Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Orthodoxy, sex, theology

Same Sex Marriage and Christianity

Posted by Warren Peterson on April 1, 2015

Mainline churches are dividing over the question of same sex marriage. The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA), the largest of the Presbyterian denominations, recently revised its definition of marriage as between one man and one woman to “…a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman…” Each congregation, however, retains the right to hold to the one man, one woman traditional view of marriage. This change, along with other issues, has caused an increasing number of PCUSA churches to leave and join other Presbyterian denominations.

George Hinman, Senior Pastor of the University Presbyterian Church in Seattle set aside his planned Palm Sunday sermon and instead spoke forthrightly on how we should respond to challenges we face in the light of this recent PCUSA action. It is a message not just for Presbyterians but for all Christians regardless of where one comes down on the issue of same sex marriage.

The You Tube 29 minute video lays out the core of Christianity – Jesus Christ and grace.

Same Sex Marriage and Christianity


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One Christian’s View of Homosexuality

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 28, 2014

World Vision finds itself embroiled in the same controversy as many other Christian organizations including churches. It is over the question, ”Is the practice of homosexuality a sin?” For the answer, Christians turn to the Bible which at the very least they hold to be the inspired Word of God. On this question and the related issue of same sex marriage, the scriptures are unambiguous. From Genesis 2: 18-24 and Leviticus 18: 22 through St. Paul in Romans 1: 18-32, I Corinthians 6: 9-11 and I Timothy 1: 9-11 in no instance is homosexuality presented in a positive light. When homosexual relations are commented on they are clearly called sin. In the wedding Jesus attended and in any verses on marriage same sex marriage is never mentioned. Reading the Bible specifically as well as by implication can only lead to the conclusion that the practice of homosexuality is sinful.

It may be easy to oppose this sin since only a small minority engages in the lifestyle. It is not so easy, however, if your son or daughter comes “out of the closet.” Former Senator Rick Santorum, a devout Catholic, was asked what he would do if his son told him he was gay? He answered, “I’d love him just as much as I did the second before he told me.” A good answer but it still does not lessen the conflicts that arise in application. For instance, would you attend your son’s wedding to another man? On another level, my church welcomes all sinners but holds to higher standards those ordained into leadership – elders, deacons and pastors. An individual with a reputation as an adulterer, swindler, prostitute or yes, a practicing homosexual, would be disqualified for ordination. Needless to say, not everyone in the church agrees with the policy on sexual orientation. Even if they accept the lifestyle as sinful, they claim God’s grace (forgiveness) promised in the Bible. But grace is not a “Get out of jail free” card. Society need not seek the lowest common denominator for its moral standards even if some of its citizens opt out.

This issue is explored in a sermon by a Presbyterian pastor in 1990 when the demand for acceptance was just coming to a boil. After exploring many of the questions and concerns he closes with a message of hope:

So, Is there No Good Word for Homosexuals?

Must we end in only hard words? No! Our text for today comes to a glorious conclusion. After naming all these ten sins, Paul reminds his readers that they “were” guilty of these sins. BUT — they “have been washed (cleansed), justified (forgiven) and sanctified (transformed) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.” No sin is beyond grace, mercy and power that comes to us in Jesus Christ. He is the hope — for all of us!

You are encouraged to read the full sermon by clicking HERE

Posted in Religion | 1 Comment »

“Speaking of Homosexuality”

Posted by Warren Peterson on May 27, 2013

The Boy Scouts compromise, homosexual boys, okay, gay adult scout leaders, no. More states approve same-sex marriage. So are you an ignorant bigot if you hold a different view especially if your view is based on religious belief? There are limits on constitutional freedom of speech and exercise of religion but they are narrowly defined – falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater, denying a child life a saving blood transfusion, for example. If you are ambivalent, confused or mind made up on the issue, read:“Speaking of Homosexuality”. I don’t expect to change anyone’s opinion but I do think the article is well within the bounds of free speech and makes cogent arguments for long-standing traditional belief.

Posted in Religion | 1 Comment »

Life and Death

Posted by Warren Peterson on February 26, 2013

Thousands of books and sermons have addressed the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” It is an impossible question to answer. Atheists say the very question disproves the existence of God while some religious answers blame evil resulting from mankind’s choice in the Garden of Eden (actually or metaphorically). Perhaps we are asking the wrong question. It is not “why” but what we do about it when life’s challenges come.

If you have about 25 minutes to explore this alternate question:

Click HERE

Scroll down to:

“An Impossible Challenge”
February 24/ George Hinman

Click on: Download audio


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Voting On Same Sex Marriage

Posted by Warren Peterson on October 30, 2012

Three states will vote November 6 on the issue of same sex marriage. In the State of Washington, the legislature passed a bill that would allow same sex couples to marry. The vote was 28 to 21 in the Senate and 55 to 43 in the House. Well more than enough signatures were gathered to place Referendum 74 on the ballot. It asks voters to approve or reject the legislature’s action.

Approve 74, it’s a matter of fairness. Reject 74, the social cost is too high. Commentator Dennis Prager makes some interesting points in his recent article, “Why a good person can vote against same sex marriage.” To read it, click

Posted in Religion, State & Local | Leave a Comment »

Good Question

Posted by Warren Peterson on July 11, 2012

Good Question

1. Why does God allow bad things to happen?
2. What does the Bible teach about sex?
3. Is spirituality a property of the brain?
4. What does Jesus think of other religions?

George Hinman, Senior Pastor at Seattle’s University Presbyterian Church tackles each of these questions in a sermon series titled, “Good Question”. Each one takes about 30 minutes to listen to, time well spent.

Click HERE, scroll down to blue box “Sunday Sermons” and select your question (may have to scroll down to see all four).

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An Easter Gift for You

Posted by Warren Peterson on April 9, 2012

Click Here then in the box on the right, click on “The Meaning of Easter” (or find it by clicking on Archives in upper left hand corner of the box) and listen to the audio. Enjoy.

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Dear Rabbi

Posted by Warren Peterson on January 25, 2012

Dear Rabbi Glickman,

You are like so many from the liberal side of Judaism and Christianity. If you find something in the Bible that makes you uncomfortable you go to all manner of theological contortions to prove the opposite of what it says. Your Faith & Values column on homosexuality and same sex marriage in the January 21, 2012 Seattle Times demonstrates this point.

First you claim, “very few people have thought to look carefully at what the Bible actually says.” I refer you to you will find writings on homosexuality from two mainstream protestant pastors that make the case for including homosexuality in the long list of sins. Also included are my own humble concerns about the consequences of acceptance of the viewpoint you hold. I am quite sure a simple web search would turn up numerous other “careful looks” by theologians with a position opposite yours.

You stated that homosexual behavior is only mentioned twice in the Jewish Bible. So how many times does a sin have to be mentioned to qualify as a sin? The New Testament has several references, is that enough? You noted that your “Bible only discusses sexual contact between two men” and then leap to the conclusion that there is “no prohibition whatsoever of lesbianism.” Surely you know that the status of women in biblical times often precluded mention of them at all.

The most laughable assertions followed your translation of the Hebrew word “mishk’vei-ishah” as “woman-laying” as possibly referring to “…the Bible.. prohibiting certain sexual positions”, men conquering women or my favorite, “Maybe the Bible just wants homosexual activity to be different from heterosexual activity.” Yes it does and that’s why it is called out as sin.

Earl Palmer, former Senior Pastor of the University Presbyterian Church in Seattle cautioned that in interpreting the Scriptures, “Lean is best.” Biblical verses need to be read in context. The history and overall message of the Bible as well as the surrounding verses need to be considered but not twisted to fit the desires on the day. In this light, the Bible honors the male/female relationship from Adam and Eve (Genesis 2: 18-24) through Solomon’s “Song of Songs”, Proverbs 31: 10-31 and even Hosea who stayed faithful to his prostitute wife. The New Testament continues in the same vein. No where does either the Old or New Testament exalt, honor or approve explicitly, or any but the most contorted interpretation, same sex marriage or the practice of homosexuality.

I do agree, “it would be (a) good thing for us to be nice and get along.” However, one sometimes has to take a stand on moral ground. I just think you stand on liberal shifting sand rather than the rock of Scripture, old or new.

A fellow believer,

Warren Peterson

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Republicans and Gay Marriage

Posted by Warren Peterson on September 8, 2010

Thanks to SP for sending me the below thought provoking blog from rottenindenmark:

Why the American Left Drags Its Feet on Gay Rights
By: Mike Babb

One thing I couldn’t get over when I first moved here was how politically diverse the gays are. Some of them are left-wing, some of them are right-wing. Some of them are racist, some of them are patronizingly inclusive. ‘Jesus,’ I remember saying on one of my first weekends, ‘It’s like being gay doesn’t even mean anything.’
And it doesn’t, really. Gay marriage has been legal in Denmark for 20 years, and gayness has been a political non-starter so long that politicians have to be asked about it, and then they all give pretty much the same answer. Anti-gay sentiment isn’t completely banished, but you hear it come up about as much as you hear about, say, the flat tax in America. It’s there, but it’s not a divisive issue in many races or party manifestos.
In other words, gays have no built-in incentive to be left-wing. In America, gays are mainly limited to the blue end of the spectrum because the right-wing wants to actively curtail their rights and reduce their quality of life. For gays, self-preservation trumps the economic and social issues that most other citizens vote on.
If gay marriage gets legalized in the States, after a few political aftershocks, I think a lot of gays would start to migrate rightward. It would be slow, but in the long-term gays might even be a reliable Republican voting bloc. Gays tend to be affluent, and eventually, the dimensions of self-preservation would warp to exclude Oppressed Minority and include Yuppie Wealth Preserver.
I wonder if American left-wing politicians know this, and this is part of why they don’t grant full civil rights to homosexuals. As long as we’re second-class citizens and one of the parties is slightly better than the other, they can take us for granted. Giving us full marriage rights would effectively put both parties back at Go, and they would have to compete for our votes.
I’ve been wondering that this year, as the promises made during the presidential campaign haven’t materialized, and as the Democrats face the loss of the majority that would have made pro-gay legislation reasonably easy to enact. It’s about time we started asking whether it wasn’t the opportunity that passed, but the politicians.

Mike Babb graduated from Nathan Hale High School in Seattle and Western Washington University. He holds masters degrees from University College London and Aarhus University in Denmark. He is employed by Danish Institute for Human Rights.

If Mr. Babb is right, Republicans are missing an opportunity to pick up support currently conceded to the Democrats. Capitalizing on that may be a ways off. Polls show a steady trend toward favoring gay marriage, but broken down by political leanings, religious affiliation and section of the country, there is still strong opposition. Conservatives, church attendees, and southerners are against while liberals, over half of independents, less religious and northeasterners tend to favor.

Gays are not excluded from the party as evidenced by existence of the Log Cabin Republicans, a vocal pro-gay group, the “outing” of known Republican operatives such as the former national GOP chair, Ken Mehlman and the Cheney’s support for their lesbian daughter, Mary. But party platform planks defining marriage as between one man and one woman do reflect the general view of the majority. People will have to decide for themselves if the same-sex marriage issue trumps Republican positions on the economy, runaway deficits, taxes, smaller less intrusive government and national defense. The latter should be the prime voter consideration in 2010 and 2012. The former can wait.

Sound Politics

Posted in National Politics, Religion | 1 Comment »

The Homosexual Question

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 10, 2010

I have posted several writings on the homosexual issue. One of my postings generated a “trackback” which is a list of other blogs on the subject. This one is by a United Methodist pastor in his early thirties who serves a church near a Methodist college campus. The Methodist church, like many mainline Protestant churches, has been struggling with the issue for years. How should a Christian treat homosexuals when the Bible clearly defines the practice as sinful? Generally, the battle comes down to church policy on same sex marriage and qualifications for ordination as a pastor, elder or deacon. In my journey thinking about this issue (see below references), I think Pastor Brandon has come closest to possible common ground. Read his short sermon “Christians are Antihomosexual”. Do you agree?

Other Clear Fog posts on the subject:

Gays in the Military

A Sermon on Homosexuality

Same Sex Marriage, Yea or Nay

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