Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What does the Bible tell me?

What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Filmmaker Daniel Karslake explores the question in For the Bible Tells Me So, which has been selected as a featured documentary film at Sundance.
With a keen sense of irony, Karslake focuses on the family. Through the unfolding of five very moving stories of Christian families with a gay or lesbian member and the reflections of major biblical scholars, the film examines what, if anything, the Bible actually says about homosexuality as we know it today.
Karslake is not alone in suggesting that religious leaders who use the Bible to encourage their followers to hate homosexuals might need to check their theology. Dianne tipped me off to the movie, and also recommends a book that examines this topic, What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality. Perhaps this could be the beginning of a dialogue on the topic -- especially if the film is well-received at Sundance...


Greg said...

James Dobson uses the bible to encourage their followers to hate homosexuals? Obviously this is not a topic that can be worked out in a blog but you may be stretching that comment a little bit.

Dianne said...

It's a very interesting book. I'm looking forward to seeing the documentary as well.

glenH said...

It is getting harder for the right to ignore 300 years of scholarly criticism.

daniel said...

i agree w/ greg.

alice said...

For the record, I don't think I'm stretching it at all. Dobson is a dangerous man whose message to homosexuals is that they are unfit to ever be around children and that they are defective people who need to be "fixed." His views on women and, especially, on childrearing, are medieval (beat a child until he cries, and if he doesn't get over himself, beat him even harder next time? That's some really scary advice to be giving to clueless parents). And his most recent attempt to bolster his deranged views on homosexuality by distorting the work of legitimate researchers (in the December 12, 2006 issue of Time Magazine) was absolutely pathetic. And it wasn't the first time Dobson bore false witness in an attempt to advance his political agenda.

Greg said...

I guess I would need to see that in print. Can't say I agree with everything Dobson says but "beat a child until he cries, and if he doesn't get over himself, beat him even harder next time" Your right that is dangerous. Where did you see that?

I think you may be distroting his views a little to advance your political agenda.

On a side note, I enjoy seeing your photography work on your blog.

alice said...

Here're a few Dobson quotes:

"[P]ain is a marvelous purifier. . . It is not necessary to beat the child into submission; a little bit of pain goes a long way for a young child. However, the spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely." (from Dobson's Dare to Discipline, pages 6-7)

"If children cry for longer than five minutes, the child is merely complaining...I would require him to stop the protest crying, usually by offering him a little more of whatever caused the original tears." (from Dobson's "Complete Marriage and Family Reference Guide")

The more of his stuff you read, the scarier it gets. I am a parent myself and I find his advice to parents very alarming. He recommends some pretty tyranical methods of discipline. And his approach to women is wrong-headed and insulting:

"I strongly recommend that parents of strong-willed and rebellious females, especially, quietly keep track of the particulars of their daughters' menstrual cycles." (from Dobson's "Challenges In The Family Years: Understanding Early Adolescents")

I can only hope that Dobson himself never managed to spawn. He'd be an awful parent.

(and thanks for the kind words about my photography!)

Greg said...

Surely, anyone could pull some quotes out of most books and argue about their absurdity. My original point was that Dobson does not teacher his followers to hate homosexuals. Just because he tells me not to have sex with other women because I am married does not mean he hates me.

alice said...

And the absurdity of the quotes do not reflect back on the man? Does Dobson not encourage parents to beat their children?

As far as teaching hate, Dobson goes way beyond a little thing like prohibition on sex -- your attempt to minimize the effect of his rhetoric suggests an unfamiliarity with the proportions of his anti-gay efforts.

Dobson's position is that gay people are sub-human. That they are not fit to to be parents and that further, our children need be protected from them; he even goes so far as to claim that homosexuals are defective as human beings, and need treatment before it is safe for the rest of us to be around them. How are we supposed to interpret that as anything but hate? It's a textbook definition: to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward.

Further, Dobson makes hateful and ridiculous generalizatons such as his claim that just about all homosexuals are promiscuous, or his repeated and inappropriate association between homosexuality and pedophilia.

Perhaps you would forgive such willful obtuseness, or his deliberate efforts to spread ignorance and misinformation, but I find it unconscionable, especially for a man who claims to be educated and a follower of Jesus.