Shuck and Jive

Monday, December 03, 2007

Doug is Outrageous

Doug Hagler who blogs at prog(ressive)nostications was quoted by the reich-wing, neo-con, mouth-breathing, bomb the brown people, IRD. They have a little gem called outrageous quotes of the week. Doug's was the quote of the week back in April. Here is his quote:

"[N]o matter how good [theologian Dr. Robert Gagnon's] arguments are, the conclusions he comes to are patently bigoted, so I reject them regardless of what apparent veracity they may have. Frankly, if Jesus Christ pried open the skies and leaned down into my living room right now and said 'Doug, it is a sin to be homosexual,' I'd say 'Okay Jesus, that makes things simple—I'm not Christian anymore. Now go away.'"

Outrageous? Outrageously good! I said something similar on my blog which the reich wing picked up back in August:

This means that...
  • if even 500 verses of the Bible and
  • if Jesus himself proclaimed on the Mount of Transfiguration and
  • if Jesus appeared to me on my back deck in the glory of his resuscitated corpse and
stated to me as clearly as the four p.m. sun is hot, that homoerotic love is a sin and that if I support gays and lesbians in their relationships I would join them in the fires of hell, I would look him in his piercing eyes and say (if I had the courage of my convictions):

"Fine then. Send me to your hell. You are wrong, Jesus."

Since Doug said it first, he gets to be on the IRD's most outrageous page.

Bishop Desmond Tutu is outrageous as well. He said,

"If God is as they say, homophobic, I wouldn't worship that God."

Are you outrageous?


  1. Standing up to God has some important precedents in Scripture.

    Abraham at Sodom and Gomorrah, Moses on numerous occasions, Job,...

    But the priesthood calling is exactly that, to represent the human race before God.

    Most religious folks prefer to represent God to the human race, (as if they had a clue) but the heroes of the bible were heroes because they presented the case of humanity before the court of God instead.

    It IS outrageous. Who in their right mind would stand up to God?

    Only the elect.

  2. Looking at their list of "outrageous" quotes, I'd have to say that it would indeed be an honor to be placed on their list. Too bad you didn't make it, John!

  3. Yeah, well, I got some grief for that quote. It actually was the first time that I realized how many people were trolling my blog, apparently not commenting or conversing in any way, but just taking shots at me privately among themselves. I found that when I followed these quotes up and started conversations, they wound down pretty quickly and lost a lot of steam. (For what its worth, I tried contacting Gagnon, but I don't kid myself - I'm beneath the notice of a guy in his position :)

    It was a wake-up call, though. I remember seeing this huge spike in hits on my blog and thinking "whoa - what is going on?" Now its expected, most of the time, when I tackle something controversial. I'm more ready for people to come out of the woodwork to take shots.

    This is probably a good example of why I won't be a politician. Ah well.

  4. Really, the problem in my opinion with the quote was that it was incendiary, and quotable, enough that it gave people license to avoid dealing with my actual points and arguments - which has consistently been the case since :)

  5. Doug,

    I know that you are very sincere in this, and beyond well intentioned.

    But, do you think this is really the best way to reach the folks who oppose our position? Or might it just cause them to further harden their stance, and run all the more in the opposite direction?

    We can alienate people that we need to reach the most, and then how does that help our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in the long term?

    I can't see it, friend. Is our goal to just shock and tick these people off, or to actually impact their thinking, and make a difference, here?

    Part of the reason Christian conservatives reject a gay affirming stance is because they do associate it with spiritual rebellion, and heresy, a disregard for the authority of Scripture, etc... Why help to confirm their mistaken view, and pour "oil on the fire," so to speak?

    It doesn't make alot of sense to me, brother.


  6. My first encounter with "Christianity" was with just such reich wing fundamentalist Christians. I remember after being given their narrow theological speel thinking to myself, "If God is really like this, than this is not a God I want to believe in or worship." Thankfully, I kept searching and found the living God of love Jesus' life and teachings reveals.

  7. Grace,

    This isn't about Doug. I posted this. You should read the whole of Doug's post. I cannot speak for Doug or his post or his views.

    I will tell you mine.

    The homophobic god is an idol. This god is not God. That was one of the points of my post.

    I disagree with Doug that his post was incendiary. The IRD calling it outrageous and posting it on its website is more incendiary

    What I feel is further incendiary is the abuse, the rejection, and the demonizing of glbt people based on an idol.

    Finally, the issue is not about individuals struggling with an issue. It is about power and the use of homophobia to divide our church and our country.

    One way to deal with it is to name it. Those who use the Bible, the tradition, and ultimately "God" to perpetuate hate against other human beings are liars. They bear false witness.

    I will call them on it every single chance I get.

  8. John,

    I can only share with you my own experience. I think there are many people in the church who struggle with this whole issue. Not all are motivated by hatred or a desire to demonize gay people. Not everyone is just about power. Some have genuine concerns relating to the redefinition of marriage, or what they feel is physical harm that might come to folks involved in what they see as the "gay lifestyle."

    On top of that, I've actually had friends and acquaintances in the past who sincerely feel that God is calling them out of homosexuality into celibacy, or claim to have moved in a heterosexual direction, and are married to opposite sex spouses, having children.

    Even though I don't agree, my feeling is that we can't paint everyone with the same tarbrush. I believe we should engage these folks where they're at, and try to impact their thinking.

    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, though. :)

  9. The IRD is just a big bunch of nasty bullies.

    'Nuff said.

  10. I think this quote could be applied to many sorts of contexts. For instance, everyone here would (I hope) refuse to worship God if God ordered someone to go into a state and slaughter all the infants. We would find that immoral.

    Yet we do have instances of God ordering, or God the responsible party, in the death of infants in the Bible. I've seen the response that God wouldn't do that, because of Jesus, or that was just the Tanakh, but if the death and resurrection of JEsus is the only thing preventing the order, then we still do have a God who doesn't find that immoral. We still do have a God who could alter the arrangement, and start ordering infant deaths again.

  11. rah! no more homophobic idolatry!

    I've never been on IRD's site to my knowledge, but I've had my sex life discussed publicly and in detail by a bunch of conservative Anglicans, does that count?


    --heather w. reichgott (not reichwing)

  12. @ Grace

    I agree with you. As I said, this quote doesn't represent what I would say now, nor what I've said in other posts that I think are better. What's behind it could be said a lot better, and I think I have said it better on the blog since.

    @ Heather, others

    Thanks for the support. I still wish I'd not said what I said in the way I said it in this particular post, but as I say in my blog (many times), I leave my mistakes up there as a sort of odd discipline.

    Given the extra attention to the post, I've added a little introduction that points to better posts and to posts in my "Best Thoughts" category that I think are actually pretty good.

  13. Grace,

    I have heard this term before "gay lifestyle" but I don't know what people mean by that. Do you have a working meaning to the term?

    On the subject of people who are gay "moving in a heterosexual direction" I have to say I just don't believe it's real. If I woke up tomorrow in a gay universe and was told that to be normal or saved I would have to move in a homosexual direction, while I am sure some people could pull it off, I think I would rather be celibate or kill myself. It's just not the way I was born.

    I am sure (as mounting evidence indicates) that it is true the other way around as well.

  14. Jodie wrote 12/3 11:43 pm - "It IS outrageous. Who in their right mind would stand up to God?

    Only the elect."

    This is a very sound point biblically, and a key perspective that most Christians are unaware of.

    A - One side says its an abomination with one breath but then says we are all abominable in the other breath. B - The other disagrees and says its a blessing from God, then agrees that we are all unworthy of blessing.

    Thomas Merton wrote that "God prefers an honest disagreement over a dishonest submission" (Opening The Bible) and that is clearly true in Genesis 18 and Exodus 32. I think this truth is also afoot in Matthew 9 when the four friends drop their paralyzed friend through the roof and Jesus heals the man based on the faith of their friends.

    The forward step in the conflict of the gay question may not be in the hackneyed and contradictory arguments A and B above but in asking ourselves are we pleading their case before God.

    In other words, are you trying to sanctify the gays in your own minds and communities against the "reich wing" or are you trying to sincerely plead their case before God? The former plan has no value beyond the political; the latter plan is priceless.

  15. Jim,

    Do we have to plead their case, though? For one thing, all Christians are unconditionally loved and accepted in Christ. Our case has already been won, so to speak.

    And, on the other hand, I personally don't feel that the Scripture addresses the issue of sexual orientation in the first place. These "clobber verses" are not even speaking of people who are constitutionally gay, love Jesus Christ, and are involved in committed, loving, relationships.


    Most people I know that speak of the "gay lifesyle," have the mistaken view that all gay men are promiscious, or involved in open, serial kinds of relationships.

    They equate this kind of lifestyle with a greater chance of contracting AIDS, or other sexually transmitted disease. They also can point to studies which show that gay men involved in this "lifesyle" have a higher incidence of other problems such as depression or drug addiction.

    Sadly, they are painting all gay people with one tarbrush. Many have never know or met folks who are truly Christians, and involved in faithful, same-sex committed relationships. They feel this is all almost non-existent in the gay community, especially among men. Plus, they don't realize the part internalized homophobia has had in creating some of these sub cultures.

  16. I understand (((Doug.))) I haven't read your blog, but please don't be too down on yourself, either.

    Your heart is right in this, and ultimately God uses even our mistakes, and weakness, for His own good purpose, and glory. He's not finished with any of us, yet. :)

  17. Back when John made the "outrageous" comment that has earned him such popularity with the Layman crowd, I made a comment that it illustrated nicely a ludicrous proposition. What I got from it was that if Jesus did not act like Jesus, John would not obey him. My even more far-flung example was that if Jesus appeared before me and ordered me to rape a child, I would disobey him.

    The obvious folly in this is that Jesus would not order us to hate our neighbor any more that he would order us to rape a child. To the point that John makes in his comment here, that "Jesus" is actually an idol and not the true Jesus.

    Grace, I know what you're talking about, even though I disagree with where those folks are coming from. Ironically, the causes for depression and drug addiction (including alcohol) amongst gay people are directly related to the way they are rejected by family, friends and church. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The actual "gay lifestyle" goes something like this: wake up, drink some coffee, go to work, have lunch, work some more, go home, watch TV with partner, fall asleep and repeat. Are there gay people who lead a hedonistic life full of sex? Of course. However, I know a whoooooole lot of straight men and women who are very promiscuous, and this is in fact glorified in our popular culture. Without drifting along this tangent too much (I almost said "before I get too far down this rabbit hole" but decided not to as it was too much of a double-entendre), I do think that particularly with gay folks who have undergone particularly painful rejection, they try unconsciously to get back that sense of approval from various partners. This also is not unique to gay people, but is very common among straight men and women from troubled backgrounds as well. And it's not automatic: a gay man disowned by his family and a woman abandoned by her parents are not destined to promiscuous sexual behaviors, but they may be more likely.

  18. Flycandler,

    The actual "gay lifestyle" goes something like this: wake up, drink some coffee, go to work, have lunch, work some more, go home, watch TV with partner, fall asleep and repeat.

    Well said. I'd also insert pay taxes, support humanitarian efforts, be a good neighbor and friend, and I'd substitute the coffee part with a diet coke please! :)


  19. So when people use the term "gay lifestyle" are they referring to any arbitrary lifestyle that would be excusable except for the fact that a gay person is living it?

    Or are they referring to gay people who would be excusable except for the particular lifestyle they are living?

    You might as well talk about a "black lifestyle" or a "female lifestyle" or a "blue eyed lifestyle".

    I am trying not to, but I can't hear the term any any other way except as a public declaration of bigotry on the part of the person using it.