Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Take It To The Limit

Sometimes in these controversies it might seem like there are two points of view, each reasonable in its own way. To clear up that misperception, sometimes you have to let one side take their point of view closer to the limit, so the absurdity of the position becomes apparent to everyone.

Like, here you've got this little old lady, teaching Sunday school for all these years ...
WATERTOWN, N.Y. (Aug. 21) - The minister of a church that dismissed a female Sunday School teacher after adopting what it called a literal interpretation of the Bible says a woman can perform any job - outside of the church.

The First Baptist Church dismissed Mary Lambert on Aug. 9 with a letter explaining that the church had adopted an interpretation that prohibits women from teaching men. She had taught there for 54 years.

The letter quoted the first epistle to Timothy: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent." Church Fires Teacher for Being Female

See? I don't have to add anything to that. We will just wait for the Anonymi to defend this preacher's decision. Because, look, right there in the New Testament you see it, it's un-Christian to let little old ladies teach Sunday school. If you think you can ignore this verse from the Bible, then how do you argue that you have to obey some other verse, say something vague about homosexuality?

You can't have it both ways.
The Rev. Timothy LaBouf, who also serves on the Watertown City Council, issued a statement saying his stance against women teaching men in Sunday school would not affect his decisions as a city leader in Watertown, where all five members of the council are men but the city manager who runs the city's day-to-day operations is a woman.

"I believe that a woman can perform any job and fulfill any responsibility that she desires to" outside of the church, LaBouf wrote Saturday.

Mmm, is that what the Bible said? No, I don't think so. I didn't see where Timothy gave an exception for political officials, or said the no-women-in-authority-over-men rule only applied to Sunday school teachers.
Mayor Jeffrey Graham, however, was bothered by the reasons given Lambert's dismissal.

"If what's said in that letter reflects the councilman's views, those are disturbing remarks in this day and age," Graham said. "Maybe they wouldn't have been disturbing 500 years ago, but they are now."

Yes, and that's the way we feel about some opinions we have seen expressed regarding the development of a reasonable sex-education curriculum here in Montgomery County, Maryland. Time has moved forward, knowledge has evolved. Teach the Facts strongly believes that little old ladies should be allowed to teach Sunday school.

28 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The First Baptist Church has the right to run its affairs as it sees fit. 1st amendment 14-amendment issues ttf or MCPS does not have the right or power to force them to change MCPS does not have the right to give its own Interpation of the bible 1st Amendment 14 amendment issues. What part of the fist amendment and 14 amendments do you not understand?

August 22, 2006 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a clear example of how TTF is not just interested in "teaching the facts" but interfering with religious beliefs. This pastor clearly said this policy only applies within his church. He didn't apply it to the general public and anyone who disagreed is free to join a church that also disagrees, of which there are many.

This is similar to the protest TTF made about the conference at Immanuel a few months ago. The speakers weren't trying to change any public policy. Anyone who disagreed didn't have to be there. What concern is it of TTF?

August 22, 2006 3:16 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, if you look at what I said, the only thing I'm complaining about is that he seems to think that the Gospel only applies to Sunday school teachers. Isn't it a little hypocritical of him to tolerate the authority of a female city manager?

Or is this another example of moral relativism, where it's wrong for women to have authority in one situation, but not in another?

JimK

August 22, 2006 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon, if you look at what I said, the only thing I'm complaining about is that he seems to think that the Gospel only applies to Sunday school teachers.

Or is this another example of moral relativism, where it's wrong for women to have authority in one situation, but not in another?"

Not at all, Jim. He says it only applies in a church organization because that's what he thinks the scripture he's referring to says. It's not necessarily a moral principle but just a specific structuring of the church. Taken literally, it says women shouldn't teach in the church; it doesn't specify anyplace else where they shouldn't teach.

By the way, there are biblical examples of heroic women in leadership positions. Look at Deborah in the book of Judges who lead Israel. Alone among major religions, Judeo-Christianity confers dignity and respect on women.

August 22, 2006 5:01 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Here's 1 Timothy, chapter 2, verses 8-15:

It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.

Similarly, (too,) women should adorn themselves with proper conduct, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hairstyles and gold ornaments, or pearls, or expensive clothes, but rather, as befits women who profess reverence for God, with good deeds.

A woman must receive instruction silently and under complete control.

I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She must be quiet.

For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

Further, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed.

But she will be saved through motherhood, provided women persevere in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.


"Taken literally," it says women should shut up and let men run things.

JimK

August 22, 2006 5:15 PM  
Blogger digger said...

Romans 2:1-4 says that in response to gay men, Christians shouldn't criticise, but instead should be mindful of their own sins, live exemplary lives, and should remember that God was patient, kind and tolerant with them. Few anti-gay people bother to read this passage which follows the oft-quoted Romans 1:27.

We call this cherry-picking. For biblical literalists, it is unavoidable.

Robert

August 23, 2006 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

""Taken literally," it says women should shut up and let men run things."

Well, taken literally out of context and distorted it does. Still, you may have a point, Jim. I was thinking of a different verse.

If this guy is saying though, even without scriptural support, that this is how we live in our church but we don't expect others to, what problem do you have with that position? I thought that's the position you advocate.

August 23, 2006 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Romans 2:1-4 says that in response to gay men, Christians shouldn't criticise, but instead should be mindful of their own sins, live exemplary lives, and should remember that God was patient, kind and tolerant with them. Few anti-gay people bother to read this passage which follows the oft-quoted Romans 1:27."

Robert:

What do you think of the story of John the Baptist and Salome? Was John the Baptist violating biblical principles when he criticized Herod for sleeping with his brothers wife? Let's not upset any opera fans!

Obviously, some of these fundamentalists are way over the top but I get the feeling you're casting a net around a bigger group. And, I think you're missing a subtlety here. People need to make moral decisions. As a society, we need to decide what to endorse, encourage and teach. Necessarily, this will make us "anti-" something. Your position, however, is not possible to maintain in a logical and consistent way.

August 23, 2006 5:17 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Listen, Anon (and you don't sound like the same Anon who is a total idiot here but maybe the meds just kicked in, I don't know), this post has to be taken with a little sense of humor. First of all, TTF does not have any opinion about who should teach Sunday school. That was a joke, sort of.

Second of all, the whole point here is that this is absurd. Anybody who reads this story knows this is absurd in the modern age. I grew up with Oral Roberts on TV, and A. A. Allen out there in the desert drinkin' and preachin' on the radio, and I don't have anything against people with beliefs that I find bizarre. I figure it takes all kinds, let 'em talk in tongues and handle snakes and stuff, I don't care. In fact, it's kind of fun as long as I don't have to go along with it.

And that's the problem.

People with beliefs very similar to these are running the country. Which is short for "running the country into the ground." If there are Amish and Mennonites and Jehovah's Witnesses with strange and foreign habits, I don't care. But when they are making decisions that affect my life -- I care.

So there's the boundary. If people want to be any religion, I don't care, until they use their religious principles for making laws and setting policies and starting wars that affect other people. And this decision is a perfect example of why I don't want American public policy guided by these ... nuts.

JimK

August 23, 2006 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, OK, Jim. You were just joking. But you're still referring to those who aren't materialists as "nuts". You should be careful. You've got some pretty strange ideas yourself. And when you get down to it, whether you're a materialist, or a metaphysicist, or whatever, when you get deep enough and some surprising things have to be true.

All he believes are his eyes.

And his eyes...just tell him lies.

While you were in I Timothy, did you notice this in chap 1, verses 9 and 10. Seems interesting because several TTFers have asserted that the Bible is silent about homosexuality but this passage seems to be definitely grouping it with immoral behavior:

"lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers"

August 23, 2006 5:37 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

The King James Bible says:

[9] Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
[10] For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;


The American Standard Bible says:
1:9as knowing this, that law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and unruly, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 1:10for fornicators, for abusers of themselves with men, for menstealers, for liars, for false swearers, and if there be any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine;

Seems like you got one of those "special" Family Blah-Blah Bibles.

JimK

August 23, 2006 5:43 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

I want to follow up on this briefly. First of all, Anon got some kind of phony Bible and tried to quote it here. That is bull-oney.

Second, the quotes in 1 Timothy:9-10 are pretty interesting for what they say and don't say about homosexuality.

The KJV talks about "them that defile themselves with mankind." The American Standard Bible uses the phrase "for abusers of themselves with men" in that place. These verses talk about nasty things that people do -- hiring prostitutes, kidnapping people, lying, etc.

Now, who would be so cynical as to think that sharing intimate moments with someone you love is "defiling?" That those moments are "abuse of yourself?" No, love is not an ugly thing, and it seems impossible to me that Paul,, in writing to Timothy, would have meant this.

JimK

August 23, 2006 7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Romans
Chapter 2 1-4

1 Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. 2 For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things.
2
We know that the judgment of God on those who do such things is true.
3
Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?
4
Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God would lead you to repentance?

August 23, 2006 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Catechism

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms throughout the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on sacred Scripture, which present homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity [Gen. 19:1-29, Rom. 1:24-27, 1 Cor. 6:10, 1Tim. 1:10], tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered [Persona Humana 8]. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

August 23, 2006 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hand me the stones

August 23, 2006 8:19 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon

All in all, the catechism seems like a kind enough judgment. Everybody knows that Catholics define sex in terms of reproduction. By that line of reasoning, there's nothing for gay people to do but be celibate. OK, they can be celibate in the same way that Catholic girls don't use birth control, in the same way that Catholics never masturbate. I think they can handle that.

Look, you don't choose to be gay, but you do choose your religion and you do choose how to behave. This catechism is quite accepting of gay people, but says that "tradition" doesn't approve of "homosexual acts." So a gay person has to decide whether to go with their religion or with their feelings. At least they have a choice, unlike these poor guys we hear about who are trapped in a religion that wants them to marry a woman and pretend they are straight.

JimK

August 23, 2006 8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimk said..."these poor guys we hear about who are trapped in a religion that wants them to marry a woman and pretend they are straight."

It's not only "these poor guys" who suffer. There is suffering for everyone involved, most of all the children because these *marriages* rarely last a lifetime. Sham marriages are doomed to fail from the start; they increase both the US's high divorce rate and the large number of children being raised without fathers in their homes.

You would think that religious folks would want to help families stay together. I can tell you from experience that forcing those with same-sex attraction into opposite-sex marriages does not help families stay together. It's more like lighting a fuse and waiting for the explosion to come. The mess left by the explosion could be prevented if we stopped forcing circles into squares.

August 24, 2006 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Look, you don't choose to be gay,"

A statement made continuously here without any basis.

August 24, 2006 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's not only "these poor guys" who suffer. There is suffering for everyone involved, most of all the children because these *marriages* rarely last a lifetime. Sham marriages are doomed to fail from the start; they increase both the US's high divorce rate and the large number of children being raised without fathers in their homes.

You would think that religious folks would want to help families stay together. I can tell you from experience that forcing those with same-sex attraction into opposite-sex marriages does not help families stay together. It's more like lighting a fuse and waiting for the explosion to come. The mess left by the explosion could be prevented if we stopped forcing circles into squares."

Other than liberal churches, most churches these days won't marry individuals unless they have gone through pre-marital counseling which greatly reduces the incidence of divorce.

August 24, 2006 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"At least they have a choice, unlike these poor guys we hear about who are trapped in a religion that wants them to marry a woman and pretend they are straight."

There's no Judeo-Christian religion that does that, Jim. Indeed, in the New Testament, Paul specifically encourages believers not to marry unless they have strong heterosexual desires.

August 24, 2006 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There's no Judeo-Christian religion that does that, Jim. Indeed, in the New Testament, Paul specifically encourages believers not to marry unless they have strong heterosexual desires."

This is correct. In other scriptures, celibacy is listed as a spiritual gift. None of the apostles was married and, except for Dan Brown, no one thinks Jesus was either.

August 24, 2006 9:45 AM  
Anonymous JA said...

Anon said "TTF promotes teaching ideas that are baseless. If there's a basis, the burden is on you to demonstrate it."

This blog has repeatedly documented that the consensus of mainstream American medical and mental health professional organizations, including the AMA, both APAs, AAP, and many others comprised of medical doctors and mental health professionals view homosexuality as both normal and innate based on decades of study on the topic. It has even been pointed out on this blog that Warren Throckmorton, conversion therapy advocate and researcher agrees that no one chooses same sex attraction.

Repeating your lie that these "ideas are baseless" over and over doesn't change the fact that virtually every professional medical and mental health organization in the US, and even some conversion therapy advocates agree that people do not choose their sexual orientation. The choice you made of which religion to believe in, with however it views celibacy, sex, or sin, doesn't change this fact either.

August 24, 2006 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This blog has repeatedly documented that the consensus of mainstream American medical and mental health professional organizations, including the AMA, both APAs, AAP, and many others comprised of medical doctors and mental health professionals"

TTF has yet to show any basis for this consensus or proof that the consensus is among practitioners or just associations. If these associations feel this strongly, surely they can provide back-up for their opinions.

August 24, 2006 12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If these associations feel this strongly, surely they can provide back-up for their opinions."

That's right. Only the AMA can tell how they arrived at their conclusions that homosexuality is not a disease and not a choice. This is also true for each of the other medical and mental health professional associations that reached the same conclusions.

So ask yourself, why do you keep barking up the wrong tree?

August 24, 2006 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Only the AMA can tell how they arrived at their conclusions that homosexuality is not a disease and not a choice."

Actually, they've never arrived at this conclusion. The APA released a statement of dubious validity in the 1970s and the other associations simply defer to it. It's the domino track of the weak minds.

August 24, 2006 4:33 PM  
Anonymous silverside said...

Well, I feel sorry for the humiliation that the old woman experienced.

But honestly, the snitty part of me thinks: why stop there?

No more women serving church dinners either! Or cleaning the sanctuary on Saturday mornings! No more funds earned by "mere" women going into the collection plates! And while we're at it, no more female church members! (Note that women make up the majority of church goers). Just withdraw all female resources, energy, and personnel and take it some place else!

These butt-headed right-wing churches would die off in 24 hours.

Women have got to develop the pride and backbone to only invest their time, energy, and money in organizations that respect them. No more pleading with "spiritual" organizations that won't even grant you the right to speak.

You sometimes have no other place to work than where you do. So you have to fight for non-discrimination where you are. Same with political structures.

But that doesn't apply to churches. There are tons of them out there, and all kinds of other organizations of varying spiritual orientation. If the church you attend don't have any respect for you as a woman, THEN GET OUT AND GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. There's tons of churches or other organizations, spiritual or otherwise, that would love to welcome you in. And they would be genuinely interested in what you have to say and what you have to contribute.

And take a couple of sisters with you, for gawd's sake.

August 25, 2006 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 29, 2006 9:54 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

See if you can put that another way, Anon.

JimK

August 29, 2006 10:03 AM  

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