Generations Radio proves that you can have a flashy package without substance. Any idiot can buy a nice web template, pay a webhost and spew the inane dribble that passes for thinking over everyone who passes by. This sort of thing has been the bane of the Internet since the first self-styled expert set up shop there. This is essentially what takes place at Generations, where Pastor Kevin Swanson seems eager to prove he knows nothing – about anything.
If you’ve heard David Barton speak, you know what it sounds like when somebody completely uninformed about American history attempts to “educate” people. Listening to Kevin Swanson gives the listener a real déjà vu moment, and with it, some head-scratching moments.
Monday’s spew was about Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky and the evils of the “Classical Greek University”:
The Shame of Sandusky and the Classical Greek University – Christian Ministries Soften on Homosexuality
Monday, July 02, 2012
We have reached a crisis in the Greek synthesis in the west. The old humanist universities and religious institutions in the west are rotting out. These old universities will never attain the level of degradation the Greeks and Romans achieved. Classical education will never be able to bring it back to the gymnasiums. The Catholic church will never be able to legitimize pederasty. Kevin Swanson provides the history of Christianity vs. the old Greek and Roman treatment of homosexuality in this edition of Generations. Sadly, some evangelicals cannot comprehend the extent of the disintegration of the west. They can’t seem to bring themselves to use the “R” word – Repentance. According to recent news reports, ministries like Exodus International and Focus on the Family are upset with the Family Research Council for giving an award to a pastor who used harsh words for homosexuality.
If I read this as a description for a conference or symposium I would walk away wondering what the hell the talk was going to be about – there is no evidence of coherent thought here – I mean, that swipe at the Catholic Church came out of right field; Apparently both liberal universities and the Catholic Church breed gay people or something but haven’t done so very efficiently if neither has succeeded.
Yet in the next breath we are told that evangelicals don’t realize how bad things actually are – but didn’t he just say our universities “will never attain the level of degradation the Greeks and Romans achieved”? And that the Catholic “church” [sic] “will never be able to legitimize pederasty”? Shouldn’t Swanson be happy and not acting like the end of the world is at hand?
No, that would give him no opportunity for his “crazy time” which is the only way to describe the diatribe which follows – this guy is swinging and missing all over the place:
Even Christopher Marlowe and Shakespeare, to some extent, had some writings that were somewhat favorable of homosexuality. Now, homosexuality had not existed for about 1,000 years, between about 300 AD to 1400-1500 AD where certain mentions of it were extant in some of the classical literature of the day, because classical literature tends to bring back homosexuality as the ‘cool thing’, but it hadn’t existed for about 1,000 years. It was, obviously, very very important to humanism, it always has been important to humanism, and whenever you get a humanist, classical approach to education, you’re probably going to get the gymnasium. The gymnasiums were all built around the idea of pederasty and pedophilia.
Homosexuality didn’t exist for a thousand years? Has Swanson picked up a history book in his entire life? (well, arguably, neither has Barton…) That would be news to all the homosexuals who lived between 300 and 1400-1500. In point of fact, homosexuality and gay people were everywhere in the early Middle Ages, as Professor John Boswell pointed out in a keynote address to the Fourth Biennial Dignity International Convention in 1979:
As late as the eleventh and twelfth centuries, there appears to be no conflict between a Christian life and homosexuality. Gay life is everywhere in the art, poetry, music, history, etc. of the 11th and 12th centuries. The most popular literature of the day even heterosexual literature, is about samesex lovers of one sort or another. Clerics were at the forefront of this revival of the gay culture. St. Aelred, for instance, writes of his youth as a time when he thought of nothing but loving and being loved by men. He became a Cistercian abbot, and incorporated his love for men into his Christian life by encouraging monks to love each other, not just generally, but individually and passionately He cited the example of Jesus and St. John as guidance for this. ‘Jesus himself,” he said, “in everything like us. patient and compassionate with others in every matter, Transfigured this sort of love through the expression of his own love. for he allowed only one – not al l- to recline on his breast as a sign of his special love; and the closer they were, the more copiously did the secrets of their heavenly marriage impart the sweet smell of their spiritual chrism to their love.”
In fact, Boswell argues that Christianity cannot be blamed entirely for the change in attitudes toward homosexuality in the Christian Roman Empire – that the attitudes of the church rather than leading the way have tended to reflect changing popular attitudes toward homosexuality:
An historian can simply note that there is no place in the writings of the Early or High Middle Ages where the Bible seems to be the origin of these prejudices against gay people. Where any reason is given for the new hostility. sources other than the Bible are cited. As a matter of fact, from an historical perspective, the Bible would be the last source one would look at after examining growing hostility toward gay people….
He points out that the tale of Sodom didn’t become a story about homosexuality until 1955, that in the two dozen places Sodom is mentioned in the Bible homosexuality is not and that “The only other places that might be adduced from the Old Testament against homosexuality are Deuteronomy 23:17 and Kings 14:24, and-doubtless the best know n places Leviticus 18:20 and 20: 13, where a man’s sleeping the asleep of women” with men is labelled ritual impurity for Jews. None of these was cited by early Christians against homosexual behavior. Early Christians had no desire to impose the levitical law on themselves or anyone else.”
Ooops. It’s true that Jesus said he hadn’t come to destroy the law but to uphold it, but Jesus didn’t have the last word, did he? His voice was taken out of the equation when he was nailed to a cross. So here is another problem for Swanson and his fellow bigots with regard to all those Old Testament laws we keep getting shoved down our throats: “The Council of Jerusalem, held around 50 A.D. and recorded in Acts 15, in fact took up this issue specifically and decided that Christians would not be bound by any of the strictures of the old law except for which they list – none of which is related to homosexuality.”
Oh dear. This is not looking good for the aberrochristian crowd, is it? It’s certainly not good for Swanson’s love of beating children into submission per the Old Testament. To make matters worse, the New Testament isn’t anti-gay either:
In the New Testament we find no citations of Old Testament strictures. We do, however, find three places-I Corinthians 6:9, I Timothy 1:10 and Romans 1:2627which might be relevant. Again, I’ll be brief in dealing with these. The Greek word malakos in I Cor. 6:9 and I Tim. 1 :10, which Scholars in the 20th century have deemed to refer to some sort of homosexual behavior, was universally used by Christian writers to refer to masturbation until about the 15th or 16th century. Beginning in the 15th century many people were bothered by the idea that masturbators were excluded from the kingdom of heaven. They did not, however, seem to be too upset by the idea of excluding homosexuals from the kingdom of heaven, so malakos was retranslated to refer to homosexuality instead of masturbation. The texts and words remained the same, but translators just changed their ideas about who should be excluded from the kingdom of heaven.
So much for a steadfast and unchanging Truth as a bulwark against moral relativism! Oh, well, er, masturbators aren’t so bad. Obviously we need to change that word to mean homosexuality. Snapping your zippy can’t possibly keep you out of heaven! Back to Boswell:
The remaining passage – Romans 1:26-7 – does not suffer by and large from mistranslation, although you can easily be misled by the phrase “against nature.” This phrase was also interpreted differently by the early church. St. John Chrysostom says that St. Paul deprives the people he is discussing of any excuse. observing of their women that “they changed the natural use. No one can claim, Paul points out, that she came to this because she was precluded from lawful intercourse or that because she was unable to satisfy her desire….Only those possessing something can change it. Again he points the same thing out about men but in a different way? saying they ‘left the natural use of women.’ Likewise, he casts aside with these words every excuse, charging that they not only had legitimate enjoyment and abandoned it, going after another but that spurning the natural, they pursued the unnatural.” What Chrysostom is getting at, and he expounds on it at great length, is the idea that St. Paul was not writing about gay people but about heterosexual people, probably married who abandoned the pleasure they were entitled to by virtue of their own natures for one to which they were not entitled. This is reflected in the canons imposing penances for homosexual activity, which through the 16th century were chiefly directed toward married persons. Little is said of single people.
Well that isn’t helpful at all, is it? Paul wasn’t upset at gay people but heterosexual people!
But enough actual thinking! It’s time to get back to Swanson’s uninformed spew:
Now, I don’t want to get into a lot of the details on this, because it’s very very very gross, but they trained young boys in homosexuality. This is part and parcel of the homosexual vision, still is, by the way, to this day. This is the goal, this is where they’re headed, if you read the homosexual literature, which I encourage you not to do, but this is the direction that they’re headed. This is the goal of humanism. The goal of humanism is to make it to Sandusky. The problem is Sandusky was prosecuted and that’s an indication that we’ve got 2,000 years of Christianity, and these guys are not going to get away with it.
You know, Dave, I think if we’re going to have a halfway decent, stable society, much like what the pilgrims had, with a divorce rate of .01%, fornication rate of 1%, and a homosexuality rate of .0005%, if we’re going to have a stable society, we’re going to have to get back to biblical law.
Swanson wants us to treat gay people like the Pilgrims treated gay people, by putting them to death. But all this means is that the Pilgrims weren’t very good Christians, since they no more read and understood their Bibles than Swanson reads and understands his. We should use people who were lousy Christians as examples of how to be Christian?
I will appeal again to Boswell, who says,
It is possible to change ecclesiastical attitudes toward gay people and their sexuality because the objections to homosexuality are not biblical, they are not consistent, they are not part of Jesus’ teaching; and they are not even fundamentally Christian. It is possible because Christianity was indifferent, if not accepting, of gay people and their feelings for a longer period of time than it had been hostile to them. It is possible because the founders of the religion specifically considered love to transcend accidents of biology and to be the end, not the means. It may not be possible to eradicate intolerance from secular society, for intolerance is, to some extent ineradicable; but I believe the church’s attitude can and must be changed. It has been different in the past and it can be again. Plato observed of secular society nearly 2,400 years ago that “wherever it has been established that it is shameful to be involved in homosexual relationships, this is due to evil on the part of the legislatures, to despotism on the part of the rulers and to cowardism on the part of the governed.”
Take a look at what he says again: “Christianity was indifferent, if not accepting, of gay people and their feelings for a longer period of time than it had been hostile to them.”
This is a conclusion based on historical fact. It is not even open to debate. The lack of hostility in the Bible to homosexuality is also observable as has been pointed out many times, including by writers here. So why, day after day, do we see bigots like Swanson rant against homosexuality as though God is telling them they must? He [God] isn’t. We can read the same Bible they do. And maybe that’s the problem: we actually read it. What were we thinking?
Thought is an amazing thing. It’s a pity right-wing bigots like Swanson and Barton don’t embrace it, but they can’t tolerate the idea of the universe shift they would experience if they did, for their fantasy-belief system would come crashing down around them if they found out what the Bible – and history – really says.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.
18 Replies to “Pastor Who Wants to Kill Gays Should Read his Gay Friendly Bible First”
This Swanson fellow seems to me to be another closeted person yearning for freedom, but his confusion calls for a psychiatric intervention.
On the other hand I loved the contrast that the article makes by bringing Boswell along.
Pilgrims had a fornication rate of 1%? This guy ever hear of bundling? In the New England colonies, it became so common to write “Confessed Fornication” or “Committed Fornication” on the marriage records that it got abbreviated “CF”. My first car was a 57 Pontiac Superchief that my aunt had brought down from New Hampshire. Its license plate was CF869, and I named it “Confessed Fornication”. This famous car bit the dust the night McGovern lost the election.
The Pope (futilely) ordered Richard the Lionheart to have sex with his wife, Berengaria of Navarre, because he foresaw (correctly) that leaving John Lackland to inherit the throne would have unpleasant results. Other than that, he couldn’t have had cared less who Coeur de Lion disported himself with. The chief concern of any royal or nole house was its own continuity, even if it meant sneaking in a strapping coachman to stand in for some sickly, inbred scion who couldn’t make babies. Other than that…frankly, m’dear, they didn’t give a damn.
People who claim to be Christians, should consider What Would Jesus Do, and read the scriptures to make that consideration. And clergy should start with Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple.
Jesus Christ was compassionate towards the poor, the afflicted, the foreign, and the helpless. His enemies were the Righteous.
That is not humanism at all. He is totally uninformed.
he is one word: creepazoid.
Father why did you want me to shame, harm, ridicule, hate & destroy my brothers & sisters? Why Father, You that animates all life, away from the infinite chaos, binding all things in the Cosmos, would ask such an imperfect human creature that cowards away full of hate, greed, & slaved to my own appetites for destruction. Do you really want his fields ablazed so his family may starved, or hurled the firts stone, while praying You to keep my aim. Why Father. I can’t understand, My Lord, I beg you, by the end of this entry, so many, many of my brothers & sisters will not live to see the next moment or the morning sun; Their last thoughts will be of desperation, hunger, abandonment, cruelty & yet their last desperate breath on this earth, will be but to whisper calling your name. Father, today, I beg your forgiveness for my disobedience, but my soul. I can no longer hate or ignore any of my brothers & sisters. not by nationality, color or faith, do as you wish to my pounded flesh, for my soul its already yours.
Just give a month or so,and this idiot will cause a scandal by being caught buying boytoy escorts somewhere. This is usually where to downfall starts, and will it ever be FABULOUS!
This guy is a moron!
You cant quote “admittance” statistics of a period of time that would not accept those types of admittance.
People had it ENGRAINED in themselves not to have premarital sex, they would not admit to being homosexual. When the Christian era came around those sorts of things were condemned.
Lastly the pilgrims did not have molestation of children thats because they fucking married 14 year old girls or the girl or the boy who was molested wouldnt have told because they would have been condemned themselves.
This man is a moron
In Puritan law abortion was legal, and CF an issue ONLY when a child was produced. The concern was far less with sex = the Puritans were not anti-sex at all – than with the fact children had the right to the welfare of the town, and the towns could ill afford dependency. Women were in a better place economically then than after the Revolution, but the base economic unit was the family, and fatherless children could be rendered dependent without two incomes (yes – women worked, had their own accounts for sales of what they produced, and they were NOT property of their husbands. Victorians did that, not Puritans.) So what ticked off Puritans was dependency, not sex. Yes there are laws on the BOOKS about males sleeping together, but as with the Bible, it’s about exploitative and selfish indulgence. Nowhere in Colonial law do you find committed consensual relations punished.
Victorians changed our understanding of all of this – they were rabidly trying to curtail personal behavior because of the new factor – capitalism and especially industrial capitalism. You work pretty much for yourself – who cares. You work to make someone else rich? They care. Victorian values shape our belief in colonial law, but my own extensive reading of MA colonial law shows that most of what we think is not accurate. Puritans were very practical folks, not ravening anti-sex nut jobs. But the Victorians were something else again. Yikes.
BTW – a reading of census materials of any town in MA shows a high percentage of people whose wedding date and the birth date of their first child was questionable. LOTS of people – sometimes as much as 30% of a generation – “sat down to meat before grace”. They had premarital sex and an unintended pregnancy showed that to be the case. So all the hype is just that.
And Jesus said he did not come to overturn the law? True. But he showed time and again the law was not the issue, that you could follow ALL the laws but if your spirit was not that of love and grace, you had UTTERLY missed the point of being alive. No he did not come to overturn the laws. He taught as he did to show how to live a life not bound by rules but by caring and compassion for others. He broke the laws regularly. It was what set him apart from other prophets of his time. Bully for him.
Um, did you folks forget about ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’?
Why is that overlooked? Might want to brush up on the Bible if you are going to state that it is Gay friendly.
(Laugh) I do hope you know that the sin of Sodom (and Gomorrah) wasn’t sexual at all, but their treatment of the poor.
Ezekiel 16:49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, surfeit of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.
They called to Lot, and said to him, “Where are the men who came in to you this night? Bring them out to us, that we may have sex with them.”
Sex is all about the poor, right? Not at all a sexual issue.
“No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” “Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.”
Women were offered, and they refused in order to be with the men. Whether violence are carnage or both were the driving force, they denied to be with women. Yes, there were other factors to Sodom and Gomorrah, but this is one of the reasons:
As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done. “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.
DID DETESTABLE THINGS BEFORE ME. Many factors, not just one. You cannot pick and choose what it was, it is all there clear as day.
You show your bigotry and ignorance again.
The “sex” thing was the way potential spies caught were treated… it was done by all of the cultures in that place and time to humiliate the people they considered enemies. It is a form of rape, and like rape, sexual desire or orientation has little to do with it, it was all about power and as I mentioned, humiliation (just like rape).
The attitude towards sex and sexual orientation in those cultures would be completely foreign to you, and you need to realize that the people were not like you at all, and trying to think of them in terms of your own understanding is the quickest way to making a huge mistake (that’s why real Bible scholarship is so desperately needed – that’s why the churches get it so wrong so much of the time – they lack real scholarship). I’d add to the mix the lack of proper understanding of the different languages and the problems with translation – much of the OT is “Best Guess” (and contains errors) and so trying to make hard dogmatic statements based on it is also a huge mistake.
These are facts, pal. You cannot change whatever you want to fit your needs. The Bible states this. You want to twist and warp it fine.
I think the Bible is contradicting, but also contain good values. It was written by man, no doubt, but you act as if there is nothing in the Bible mentioning condemnation in regards to homosexuals.
It is hilarious how you posted the scripture of Ezekiel 16:49, but failed to leave the most important PART out. This is what a republican would do.
Also, why would someone offer their daughter to be “punished” instead of the guests? Oh, because they didn’t prefer women. Keep on warping and twisting.
Furthermore, your insults are awesome. Instead of proving your point, you start of with a derogatory response. You are very tolerable of others, aren’t you? Perhaps you can back up your claims instead of using insults.
Uh… but who is it who insists that the Bible condemns gays?
You can’t prove that without taking the language out of the context of the time and place, and even basing your argument on mistranslated texts. It’s not twisting and changing to insist that one must take things in the context of the place and time, and then compare that to today.
You come across as a bigot, I call you a bigot. If you’re for gay rights (that should be “for civil rights”), say so and I’ll apologize. You sound like one of those “Good Christians”, and I’ll admit I have no friendliness or courtesy to show them – a lifetime of being treated like shit by them tends to do that to a person.
UH………..the Bible does condemns gays. I see you disregard questions as well in order to avoid answering them. That makes sense.
I have not taken anything our of context. You might want to read: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Lets see you talk your way out of that, as nothing is taken out of context.
“You come across as a bigot, I call you a bigot.” Great sentence structure you have displayed there. It is funny, I have not once insulted or called you names nor put you down, but I am the BIGOT? I am the intolerable one. You cannot stand “Good Christians” and have no “friendliness” towards them because they treated you like “shit”, but I am the intolerable one, right? First, if they treated you so badly, were they good Christians? NOPE. Secondly, if you want ALL people to be tolerable and accepting one ones belief and lifestyle, you must be as well. Nice little contradiction you have going there.
It’s nice to see a rational debate about such a sensitive subject . And to find such a wealth of thought provoking information is rather refreshing. I truly expected to find ranting and raving without evidence based ideals. Bravo! While not gay I realised a long time ago that a God who loved his children so deeply could not hate as much as those who preached at me every Sunday! To finally hear a quite rational and reasonable argument on gays in the bible does my heart good. Peace and Love to everyone, that’s the way it should be. Because my Father in heaven is a God of Love.
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