A post I will probably regret
May 8, 2007
An old friend has returned, intent on making his views known.
He is from the David Virtue camp, and we’ve had plenty of exchanges in the past.
The filters on my site automatically purge his comments, but I think it is worth pulling the latest one forward just because negative stereotypes and images do need to be countered openly and honestly. I have every reason to think this person believes that he is doing the work of God, and so my intent is to approach the topic without vitriol, presenting first his latest attempted post and then my response.
Here is the information he posted (a summary of a letter from a Texas attorney to former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold). Because it was posted without reference to source, I am taking a bit of a chance in posting it here so I have removed the name of the referenced author of the letter to Griswold. A quick search of the internet yields no other reference to such a letter, but did yield other anti-gay posts on TitusOneNine by a person of the same name, and did yield a match in a town in Texas for a lawyer of the same name. We’ll just call him “John Doe.”
WARNING – There are explicit and grossly distorted images of gay sex in this letter. If you are likely to be offended, please do not continue.
A Texas attorney and lay Episcopalian has written a letter to Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold blasting the leader for omitting essential facts at the ACC meeting in Nottingham in June, specifically asking how many sodomitically-active Episcopal clergy have HIV or AIDS? How many Episcopal clergy have died of AIDS? And how many Episcopal clergy have gay bowel syndrome or hepatitis?John Doe ripped Griswold in a detailed letter asking how can listeners know whether sodomitically-active clergy are able to avoid risky, life-threatening behavior and whether sodomy by clergy offers hope, holiness, and abundant life, or depression, disease and death?
“As a champion of moving issues from the devil’s playground of secrecy into the light, surely you were troubled in your spirit by this omission. I believe it is your duty as presiding bishop to supplement your Nottingham message by publishing – to every parishioner in ECUSA – and to the Anglican Provinces – estimates of the number of Episcopal clergy who are living with HIV or AIDS, and the number who have died of AIDS,” wrote Doe.
Doe said The National Episcopal AIDS Coalition (NEAC) had a duty to help estimate sodomy-related disease and death in our dwindling denomination’s clergy.
Doe blasted Griswold: “Confidentiality laws did not prevent NEAC from being able to know and disclose that by 1996 at least twenty (20) Episcopal priests had died of AIDS. Nor do they prevent NEAC from reciting its mantra, as recently as June 2005, that ‘the Church still has AIDS'”.
“Your team’s pro-sodomy heresy spreads sickness and death by presenting sodomitically-active clergy and laity as role models and by omitting sodomy’s sobering health risks. ‘If bishops and other holy people do it, how dangerous can it be?’ You are motivating God’s children to enter a world of behavioral compulsion horribly hazardous to their health. Gay sodomy remains addictive and dangerous, despite twenty years of AIDS awareness education and free condoms.”
Doe presented statistical evidence showing that Gay men were 1.4% of the U.S. population, yet constituted 63% of new HIV infections in 2003.
Half of all new HIV infections are people under age 25. “The standard medical advice for sodomitically-active men is to be screened for numerous STDs every 3-12 months, undergo periodic anal pap smears, and be vaccinated against all amenable forms of hepatitis. Newly-mutated STDs in foreign lands continue to be imported and spread across the U.S. by sodomitically-active men.”
“Even with condoms, sodomy destroys the integrity of the rectum, allowing feces to seep into one’s bloodstream, and also weakens the anal sphincter, which can lead to fecal incontinence. Depression and emotional distress haunt gay men – even in the Netherlands where gay men are most accepted. If I may echo Mr. Haley-Walden’s question: “Where is the Church in this?” asked Doe.
Doe said the actions of Griswold denied gays the gospel.
“If STD education and free condoms cannot save gay men from the death and sickness wrought by gay liberation, where can they turn? Isn’t their only hope for abundant life to be supernaturally empowered by God’s healing love to break, or in early stages avoid, sodomitical addiction?
“Diabolically, your team’s false teaching not only denies the Scriptural Truth about sodomy, but also deprives gays of the Good News of the healing power of the Trinity. God’s power to supernaturally heal homosexual orientation has been witnessed by many respected healing ministries over the last fifty years, including those of Agnes Sanford, Fr. Francis MacNutt, Leanne Payne, and Norma Dearing. That some gay men can reorient themselves and that many can escape depression is even the finding of Dr. Robert L. Spitzer of Columbia University, who was on the committee that removed homosexuality from the official list of mental illnesses.”
“Your team’s false teaching compounds the misery by making it difficult for those suffering with AIDS to be willing to allow the supernatural healing power of the Trinity to be brought to bear on their condition.”
Doe said the spiritual reality of the 21st Century is that there remains a demonic spirit which identifies itself as homosexuality.
“There is no demonic spirit of heterosexuality. If even demonic forces, when forced into honesty by the name of the risen Christ, admit that homosexuality is so separated from God that it can generate demonic spirits, from where does your team procure its “prophetic revelation”?
Who has “opened [y]our eyes” to “new understandings” of a deeper “dimension of his work”?
Doe said homosexual acts were the acts of sinners and not prophetic as Griswold said.
“Why does your team insist that Anglicans listen to stories about homosexuals acting pastorally? This is neither news nor prophetic. Does anyone question that unrepentant sinners can be pastoral? We’ve all heard of the big-hearted prostitute. Most any street-front lawyer can describe cases of unrepentant – and usually sensitive and well-educated– adulterers, thieves, liars, and atheists who are pastoral, kind and generous to their fellow man. Do their stories constitute prophetic revelation repealing the Ten Commandments?
“Where does Scripture describe your team’s concept of institutional prophetic revelation? St. Paul describes prophecy as a gift to individuals, exercised by individuals, in which they receive a word or a vision from the Holy Spirit. Do you have any credible prophecy or vision received by a devout individual?”
Doe condemned Griswold’s misuse of the Gentile inclusion analogy.
Doe noted that the early Church’s decision to include Gentiles was based on two credible, corroborative visions from God and the display of the Pentecostal gifts by the newly included. “You have none of those divine confirmations for the pro-sodomy heresy, yet at Nottingham you again claimed that including sodomitically-active clergy and laity in Christ’s Body is somehow analogous.”
Doe said Griswold had reduced the ECUSA to a sex cult. “Sexual heresies have tempted people away from Christ for two millennia. Now so goes ECUSA, on your watch and over your signature. Ordained Episcopal Clergy are applying their mouths, hands, and creational members to men’s anuses and resident fecal material – and against all Scripture, tradition, and reason – declaring this is good. My goodness Frank. Satan is roaring with hideous satisfaction.”
“I despair over your direction. Your team is dismantling the Great Commission and exhorting people to misery and death,” Doe concluded.
The Primate of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Peter Akinola was so impressed with the attorney’s analysis and data that he wrote to Doe saying, “your scientific research, factual report, Scriptural and honest write-up throws open a much overlooked (or carefully omitted) aspect of the ‘gay issue’ that could cause a rethink and even repentance by both the practitioners and the encouragers.”
Archbishop Peter Akinola congratulated Doe on a job well done and encouraged him to make these omitted facts more public.
Through his spokesperson the Rev. Canon AkinTunde Popoola, Akinola said the Church of Nigeria continued to give thanks to God for preserving such faithful Christians as Doe in the midst of a society where many see nothing wrong with homosexuality.
Now I did promise to play nice, but my, my, my– it sure is hard sometimes. I will do my best.
First, the medical information is not supported. It is true that gay men have unique medical issues. Women have unique medical issues. African-americans have unique medical issues. Asian-americans have unique medical issues. Not all of them are genetic. As I have said before, African-americans have a higher incidence of colon cancer than anglos. There is also a higher concentration of fast-food restaurants in African-American neighborhoods. Is that correlation a causality? It could be. Perhaps commercial fast-food industry is capitalizing on the African-American population at the expense of African-American health. Similarly, Asians living in Asia tend to have some health issues related to consuming a lot of rice. The point is that there is not necessarily an ethical nor theological relationship between health and behavior. There can be, but just pointing out a correlation does not necessarily make it so. Another example: the poorest in our country, who cannot afford health care, are likely to have more health problems and a higher mortality rate. If we follow the theology of John Doe, God has judged them for being poor by castigating them with disease. This is just not a theology I can subscribe to.
Second, there is no substantial theological argument in this summary to counter that of inclusionary theology. Doe shows a lack of understanding of scripture. Gentiles is not a class of people, something Doe doesn’t understand in his misapplication of Griswold’s theology. Gentiles may be better translated as “nations” or maybe even “non-Jew”. For Israel to be a light to the nations means necessarily for Israel’s God to become a God for all peoples. That is simply a fact; I have never heard of a Biblical scholar who would disagree with such a point.
Finally, Doe says that clergy should avoid “life threatening behavior.” That simply is not the model of Christ, on several levels. First, Doe avoids the compassion we are called to have as Christians– rather than caring for the sick as we are commanded to do (Matt 25:36). Second, being clergy is necessarily a risky endeavor. Christ engaged in risky behavior. Christ lived among the sick, the poor, and the weak. Certainly it is not necessary to engage in unsafe gay sex to be clergy (nor is it recommended!) but to allege that living among those with AIDS is un-Christian is just not the model Christ taught us. Again, I would suggest that Doe study the Bible some more to gain greater understanding of what it means to be Christian.