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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Let The Mud Fly!

It’s time to gear up for a new Presidential campaign season. Let the melee begin!! It’s old news to anyone who reads my blog that I’m not a fan of President Obama. Never have been, and it’s pretty safe to say I never will be. Digging a little deeper, I have to say that I’m not a fan of our political system at all. I’ll be the first to admit that what I don’t know about politics could fill all the oceans of the earth, while what I do know could, comparatively, maybe fill my coffee cup. I do try to stay somewhat on top of hot-button issues, and whenever possible listen to the broadcast news, both liberal mainstream and conservative cable networks. As I’ve said before, I think the truth lies somewhere in between the two, though IMO leaning more to the right than the left.

I suppose now it’s time for the mud-slinging to begin in earnest. I listened Monday night to ABC’s storyline on Michelle Bachmann, and how her counseling clinic wants to “pray away the gay”. In my humblest, and admitted-not-so-political-savvy mind, I consider this a smear tactic.  It may be the way their clinic operates, but ... read further ...

At the outset, let me say that I am not a gay basher. I have quite a few gay friends, and I love them no differently than my straight friends. I think I shocked my pastor one Sunday morning in Bible Study when I said that I think there are more serious issues that threaten our nation than the fight over same-sex marriage. I read and hear where some believe gay marriage is going to be the demise of our nation. While that’s another post for another time, I beg to differ- the threat and demise of our nation, IMO, is plain and simple: Greed. But I’ll blog about that later. I’m just saying here that, while some of my Christian friends may disagree with me and consider me “less Christian” because of my views, that’s just the way I see it.

But back to Michelle Bachman. I have not examined her platform very closely at all, (does she even have one yet?) but I do know that she is a Tea Party favorite. Which, in my humble opinion, might serve to hurt rather than help her. The Tea Party [again another post for another time] could have had great potential, but I am sad to see that some of their statements and behaviors have somewhat taken away a bit of the integrity and validity of what could have been a potential positive political force for conservatives. So, to many liberals, the Tea Party association is already one mark against her. However, I do think they see her as a threat, and it appears that she is now feeling the force of the liberal political machine as they are aiming their big guns at her.

Last week there was the report of their counseling clinic’s participation in the Medicaid program. I guess that wasn’t volatile enough.

Monday night was the first I heard of the “pray away the gay” scandal that is now in the news. If you didn’t hear about it, Bachmann and her husband operate a Christian counseling service. In a nutshell, they are coming under fire for offering counsel to gay people that God can change them into a straight person. This, of course, is offensive to gays, and I can understand that.

Let’s think about this, though. I do not subscribe to the Christian Science faith, and find some of their beliefs to be odd, at the least. So, let’s say that I’m pregnant, and looking to take a childbirth class. Would I go to a childbirth class taught by this church? Ummm… no, I don’t think so. I’m all about screaming and drugs when it comes to birthing babies… if that’s what it takes to get the job done. Would I expect to find instructions for baking my Christmas crown roast at a Vegan website or market? No. Would I try to buy a battery for my car at a dentist’s office? Then, why, if I were not a Christian who really felt that it was a sin to be gay, and want to be “delivered from my gayness”, would I seek out a Christian counseling service?

My point is this: If Michelle and Marcus Bachmann are out on the street corners, or going into gay bars bashing patrons, condemning them to hell, and telling them that God can change them, that’s one thing. If, on the other hand, they are running a Christian counseling service, and someone comes to them, of their own free will, for counseling, why is it wrong for them to try to “help” the person? Whether or not being gay is determined at conception, or is a chosen lifestyle will probably be debated until the end of time. Are the Bachmanns wrong to counsel people that they can pray away the gay? I don’t know the answer to that. But wouldn’t you expect that to be their take on it at a Christian counseling service?

During particularly tough times in my life, I have utilized professional counseling myself. One was a Christian counseling service, and one non-Christian. I have no idea if the non-Christian counselor was indeed a Christian in his personal life or not… but his counseling service was not marketed as “Christian”. I cannot make assumptions about his personal life. Just as there are Christian entertainers, and entertainers who are Christians, there are Christian counselors, and counselors who are Christian. Looking back on these counseling sessions, were the counselors “right”? Would another counselor have taken a different approach? Over the years, I have also sought informal counseling from different pastors at different churches I have attended. In doing so, I totally understood, and expected, that their counsel would be from a Christian point of view, with involvement of prayer and Scripture. Duh??  I don’t know if the Bachmanns are “right” in their teaching or not. But does it matter, politically speaking?

As I said, I have quite a few friends who are gay. Without exception, in the lives of these folks, there has been a defined moment in time when they “came out”. This leads me to believe, and most will probably tell you, that there was an internal struggle, perhaps religious, perhaps social. Maybe some did seek counseling, maybe not. If their parents brought them up in church, and they had a relationship with God, then perhaps the struggle was more difficult, and they sought Christian counseling. If such was not the case, I think that would lessen the chances of seeking Christian counseling over non-Christian counseling.

All that to say this. What difference does it make what they teach in their clinic? The Bible is clear in its teaching. I would expect a Christian counseling service to glean it’s teaching from the Bible. Just like I would expect the Christian Science childbirth class to base its teachings on whatever book it is that contains their rules. Or the Vegan website to teach a Vegan style of eating, based on their research and reference materials. So, if a gay person is having trouble with their identity, or their sexuality, and they do not place any credence in the Bible, then don’t go to a Christian counselor! The video that was shot and being played on the news appears to be a setup. It is a politically-motivated act to rile up a large, powerful group of people to rally against a candidate.

Religious affiliation and denominations are for the most part a bunch of legalistic entities that point fingers at other people whose beliefs differ from their own (alas, yet another post for another time..haha..) I belong to a church of the Southern Baptist denomination. More so out of convenience, in that it’s where my family goes, where my friends go, and it’s in my hometown, the church I grew up in, etc. The legalistic stuff of any religion bores me and saddens me. I’m not so sure that some of it doesn’t sadden God as well.

It’s even worse in politics, regardless of party affiliation. Pointing fingers, judging the acts and beliefs of others, cheating, misrepresenting facts, etc. And people of faith are some of their favorite targets. The story isn’t complete yet, and I’m sure there is more to be uncovered in this situation. But you can bet the mainstream media spin will do its best to paint Michelle Bachman in the worst possible light. Is she the best choice for Republican candidate? I wouldn’t even venture a guess at this point. Even if she is the worst possible choice, she doesn’t deserve the media spin. The gay community has thousands of supporters who are not themselves gay. This is not a group of people that you want campaigning against you. The left knows this, and will use it. I suspect other potential candidates will be faced with similar accusations, but this particular “scandal” must surely have caused some serious mouth-foaming over on the left.

Some may consider not voting for her based on this. I remember when Mitt Romney announced his candidacy last time around, there was concern with his being Mormon. I also have quit a few friends who are Mormon. The scrapbook industry (which I support heavily), is made up largely by Mormon vendors and business men and women. Because a part of their faith lends them to an interest in genealogy, besides being fun, scrapbooking provides a way of preserving memories and family records. Even my Mormon friends will tell you that their beliefs, while similar in some respects, are quite different from mainstream protestant or catholic religions. Because Romney has beliefs that are different from mine, does that preclude him from being President, even if he is the best candidate? Of course not. Likewise, If Michelle Bachmann’s religious viewpoints differ from mine or yours, if she is the best candidate, should that make a difference? I’m not sure Superman himself could pull our nation out of the tailspin we’re in, and for certain I haven’t decided who will get my vote at this point. I just wish that for all the people who cry “separation of church and state” (church and government, period!), that the decision to choose a candidate wouldn’t be based on religion.

Hopefully, we will be given the facts with regard to her qualifications for president. From what I see, she seems to lack sufficient experience, but, the same argument wasn’t enough to keep President Obama from being elected…

Now, having said all that, allow me to add: Not for one minute do I think that the GLBT community, nor their supporters, would ever consider voting for Bachmann. Her stand on same-sex marriage, and pro-life is widely known. If that’s your beef with her, then by all means, don’t vote for her. All I’m saying is that it really ticks me off how the media wants to spin the way they practice counseling as an issue. For pro-life folks, and those opposed to same-sex marriage, they already know what she stands for as well. We need to vote for her or not vote for her based on her platform and her experience (or lack thereof….)

Can I just say at this point I’m pretty much dreading all the hoopla (and TV commercials) that go along with an election season. The mudslinging by both parties makes me sick. It makes me tired, and it means I have to start doing my homework in order to make the best decision before casting my vote. And if 2008 is any indication, it also means lots of politically-oriented blog posts. My apologies in advance.  :-)


  1. Gay is not a choice--just ask anyone who is gay. The only people who believe it's a choice are straight people who simply can't conceive why anyone would ever be gay. The problem with the Bachmann clinic and others like it is that family members often make gay people go to Christian counseling rather than something that would be more helpful. Clinics that profess to change gay people contribute to the biggest problem I and other gay people face: discrimination against us by so-called people of God. God made me the way I am, and I am perfect in his eyes, just like you and everyone else. I see no difference in fundamental Muslims preaching against the U.S. and fundamental Christians. Both believe people who disagree with them are wrong and destined to an eternity in hell. I support freedom of religion. People are entitled to believe whatever they want. But with the freedom of religion comes my freedom FROM religion. Being gay is not a choice, a disease, or a mental condition. Kudos to ABC for exposing any and all charlatans who practice so-called conversion therapy. It's harmful, to the individual and to our society.

  2. You know, I used to be of the mindset that being gay WAS a choice. Over the years, and having had quite a few gay friends, I no longer feel that way. Therefore I personally do not think that you can "pray away the gay". I guess what my post is saying is... why does the media wait until she is running for President to "expose" this practice? She has been in politics for a while. Maybe the GLBTs already knew about it, but I'd bet this is the first many have heard about it. I think it is shameful... no matter who exposed it. It's just part of the politics that i despise. I would be equally as incensed if the media did a story about how Mitt Romney gets baptized for dead people, and how if he lives a good Mormon life that he will get to be a god on his own planet. (Insert- I don't know if HE personally does this or not, but it is a practice of the Mormon religion.) There are narrow-minded people everywhere, and I'm a halfway-liberated product of such people. And because I do NOT subscribe to the narrow-mindedness of many religious people (family and friends included), I am sometimes dumped into the same hell-bound basket as you, my friend. :-) My brother's wife of 16 years and the mother of his children, divorced him after she could no longer deny that she was gay, and she has been with the same female partner for 10-12 years. My husband's ex wife did the same thing. I have many other gay friends as well, and I cannot for one minute think that God doesn't love them all the same as He loves me.

    Yet and still... the news story pisses me off. I certainly see where you're coming from, though, and respect your feelings. Thanks for the response. My "Christian" friends, I'm sure, won't deign to bother, but rather will superglue me to the hell-bound basket. ha. What-the-freakin-ever.

  3. I also found the news story on the clinic to be manipulative and rather inflammatory. While I agree with both of you-God made each of us, and He doesn't make junk, but perfection. Gay is not a choice! You might be interested in some of John Shore's posts-you can friend him on Facebook. He has some interesting (and LGBT friendly), Christian views. And Cath...I am dreading this next election season,it has already made me tired!

  4. In a discussion of the similarities between fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslim we might start by noting that fundamentalist Muslims have been known to fly airplanes into buildings and strap on bombs for the purpose of killing innocent people. Such a strain among Christian fundamentalists is virtually unknown.

    Homosexual behavior is a choice, although sensible, informed conservative Christians now acknowledge that homosexual feelings are far deeper than we have acknowledged. While we are clearly in the midst of a
    moral revolution and a new moral reality on gay issues, conservative Christians should not yield on the clear teaching of Scripture that homosexual acts are sinful.

  5. Hello, Anonymous! Thanks for your response. I'd be delighted if you would send me a note identifying yourself, as I feel I probably know you. :-)

    I don't really want to make this a theological debate, because we all have our own reasons for believing the way we do. I submit that the Bible clearly teaches against homosexuality, but I can also make a list of other things the Bible teaches against that we embrace every day, and accept as normal behavior. I have grown up in church, currently attend church, and have a fair amount of exposure and personal study of the Bible. PERSONALLY I find some of the teaching contradictory, and downright unapplicable to every person. That doesn't mean I do not love Jesus, that I am not saved by grace, that I don't love and respect the Bible. I don't mean that to be offensive to my Christian friends. It just is what it is.

    I might subscribe to the theory that gay is a choice if only adult people were gay, and if it only was about having "kinky" sex. To see this lifestyle evidenced in the lives of children with no obvious parental or social exposure leads me to believe otherwise. To see gay people struggle because they don't WANT to be gay... how is that a choice? "Choice or Not" wasn't the subject of my post, but I suppose by my statement that I don't think it is a choice, I opened myself up to the debate. One thing I do know. Most conservative Christians will NOT yield on the clear teaching of Scripture that homosexual acts are sinful. And that is certainly their right, and their choice. Let me just say that I am thankful for this: Judgement against all sinners (which includes us all, even and sometimes ESPECIALLY conservative Christians) is not my job, but that of my heavenly Father.