Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Heck - I'll Answer Jim Garlow's Question and I'm Not Even a Christian

Jim Garlow and Donald Trump
Jim Garlow professes to be a moralist. Yet he is a robust supporter of the most amoral president in American history.
via Right Wing Watch

Wednesday, as the introduction to a homophobic diatribe Jim Garlow asks: What Has Happened to My Church?

Garlow is an interesting guy. While I disagree with him on just about everything and while I find many of his positions repellant, Garlow has demonstrated some degree of civility. Kyle Mantyla of Right Wing Watch has written:
I have to admit that, among the conservative figures I monitor professionally, you have always seemed something of an anomaly to the extent that you seem genuinely considerate and interested in dialogue with those with whom you disagree.
Nevertheless, Jim Garlow came to prominence as a vigorous proponent of California Proposition 8. He is also a promoter of conversion therapy which is used in an attempt to corroborate some interpretations of scripture and as a justification for repression and discrimination.

Garlow's polemic includes:
Alert laypersons and orthodox pastors across the country are observing a phenomenon, and it is not good. For several years, evangelicalism has seen a small but constant trickle of prominent persons, colleges and organizations capitulate on the homosexual issue. Twenty years ago, every person who was labeled an "evangelical" knew the act or practice of homosexuality was unacceptable before God. Today, not so much.
That is quite easy to explain and understand. Tolerance for gay people directly correlates to the acceptance of science, which is settled, unambiguous and easy to understand.

Sexual orientation is not a choice and it is expressed over a spectrum or continuum with heterosexual and homosexual at the extreme ends. This helps to explain why conversion therapy or pray-away-your-gay is ineffective, harmful and not supported by any peer-reviewed research published to a respectable academic journal.

For some people it seems easier to reject the science then to question their own understanding of scripture. It is a form of arrogance.

I haven't done a survey but I think that most Christians and Jews recognize that the Bible is relevant to the times in which it was written. Even a Christian as conservative as Austin Ruse has written that homosexuality as we understand it today was unknown in the ancient world. Mr. Ruse's conclusions are different from mine.

I would argue that biblical disapproval of gay sex was based on historical truths: In biblical times, homosexuality was the pederastic act of a patrician with an underage (often slave) boy. Thus, when Garlow writes that “homosexuality was unacceptable before God,” does he mean the acts of consenting adults or the exploitation of child slaves?

Garlow is not done:
Some colleges, which used to be called "Christian," have LGBTQ clubs on campus. Calling homosexual acts a "perversion" is no longer acceptable. Some defend adding a new adjective to the word "Christian," and thus "gay Christian" has gained acceptance particularly among young people. Some biblically solid parents have sent their spiritually grounded 18-year-olds off to a "Christian" college only to have them return accusing the parents of not being "loving" because of the belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman.
Again, Christians become more accepting when they accept the science and put scripture in perspective. There is also something missing. Garlow never explains how this acceptance is detrimental to Christianity or Christians. Acceptance is kindness. Isn't that something Christians strive for?

Garlow might respond to the rhetorical question by asserting that kindness is depicted by causing people to leave “the homosexual lifestyle™.”

Does Jim Garlow think that the acceptance of gay people will cause young people to “choose” to be gay? Or does he think that repression, born of ignorance, is necessary to prevent young people from “choosing” to be gay?

Jim Garlow is no garden variety idiot. Yet he seems to be accusing people of “promoting” homosexuality which indicates a dedication to the preposterous belief that sexual orientation can be influenced by others.

I suppose that Garlow must believe that sexual orientation is subject to the influence of others in order to believe that conversion therapy is effective. 

Garlow needs to believe that conversion therapy is effective in order to believe that only a literal interpretation of the Bible, as God's word, is an acceptable understanding.

From there, Garlow goes into an extensive rant about Black Lives Matter being too tolerant of LGBTQ people. He is also wed to the opinion that BLM represents violence. That makes some sense if one watches Fox News. At times Fox News has shown stale video clips as current violence. The simple fact is that BLM has been overwhelmingly peaceful. The actions of a few violent misfits are not BLM.

I have no desire to play along but offer this one quote demonstrating extreme views:
One would have thought that upon discovering that some of the 13 BLM guiding principles include "gay affirming," "trans affirming," opposition to the nuclear family—father, mother and children—(again, their words), that BLM founders are anti-Semitic and that they practice African occult religious activity, that perhaps evangelicals might no longer proudly display their BLM Black square on Facebook. But such was not the case. Instead, they proclaim CRT—"critical race theory"—even louder, claiming that every white, in effect, needs to admit that they are an "oppressor."
I do not know where Garlow gets his information from but I can only find 12 guiding principles. I can find no evidence whatsoever that BLM or its founders are anti-Semitic. 

Furthermore, if Jim Garlow finds BLM unacceptable because of their support for the dignity of LGBTQ people then he finds the vast majority of the Jewish community objectionable. On the whole we, including rabbis, are tolerant folks.

I do not care — and Garlow should not care — about the religious beliefs of others. There are those who think that Christianity is an “occult” religion.

Garlow's understanding of Critical Race Theory is incomplete, misconstrued and simplistic.

Perhaps incomplete, misconstrued and simplistic applies to Jim Garlow's understanding of human sexuality. Garlow poses as a fair man but his rhetoric is inflammatory, inaccurate and bigoted.

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