Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Homophobia, Man Dates, Pink Shirts, and Pat Robertson

A Sampling of News Articles from Today

Are They Serious? Man Dates?
No, it isn’t a typo: the article isn’t about “Mandates” – it’s about “Man Dates”; as in, two guys going out to spend time together, in a way that parallels what happens when a man and a woman go out on a “date.” The rules are almost comical – except, of course, for the part about grilling. That’s something to always take seriously!

Can You Wear These on a Man Date?
According to this article, the latest color for men’s fashions is… pink. Yes, you read that right: pink. Pink shirts, pink neckties, even pink boots and pink sweaters. And the range of pink can be from a soft pastel to a bright coral to a shocking fuchsia. And no, it’s not from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” – this is from the Wall Street Journal.

Why pink? The main explanation offered is that the world is a dark and dreary place; and wearing pink will make you feel happy, and feel good about yourself. Uh-huh. Somehow, I don’t think the Archbishop is going to bless me to wear a pink riassa; and that’s fine, because I don’t want, and certainly don’t intend to ask him to do so! I figured that, if I make it out of black into a grey or blue vestment, I’ve gone about as far as I want to go with regard to the colors I wear…

Homophobia Test On-Line
This one comes to us courtesy of the folks at “Frontline,” which airs on PBS. (I still appreciate the wit who said that this stands for the “Proletariat Broadcasting Service”…) It somehow fits right in with articles about Man Dates and pink as a men’s fashion statement. Note, should you go to the web page, that it doesn’t ask, “Are You Homophobic?” Rather, it asks, “How Homophobic Are You?” In other words, at some level (consciously or unconsciously), the folks who put this gem together have, it would seem, assumed that we are, for the most part, homophobic. So, anyway, I took the test, and scored a “43.” This indicated, according to the report from the test results page, that I am not homophobic. Earlier in the day, when I first took the test, and, in a major blonde moment, got the answer buttons reversed (clicking on “Disagree” when I meant “Agree”, and vice-versa), I scored a “53,” which meant that I was homophobic. So, I guess I’m not too far away from the dividing line between being acceptable and unacceptable. I’m sure my score would have been much lower had I not opted for the “Strongly disagree” option on the approval of homosexual marriages, and that homosexuals should not be allowed to work with children. (And a few others, of course.)

On one level, the whole concept is skewed. “Homophobic” means, if I’m doing this right, “fear of homosexuals.” It can also mean “prejudiced against homosexual people”; and “contempt for lesbians and gay men,” and behavior that exhibits such fear or contempt. I don’t think that either fear or contempt is the basis for my beliefs and actions in this regard. Informed by our faith, we cannot give our consent to the application of our understanding of marriage to include the union of two men or two women as being the same as the union of a man and a woman. We cannot give our approval to sexual activity outside of the bounds of marriage; and, as marriage is not possible in these circumstances, we must say that homosexual behavior is unacceptable for Orthodox Christians. When persons behave in this way, there is the need for confession and repentance, and for the struggle to be transformed, and to live a life of chastity.

It must be said – and it may well be that all of us who use the Christian understanding of morality have erred in not making this more clear – that we cannot set homosexual behavior apart as some sort of aberrant activity that has no parallels. We must be equally firm in staking a stand that says that heterosexual activity outside of marriage is every bit as much a sin as is homosexual behavior; and that the requirements for chastity, and for confession and repentance and amendment of life are just as necessary for heterosexuals as for those who have homosexual desires. It’s not “homosexual vs. heterosexual”; rather, it is “sex within marriage” vs. “sex outside marriage” that is the real issue. Sexual sin is sexual sin. But, because one solution for some who sin heterosexually is the marriage of the two people involved; and since this option is not available for homosexuals, as far as the Church is concerned, I guess I’m still discriminating against homosexuals – and so I guess I’m homophobic.

Pat Robertson, Assassin
This report is simply too unreal to be believed! Is there something peculiar in the water in Virginia Beach? He wants the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, to be assassinated by the CIA, in order to prevent Venezuela from becoming “a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism.”

Last time I checked, communism had pretty much been globally discredited, except in North Korea (and some college campuses here in the U.S. of A); and I don’t think too many people are going to be convinced favorably to try communism on the basis of that experience! As for Venezuela as a hotbed of Muslim extremism… Uh, according to the CIA World Factbook, Venezuela is “nominally 96% Roman Catholic, 2% Protestant, and 2% Other.” I think it’s far more likely that we’ll need to worry about Muslim extremists here before we see much of a threat from Venezuela.

My wife said it best: “How can a Christian call for the murder of another person? How can someone who claims to speak for Christ even think such a thing? It’s sad.” ‘Nuff said.