CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Where All This Persecution is Heading

Jun 19, 2009

As a young believer I marvelled at stories of persecuted Christians in the early church. The horrible suffering, torture and death they faced were incredible to learn about. I often wondered what such persecution would be like.

Well we are now quickly finding this out. All around the world Christianity is coming under severe attack. Those who stand up for pro-faith, pro-life and pro-family values are increasingly becoming pariahs in their own lands. Sometimes the persecution gets so intense that the only course is to flee to another country, and hope the anti-Christian bigotry is less severe there.

A good case in point is Christian pro-life activist Julio Severo of Brazil. For years he has sought to stand up for biblical and family values, but he has paid a heavy price as a result. Indeed, things got so bad that he has recently been forced to flee Brazil as a political refugee. He is now an outcast from his own homeland.

His story has been told elsewhere, but I can offer a few highlights here. He had to flee Brazil because federal authorities sought to prosecute him following a complaint of “homophobia”. He had written an article on the nation’s Gay Parade in 2006, and because he did not take the PC line on this, he had now run afoul of the law.

Things went from bad to worse, so he eventually had to take his family and belongings and escape the pro-homosexual fascist government of Brazil. Said Severo, “faced with this absurdity, I was forced to leave the country with my family: a wife in the advanced stages of pregnancy and two little children. . . . At the same time, I am making another statement. I will not be silenced. The voice that God gave me will continue to be used to alert Brazil, whether I am in India, Kenya, Nicaragua, or any other country in the world.”

Indeed, the titles of recent related LifeSiteNews articles about Brazil show how bad things are in this nation:

Brazilian Government Says 99% of Citizens Are “Homophobic” and Must Be Reeducated
www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09021301.html

Brazilian President: Opposition to Homosexuality is a “Perverse Disease”
www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/nov/08112112.html

Brazilian Government Punishes Dissenters of Pro-Homosexuality Policy
www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/mar/08032702.html

Brazilian Homosexuals File “Hate” Charges Against Brazilian Christians
www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/nov/07112805.html

Brazilian Gay Groups Launch Multiple Lawsuits to Silence Christian Opposition
www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/aug/07083007.html

Brazil Attacks Against Family Defenders Backed by Pro-Homosexual Regime of Nation’s President
www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/jul/07073108.html

But the story does not end there. There is a bit of good news to come out of all this. Severo has just sent a new email out, reporting how one of his homosexual persecutors has now found Christ, left the homosexual lifestyle, and apologised to Severo. Here is what the man (who wishes to remain anonymous for security reasons) has said:

“I am a former gay militant, and now I am on the way of recovery. . . . I entered the homosexual movement when I was 16 years old and I thought that it was serious, where we fought for respect and dignity. Today I know that they do not want this, but just power, and by misleading us that we would get dignity and respect, they took us to a diametrically opposed life.

“After four hard troubled years, I left the movement. In the last two years, I have been thinking over the matter…. I suffered depression, a suicide attempt, I took drugs and I attended psychiatrists. Well, nothing worked better than the Truth, even though it was difficult to digest. Today, more mature, more aware of the responsibilities I have, and of the consequences of my decisions, I resumed the way home. I returned to the educations I received in my childhood.

“I feel the Holy Spirit entering my messy bedroom (this is the way I imagine in my heart) and clear up the mess. I make mistakes, I sin and I pray. The Holy Spirit comes and once more clears us again. In that cycle of construction and destruction, I am more firm today.

“Even with two or three stumbles, it is reasonable to tell that I have been chaste for about one year. Also, I am away from drugs. I am on the process to make peace with myself. So I need firstly to forgive myself and ask forgiveness from those I harmed in some way in the past. This is the reason I got in touch with you.

“Julio, in the homosexual movement I played the role of a spy, an auscultator. Among others, your blog was one of those I followed with magnifying glass. Of course, I watched the communication among evangelicals, to know their stands and how you were articulating and coordinating your initiatives. I did not harm you directly, but my work was a small contribution, because there were and there are hundreds of activists like me, responsible for the attacks you have been suffering since 2005 (at least).

“The attacks took on the big form that they did because voluntary loggerheads like me helped. We helped even by planning strategies of ‘counterattacks’. We used to attack your messages, to harass you on Orkut [a Brazilian internet service as Facebook], and vilify you. I was a pig, a worthless, a wicked, and an impudent.

“I am having a hard time to write this message, because I am very ashamed. I am embarrassed to have to do it, but I need to do it. Julio Severo, I harassed you, I mocked you, I maligned you and your honor. I conspired against you. I was your enemy, as David told in Psalm 34.

“Julio, I mistook, I sinned, I committed offenses and insults against you. I am repentant. There is no justification for my crimes. Even so, trusting in your Christian morality, I want to ask your forgiveness. Julio, I am sorry for all the times I harmed you. I want you to know that if I could come back in time, I would not do it again. If at least I knew what I know today. Julio, please forgive me!

“You may tell my history, because I know that it will help other people to understand that militants do not seek respect and dignity, but power and domination. I am aware that through my mistakes, people may ‘get immunized’ against the dissimulation that you can see today.

“I only repeat that you should protect my identity, for God’s sake, because I am afraid of gay militants. I know arm and drug traffickers, and corrupt men of the State, and believe me Julio, I am less afraid of them than of the politically organized gay movement.

“I want you to tell my history as a way to amend my behavior, so that attentive parents may keep their children (gay or not) from following the same devious ways and help parents who already have children living in the queer way of life to reduce damages.”

What a moving and amazing testimony. And this is what Severo said in reply: “I forgive you, in the name of Jesus, for your harassments, mockeries and vilification against me and my honor. I forgive you, in the name of Jesus, for your conspiracies against me and for your enmity. I forgive you, in the name of Jesus, for your offenses and insults against me. I forgive you, in the name of Jesus, for all the times you harmed me.

“I want you to know that, even if you were still in the homosexual movement, nevertheless I would love you. The purpose of my articles is to take out from the homosexual movement so many victims as possible. I am glad that you left this destructive movement. I FORGIVE YOU!”

Severo says he posted all this for two reasons: “1. Because the young former activist needs your prayers, so that the Holy Spirit may lead him to the fullness of revelation and experience with Jesus Christ, the only Savior and Lord. 2. Because it is important that everybody may see that Jesus Christ can do all things, including delivering gay activists from the claws of lies and deception.”

So while the persecution is certainly heating up, the grace of God is always greater. To be honest, I don’t want to have to flee my country with my family because anti-Christian bigotry is getting out of control. But it is heading that way, and unless we all rise up and be counted, and make a stand, this will be our fate as well.

So let this be a lesson to everyone reading these pages. The outright persecution of the people of God is accelerating at rapid pace. We can either seek to fight this now while we have a chance, or we can simply sit idly by until it becomes too late. Then we will not have the freedom to speak out.

I leave you with a well-known saying of Martin Niemoller, German pastor and Holocaust survivor: “In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040914.html
lastdayswatchman.blogspot.com/

[1573 words]

37 Responses to Where All This Persecution is Heading

  • “Brazilian President: Opposition to Homosexuality is a “Perverse Disease” ”

    Judge Michael Kirby has also pushed the idea that “homophobia” is a mental disorder. The answer to this is easy. Opposition to the gay agenda can and should be based on a reasoned set of informed beliefs. I have read plenty of critiques of homosexuality where this is the case. In contrast, a true phobia is anything but a reasoned set of informed beliefs. I find the concept of homophobia somewhat intellectually muddled. But the purpose of the concept is not to convey useful truth but to tar dissenters with the same dark brush, to shut them up. But it does not always work. In a democracy there are always independent souls who will honestly speak out.

    Some years ago I came across a dictionary of psychology that listed “homophobia” as if it was a valid scientific concept. That view is contradicted by an essay on the subject in “Destructive Trends in Mental Health”. Definitional problems of the concept were also dealt with by Enrique Rueda in “The Homosexual Network” years ago. He found the usage inconsistent. I recall a case in San Francisco where paedophile advocates from NAMBLA were seen to march in a gay “pride” parade, presumably with the permission of the gay organisers. A lesbian who objected to this dubious and impolitic arrangement wrote to a gay newspaper. The editor published her letter with his comment that she was homophobic. So there you have it: A homophobe can be a lesbian who does not approve of paedophiles

    Essentially the charge of homophobia means that your opinion should not be judged by logic and evidence but by your supposed bad motive, and the accuser sees himself as under no obligation to demonstrate the existence of such a bad motive. In other words the accusation is an exercise in kneejerk prejudice.

    John Snowden

  • Excellent article! God Bless your good work.
    Barbara Sowell, USA

  • Your suggestions with regard to common actions would interest me!
    Christoph Rebner, Germany

  • Thanks Christoph

    The easy answers are: we need to pray much harder, work much harder, and evangelise much harder.

    But more specifically there are numerous things we can do. I do not believe the loss of religious freedom is inevitable. While there are plenty of folks working overtime from the other side to take it away from us, often the biggest problem is ourselves. We do not know about these things and we do not care. So we are losing these battles by default quite often.

    So we can do many things. Letting people know about these dangers is of course vital. Then getting involved in fighting for religious freedom. This can take many forms. Becoming a politician is one. Being a Christian voice in the media is another. Becoming a Christian judge or lawyers is another. Writing letters to editors, getting on talk back radio, holding public meetings, putting in submissions to government inquiries – really the sky is the limit.

    The main thing is we must be concerned about these things and then we must become involved. Believers must pray as well as work for Christian freedoms.

    If all this fails and we do end up as a persecuted underground church, well then other things are required – including a lot of God’s grace. But let us pray and work so that this does not come about.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Efficiency is yet to be named, don’t you think so?

    Concerted action the motto for the age!

    Sky is the limit and Heaven the goal 🙂

    Yours,
    Christoph Rebner

  • Kim Riddelbarger in his book THE MAN OF SIN, refers to the beast of Revelation as being a state sponsored apostasy, and here we have an example of what he means. We are intended to fight apostasy, but at the same time we are also to remember that we are living in times closer to the Return of Christ. Yet this should spur us on, not deter, to do more as Light bearers to the surrounding darkness. Brazilian Government behaviour shows a government ripe for judgment.
    Wayne Pelling

  • HI Bill,
    I understand your argument that we must oppose the anti-Christian spirit wherever it manifests within society. You state this very clearly in many of your responses and I agree with you entirely.
    But I genuinely wonder whether the western church wouldn’t actually be better off by suffering under full-blown persecution (at least for a time):
    1) The freedoms that western Christianity has enjoyed and so vigorously defended have actually contributed to its current corruption. (ie by existing unopposed within society, the church has been seduced by society)
    2) Might not a time of persecution sort the ‘wheat from the tares’, and produce a stronger, more genuine type of Christian?
    3) Persecution was a common experience for the believers of New Testament times, and facilitated (not hindered) growth.
    4) Persecution hasn’t hurt the Chinese church
    Obviously I’m not suggesting that we throw up our hands in defeat and let the wave roll in unopposed. The church must never relinquish her roll as a prophetic voice to the world. But I am wondering whether defending the church’s current position in society is going to bring about the internal correction that is also needed. I am quite doubtful as to this, considering that freedom and influence over society has provided as many opportunities in the church for corruption as it has for ‘victory’.
    True believers have no reason to fear persecution, and it may be that persecution is the only means left to correct an apostate church which refuses to follow the Shepherd’s voice.
    Danny Polglase

  • Thanks Danny

    Yes I am more or less with you. See my article on this here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2009/05/27/thinking-about-persecution/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I think I don’t need the world to repent unless I go ahead.
    Christoph Rebner, Germany

  • Just a few thoughts. Persecution usually doesn’t happen if you lie down and roll over. It happens because you are seen as a threat to someone’s agenda. I read recently a homosexual saying that they want to overturn accepted morality and replace it with their brand of immorality.

    Who is the biggest barrier to the gaystapo? The true church that won’t compromise their beliefs. The apostate chuhrch will roll over.

    Perhpas we need to take a leaf out of the gaystapo’s book. They mouthed the charge of homophobia millions of times if you disagreed with them, so it has become accepted as the meaning of the word. We need to start saying whenever we can “Oh, by the way, if you are not afraid of homosexuals (the true meaning) you are not hopmophobic, even if you disagree with them. That is a lie they have conjured up to turn society against you.”

    Roger Marks

  • “Gay activists insist that respect for a person is identical with accepting his or her political claims for equality in all areas of life. Even principled opposition is therefore tantamount to bigotry,”homophobia,” & the equivalent of race hatred.
    “But by deliberately confusing these two sides- the political & the personal- gay activism has created a dangerous monster ( the joining of ‘political power’ to victim status).” May I include in the mix; ‘aggressive personality & porcelain-fragile ego’? though these seem implicit.
    “The lesser danger is that our sympathy for the persecuted will blind us to the social danger. The (greater by far) danger is that our justifiable protest will stifle & ultimately kill our understanding that “homosexuals” are simply us. Should this occur, we lose not only our birthright, but our souls.” So wrote Jeffrey Satinover in “Homosexuality & the Politics of Truth” ISBN 0-8010-5625-X (P21-22).
    To mix quotations “On such a full sea are we now afloat”.
    Well put Bill. Keep up the good work. Greetings & Blessings.
    Arthur Hartwig

  • That is a very moving article, it is always encouraging to read of a person who has had their lives changed and transformed by Christ. Thanks for sharing Bill.
    Keith Jarrett

  • There is a Christian journal called “Voice of the Martyrs” that systematically reports the persecution of Christians in Third World countries. The stories and photographs are horrific. Most of this material does not make it to the local secular media which is more likely to report some celebrity mishap in Hollywood or Obama’s fly swatting skills.
    John Snowden

  • Please let us stop being blinded by lies and being forced to play a game according to rules that the homosexual lobby have imposed on us but which they do not themselves follow. What is it that western governments are determined to protect at the cost of rationality, reason, liberty, freedom of speech, the economy, the lives of our children and the very existence of our nation? It is a being that is as mythical as the Greek Chymera, a monstrous fire-breathing creature composed of multiple animal parts. The ‘homosexual,’ an impossible and foolish fantasy, like the chimera, or the fairies at the bottom of the garden, continues to develop ever new and diverse variations: lesbians; Trans-sexuals; bi-sexuals; Trans genders; tri-sexuals; copra-sexuals; necro-sexuals…. They never cease diversifying.

    For the gay lobby, it was a mistake for their pioneers in the 19th century to have coined the word, ‘homophile’ for therein lies an admission of antithesis that someone cannot at the same time be a heterophile; he or she also has to be a heterophobe. If one is using these words, one is either a philiac or a phobiac – but not both. But for the LGBTs to be able to obliterate antitheses, they will have to abandon not only the words ‘homophile’ and ‘heterophile’ but also ‘homophobe’ and ‘heterophobe’ – even though, and this is the point: they are happy for us to continue to use them. They have left us playing a game that they had cease to play a long time ago.

    Note well that their fallacious claim that a ‘homophile’ is born and therefore cannot be held responsible for what he is, is not graciously extended to the ‘heterophile‘, who could also claim that he bore no responsibility for being a ‘homophobe‘, for the self-same reason.

    Why is it admissible for the “homosexuals” to express their blatant heterophobia by having exclusive venues and events such as gay bars, gay hotels, gay Olympic games, Gay Sunday, Gay only MPs, gay clubs, Gay Equality laws that will force all organisations to employ a certain percenate of gays, gay only Mardis Gras etc. which are discriminatory and non-inclusive towards heterophiles (those who continue to think in terms of opposites, complementarities, binaries); whereas for someone to be born a heterophile, and therefore a homophobe, is a crime?

    David Skinner, UK

  • On 22 December 1989, Romania’s communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown in a violent revolution and fled from the capital, Bucharest. Three days later, he and his wife Elena were executed by firing squad. It was the last of the popular uprisings against communist rule in Eastern Europe that year.

    It began on 15 December with demonstrations in the western city of Timisoara against the harassment of a dissident ethnic-Hungarian priest, Laszlo Tokes. These soon swelled into a mass protest, in which slogans like “We want bread” soon turned into “Down with Ceausescu”. Ceausescu was away on a visit to Iran at the time, but when he heard of this open challenge to his power he is said to have gone into a blind rage.

    Three years ago I stumbled upon Bill’s site, Culture watch and found that I wasn’t dreaming, but that the homosexual issue is a factor in the melt down of western civilisation.
    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2006/07/07/when-nations-collapse/
    To me this article was a seminal moment.

    I also read this vivid piece by Sarah Hey:
    http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/469

    But why should we be on defensive? Why are we not already aggressively and unapologetically leading a counter attack? Instead of defending ‘ stone bridges’ we should be storming over the other side, like the Israelites of old who went over the Jordan to claim the territory God had commanded for them to take. Like them, for us to remain content to have allowed the idolatries of humanism and evolutionism to have taken root, all in the name of democracy, will inevitably spell our end with Islam taking over.

    Soon there will be nowhere for the Christian to run to, as Danny Nahlia and Danny Scott discovered. We either stand and fight for our individual stone bridgea or we surrender to the inevitable.

    David Skinner, UK

  • Bill,

    I thank you very much for letting your readers know what is happening with Julio Severo. He is a very brave Christian who needs every support we can give to him and his family.

    As a Brazilian-born legal academic, who wrote his PhD on the current lack of the rule of law in Brazil, I can personally testify that the country is government by an utterly corrupt and homofascist, left-leaning populist regime.

    Augusto Zimmermann

  • The Assembley of Confessing Congregations within the Uniting Church of Australia has named the U.C.A. ‘Apostate’ over this issue of homosexuality.
    Stan Fishley

  • These are the times to be brave. I personally have yet to have seen that put to the test in myself. May the Lord strengthen our resolve and our faith in Him. Those who have that kindling in their hearts need to know that they are not alone in their God given concern. We need to know that we are a part of a Kingdom of Righteous and the Family of God in support of one another….. Being very careful to try not to sound like a crusader here. But yet, Eph 6:10-18. Stand true and be faithful!
    Anthony McGregor

  • “continues to develop ever new and diverse variations: lesbians; Trans-sexuals; bi-sexuals; Trans genders; tri-sexuals; copra-sexuals; necro-sexuals…. They never cease diversifying”

    The diversity has been there all along, not in the open but tucked away for years in the case histories of the literature of psychiatry, psychology and psychoanalysis. What has diversified is secularism’s potty ways of seeing the world. The greater the diversity, the greater the opportunity for error. Take the idea of a right. Once it was narrowly conceived and respectable. Now the idea has been reduced to verbal games such as “experts” pretending to find rights to sodomy and porn in a nation’s constitution. I think we can safely assume that the authors of that document never had unhealthy sex and the degradation of women in mind when they wrote it. Their purposes were nobler.

    John Snowden

  • The outright persecution of the people of God is accelerating at rapid pace. We can either seek to fight this now while we have a chance, or we can simply sit idly by until it becomes too late.

    Right. So when we have sometimes been criticised for saying we are persecuted, just because we haven’t *yet* been imprisoned for our beliefs etc, it has only been because we can clearly see where this is all headed. The soft persecution has not yet ended and the hard persecution is just beginning (think Victoria’s abortion laws). But it’s a reality.

    we need to pray much harder, work much harder, and evangelise much harder.

    Amen! We must not assume that we cannot evangelise and convert our countrymen. We must do it, or die trying. We must become holy, too, for they will not listen to us unless we do.

    Louise Le Mottee

  • But I genuinely wonder whether the western church wouldn’t actually be better off by suffering under full-blown persecution (at least for a time)

    That would depend on whether more or fewer souls are saved as a result. It is possible that a persecuted Church may become more holy an therefore more powerful in evangelisation. Or maybe persecution will cause people to abandon the faith. Who can say? But just because persecution might (perhaps) be good for the Church doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight against such a possibility.

    Louise Le Mottee

  • But why should we be on defensive?

    Indeed, we should not. We must find out our gift from God in how to evangelise and use it! Bill, I think we need to work smarter, not harder.

    One thing we absolutely ought not do is apologise for being religious. We have compromised enormously with secularism.

    Louise Le Mottee

  • There is no logical link between the extending of equality of rights to homosexual citizens and taxpayers , and the claimed loss of religious freedom. No one has the right to eliminate or diminsh the rights of others..Attempts to do so emulate the fascisms of history and enable anti-gay violence and bloodshed.
    Hugh Vincelette

  • Thanks Hugh

    But let me call your bluff. Homosexuals as individuals of course have the very same rights as anyone else. What they are asking for is special rights as couples, which no government is obligated to give them. Plenty of people cannot marry: three-year-olds, those already married, and so on.

    There is no law on the books blocking anyone from marrying if they meet the age and gender requirements of marriage. So there is no discrimination here whatsoever. Homosexuals have no more rights to marry than three-year-olds or those already married.

    (Although I am aware that the exact same arguments for same-sex marriage are the ones being used by those pushing for group marriage – polyamory. They too are foolishly and irrationally shouting discrimination by not being allowed to marry.)

    And there most certainly is a link between the redefinition of marriage and the granting of special rights to homosexuals, and the reduction of religious freedom. It is happening all around the Western world. Simply checking out the links I provide in the article demonstrates how the two inevitably collide.

    When a right is pulled out of the hat – as in same-sex marriage – and legalised, then governments have to enforce that right, and ensure it is exercised freely.

    Thus that will force all sorts of religious bodies and institutions to cater to same-sex marriage, even if it goes against their deeply held beliefs and values. The state thus must coerce religious groups into doing what they do not want to do.

    And it is you who is making the completely illogical connections here: standing up for heterosexual marriage has nothing to do with violence or bloodshed. So please spare us this unhelpful rhetoric. It merely highlights the emptiness of your case.

    Indeed, as the above article makes clear, it seems all the fascism is coming from homosexual militants and supportive governments seeking to ram homosexuality down the throats on unwilling citizens.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • So you whining Christians are “persecuted” because other people who don’t share your weird beliefs are allowed by law to get on with their lives? Sheesh, you people really need to get over yourselves.

    Nobody’s throwing you to the lions or evicting you from your homes. If you choose to emigrate then that’s up to you and frankly, good riddance.

    Most western countries are pretty tolerant on the whole, especially of the mentally ill, and I would include religious people under that definition. But at least nobody locks you up and you’re allowed to believe whatever nonsense you like so long as you don’t try to thrust it down the necks of the sane.

    Persecution? You have a mental disorder. It’s as simple as that. Be grateful most people are tolerant and patient with you and don’t feed you to the lions or put you in an asylum.

    Richie Craze, UK

  • Hugh: “No one has the right to eliminate or diminsh the rights of others.”

    Of course they do. Western secular governments have systematically deprived unborn human beings of any rights at all. That’s why we now hear ghastly stories such as an American woman aborting her child because the birth would have conflicted with a planned holiday in the Bahamas. That’s why in some places abortion mills are not obliged to inform parents that they are destroying the child of their under-age daughter. Parents have duties to their children that imply a right to know about the circumstances that affect their children’s welfare. There was a court case in New York during the eighties where parents sued a government-approved abortion mill because the mill botched the abortion and killed their under- age daughter. The first the parents knew was notification of the death of their child and grand child. At least they had a right to an official death certificate for the former if not the latter.

    John Snowden

  • Thanks Richie

    We all appreciate you so clearly exemplifying this tolerance and patience.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • When you spout such bigoted nonsense you have relinquished all rights to any tolerance or patience.
    Richie Craze, UK

  • Many thanks again Richie for so beautifully making my point.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Richie,

    If you have the slightest interest in doing some research, google this:

    Ake Green (’cause no-one wants to lock us up, right?!?)
    David Parker arrested, Massachusetts (oh well, maybe they do)
    Christian Horizons fined, Canada
    Castro district gays attack Christians
    New Mexico photographer fined $6000 for refusing gay wedding
    Bash back gays attack church Michigan prop 8

    Just off the top of my head, mind you…

    Of course, the irony is Google donated $100,000 to try to stop Prop 8 passing in California back in November, but to show us all now how impartial a search engine they are, enter the word ‘gay’ and see a nice rainbow symbol come up.

    I’m feelin’ the ‘tolerance’, make no mistake. LOL

    One more question – please inform us of how great it is to mix up sexual organs with the output end of the digestive system and why that should be celebrated as part of a cure for my “mental disorder.”

    Like shooting fish in a barrel…

    Mark Rabich

  • So you whining Christians are “persecuted” because other people who don’t share your weird beliefs are allowed by law to get on with their lives?

    No, my good man, the persecution is only just beginning in Australia (e.g. The Two Dannys), so it may seem overblown rhetoric, but when people who disagree with secularism can be hounded out of their own country merely for their beliefs (as with Severo), then you know it’s on its way.

    In Victoria, doctors and nurses can now be prosecuted for not participating in abortions, so that looks a lot like real persecution to me. Unlike secularists, Christians cope pretty well with the fact that people disagree with us. What we don’t like is being hauled before kangaroo courts or even real courts because of what we believe.

    It is you secularists who will not simply allow us to live our lives in peace. But you’re so blind you can’t see it and then say in all seriousness that we don’t deserve tolerance. Hilarious!

    Most western countries are pretty tolerant on the whole

    Tosh.

    Persecution? You have a mental disorder.

    Look at Victoria’s abortion laws. Our position is based upon laws that are in place in this country now. So much for not ramming your views down others’ throats.

    All this speaking of lions etc – and you really expect me to believe that you truly believe in ToleranceDiversityRespect?

    Odd kind of “diversity” you’ve got there!

    Louise Le Mottee

  • Richie Craze’s comment about “whining Christians” is a typical anti-Christian rant, high on rhetoric and short on evidence. Where does he get the idea that religious people are all mentally ill? What does the claim even mean? The key terms are so fuzzy. What does he classify as a “religious person? I have even seen Marxism, an atheist philosophy, classified as a religion. As for the concept of “mental illness”, there is no strong consensus in contemporary psychiatry as to what should be classified as mental illnesses. And in psychology some reject the idea that mental problems are actually illnesses at all.

    If Richie wants to tar everyone with the same brush then let him start with atheists. What are their mental health problems? I knew an organisation of atheists that clearly had problems of depression as a group. And they were also afflicted with paranoid fixations on “Fundies” and “reactionary Catholics” that were so rigidly stereotyped, so unempirical, that one wondered when their minds connected with reality. A psychologist in the group was counselling them for their problems. He actually admitted to me that atheism could be a depressing view because atheists were more realistic and reality was depressing. He was an atheist, and that’s how he saw it. This organisation even formed a self-help group to deal with their problems. Anyone interested in the psychology of atheism should read the work of Paul Vitz, an American psychologist who has taken an interest in this subject.

    Richie finds religious beliefs weird. So do I at times (I am not a Christian). But “weird” does not mean false. For example the ideas of quantum physics are weird but no reasonable person would reject them on that account.

    John Snowden

  • Some religious beliefs *are* weird. Not only that, but since “religion” actually covers a very diverse set of world views, which are not even compatible with one nother in many cases so that to a certain extent, the word “religion” is not very useful.

    Very nice rebuttal, John.

    Louise Le Mottee

  • “Many thanks again Richie for so beautifully making my point.”

    In what way are you remotely a tolerant person, Bill? Why should I show you any tolerance that you deny anyone who doesn’t subscribe to your scriptural dogma? It has to be a two-way thing, otherwise, I’m sorry, but you really have denied yourself any right to it. Respect works this way too.

    The great tragedy is that people like you, Bill, could potentially be moral and decent. I don’t know you other than through what you write, so I am being highly subjective, I admit. But the moment you start trying to square a world view in accordance with dogma, then morality flies out of the window. We see this all the time from religious quarters, such as the pope thinking the Aids crisis in sub-Saharan Africa is bad, but that condoms are worse. That’s not morality, that’s dogma, and the consequences are thoroughly indefensible and evil.

    Try to understand why a secularist would view you as a bigot. Then you’ll be making progress. If you want to practice your religious faith, go right ahead, but it is the very definition of intolerance to expect everybody else on the planet to share your beliefs, to respect them without any objective criticism, and to ensure that their behaviour or morals do not in any way impinge upon your own narrow dogma. This is not “tolerance” or “patience” that you show, or offer, but an absolute dictatorship. Try to understand why secularists find this abhorrent, and why rationalists will subject your cherished beliefs to fair and thorough criticism.

    Mark Rabich: Please inform me who is advocating that we celebrate the act of anal sex. Who is advocating that we celebrate any form of sexual intercourse? When is Missionary Position Week, for example? Gay people make a contribution to society, and this is worth celebrating. You are clearly unable to separate a person from their sexual orientation and the sexual expression that would sometimes result, and that is deeply sad. Would you have all homosexuals rounded up and sent to the gas chambers? I merely ask. Also, the examples you cite demonstrate (shock horror) that some gay people can be violent or immoral. You should ask yourself who started the persecution in the first place, although I am not saying that excuses the behaviour of some individuals with whom I may or may not agree, depending on the details of the individual incidents. The straw man arguments you present are so futile they barely warrant a response, and I won’t bother again if your standard of response remains so base.

    Louise: It may surprise you to know that I have some sympathy for the doctors and nurses you cite. It may also surprise you that I and many other secularists and atheists find abortion distateful, but I would not seek a ban on it for many reasons. This goes back to dogma. If the Catholic church had their way, and none of the faithful used contraception ever, the end result of this would be overpopulation and famine. Africa is a good example of Catholic dogma run rampant. Not pretty. Would I like to subscribe to this world view? No thank you. If you wish to live your life in peace, then that’s fine with me and I don’t have a problem with that. I’m not equating you with Bill, but he has stated on his site that Christians (his brand) can’t be content to practice their faith in private. Such evangelicalism is the trigger for a defence of secularism.

    John Snowden: You challenge me for fuzziness and then give a very woolly assessment of the nature of human psychiatry. I say that religious thinking is a kind of mental illness, or psychological condition, perhaps, because it’s irrational, whether you think so or not, to build your life around something for which there is no compelling evidence in favour of it and plenty of evidence pointing the other way. It is an extraordinary kind of solipsism to say that some sections of society ought to be persecuted because of a divine mandate to be found in an ancient book of myths that is claimed to be the word of god, even though written by multiple authors (all, obviously, human) with bronze age or iron age understanding, where the only basis for believing its veracity is that the book itself claims to be at the very least divinely inspired. I am sure some atheists are depressed, just as some Christians or Hindus or whatever are depressed. Without seeing the evidence, I would adopt an agnostic position for now and say that atheism itself is unlikely to result in depression. Even if it did, it wouldn’t make the claims of the religious any more true. And whilst it’s true that quantum physics is weird, there’s plenty of evidence to support the weird findings. The same cannot be said of any religious belief.

    Glad to have cleared that up.

    Richie Craze, UK

  • Thanks Richie

    But you again so very nicely demonstrate the secularist modus operandi:
    -One, insist that tolerance and respect are the highest values which we all must display;
    -Two, refuse to show the slightest acceptance and tolerance to anyone who dares to disagree with you;
    -Three, label anyone who seeks to think independently as a “bigot”;
    -Four, hope like heck that no one notices the gross inconsistency and double standards of atheist fundamentalism.

    I am always amazed that those who shout the loudest about tolerance and acceptance are the ones who in fact are the most intolerant and least accepting. Even more amazing is that they cannot even see the absolute absurdity of such rank hypocrisy.

    And I was once a secularist, so I certainly do know how they think. I had to leave secularism as I found it to be incoherent, reductionistic, and intolerant. The truth is, tolerance presupposes an open mind. All your comments have so consistently demonstrated is that the atheist mind is closed, narrow and oh so judgmental.

    And your comments on Africa also highlight atheistic reasoning: it’s all bluff and bluster. Can you name the African nation which is leading the way in the fight against HIV/AIDS? Let me help you out here, since you are obviously struggling with this. It happens to be Uganda, which is utilising something you despise: Christian morality. Emphasising abstinence and faithfulness to one’s partner, with condom use a last resort, Uganda has led the way in dramatically lowering HIV rates. But don’t let a few facts get in the way of your atheist objections.

    I am afraid I am not in a position to embrace this anti-theism of yours – it is just far too intolerant and irrational. So if you are trying to convert me to your religion, sorry, but I have been there and done that. But I will continue to pray for you however.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Richie,

    First of all, thanks for replying, most detractors here run away because they can’t handle it when their arguments get challenged, and given the other usual tactics of the internet – ie. anonymous handles and personal attacks – it makes a pleasant change on the rare occasion someone bucks the trend. This may or may not surprise you, but in general, most of these issues are ones we don’t mind discussing. But having said that, I’ll only credit your return – just about everything you’ve written is rubbish. How is it you can believe such a list of errors?

    Please inform me who is advocating that we celebrate the act of anal sex.

    Is that for real? That is the defining thing about homosexual behaviour (at least, male to male) and has a bevy of health issues associated with it. Not to mention it’s infertile. And I notice you made the old smokescreen “Gay people make a contribution to society” argument. C’mon, that’s obvious, and irrelevant. A fair number of my colleagues engage in homosexual behaviour, a couple of them trained me in areas of my work, but that is not the issue.

    And the issue is this (and be a good chap and read it slowly so you understand, will you?): I am singling out the specific behaviour in question and not (as you effectively say I am) demonizing people. You are not staying with the argument – the question is not whether or not a person is making “a contribution to society”, the issue is whether or not this specific behaviour makes a contribution to society because that is the defining thing about their homosexuality. Is that really so hard for you to make that distinction?

    So, it’s pretty well impossible to support the homosexual agenda without effectively cheering for anal sex. You are at least admitting it is good. But what it does to the body is not good over time. It would be quite easy to explain why. To support homosexuality as if it is normal behaviour doesn’t make sense and it is not worth celebrating. And that last statement is an affirmation of the humanity and dignity of the personhood of those caught in the trap of this lifestyle.

    “You are clearly unable to separate a person from their sexual orientation and the sexual expression that would sometimes result, and that is deeply sad.

    I’m really not sure how you came to make this statement. I think you’re actually the one getting a bit confused here with the distinction between ‘orientation’ and person. I have no problem with it, hey – there are two different words, for starters. It actually tends to be those engaging in homosexual behaviour that build their identity around their sexual habits, something they can do for any combination of a number of reasons – to feel better about themselves, as a political statement, let themselves be talked into it, etc. I’m actually acutely aware that even the simple act of calling someone “gay” blurs this issue as it steps closer to the idea that orientation is immutable rather than just a bad habit that can potentially be fatal. My view is that someone ‘does’ homosexuality, not so much that they are homosexual. As far as sex goes, the only immutable thing is that we are born male and female.

    Would you have all homosexuals rounded up and sent to the gas chambers?

    Well, now you’re just setting up a personal attack. Have I even remotely suggested anything of the sort? No. Do I believe in even lesser expressions of violence, you know, maybe just some light taps with a plastic cricket bat? No. But I found it rather ironic that you accuse me only a few sentences later of setting up “straw men arguments” when it is clearly you who is inventing things and then using them to smear me.

    I picked this up recently off a comments board, and decided to steal it – if a person engages in personal attacks then it is because they have run out of good arguments, in which case, I accept their surrender. So thanks for the backhanded compliment, Richie.

    Also, the examples you cite demonstrate (shock horror) that some gay people can be violent or immoral.

    Well no, not really – although the Castro and Michigan events were orchestrated by militants alone, the common theme with them is persecution, the subject of this thread. Most of them deal with persecution from authorities based upon stupid laws. You claimed earlier that persecution was a myth, but then later contradicted this by saying that we don’t deserve tolerance anyway (which effectively concedes persecution is OK). So which is it? Given that I had no trouble reeling off a list of events off the top of my head (there are many more) and we can add to that your comments here (not to mention the original post from Bill)… and it’s plain to see a picture emerging. I’ll let the unbiased reader figure it out.

    You should ask yourself who started the persecution in the first place,

    Yep, preaching a sermon from the Bible within the 4 walls of your own church sure is provocative, isn’t it? Getting those voters to vote (again) to reject same-sex ‘marriage’ using that pesky democratic process thing sure is ‘persecution’, right? And as far as daring to play guitar and sing worship songs in the park – well now, that’s simply outrageous!!!

    /sarcasm

    If nothing else, you’re changing subjects. The issue is those events and other like them and you had better face up to them as being clarion clear examples of persecution regarding the homosexual agenda against detractors. The militants are the ones railroading courts, getting extremists in positions of power, making sure the media doesn’t report these issues fairly, etc. Most Christians don’t pick this fight, it’s being forced on them unwillingly, similar to other issues like abortion and euthanasia. I can think of hundreds of things I’d rather be doing – trouble is, I am aware that this issue has potentially devastating ramifications for the future if it goes the wrong way. My hope is that the lurkers reading these threads will be educated as to the truth of what’s going on and respond appropriately so that Australia (or anywhere else for that matter) doesn’t turn into a Titanic where it’s way too late when you finally see the iceberg. And nations change direction much more slowly than that.

    btw, the ‘victim’ card is routinely played by these militants as a marketing ploy, but in reality, they are the ones who are driving for change, they are the protagonists. Hey, I just want the status quo and those who want change to appeal to the merits of their argument – not use force to try to get their way and also act as if I’m the one who has the problem. I don’t have any ‘phobia’, that’s for sure, they are welcome to state their case, but also to accept a little thing called truth along the way. But in reality, they just want to get their way regardless. So those who care are forced to fight.

    Finally, I tried to figure out what it is you actually meant by the “straw man” comment but don’t really understand. The way I think I can deduce it is that you want me to admit that I have somehow mischaracterized your position of support. Again, that’s not right. It’s not me that’s “base”, it’s the behaviour of others. I find it distasteful too. But then your comment leaves you in the in the illogical position where you find it abhorrent to discuss details of the behaviour defining this issue, and yet you support it. Go figure.

    Mark Rabich

  • Richie, I don’t want to get into personal issues but I really must complain about your fuzzy assertions. Just what are you saying when you say religious thinking is a kind of mental illness? What has religious thinking got in common with commonplace mental disorders like neurosis, psychosis, depression or paranoid delusion? You seem to link “religious thinking” with irrationality. Why? One can find examples of irrationality outside the ranks of religion. You don’t have to be religious to be irrational.

    What is compelling evidence? Is the compulsion exclusively one of impersonal logic or does the “compelling bit” also rest on mind set, personal conceptual frames, personal experience, open-mindedness etc.?

    I don’t know what you mean by “iron age” or “bronze age” understanding. Sounds awful. What is it? You say that you are glad about clearing that up but that assertion seems premature.

    You agree that quantum physics is weird but exonerate it because there’s plenty of evidence to support the weird findings. That’s wrong. There are quantum assertions for which there is no evidence. Where’s the evidence for string theory for a start? Maybe we should reclassify it as religious and irrational because it fails to meet your “evidence” criterion.

    While I have your attention, let me know what you think of metaphysics. Do you throw that in the bin with “religious thinking”? How would you intellectually support Materialism, a metaphysical view commonly associated with atheism, with your criterion of evidence?

    John Snowden

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