearing? Which brands?

This same approach has guided me in founding Faith In America and in writing CRISIS. I spend a good deal of time observing and talking to people who vote against my right to full and equal rights. What is most interesting is that for the most part they are not mean, horrible people. I'm not talking about Maggie Gallagher or Tony Perkins who are professional anti-gays but rather the "moveable middle" human beings. And I listen to what they are saying and am observant to what they hear.

For example, my observation is that many of these people live in fear that their child will choose to be gay and in their minds that is a sin. So let's really think about that. First of all, too many of our nice opposition believe sexual orientation is a choice. And second, they believe it is a choice to go against their God's will and order. That is a big reason they are so afraid of marriage equality for gay people. I find that telling them how they are not being fair to me, that they are depriving me of my rights is just not the message that will get through. We have to address the questions of sin and choice with them. From my experience, when we do talk directly with them about these critical issues, we see many people change their minds.

Q: You mentioned in the dedication of your book Crisis that a "basic question" was the catalyst for writing the book. Tell us about that.

A: I was being interviewed by a journalist for a group of southeastern newspapers in the great hall of Union Station in Washington, DC. The interview was about Faith In America. Midway through he looked me in the eye and said something like, "You're a successful business person, you look healthy and happy and have a good life. You could take more vacations... why are you devoting so much time and money to this effort?"

Without a blink I told him, "I don't want one more kid to go through what I went through as a kid." I then went on to tell him the crisis I felt when I realized I was gay. How afraid I was that my parents would throw me out of the house or send me for shock therapy. How afraid I was my brother would beat me up or disown me. I was devastated. I thought I had no future. I thought about suicide for years. I can't remember how many nights I cried myself to sleep.

As I talked [with the journalist] I got into sort of a trance. I hadn't talked about these things in such detail. I looked down through most of my confession because I was so embarrassed that I had bared my soul to a complete stranger, I allowed myself to be so vulnerable.

When I finished I looked up at this middle-aged, big football-playerish guy who had tears in his eyes. He simply said, "I had no idea that's what a gay kid goes through." When I left the interview I walked out of the station and saw the Capitol. It was a beautiful chilly day and there was this really incredible view that for the moment just made me stop to understand the enormity of what I had just been through. I realized at that moment how many good and decent people are against LGBT people, and they just don't know the harm they are causing so many people, especially young teens. I called my sister-in-law Mindy, and we discussed how we could create a book to change that.

Q: You chose stories as the means to change the emotional landscape of the straight community. Why did you not instead directly address the "Is it a choice / Is it a sin" arguments?

A: The essence of the book is for people to tell the story of the time they realized they were gay. So many times I've talked to people who have read the book and they've told me, "Okay, now I get it. People wouldn't choose to have a crisis like that."

If I didn't do stories it would have been a much more text book style and dry to read. We picked a very diverse group of people so there would hopefully be something for everyone to relate to. I wanted a straight jock to read about Billy Bean or Jon Amaechi and be able to say, "Wow, there could be a guy next to me on the field and I need to know that saying slur words can hurt." I felt it was important to put the emphasis on real stories from real people who talk about the pain and trauma they experienced as gay youth--most of which in one way or the other was brought to bear on them by a societal attitude, again justified and promoted by religious teaching that gay people are immoral, sinful and a threat to themselves and others.

Actually, I really think we did address the "sin" question in a chapter very directly. I would contend much more directly than most have done. I wrote a careful introduction to the chapter because I think it is the question for the next years to come, and I had two clergy write how they believed homosexuality is not a sin. Jimmy Creech is a former Methodist minister and Stephen Shoemaker is a Southern Baptist minister. Also, I don't think it needs much more than what we wrote. It's a much more simple matter than many think. Let's not overcomplicate it!

I believe that is one reason the book has been an effective tool for us in that it has a very focused message: immense harm is being brought to bear on gay youth and it must end.

Continued in Part Two.


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"I had two clergy write how they believed homosexuality is not a sin ... immense harm is being brought to bear on gay youth and it must end.

The harm won't end until the teaching does. Occasionally clergy leave the fold and make "it's not a sin" argument, but these two clergy are from denominations - Methodist and Baptist - that continue the teaching that we are wrong, sinful and deviant. They can speak out all they want, but until they demand changes in the Christian doctrine of their Faiths, we will continue to be stigmatized.

I appreciate Gold's efforts, but if we want to "save the children," as i believe he does, denominations must stop the harmful teachings.

Richard W. Fitch | April 11, 2010 7:36 PM

Andrew - you are only partially correct. All Baptists are NOT part of the Southern Baptist Convention, although it is by far the largest. And not all Methodists are anti-gay. There are many Affirming Congregations across the nation. Painting with broad strokes and generalizations leads to narrow-mindedness. Like "all queers are drag queens" or "every fag spends his weekend in the backroom of a leather bar". Harvey Milk's famous call - "Come out, come out!" is imperative so that the spectrum of LGBT American citizens can be appreciated. One step in the right direction has been the "Queering of the Census". I'm not sure of the short term impact, but we can hope over the coming years it will make a difference for the representation of ALL LGBT citizens.

I never said "all Baptists" or "all Methodists" are "anti-gay." Many in both Faiths don't take parts of their teaching seriously.

But, I did say that officially both Baptists and Methodists continue the traditional Christian belief/teaching that "homosexuality is wrong, sinful and deviant."

"Affirming" doesn't cancel that Baptist or Methodist belief. Renouncing it, would. Neither have. Hopefully, they will. That would be real progress.

To me it sounds as though you think if you can get all of the christians to agree that its ok then you will feel justified to live the way you want. The problem is that even if you could get christians to agree with you that doesnt not change what the bible says. There are many that are taking it out of context and changing the scriptures to fit there life style but that doesnt change what Christ has said. No more than if you went to a doctor and he said you have cancer and you choose to change the results and get 2 other doctors to agree with this, does that mean that you dont have cancer? No, it just means that you dont want to believe that you do and so you choose to ignore the doctors analysis that is trying to help you. Sin is Sin no matter whether it is adultery, fornication or homosexuality. You may have gay tendencies but that does not mean in Gods eyes that it is ok.

Ed, there's a greater likelihood that you wrote to tell us your opinion rather than wanting conversation, but I'll try.

Christ said absolutely nothing about homosexuality. Paul did in the NT, but he created the word that we call "homosexual," a word we created in English in 1896. Revered theologians still argue about what Paul intended. Jesus did condemn the religious leaders who tried to condemn others by using Scripture against them. Something for all of us to think about.

As for context, it is everything. We must look at the world in which the author spoke to understand his meaning. Remember that the Bible was not written in English. The minute we translate from one language to another we change its meaning. The Hebrew word we called "abomination" in 1600 does not carry the weight that word does in our language. If you read "ritual taboo," a more accurate translation in English, would you think differently? I did when I learned of it.

If you wish to take the Bible literally, you must read the original languages. Translations change meanings; they can't help but do so. By the way, the people who wrote the Old Testament didn't take it literally; they understood it to be an attempt to explain the relationship between God and his people.

God gives us unconditional love; if we are to emulate him, do we not do the same? I urge you to examine your heart in this matter: what drives your feelings about this subject? When you make this declaration, are you humble with the weight of your own imperfections, or are you righteous with pride and power as you point out what you see as someone else's failing? Be honest and careful in your self-reflection.

I cannot say that I absolutely know the mind of God. If I am going to be wrong, it will be on the side of grace. God knows my heart.

I have read "Crisis" and it is an excellent book. Thank you for posting this article.

Ms. Swank, You do realize that if you believe that we lose the meaning of the scriptures when we translate it from the hebrew and greek to english or any other language, then we also lose its credibility. If we do not believe that the God that created everything out of nothing cannot preserve His word in translation then that is an awful small God that we serve. If the bible, as you say, has lost meaning in translation then that means there is errors and if there are errors that would mean we are free to pick and choose what we believe to be translated correctly or incorrectly. Jesus had one primary mission on this world and that was to seek and save that which is lost. He says that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, that there is none righteous no not one. He also said the he that is without sin let him cast the first stone. So none of us are without sin and none of us are able to cast stones at one another but we are told to hate the sin and love the sinner as Christ did. As for my personal views on homosexuality I believe that it is no more a sin than adultery, fornication, etc. but none the less a sin. This particular sin is found in the Old Testament and the New Testament and is called an abomination as adultery is. God created male and female and when they are joined together they become one flesh. God said in the scriptures that it is not good for man to be alone so he caused a deep sleep to fall upon man. He then took a rib from man with which he created woman. It is Gods plan that through sexual intimacy between a man and woman that the world would be populated by bearing children. God created man and woman, He also created them with the right reproductive part to become one flesh and reproduce. Two men or two women do not have this ability nor do they have the right parts just to be able to be intimate. Some things just seem to be common sense but we try to justify a life style that we want to live even though we know that it is not natural. Even in the animal kingdom you dont see two males or two females trying to mate. A well known preacher once said that he may have a desire to have sex with every pretty woman that he came in contact with but he does not act upon those desires. You Know why? because the bible says that sex is to be enjoyed between a husband and wife. One man, One wife till death due them part. There are people in the world today that may have desires for the same sex but just because you have those desires does not mean that it is ok and that it is not a sin. Remember just because a person takes a stand on the inerrant, infallible, preserved Word of God does not mean that we are a religous bigot or intolerant but it does mean that we hold true to the doctrines found in it. We can hold to those truths and still love the sinner, desiring for them to be saved no matter what the sin is, and hate the sin as Christ did. Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever, He does not change and His word does not change. Dont try to change the scripture, privately interpet, or make excuses for it. It say what it says just except it, God didnt make no mistakes with it. Remember He said, "professing themselves to be wise they became fools." Ask yourself this question if you were to die today would you be in heaven? If the answer is yes, then ask why would you go to heaven if we are all sinners? The bible says that we all must be born again before we can go to heaven. Our sins must be forgiven by confessing them as it says in 1JN1:9. Make sure you know Jesus as your personal Savior only you and him know for sure.

Ed, I do not believe that Jesus would put the minutiae of the law ahead of loving others. We see example after example where he condemned using Scripture as a weapon against our fellow human beings. Take care not to idolize the Bible to the point of missing its message: grace, not condemnation. I confess that I am too busy worrying about my own sins to worry too much about yours; that is between you and God, except when you hurt others in spirit or deed. Will you give me and others the same courtesy?

That's the problem with religion - it assumes truth. There are more than 2,000 different brands of Christianity - each believing they have the "answers."

Preaching your personal beliefs and attempting to apply them to non-believers or slightly different-believers, doesn't accomplish anything. It is futile.

If we must focus on religion as it pertains to our community - the only progress we can make would be defined by determining whether or not the believe in equality. It is a simple "yes" or "no." Denominations that do not believe we are "equal" should be ignored and marginalized.

ALL other religious conversations are a waste of time and effort.

Ms. Swank, I do agree that we are living in the day and age of grace but you must remember that the first time Christ came He came as a Lamb to offer Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins. The second coming of Christ the day and age of grace is over. He will be coming again as a Lion to judge the world of their sins. This same God that is extending you love, mercy and grace will also be the one that will judge those who have not had their sins forgiven and will cast them into a lake of fire, this is the second death (Rev. 20). Remember the Lord said that if you have broken one of my commandments then you are guilty of them all. Its not about what sin that we are given to, the point is that we are all sinner and unless we are willing to acknowledge our sins,turn away from them and accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior we shall all like wise perish. I am not trying to use the scripture as a weapon but it is our standard bearer. We may not like all of the laws of the land but we are held accountable to them. If we break them, whether or not we agree with them, guess what we will suffer the consequences. The same is with the scripture it is the guidelines, per say, that Christ has left to point us to Him, to show us that we in and of ourselves have come short of His glory. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that "ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" Yes Jesus did talk alot about love but there were many other things that He spoke on as well. It seems to me that you have a case of tunnel vision. Also, In John 1:1 the scripture tells us that "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Then in John 1:14 the scriptures read " And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" with that understanding of who the Word of God is (Jesus), why would I not put a great deal of emphasis on it? Especially when it is my road map on how I am able to go to heaven someday and teaches me how to be more Christ like. Jesus Himself said that "wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life and few there be that find it."(Mathew 7:13,14) The point is that those of us that hold to the inerrancy and infallibility of the scriptures are just as judged as you are. You are trying to force us to accept a lifestyle that we believe the bible teaches is immoral. We are labeled as judgemental, intollerant, and narrow-minded. Yet in reality a true born again person does not hate or dislike someone that is gay but we can hate the sin and love the sinner.
To reply to Andrew statement, we are all equal in the sight of God and we all have the same disease called SIN. The ground at the foot of the cross is level and it does not matter who you are or what you have done we are all sinners. Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death," and you are right' religion or denomination is not going to save us this is all man made but we are going to die and we all know this. The question is where will you spend eternity? When we die whatever decision that we make on this earth will carry us into eternity and it will be a eternal decision that cannot be reversed. Ask yourselves is there anything that is worth dying and spending etenity in a devils hell?

I feel somewhat compelled to share my interpretation of "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs" and how it changed my life and gave me hope, but I am not going to discuss religion.

You might also find this site helpful:

www.cdc.gov

"Sin" is not listed as a disease. There was a time when "curses" were thought to have created disease. We now know about germs and viruses.

This site has a very good search engine. Explore progress.

I am not speaking of religion. Just because a person claims to be religous does not mean they are going to heaven. Mother Theresa was religous and done alot of good in the world but all of her religion and good works will not get her into heaven. Lets assume that you have never done anything wrong your whole life and one day you flip out and rob a store. You had no intent on hurting anyone, the only reason that you went to such drastic measures is because you lost your job and needed to feed your family. For crying out loud the gun was not even real, you bought it at Wal-Mart. The police apprehend you, now you are sitting in the court room awaiting the verdict. The verdict is read and you are found guilty of the crime. The judge is about to pass down the sentence and your lawyer makes the plea to the judge that you have not,until this point, ever done anything wrong. Do you think that judge is going to let you walk out of the court room without any punishment? No, and the reason why is because you broke the law. That my friend is what sin is. It is living in disobedience and rebellion towards God and his laws. Being religous or Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs cannot save us from the judgement of sin. If you will but humor me for a moment, lets go back to the court room. The judge asks you, Andrew, to please stand while he reads the sentencing. Lets say the judge sentences you to 5 years in prison. Jesus, being at the trial, stands to his feet and requests to the judge to let you go free. The judge then replies that this is not possible because you have broken the law and by law you have to be punished for your crime. Jesus then replies to the judge that He will take your place and serve your time of 5 years in prison. Not only that but requests that this charge be taken off of your record and placed on His. This will allow you to walk away a free man because Jesus took your place in prison and cleared your name of any wrong doing. That is what Jesus did for us on calvary when He died on the cross in our place. Our sins was placed on Him and God the Father judged Him as though He was judging us for our sins. Religion, denomination, and Snow White or her dwarfs could do that for you or me. Romans 6:23 say, " For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. God has a gift for each one of us and that gift is eternal life which He purchased for us when He died in our place. It has already been purchased for us all we have to do is receive it. How do we receive it? Jesus says that, If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness," 1John 1:9. Confession is made when we come into agreement with God that we are a sinner and understand that we will not obtain heaven on our own, being willing to turn from our sins, asking Him to forgive us and accepting Him as Lord and Savior into our life. Romans 10:13 says, " whosever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." I sincerely hope the sometime real soon that you will bow your knee and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and receive Him into your heart.

The problem with your story Ed is that it is a "story." Sin is a human invention. Judgement Day and your reference to "laws" is also an invention.

At the advice of counsel I won't confess any specific crimes, but your whole point of reference is just a story - one of more than 20,000 different stories seeking to provide "answers." It is perfectly okay for you to choose one of those stories and apply it to your life, but, not mine.

I still prefer Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. The pretty girl got the prince and the little guys found diamonds. Beat that.

Sometimes I wish it were just a story and that when we died that was just "the end" but that just simply is not the case. It is burdensome to me to think that satan has so many people fooled into believing a lie and all the while they are content to live life as though there is no eternal consequences for there sins. Only to one day wake up to an eternal nightmare in hell. Andrew believe it or not I didnt grow up in church and was prefectly content in the life I was living. I was not looking for God and I has no real problems in my life. Life for me was a great big party and I was enjoying it. One Sunday night I was pushed into going to church. How bad could it be it was only a hour long. I ended up getting more than I bargained for. I remember as though it were yesterday the preachers message was about Jesus coming like a thief in the night and taking only those that were His. For the first time in my life I sensed the presence of God he began to stir in my heart. He was showing me not through the preaching but through the Holy Spirit that I was a sinner and if I didnt come to Jesus and repent of my sins that I was going to go to HEll were the worm dieth not and the fire is never quenched. He opened the eyes of my understanding and I began to see things, including my life, as they really were. Remember I was not looking for God, I didnt come from an abusive home, nor was I needing something or someone to give my life meaning. It for the first time made sense and I understood why I needed a savior and what would happen if I died in my sins. Jesus that night was calling me to Him. He was offering me forgiveness, no hell and a place called heaven where I would live forever. The choice was mine, I could have heaven or continue in my sins enjoy all that this world has to offer and spend eternity with satan in a devils hell. That next day I surrendered my life to Jesus and accepted Him into my heart as my Savior. This is the part that is so hard to explain because when He came to live within me it was supernatural. I became a new person the old person was gone and I was at that moment born into Gods family. He has left the Holy Spirit within me to bear witness until I am united with that I am His child and nothing will change that. That day my life changed,my wants changed, and my desires changed. I wanted to go to church, I wanted to know more about Jesus, I wanted to pray and the things that I was doing before I know longer wanted to do. The craziest change that happened to me was that I now have a burden about where other people will spend eternity. If Jesus had not of made such a major change in my life I would also be very skeptical of religion and which, if any, is true. I dont know a whole lot about anything but the one thing I know to be true is that Jesus Christ lives and He lives in me. In John 14:6 He say I am the way the truth and the life and no man can come unto the Father except through Him. Please understand that I am no better a person than anyone else, and I am not going to heaven because I am a good person,because I go to church or do alot of good deeds. The only reason I am going to heaven is because of Jesus and His willingness to take my punishment in death and forgive me of my sins. I know that I am right because He lives within me but I am asking you to entertain the thought. What if I am right? Is there anything worth dying and going to hell for? Think about this I dont even know you, what can I possibly have to gain from these emails. Its not like I am going to receive award or for that matter know one will even know. The whole point for me is that someone cared enough to share Jesus with me and because of that I am saved and on my way to heaven when I die. So I am compelled to tell others that they may have the same opportunity. What do you have to lose? Dont take my word for it try Him and see what you find. Read the bible with the intent that you are going to discredit it and see what you find. Ask yourself why do you believe what you believe? What is your basis for your beliefs? How can you prove it? Let me ask you this if someone you loved has cancer and you knew the cure would you hide it or give them the cure? Most of us would give them the cure. So if you are so confident in your personal beliefs in where we will spend etenity and sure that you are right, why would you hide it from the rest of us. Dont you care that people are dying everyday. You see I dont think that I am right or hope that I am right, I know that I am. That may seem a little brash but I know that Jesus has saved me. I also know that there are people everyday that is slipping into eternity and many dont know Jesus.It doesnt seem that anyone cares enough to tell them about Jesus. Andrew these emails may not have any effect on you or Ms. Betty but at least I have tried to let you know. You are both in my prayers and it is my sincerest desire that you will both come to know Jesus as your Savior.

Thank you for your concern, Ed, but it is misplaced. Andrew is not interested and I am a Christian. You and I have different views of what the Bible says and that's just the way it is. Neither of us will change the other's view on that, at least certainly not on this venue.

But as I honor and respect what you believe, I draw the line at allowing your faith to interfere with my rights. If your denomination demanded that I not be allowed to be a leader in church, I would go elsewhere to use the talents God gave me.

I can do that; but people who are gay (or bi or trans) have nowhere to go when we deny them their rights. It is the height of arrogance when we decide to make laws that treat anyone as less than fully human.

This isn't about our faith, which we are free to believe; it's about people's lives. I'm not being melodramatic here. I know for a fact that people, some just children, die by their own hands or by others' because they are gay. They hear that they are sinners when they didn't even know what it meant when they first realized their orientation. I've read or heard hundreds of stories about the moment people realized they were gay; not a single one rejoiced at the thought. So many—so many!—have turned from God because the people of the church have condemned them.

Do you really want to draw others to Jesus? Live as Jesus did, accept without condemnation every single being just as they are. Give them the love you receive and in which you dwell, and let God be the judge of sinfulness. As the recipients of God's grace, how can we justify doing less?

Thank you for your prayers.

Hello again Ms. Betty
My point in the beginning of this conversation was to point out sin. I am not condemning nor am I judging anyone but when something is contrary to the scriptures it is wrong. It does not matter if it is Homosexuality, adultery, fornication, stealing, lust etc. I dont quite understand how you dont think that this type of behavior is not wrong. How do you ignore Romans 1:24-27 to give a quick synopsis Paul said that God gave them up to their vile affections for even the women did change the natural use into that which is against nature and the men did likewise leaving the natural use of the woman and burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly. The bible says because of this God gave them over to a reprobate mind. I have no problem with anyone having rights or enjoying the fruits of this great nation but I do not agree with gay marriage because that is to be between a man and a woman. God in the garden did not take a rib from Adam and make another man to be his mate but he took the rib and created woman to be Adams mate. How do you explain rights for bi-sexuals? Can they be married to a man and a woman? In that case what is wrong with polygamy? Why cant a man have more than one wife? Answer: because the bible says that marriage is defined between one man and one woman, as long as they are both live. It was never intended for us to be married more than once. The Lord gave one exception to the rule and that was in the case of infidelity. What will be next will we begin to openly campaign for pedophiles? How do we know that they were not born that way? How do you think they felt when they found out that they were attracted to children? Is it fair to them to judge their sexual preference? We have came a long way as a nation it used to be a disgrace to have sex before marriage, now its no big deal. It used to be a shame to be pregnant out of wedlock but now its a common thing. It used to be a shame to live with someone before marriage but now we want to try different partners to see if we like them. All of these things are contrary to the scriptures and yet we dont even blush before God any more. I dont understand how you claim to be a born again christian and cannot see this as a sinful lifestyle. People are lost aroung you and your main goal in life is to make sure that gay couples have equal rights. What difference is it really going to make if they never get them? They will still have the same single, individual rights that all americans enjoy. Yet you could focus your time on babies that are having their rights taken away because they never even get a choice on whether they get to live. Our laws say that it is ok for a woman to kill that baby as long as it is in the womb. This is a fight that desperately needs attention and really does mean life or death. If we were more focused on seeking and saving that which is lost, as Jesus set the example, it would be a much better world. How many people are you winning to the Lord or is that a personal thing. Remember the Lord called us to be fishers of men, to be a witness of how we were born again. Again I am for everyone having rights just not special right that is contrary to the scriptures.

I will not argue Scripture with you; that could go on for eternity. I have no right to insist that you believe as I do. You have no right to insist that I or anyone behave according to your beliefs. If you open the door to legislating faith, how do you feel about a new law declaring that women may no longer go to school or drive? You see, we are free to practice our faiths up to the point where it deprives anyone of their rights. Examine your heart, Ed. Is it at all possible there's another answer? If not, this conversation is over.

Ms. Betty Just a final thought to your last few comments. You can look back through the posts that I have made and see where I gave you scripture to back up my beliefs but when I look at yours I dont see a scripture reference. So from my point of view you are arguing a perception from a human standpoint. In Genesis 6:5
The Lord tells us,"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." You do realize that before an alcoholic can get help he has to realise he has a problem and for us as sinners before we can get help we must realise that we to have a problem. That sin problem is why Christ came. You are not taking your thoughts from the bible or we are reading totally different bibles. I am not sure what you are basing your opinions on. SINce the bible is telling us that our thought are contiually evil then I would hope that you are not using HUMAN logic or rationale. I dont understand the cause you are fighting for, if you are a woman of influence it would seem to me you would care about a persons soul and where they will spend etenity rather that squabbling about a persons civil rights, in this case especially. If you have read the Gospels where do you see Jesus getting entangled on matters of civil rights, equality or anything else of this nature. In those days people were dying for the cause of Christ did he stop it? No, is he stopping it today? No, The reason is because life for us as Christians does not really begin here it begins when we go to heaven. Compare your life Ms. Betty with those in Christs day, are you as passionate about the things that Christ was passionate about? He was passionate about souls and where people would spend eternity not whether someones life was a little more comfortable than it already is. People are dying and going to hell everyday what are you personally doing about it or is that part of the scriptures that has lost its meaning in the translations. When was the last time you shared Jesus with someone and told them how they could be saved? If you had the cure for cancer would you tell them? Sure you would. Then why not put as much effort into something that has eternal consequences as you do into something that does not. People are dying for there faith everyday and we are worried about whether someone is getting all the rights they think they deserve. Why dont we go ask some of those nations, were people are dying,starving,diseased, and that have to go into hiding just to hold a piece of the scriptures, what they think about your fight. It is sad that we are holding the thoughts and desires of man above the commandments of God. I am examine my life daily Ms. Betty because I realise I am human and I can be easily influenced by the worlds philosphys. My guide is Jesus Christ and His infallible, inerrent, preserved Word. If this bible is not whithout error from cover to cover then all we have is a history book and if all we have is a history book we are open for any private interpretation. If that is the case we have no basis for any of our beliefs but I am just crazy enough to believe it from cover to cover. I some day will stand before God to give an account of my life and my purpose in the furtherance of His kingdom. So will you Ms. Betty and on that day what will be your answer when He asks you to give an account of how you spent the gifts, that he has given you, the resources He has given you, your time and energy. Will it be something like this, Well Lord I know that you say that homosexuality (the act) is an abomination but I believe that was an a error in the translation. So I invested my time,energy, resource, and gifts into being an advocate for gay marriage and rights. Maybe instead of telling those that disagree with you to examine their lives maybe you need to examine your life through the life of Christ and what he deemed as important. Its a sad day when so called Christians are focusing on things of this nature rather than on the things Christ gave his life for. The bible tells us "what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose their soul."
The souls of men, women, boys and girls are what was important to Christ how about you? To use an analogy of a fruit tree, What type of fruit is your tree bearing? That will tell you whats important to you and what you are investing in.