Sunday, May 9, 2010

Further questions about why I don't publish certain comments that I deem as hurtful

One of the very thoughtful people who wrote some comments that I later refused to publish is Hadley Baker.  He and I have shared a couple e-mails, and although I consider his input to be worthy of dialogue, I do not agree with his views on gay people.  He wrote to me last week, and has agreed that I can use his name in sharing what he had to say.     

Hadley wrote this:  
I know you did not choose to publish my last comment on your blog.  I guess I would like to just leave you a final thought.  I would also like to thank you for emailing me back on my last email and comment.  Here's my thought:
I cannot help but notice that those who share your view on sexual orientation, gay marriage, etc. seem very close minded to opposing views.  I know it could easily be said that those who share my view are the same way.  But here is the difference as I see it.  I am not trying to silence the voice of people who share your view.  If someone wants to speak out and voice their beliefs on gay marriage, sexual orientation, etc., I do not have a problem with that.  I think is their constitutional right, even though I disagree with them.  However, in many modern countries of the world those who deem homosexuality to be immoral are being silenced. 
It would seem to any objective person that your agenda is to tell people like me that their beliefs are wrong.  You don't just want us to hear you, you want us to agree with you.  And now the governments of this world are getting involved and attacking the church or those with a moral objection to homosexuality.  It's happening in Canada and in the UK.  Soon enough in the US, people like me may be thrown in jail because of our "hate speech" (which is not hatred at all).  I just find it ironic that you would not want to publish views that disagree with yours, as though you are nervous to debate a view that challenges your own.
As I have said before, I am not angry at you, or Ray, or anyone else in the gay community (including supporters).  But I do not understand why people like me are being called a "hater"...since when is someone filled with hate because they adhere to their sincere beliefs of the Bible?  I do not understand this at all.  I can say as someone who disagrees with you, that you will do a lot more to gain merit and credibility if you will be open to dialogue rather than diatribe.  And I would say the same thing to the many people who share my views.  We all need to be open to discussion, to looking at the Bible and seeing what it really says.  Just a thought.  Thanks for hearing me out.
Hadley Baker
Dallas, TX is my reply:
(and I made just a couple edits)

Hi John,

Sorry I'm just getting back with you.  I had my daughter and granddaughter here since Tuesday, and just haven't had time to reply to your courteous e-mail.  My daughter's trip was a short one, and all I wanted to do when I wasn't working was to hold the baby.  :)

You are asking about why I won't publish certain viewpoints, and your impression is that I am "nervous to debate a view that challenges" [mine].  No, that isn't the case, but let me explain. 

I read over the article on the street preacher in the UK, and I see where you think Christians are being silenced.  It appears to me that he was doing "street-preaching," and that he was expressing himself in regard to how he sees gay people.  He sees them as sinful and a threat to society.  He was silenced.

Meanwhile, I have read 1000s of e-mails directed to Ray and myself (sent to us as comments on his website), saying the same thing with slight variations, over and over:  Gays don't know the Bible.  Ray (specifically) has chosen a sinful lifestyle.  Fans are saddened and disappointed.  Ray didn't trust God.  Gay people just need to turn to Jesus - really.  Ray is leading others to hell.  Ray is a monster who was never saved.  Ray should just ignore what he feels.  If gay people were really saved, they wouldn't have "this problem."  Ray is demon-possessed.  Gays don't deserve forgiveness, as they have turned away from God.  Ray purposely deceived others as he sang.  (and MORE and more and more comments on blogs)  This is what we don't need more of, anywhere. 

Let's see---how many more phrases can I recite?  Plenty.  And honestly, do you think that fundamentalists will stop saying those things?  I don't think so.  They are perfectly free (and legally able) to continue to say those things IN THEIR OWN CHURCHES.  That is not going to change quickly - although I do believe it should and it is what I work toward.

I could nicely reply that I disagree with how you see all this - but it will not do me any good.  I can only reject offensive things that are said on MY blog, and try to help others tell their stories.  Each one of them deserve to have a venue where the rhetoric is NOT SAID.  And my blog is one of those places. 

I've wanted to sarcastically reply to some people's comments and say, "Oh, gee, now I see!  Your meanness and stupidity has changed my mind!"  But that's mean on MY part.  I am not mean at all, and I try to not respond in a mean way - even when I feel like a flippant remark is what I want to do/say.

What I DON'T want to happen is that my little blog is a place of more anger and venom spewed from ... what ends up as pretty close to hate.  I just want others to hear gay people's stories - and to listen to them. 

I realize that your faith is that being gay is wrong.  I had heard that during all the days of my church life, especially since it was a hot-topic since the Pat Robertson days of "AIDS is God's wrath" against homosexuals.  The anti-gay arguments have been used to raise money and spread fear.  Gay people, meanwhile, are just trying to live without being condemned.  They've heard all the "love the sinner, hate the sin" stuff, and they know they are no better or worse than anyone else.  Many have been raised in churches and places of faith, yet even though they adhered to ALL that was required of them, they still were/are not straight.  Your arguments are not going to change them, nor change me from being their ally. 

In addition, I would never want any one of my gay friends to have to read the same old arguments that you (or maybe not you, but others) would put forth.  That is not what my blog is for, and like I have said, I will not allow it. 

Carol Boltz



Tim Morris said...

Open dialog only helps when it is controlled by the blog host.
Bloggers have an agenda, we all do. One more guy saying the same old thing is not helpful but hurtful.
I have posted some of the hate with response with the purpose of helping those outside the conversation.
A parent that is figuring their son?daughter is gay. A young person with secrets that need to hear they are not hated by all Christian adults. (Calling them an abomination is hate)
People on the outside of the conversation sometimes get help.
Great work Carol, keep it up!

Shel said...

Would we be having this discussion if the topic was blue eyes? No, because God made you with blue eyes and there's no way you can change (except to wear tinted contacts).

God made people gay and while they can do something that makes them appear straight, they still have blue eyes... er... are gay.

Yes, those who don't believe this have the right to voice their opinions. I learned long ago not to argue because I get better results arguing with brick walls. I just pray for them and hope none of their children are gay. My husband was raised in a fundamentalist family and knew from an early age he was gay. He suppressed it, married me, and played it straight for over 30 years. Then he couldn't hide his blue eyes anymore and he began to participate in a series of promiscuous affairs that led to me asking for a divorce and him being HIV positive.

And all this because his family and church thought his blue eyes were wrong.

Great blog, Carol. And happy Mother's Day!

Carol said...

Shel - I love the "blue eyes" explanation. I think it is so helpful to compare it to being gay - or with anything you are/have and can't change, but in no way is wrong. Like being left-handed - and teachers used to try to change kids in schools, until it was decided it was just a normal thing that didn't require change.

Mary Kay said...

God Bless you! You were very nice in your response to John I believe. I could not have handled it the way you did.

My mom was the one that made me take that church bus ride to Muncie (1/2 hour seemed like 5 hours on there) to see Ray in concert. I did not want to go and I came back a different person with my life rededicated to Christ.

I met my family half way for dinner today at Cracker Barrel. They had a huge Gaither display and we were looking at them while waiting on a table.

When we sat down my mom mentioned you to me. She has respect for you and told me to take lessons from you. I am always calling my lawyer over the girls dad. She said, "if you could go on and support Ray and him as the father of your children I should be able to ignore my ex husband for his stupidity actions." I can be sarcastic and I told my mom, "if my ex was gay I would be able to get along with him...haha!" But, my mom did make a good point and I listened to her. You were hurt and angry at one point too and I need to accept things that I can not change and let it go. I do need to take heed to that. You are a phenomenal woman and I do admire you. I am going to try to be a better person. It is hard still with a child at home and I do know it upsets her when I fight with her dad or call my lawyer.

I am so glad my mom pointed that out to me about you!

God Bless!

Shel said...

To Mary:

Please don't blame yourself for your husband's actions. If he's behaving badly enough that you have to get your lawyer involved, it's not YOUR fault.

I had to sic my attorney on my gay ex because he didn't send my alimony check. That was HIS fault and I refuse to shoulder an ounce of guilt over any of his bad behavior. I didn't make him gay, there's nothing wrong with him being gay, but there's sure as heck a lot wrong with him behaving badly and he's simply going to have to put on his big boy panties and accept responsibility for his actions. I have to call the attorney because that's the only way with any clout.

Yes, we have to accept certain things and move on, but if your ex's stupid actions are causing problems for you and your children or affect your cash flow, then do not feel guilty about contacting the lawyer.

Jarred said...


I agree with everything Shel said. I'd also note that there's a difference between forgiving someone (which is about letting go of the bitterness) and not calling someone out for bad behavior. It's possible to forgive an ex-husband and still call the lawyer when the child support or alimony is late. It's possible to forgive an ex-husband and still call the appropriate authorities when he shows up drunk and expects to take the kids with him.

So I wish you luck on your road to forgiveness. However, I'd encourage you not to mistake forgiveness for allowing yourself to be walked all over, either.

Not knowing your exact situation, of course, I encourage you to only follow my advice as it really applies and ignore it otherwise. ;)

Jarred said...

On the topic of the post...I'm a bit skeptical about the story John brings up. I'm not familiar with it, but I'm familiar with how conservative and anti-gay churches often misrepresent such stories in general. Whether they're talking about the pavilion in New Jersey, Ake Green, or MassResistance's poster boy for "denied parental rights" (I can't think of his name off hand), the stories are often told inaccurately -- often to the point of being deserving of called outright lies -- to make claims that aren't held up by the real facts.

Were the police overzealous with this street preacher? Maybe. Maybe not. But then again, it's one anecdotal story. And to be frnk, I can come up with a half dozen anecdotal counterexamples pretty easy. (Starting with my favorite, Fred Phelps.)

But as Carol points out, this is her blog. She's allowed to limit the conversations here any way she wants. If John wants a pulpit for his position, well, let's just say that last I checked, the "Create your blog" link still works on Blogger, Typepad, Wordpress, Vox, OpenDiary, BloopDiary, ....

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joseph said...

Hi Carol,

Been reading your blog for a bit and decided to respond to this letter. The gentleman's entire letter is saying, "Gays (and straight allies) don't listen to us." I have listened to many arguments for and against. And I think he's wrong to bring this up for two main reasons....

1. The charges have been dropped against the man, and thank goodness: As the Mr. Baker may know, the UK does not have as strong free speech laws as the US does. We have it written in our Constitution, the UK and Canada does not. The US Supreme Court has consistently held up free speech. I would never want somebody arrested for saying something I don't like. And it doesn't matter to me that he was on a street corner. Freedom of speech is an integral part of the United States. I hope Mr. Baker would agree.

2. There are people around the world getting sentenced to prison and hard labor for being gay. Two have already been convicted in Malawi. Many in the Ugandan legislature want to pass a bill sentencing gay people to death. Let me repeat that: to death. Thankfully, I do not have to worry about being imprisoned for being gay in the US, but so many around the world do, and I cannot simply brush them aside. My conscience and my God call me higher.

I just wanted to say Carol, thank you for doing this blog. As a young Christian gay man, I would never think about marrying a woman to apparently save my soul. I could never give her the love and affection she truly deserves from a man that truly loves her. I feel hurt from the brokenness of your family, but I am heartened that you so vigorously support Ray. I pray for God's blessing on both of you.

Steve F. said...

Wow, Carol. I'm not even sure where to start...

Dear Hadley: this may surprise you, but people like me, who hid in church closets for years, have heard it all. In my case, I'd heard the church's "evidence" about homosexuality ever since I was a Christian. We know. Really.

Having well-meaning people come up to me and say, "But you've read Leviticus, haven't you?" would be like someone coming up to you and saying, "Have you heard the good news in John 3:16? I mean, it's soooo great! God so loved the world..."

The problem is, the story as translated in current Bibles is completely different than our own experience. I fully agree with Roman 1: straight men who abandon their natural desires are not doing what God designed.

But what about those of us who never, ever abandoned our "natural relations with women" - because we never had them to begin with? How is it that I was supposedly "inflamed with lust," but somehow managed to remain celibate for 14 years?....

In a way, it's like trying to explain the concept of "fire-engine red" to a blind person. There is no point of reference to describe it.

Christendom has the vast majority of churches speaking out their message. There are only isolated islands of believers like Carol, who are willing to share their honest experience, strength and hope rather than "the party line."

I will share this: several years ago, a minister in Idaho asked me a series of questions about homosexuality. That post - which turned into something like an epistle - can be found over here.

You may also find this post helpful - a list of things I really, really wish straight Christians knew about their LGBT sisters and brothers.

Thank God for you, Carol. So many of us need "a safe place to lay our heads," theologically. What a blessing you are.

jvzdutch said...

Steve F.: What an amazingly articulate reply! I haven't even read your link yet, and I'm already impressed by the grace you offer even when it is not offered to you. I wish more people shared your interpretation of Romans (and I'm a pastor, by the way).

And thanks to Carol for starting this blog, and giving me the courage to start speaking out, even if it's not always comfortable--yet.

--Jill V.Z.