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​God And Fingers

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | July 9th, 2015

Is This Why God Gave Us Fingers?

There is evidence that fork-like instruments were developed thousands of years ago to facilitate eating barbecue by the fireside. But 10 centuries ago Roman Catholic Saint Pietro Damiani said such instruments looked like the work of Satan, who was usually portrayed carrying a huge trident in his right hand. The Saint said: “God would not have given us fingers if he wanted us to use that instrument of Satan.” That marvelous gay Catholic Leonardo Da Vinci worked to perfect the three-tine fork, but it always ended up looking like Satan should be carrying it. Tis said that Queen Elizabeth of England and the Sun King of France always ate with their fingers because of the similarity of the fork and Satan’s trident. Writer Michel de Montaigne complained that when he ate with his fingers he often bit them. Later, every time the musician Claudio Monteverdi was in a position where he had to use a fork, he always purchased three Catholic masses to pay for the sin of using Satan’s instrument. Using a fork is a sin? When do we come to our senses? This is how religions got off the rails before the rails even existed. But superstitions and myth often trump science.

The mysteries of gender, homosexuality, and whether a man could actually be a woman came out in a 1952 Time magazine with the story, “Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty: Operations Transform Bronx Youth.” George Jorgensen wanted to become Christine Jorgensen because, as George said, “nature made a mistake.” George was honorably discharged from the Army and immediately set sail for Denmark to find a surgeon who could turn him into a woman. He found one. In 1953 Time described Christine-George Jorgensen as “a blonde with a fair leg and a fetching smile.” She became a national sensation and shocked millions of Americans with the idea that perhaps a man can really become a woman! The word “transgender” did not even exist in 1953. We have learned a lot in 62 years since George became Christine. Last week the Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote made same-sex marriage the law of the land. Now we know that practically every species on earth for millions of years, from worms to chimps to humans, have straights and gays. Now we know that members of conservative churches and religions such as the Southern Baptist, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Mormons, Orthodox Jews, and Muslim still believe that forks are tools of Satan. Every large and small society on earth for evermore has had populations made up of 5-10% homosexuals. I have three questions for the theologians: Do you believe that God created human beings? Do you believe that God created homosexuals as well? Do you believe members of the LGBT community are fully human? If you say “Yes!” to all three you may stop reading here.

A Lifetime Of Prejudice, Discrimination, Religious Nonsense, And Scientific Ignorance

In the last four generations we have seen the chipping away at prejudice, discrimination, religious nonsense, and scientific ignorance to the point where over 70% of the American people approve of same-sex marriages. There’s a four-stage cartoon by the Chicago Tribune cartoonist on the four 20-year spans of thinking over my 80 years. In the first generation of 1935-1955 a man tells a woman: “I don’t get a Protestant marrying a Catholic.” That was a tough decision for religion-crossed lovers. In the second generation 0f 1955-75 the man says to the woman: “I don’t get a woman marrying a black.” A pair of black and white lovers took that case to the Supreme Court (Loving vs. Virginia) and won. In the third generation of 1975-95 the man says to the woman: “I don’t get a guy marrying a guy.” Well, Massachusetts approved of same-sex marriages right after this generation in 2003. In the fourth generation of 1995-2015 the man says to the woman: “I don’t get a guy becoming a girl.” Well, you have to get over it. It happens. It’s a scientific fact that some girls have boy’s brains—and some boys have girl’s brains. They are called transgenders now. And a few babies are born with both sets of genitalia. It seems that every day we learn something new about human sexuality. I’m sure in the 2015-35 generation a man will say to the woman: “You aren’t going to believe this ...”

For the present generation we need to learn a lot more about transgenders. There about 1.5 million transgenders in the U.S. with about 15,500 in military service. The parents of Sebastian in Napa Valley, California, knew at 18 months he was “different.” He was an unhappy boy, often fighting to keep boy’s clothes off of him. At four he said he wanted to become a girl. He ignored toy trucks and loved dolls. The parents began to allow him to wear female clothes and started to use female pronouns with him. The tantrums stopped when he was renamed Camille. Camille is now six, wears dresses with sequins, and has her fingernails painted in alternate blue and pink. Camille reminds friends and playmates: “Everyone was calling me Sebastian, but I was a girl.” Camille has been assessed for two years by psychologists at the University of California and is taking hormone blockers. No trace of Satan yet. The possibility of sex reassignment surgery is being discussed with the parents. There seems to be a growing number of children experiencing gender dystopia, the belief that there is a distinct mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity.

What Does Psalm 139: 13-14 Say About God And Babies?

Our present population hovers around 320 million, which means that we have at least 16 million LGBT members in the U.S., using five percent as a reasonable estimate of gays in a society. I think it’s an interesting sidelight that a group strenuously opposed to same-sex marriage because of literal interpretation of the Bible, the Southern Baptist Convention, has 16 million members. I wonder what has happened to the 800,000 LGBT members who have excluded themselves from the Baptists. Certainly not a single one would remain in the Baptist church if they literally interpret every line in the Bible. Psalm 139:13-14 refers to the close examination God gives each fetus while in the womb: “For you created my innermost being: you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” One might assume that after that close examination in the womb God would give something like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval to the fetus to be born — a fully human baby, gay or not. A statement from the Baptist Convention affirms their opposition to the LGBT community and same-sex marriage: “We strongly encourage all Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, educators and churches to openly reject any mandated legal definition of marriage and to use their influence to affirm God’s design for life and relationships.” Evidently God’s “knitting” in the womb gets unraveled somewhere along the line.

Catholic Bishops And the Vatican Make A “Tragic Error”

About 60 million people are enrolled in Roman Catholic churches in the U.S. This would mean that three million LGBT members are someplace—in the Church or out. The Vatican has always been tough on the LGBT community with statements such as “homosexual acts are depraved, intrinsically disordered, evil, contrary to natural law,” and, this one boggles the mind: “They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.” Anyone have an idea what that means? I think that’s open to interpretation! I see Bishop John Folda of the Fargo Diocese said the Court’s decision was a “tragic error that will have long-lasting consequences to come.” He didn’t elaborate except to ask politicians to pass measures that would protect the freedom of individuals and institutions who uphold the authentic meaning of marriage.” What does he mean by “authentic meaning?” If you don’t have children your marriage is not a marriage? He didn’t say whether his statements about freedom applied to both straights and gays. Gays are still second-class citizens in many states, even if they can now marry in all 50. Most of the Catholic bishops in the U.S. have been appointed by conservative Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The last time I saw a number there were 412 of them. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops put out the word that “tragic error” should be used to describe the SCOTUS decision. It added: “It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex constitute a marriage.” Let’s see. Greg Louganis, champion Olympic swimmer, marries Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Church (I’m making this one up!). Immoral? Unjust? Some of these “immoral” LGBTs have been faithful loving partners for over 50 years. Immoral? Unjust? Thousands of gay parents are raising thousands of kids in this country -- successfully. We still have no idea why men love men and women love women, but in the future the science of this will be sorted out. Over 1,500 species on earth, starting with humans at the top, have been certified by science to have both straights and gays. Get over it. This probably is a case of the science of human genetics trumping thousands of years of religious mysticism and “tragic errors” about human beings. Recognizing gays as full human beings is long overdue.

Evangelicals And Protestants Doth Protest Too Much — About Almost Everything

Religion has always been a very serious subject for some people. Religious beliefs often mean life or death, whether in the Roman Colosseum or on stakes above bonfires in cities around the world. Baptists seem to take it very seriously. These are the words on two signs displayed outside Baptist churches in this country on the subject of gays(1) “FAGS & ENABLERS ALL BURN IN HELL LEMONADE WON’T COOL ANY TONGUE,” (2) “ALL CHURCHES & MEMBERS THAT SUPPORT HOMOS CURSED BE THOU WITH CANCER HIV SYPHILIS STROKE MADNESS ITCH THEN HELL 1 COR 6:9.” One of the leading anti-LGBT hate groups is the Family Research Council headed by Tony Perkins. At one time the group supported Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” law and described it as rewarding “moral conduct.” Perkins assistant Craig James said on Washington radio that gays who filed discrimination complaints against businesses probably should be put to death. If you believe 1 Kings 11:3 that “He (King Solomon) had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines, and his wives led him astray,” I probably won’t change your mind. If you believe 1 Peter 2:18: “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel,” I probably won’t change your mind. If you believe that gays should be stoned to death by a merciful God and his creations, I probably won’t change your mind. Pastor David Berzins of Word of Truth Baptist Church of Prescott Valley, Arizona preached in a sermon that some of his fellow pastors were totally wrong when they refused to endorse the stoning to death of LGBT people — because it’s in the Bible. So is the approval of slavery under certain conditions.

Dean Burnett of The Guardian published his satiric “How Same-Sex Marriage Could Ruin Civilization” after the SCOTUS decision: (1) “We in the United Kingdom know that same-sex marriage caused extreme flooding when it was legalized here, and now that it is permitted in a country the size and influence of the USA the consequences could be even more catastrophic,” and (2) “However, same-sex marriage is now legal, so clearly it is possible for humans to overturn nature…Clearly LGBT people have the power to overrule nature to suit their own needs — like increasing the number of rainbows.” Google it.

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