Saturday, November 20, 2010

Joy Behar, Bullying, Joel Osteen, the Bible, and Homosexuality #Catholic

Let's take a look at the definition for bully, from Merriam-Webster's Dictionary:

Bully (verb)
bul·lied bul·ly·ing
Definition of BULLY
transitive verb
1: to treat abusively 2: to affect by means of force or coercion

intransitive verb
: to use browbeating language or behavior : bluster

I like to check the dictionary for clarification of a word's meaning, and in this case, it is necessary since people like Joy Behar are trying to redefine the word "bully" to fit their own agenda. To wit:

On November 4, Joel Osteen appeared as a guest on the television program, The View, to promote his new book, It's Your Time. Osteen reminds me a bit of Robert Schuller. He's upbeat, positive, and focuses on God's love for us. However, the "shrews of The View" couldn't resist yet another opportunity to attack Christianity. Specifically, Joy Behar showed a breathtaking amount of hubris by accusing Christians of "bullying" homosexuals by believing the Bible.

From Newsbusters:

ABC's "The View" hosted pastor Joel Osteen Tuesday, author of the book The Christmas Spirit – but the conversation took a controversial turn and went from Christmas to homosexuality. Co-host Joy Behar belittled Osteen about his conservative Christian beliefs on the matter.

ABC's Barbara Walters first popped the question in the middle of the interview, flagging it was a "controversial" topic. She referenced a previous quote made by Osteen on the show about homosexuality not being "God's best" for a person's life. Walters asked him how he felt about a Georgia pastor who recently came out and said he was gay.

After Osteen's tepid response, Behar interrupted him and flatly lectured him that homosexuality is natural. "It's not a choice, Pastor," she asserted. "It's not a choice, and therefore I don't think that God would look askance at homosexuality in that way, because it's not a choice. They're born this way, people are born this way."

When Osteen tried to respond, the comedian-cum-theologian butted in again to assert that "the Christian church should embrace that notion." She later accused Osteen of being a part of the gay bullying problem, telling him that his Biblical interpretation of homosexuality leads to bullying.

"But when you say that the Bible is against gays, that makes people get bullied, and bad things happen to people because of what the people say about that," she told Osteen.

After Behar further interrupted the guest to make her point, Osteen defended his church's stance and said that it welcomes all sinners. "If you came to our church, Joy, you would see people from all walks of life," he explained. "We're for everybody, we're not against people."

"We're not for bullying," he added. "I mean, if you follow our ministry at all, we're for uplifting people. But there's the Scripture that we can't necessarily change."

Co-host Whoopi Goldberg also joined the debate, quoting Scripture to try to prove that God doesn't judge, so neither should humans judge homosexuals. "I really believe that God said very clearly 'No one else can judge you, but Me'," Goldberg expressed.

Full article and transcript

So.... who is bullying whom?

I am getting fed up with these types of attacks on our Christian faith. And Joy Behar's bullying tactics are repugnant; exposing her hypocrisy for being "against" bullying when in fact she herself is a bully when anyone doesn't agree with her position. Her faulty logic is so full of holes and erroneous presumptions that it was amazing Osteen didn't laugh in her face. For instance:

Behar says people are "born gay." They are not. To this day, a "gay gene" has not be discovered. Plus, Behar and Goldberg overlook the fact that many women deliberately decide to live a lesbian lifestyle as a commitment to their anti-male beliefs. I read a book by a Mormon woman who was married. She started asking questions in her church, which didn't make her popular. Her husband was told, in so many words, to rein her in. He was unsuccessful. They ended up getting a divorce and the woman entered therapy with a female psychologist.

After some time, this woman decided to begin an affair with her female psychologist. Her reason? After allowing her resentment of men to reach a boil, she defiantly claimed that she was removing her mind and resources from a male-dominated society; and this included removing her body from being "sexually used" by men. It was a deliberate decision on her part.

I've also said that in the Bible, if God is going to call something an abomination, how much sense does it make for Him to force someone to live such a life by causing them to be born that way? (Lev. 18:22, Lev. 20:13) He wouldn't and He doesn't. Some critics have said that since we don't sacrifice cattle anymore, the Laws of the Old Testament are nullified; as though following one means that all the others must be followed. But in fact, there are three types of Law defined in Leviticus and Deuteronomy- priestly law, civil law, and moral law. Although the priestly law and civil law is not observed by modern society, moral law has not been abolished, for it represents the character of God. Since God is holy and sovereign; and does not change, neither has His moral laws. Homosexuality is also condemned in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Romans 1:26-28. We didn't add anything to Scripture. It is what it is and it's been around for a very, very long time.

Whoopi Goldberg thought she won the point by saying God is the only one who can judge and that "no one else can judge" but God. Well, she's partially right, according to St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (emphasis mine):
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Drive out the wicked person from among you."

The Christian is to realize that outside the Church, there are the unsaved, trapped in sin and separated from God. Indeed, they will be judged (as we all will) when we stand before Him in the afterlife. But once a person enters the Church, it's a different story. Then they are held to God's standards, not the world's; and it is incumbent upon them to obey His word.

Christians are being bullied by the gay activists because we do not believe homosexuality is natural. We also believe that according to God's law, it is an abomination. This is a very hard truth. Many of us have family members or friends who are a homosexual or lesbian. But I don't know of any of my Christian friends who deliberately hang out at gay bars and call down fire and brimstone. Most Christians understand that sexuality is one of the toughest areas in which to submit to God. But we're called to surrender it, nonetheless.

Finally, I wish I could send this message to Hollywood and everyone else who is attacking the Church on this issue: Recognize boundaries. The world and the church are two separate entities. Our country has a history of enforcing a separation between church and state; and although the First Amendment of the Constitution never said that the state is to be free of religion, it does say the government should not force religion upon any citizen.

You can't have it both ways, Hollywood. You can't keep screaming at the top of your lungs that the Church can't erect nativity scenes on federal property, display the Ten Commandments in a judicial building, or hold prayer meetings during city council; yet insist that the Church reflect the world's value system. The Church is not a democracy. It does not submit to the world's system because the world's system conflicts with the Kingdom of God. In fact, it is diametrically opposed to God's divine plan.

So to "demand" that the Church start marching to the tune of the world is completely laughable. Yes, our current culture can bring lawsuits against Christians if they don't want to do business with homosexuals or lesbians (Which emphasizes my earlier question: who really is the bully?). Most of the time these cases go to court, gay activism wins. And if it is truly discrimination, those cases should win. But too often, there is an intentional aim to totally destroy anyone who does not agree with the gay activists.

After going through some soul-searching of my own, here are my positions:

1) I do not believe in gay marriage, because marriage is a sacrament of the Church. It is meant for those who have surrendered their lives to God through the sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ. I do, however, believe in civil unions. If this will give the individuals involved the rights to be involved in health-care issues and receive benefits, fine. To me, that seems to be the main point, anyway. If gays, who for many years have lambasted and vilified the Church for their doctrines suddenly now want the sanction of the Church, one must ask why? It makes no sense. Stick with civil unions.

2) I have no problem doing business with gays, lesbians, transsexuals, transgendered, or little green men from Mars. It's not my place to judge you. You're outside of the Church and will have to answer to God someday. However, if you do start going to church (and especially if you join the Roman Catholic Church), then you're going to be faced with many doctrines that will require obedience. Meanwhile, my prayer is that all would consider the claims of Jesus Christ and be open to being changed for the Kingdom of God.

3) I do have a problem with bullying on any level. Sixty years ago, homosexuals didn't appreciate being put in a closet, have snide comments made about them, or worse -- physically attacked. Guess what? No one likes this type of treatment. If you believe that it's time you've been let out of the closet, don't try forcing Christians into one. Christianity has been around a heck of lot longer than you've been in a closet and will be around long after you're dead. Live and let live. People have differences of opinion and if it's not affecting you directly, then let it go. The clothing industry isn't trying to force Mormons to wear hot pink underwear in their temples or trying to get the Jainist Digambaras to wear clothes, period. So stop trying to bully other people into believing what you believe. Just because some groups believe that I'm a "white devil" doesn't mean I obsess on trying to prove them wrong. It's a waste of time and an infringement on the freedoms this country enjoys.

So Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg, the next time you want to start tearing apart the Church because it doesn't answer to you; remember to Whom it does answer. And I'll give you a hint.

It's not Hollywood.


X said...

Good post! Not sure if I agree with you about civil unions.

Mary Rose said...

Angela, I understand. It's a difficult subject but here's what I realized: there is a difference between the Christian living in society and a Christian dictating how society should operate. If our world is in darkness (and I believe it is) and if as Christians we bring light to the world -- then our influence is vital but has limitations. That is, we don't live in a theocratic society. (I would love it if we did, but we don't.)

As a Christian, I cannot expect someone who is not a Christian to adhere to my beliefs. So for gays who obviously have turned their back on God's dictates for living a holy life, they could really care less about how marriage is seen by Christians. It's not a perfect world, by far, but I feel that civil unions at least give the rights that many are looking for.

As for the sanction of the Church - absolutely not. Marriage is a holy sacrament between a Christian man and Christian woman.

I'm always open to hearing more on this topic, especially from the Catholic perspective.

Janny said...

We have to remember, over and over again, that homosexuality affects MAYBE 7% of the population. (Even homosexual activists admit, off the record, that the highly touted 10%--or higher--percentage they throw around is exaggerated.) So the question then presents itself as to WHY we're ALLOWING ourselves to be bullied by 7% of the population. And WHY we're not filing lawsuits left and right to force these activist courts and judges to quit cramming a minority agenda down everybody's throats. We wouldn't run scared from a 7% minority in anything else. Let's stop doing it now.

If 7% of the people in the United States tried to force everyone to go along with them on any other issue, we'd dismiss it under the simple rule of majority: the majority of us don't want that. 93% of us don't want to have this deviant lifestyle shoved at us, demanding attention. Shouldn't that, by sheer weight of America's traditional "majority rule," mean that we don't HAVE to have it? Shouldn't that be a GIVEN?

It's long past high time that more of us grew up and realized that "We outnumber 'em. We don't have to do what they say."

We ARE, in fact, allowed to judge evil and call it what it is, and we have always been allowed to do so. Let no one fling random Bible verses at you and say otherwise. Odd, isn't it, how the same people who'll hold up the Bible injunction against "judging" refuse to acknowledge the clear prohibitions against such sin in Romans?

Call 'em on it. They're a 7% minority that's bullying a vast majority into silence. Let's not let them.


Unknown said...

Being a gay Christian myself I truly sympathize with both sides of this issue. Personally I grew up in a Methodist household which was very involved in our local church. At 18 both of my parents passed away. After much gossip between the congregation after learning of conflicting issues I was having towards my own sexuality, (2) members from our congregation even spoke to me at my parent’s funeral service. This is something I carry with me every day of my life. I blame no one it was simply an unfortunate situation which I didn’t understand especially at that age. Today I attend a church which is majority gay and lesbian with membership around 2,000 in Atlanta GA. Many of my gay and lesbian friends are Christians that attend church with me on a regular basis.
I do have to disagree with the statement you can't be born gay. Of my gay friends and acquaintances (which are many) I’ve yet to come across someone that wants or has ever wanted to be gay. Why, would someone choose to be disenfranchised? Personally I would love nothing more than to be heterosexual but I’ve learned it’s time to stop blaming and hating myself for not being that person I wish I could yet cannot be. We also need to face the fact that homosexuals predate Christianity (roughly 800BC). This is not some new phenomenon, also through the years many homosexuals have praised and heavily contributed to Christianity. Michelangelo painted scenes from Genesis on the ceiling and The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. He was homosexual; as well as Leonardo DI Vinci who’s painting The Last Supper being the most reproduced religious painting of all time, with fame approached only by Michelangelo's Creation of Adam. In life we all take the opportunity to cherry pick issues beliefs or quotes yet none of us has a legitimate or even necessary reason to judge anyone. Jesus knew well that life can be tough and painful that’s why he had such a connection for the disenfranchised and downtrodden. Jesus himself was hated and judged why would he believe in doing the same? He believed in helping others not judging or criticizing them, basically what we as Christians should be doing. As far as the Joy Behar issue no one agrees with everything anyone says but if you look at the issues she takes on its typically in defense of minorities (low income, blacks, gays , Jews, etc.) in which she feels have been wronged. She’s not going around attacking lame ducks. At heart she’s simply trying to bring relevant civil issues to light sometimes with a comedic twist. I would never take everything a comedian says as literal fact. Typically the intention behind her actions are positive and primarily for the equality and betterment of people.

Mary Rose said...

Guy, thanks for visiting. I imagine you would not agree with my statements. Still, in spite of all the scientific studies done, a "gay gene" has not been found.

Although homosexuality may pre-date Christianity, it does not pre-date Judaism, which is the foundation for Christian beliefs. Jesus said He did not come to destroy the Law but fulfill it. I look at things logically and I cannot understand why God would condemn the practice of homosexuality in the Old Testament and then suddenly, it would be acceptable after Jesus Christ came into being. Why would Apostle Paul condemn it in Romans if it was something that was acceptable within the Christian faith? It makes no sense to me.

I'm not sure if you attend the Metropolitan Community Church, but did know a formerly gay man who said the only problem with a predominantly gay congregation was that this was what the church focused on - gay issues. Everything was about being gay.

You are right that Jesus was hated and preached loving one another. As for the judging, I can only look to the Bible and the commandments of God. Regarding the book of Leviticus, for instance, a common argument is that if homosexuality is wrong based on the Old Testament laws, then all the laws must still be upheld today lest we be accused of "cherry-picking" the Bible.

The thing is, the laws of the Old Testament were separated in three groups: the civil, the priestly, and the moral. The civil fell within a theocracy, which was what Israel was in that time. The priestly laws pertained to the worship of God and the moral laws were reflective of God's character.

Those moral laws are still in effect. Since God's character doesn't change, then neither would His moral laws change.

Within the Catholic Church, there is great compassion and love for those who are drawn toward homosexuality. There is an understanding that we all are called to carry our own cross in life and for those who struggle with this, it is their cross to carry. Still, they are called to a life of chastity (and really, everyone is called to this life). There have been some wonderful gay and lesbian Catholics who understood this and remained chaste, still following the Magisterium of the Church and their obligations as Catholics.

This issue, more than any other, has torn me up inside because I have had many gay friends and family members. But I cannot reconcile an active gay lifestyle with Scripture or God's holy character. Although many heterosexual couples do not have children, the purpose of marriage was to reflect God's relationship with His beloved. The Church is called the Bride of Christ. There is a sacred and holy aspect to the union between a man and a woman.

All of the spiritual typology and symbolism does not match two gay people involved in an intimate relationship. There is no basis for it according to Scripture. Although there have been many gay artists, this still does not prove anything except that men and women will do what their hearts desire, even if it at times conflicts with Biblical truth.

I do wish you the best and am glad you're attending church somewhere. You sound like an intelligent and very caring individual. But I'm beginning to think gay men like yourself, who show respect for differing views; may soon become a rare breed as we witness more and more of a backlash against Christians who disagree with active homosexuality.