D Gregory Smith

God's Punishment? Huh?

Filed By D Gregory Smith | August 20, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: blathering talk radio hosts, Iowa Republicans, Stupid theological arguments

I'm annoyed. First, Iowa candidate for Congress, Jeremy Walters made remarks on his Facebook page about AIDS: "The Holy Bible say(sic) if your(sic) "GAY" homosexual they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" & etc., then he apologized, and now Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson is jumping in with his two (non)cents, defending Walters' position. From the Iowa Independent:

When a caller brought up that it's promiscuity that increases the risk for AIDS, and therefore Mickelson should support legalized same-sex marriage because it would lower promiscuity in the gay community, the host scoffed, saying promiscuity "defines the lifestyle."

"Homosexuality is intrinsically promiscuous, because it violates the design of our bodies," he said. "There is no safe way to do that."Bible.gif

I love that this guy seems to know all about the "designs of our bodies" and yet doesn't seem to care about reality, science, experience or dialog. When is this meme going to end?

This train of thought is offensive to all God-believing people for one very simple reason: this argument makes God look stupid. The "punishment" simply isn't working.

HIV infected human beings are not only homosexual, they are straight, and bi and trans and intersexed and questioning and men and women and children and Catholics and Protestants and Mormons and Muslims and Buddhists and Atheist and white, black, brown, rich, poor, etc.

Don't you think that if God were trying to punish the homosexuals She would do a better job? Maybe wouldn't miss so often and strike a straight? Or a child? Or a Republican?


Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

Walters's quote is a good example of how such right wingers misquote their own holy book: It is obviously Leviticus that he is quoting from, but it does not say "gay" or any similar term. Even if we do take this passage to be applicable today, it still says only men who engage in anal intercourse are to be executed under this Levitical law. It does not include women, and apparently it doesn't include men who like blowjobs or frottage or mutual masturbation or Accu-Jack machines or whatever else. Walters and the like want to brand all homosexuals as sinful, but there are these glaring over-generalizations, obviously politically motivated, that they hope nobody notices.

As for Divine punishment, it seems to be very spotty and imprecise in all sorts of situations.

People like Walters spew the "God's punishment" baloney because that's the magical way their minds work. They can't wrap their brains around DNA nuclei and protein shells and receptor molecules and minimum mean inoculus volumes and viral budding. If they could, they would figure out what we are trying to tell them, "It's a virus, stupid!"

Amen!...and we just have to keep saying it.

It's not even about anal sex, strictly speaking, it's saying not to have sex with men in the same manner a man would have sex with a woman. Since homosexual men don't have sex with women at all, they're in the clear. As for bi men, well, there are definite mechanical differences between male on male sex and male on female sex (or female on male, either way).

I also don't have any sources on me for this, but I recall that the verse is talking specifically about the marriage bed, which would then mean don't have sex with men in the same bed you have sex with women.

And, of course, nobody cares what women do.

You are a very thoughtful and compassionate Greg, why do you let the infection of religion effect you? These crazies are disappearing - let them.

Thanks Andrew, I really appreciate that- but I think I owe it to the world to address what comes my way if I think it needs addressing- we all do. That's what makes life so amazing. That's what I value about Bilerico....

Religion isn't necessarily the problem- it's the people who take it so SERIOUSLY. (grin) I just want to present a reasonable and compassionate voice here.

My guess is that those who "quote" Leviticus in order to condemn, or as an excuse for their bigotry, have never read Leviticus, or could tell you where to find it in a Bible.

...or even realize that the very people those laws were written for don't seem to take them as seriously as christianists who were supposedly liberated from those laws by the new covenant in Jesus Christ.
It's all about convenient hate.
It makes them feel better to be more righteous than someone else.
That's all.
Fuck 'em.

Paige Listerud | August 21, 2010 11:20 AM

More than that, Vene.

Ancient Hebrew culture prohibited men anally penetrating each other because that transgressed gender roles. Men were supposed to be the penetrators/dominators and women were supposed to be the penetrated/dominated.

In the ancient world, anal penetration between men was never associated with sexual pleasure, passion, or love. It was associated with domination, humiliation and defeat. Anal rape was probably an ancient psy-ops strategy in war to humiliate and defeat one's enemies.

Any man who was anally penetrated, in war or peacetime, consensually or not, was automatically deprived of the status of "being a man" and thereby lost equal rights with other men (who we're all suppose to believe were never ass-fucked). The act of being penetrated "reduced" that man to a "woman" and that's what made the act transgressive.

The ancient Greeks and Romans also had the same standard vis a vis gender roles. Even in the ancient institution of Greek pederasty, the young man in the relationship was never to be penetrated by his older male lover. It was prohibited. Public knowledge of it, or even suspicion, would have interfered with his ability to go on and be a fully functioning citizen of the Athenian city-state.

He would no longer be able to vote or hold public office. He would be deprived of the rights of Athenian citizenship because his status would be that of a "woman." In the Greco-Roman world, the guy who penetrated was still "the man," however, the man who was penetrated was now a woman and regarded with the lesser status that women had, plus a bit a stigma and shame for having been emasculated.

These are very ancient standards for masculinity and they survive even into our post-modern period.

This is total speculation on my part (maybe we have a paleo-zoologist reader who can verify or refute this?), but my guess is that this social equation between anal penetration and defeat/emasculation goes all the way back with us to pre-human primate society. Today's great apes use anal sex with lesser males to establish tribal dominance. And I can imagine that a primate male, once stigmatized in this manner, rarely rises to become an alpha male later. (Sexual dominance in today's male prisons, I gather, mirror these mechanisms closely.)

An exception to this might be primate tribes such as the bonobos, who appear to be pan-sexual. They use sex as a common tribal greeting, and briefly pair up into all gender combinations imaginable. And although the bonobo males do establish a tribal pecking order, I've never been told that they regard male anal penetration as having any special social significance.

This whole part of the discussion made me want to go get a degree in theological socio-zoology... And I realized I need more background in ancient archeology. (sigh). Just goes to show, this issue is multivalent, fascinating and still can involve natural law- remember the penguins?
Thanks, guys!

Well, Lesbians must be the Christian God's chosen people, since our disease rate is lower than straights.

But then, we always knew hat Mom liked us best

That made me smile! Cause it's true?

These people like to feel safe by saying things are other people's problems, that danger is god's punishment for not following his rules. A woman gets raped? She probably dressed like a slut. A man gets HIV? He was probably a faggot. Someone gets sent to Gitmo and held indefinitely? Probably a Muslim terrorist. Since I'm none of those things, then I'm safe.

Until something happens.

This train of thought is offensive to all God-believing people for one very simple reason: this argument makes God look stupid. The "punishment" simply isn't working.

Bingo! That made me laugh out loud for real.

Hi, Greg. They who promote themselves as being so righteous are like the Pharisee about whom Jesus spoke in the parable of Luke 18:10ff.

"Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of al that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner." To which Jesus added, "I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

We have all heard the holier-than-thous spout their pious phrases. I have found the following quote from a renowned Bible scholar useful in handling the "fundies."

"I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that 'we love the sinner but hate the sin.' That statement is, I have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement." ~ John Shelby Spong (retired Episcopal Bishop of the diocese of Newark)

Thanks, Ted. As usual, you bring in the big guns!

Bishop Spong is right on so many levels- it's not so much about scripture or faith as it is about sanctifying prejudice and bigotry.