Periodically AVN gets missives from commentator Matt Barber with the kind offer that we are free to republish the contents. This time we took him up on his offer, but not without adding a few footnotes.
JESUSLAND—Who am I? I’m a husband and a father.(1) More importantly, and by the grace of God, I’m a follower of Jesus Christ.
This is what motivates me to write you.(2)
You don’t have to read on, but I pray you will.(3)
What I write I write with the purest of aims and with your well-being in mind—physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, both now and for eternity.(4)
You will read truth here, not because I say it’s true—I’m nobody—but, rather, because the Creator of the universe, the very God Who wove you together in your mother’s womb made it true.(5)
His truths never change.(6)
I have three kids, a boy and two girls. My son will soon enter his teenage years. I’ve had many people ask me what I’d say to my children if one of them came to me and declared: "Dad, I’m gay."
Here’s what I’d say. I’d tell them exactly what I’m about to tell you.
I love you. I neither judge you nor condemn you. I accept you and I would die for you.(7)
But you are not "gay."(8)
Yes, you may be physically attracted to people of the same sex, but how you act on those attractions is entirely your choice. Who you are—your identity—is not defined by your sexual feelings, temptations or behaviors. The difference between who you are and what you feel or do is as the difference between night and day.(9)
Here is who you are: You are a wonderful, beautiful, precious human being created in the image and likeness of the one righteous and Holy God of the universe.
You are priceless.(10)
But you are flawed—you are a sinner.
I am flawed—I am a sinner.(11)
We are all flawed sinners—corrupted beings in a corrupted world.(12) We are all tempted by sin.(13)
Those temptations manifest themselves in different ways for each of us. We are all on equal footing, however, as to how we react to those temptations.
Homosexual behavior is always wrong—demonstrably and absolutely wrong.(14)
Every major world religion, thousands of years of history and uncompromising human biology declare this objective reality from the rooftops.(16)
Though your heart may deceive you, something deep within you knows this to be true. Scripture says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. …" (Jeremiah 17:9)
Some say, "But Jesus never mentioned homosexuality." First, we don’t know this.(17) We have no record in Scripture of Him specifically addressing homosexual sin, but neither do we have a record of His addressing incest, bestiality or other sexual sins.(18)
Jesus was clear. He condemned all sexual immorality as detailed within the moral law. He was clear that any sexual activity outside the bonds of marriage between husband and wife is sexual immorality—sin.
In fact, homosexual sin is expressly identified in both the Old and New Testaments as being among the list of sins that, if committed without repentance, will prevent you from "inheriting the kingdom of God."(19)
That is to say, yes; unrepentant homosexual behavior is disobedience to God. If we rebel against God and refuse to repent and ask His forgiveness, then we have chosen our own fate—we have chosen to disqualify ourselves from heaven.
We have chosen hell.(20)
I know, it’s not easy. Temptation is not easy.
To sin, however, is easy.
Still, to endure the consequences of that sin, both here and throughout eternity, will be more difficult than our limited minds can fathom.(21)
Romans 6:23 admonishes: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Sin can lead to physical death; but it also leads to emotional and spiritual death.
If you are caught up in homosexual sin, you know—intuitively you know—that such conduct is wrong, that it is both immoral and unnatural behavior.(22)
Truth is truth, even though we may deny it.(23)
God has written His law on your heart.(24) You are a physical being; but, more importantly, you are a spiritual being.(25) When we sin, we create separation between ourselves and God.(26)
God’s word also says that when we sin sexually, it’s particularly egregious because our bodies are the temple of Christ. This separation from God—a natural result of sexual sin—can lead to depression and even despair.(27)
If you feel such despair, know this: it is not "homophobia" causing it, as adult enablers might tell you, but, rather, it is the sin itself that causes it (or struggling alone, absent Christ, with the temptation to sin).(28)
You are being used. Adult homosexual activists with a political agenda are using you as a pawn to achieve selfish goals in a dangerous political game.(29)
You’re just a means to an end.(30)
They may have convinced themselves otherwise, but they don’t care about you. They don’t love you.(31) They can’t. Their version of "love" is built on lies. It’s devoid of truth.(32)
Love without truth is hate.(33)
If you continue down this wide, empty path, make no mistake: it will not "get better."(34)
It gets much, much worse.(35)
Consider, for instance, that according to the CDC this path will lead you, boys, to a one-in-five chance of contracting HIV/AIDS. The CDC also found that 64 percent of all syphilis cases strike "gay" males and that homosexual behavior leads to astronomical risk of nearly all other forms of STD.(36)
Even more startling is the fact that, according to the International Journal of Epidemiology (IJE), "[L]ife expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men."(37)
Unnatural behaviors beget natural consequences. "The wages of sin is death."(38)
But there is hope.
Jesus loves you with a love that no human can fully grasp.(39) This is true not because of your so-called "sexual orientation," but, rather, it is true in spite of it.
Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)(40)
Kids, take your sexual confusion—your struggle with sin—to Christ.
No one else can give you rest.(41)
1) He's also an attorney with Liberty Counsel, a reactionary right-wing legal society, not to mention an Associate Dean and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law at the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University School of Law, plus he has a master's degree in public policy from Pat Robertson's Regent University. Recently he has opined that allowing women to serve in military combat is "felony stupid," and he's accused the Southern Poverty Law Center of having incited some guy to shoot a security guard at Family Research Center simply because SPLC branded FRC as a "hate group" ... which it clearly is. He also wants clergy to specifically support political candidates from their pulpits, and has claimed that sex researcher Alfred Kinsey "facilitated ... the systematic sexual abuse of hundreds, if not thousands, of children and infants—all in the name of science." In other words, he's a religious nutbar loon.
2) Because, y'know, "God" just hates people who have gay sex, and Barber has claimed that even the Founders hated this "crime against nature" so much that they made it a death penalty offense in the Constitution. (Do let us know if you can find that clause.)
3) Because learning how wingers express their bigotry is very educational; hence, our publishing this article.
4) Actually, he writes what he writes because he's a bigot, and clothes that bigotry in the Bible (which, BTW, is pretty good bigot clothing, what with Leviticus 20 and all.)
5) Nice to know that even "nobodys" like Barber have no trouble speaking for what he describes "the Creator of the universe." Nice gig if you can get it! Pays well, too, we hear; just ask Robertson or Falwell's kid.
6) You mean, besides the fact that Christians have declared pretty much the entire Old Testament "inoperative," to use Nixon's term for ignoring uncomfortable realities? You mean like how modern-day believers have decided that the Bible's support for slavery isn't really what God meant to say? Or that bit about how it's an "abomination" to wear clothes made of two different fabrics? Or how it's a death penalty offense ("burnt with fire") for a guy to fuck both his wife and her mother? Or how godly people should shun a guy who fucks a woman while she's having her period?
7) Really? Because once you read the rest of Barber's crap, it really doesn't sound like it ... unless the kid admits he/she is not really gay ...
8) We always love meeting (or reading about) people who think they know their own children's minds better than the children themselves. That never turns out poorly for family relationships!
9) So if you don't act gay, you're not gay—who'd'a thunk it was that simple?
10) Good thing The Lord changed Its mind about slavery, then, eh?
11) So much for "not [being] defined by your sexual feelings, temptations or behaviors"!
12) And that would be "corrupted beings in a corrupted world" made by—ooh, I bet you know this one!—God?
13) No, we're "tempted by" (as in "attracted to") other people and stuff, and you've got a book and a bunch of holier-than-thou assholes who are only too happy to define some of that attraction as "sin." But for much of humanity, attraction is just attraction; it has no theological connotation, and those who want to define those attractions as "sin" have nothing but their book and personal prejudices to base that on; that is, no science, or even real-world observation.
14) Well, as long as you say so. But we would like to see that demonstration!
15) Well, that settles it, then! YOU ASSHOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!
16) "Objective reality"? The reality is, there are gay people and there are straight people, and there's a whole spectrum in-between—and that doesn't even count transgenders! And during those "thousands of years of history," there have been plenty of gay people, starting with the elite of ancient Greece and Rome up to and including a few U.S. congressmen and senators, and according to Larry Flynt's book One Nation Under Sex, even a few U.S. presidents, possibly even including Abraham Lincoln! And don't get me started on Catholic priests!
17) Hell, yeah! In fact, we don't even know if Jesus ever even existed! No historical texts mention him, though there are a couple—Josephus and Tacitus—whose mentions of Jesus were added centuries after those guys died.
18) Always good to know that you can take what Jesus didn't say as gospel!
19) Funny thing, though: Although Barber seems to have his Jeremiah quotes at his fingertips, here he points to no verse of the Bible to justify his anti-sexual bigotry! C'mon, Matt; the least you could do is provide JUST ONE FUCKING CITATION where Jesus says gay sex is bad, or even extra-marital sex, couldn't you? Or maybe they just don't exist!
20) Well, you're certainly free to believe that. What you're not free to do, however, is to impose your religious anti-sexual beliefs on the rest of society, and in fact, not even on your own son.
21) Well, the "consequences of that sin ... here" seem to be that you and your fellow fundamentalists, and your lackeys in government, discriminate against gays so thoroughly that in most states, they can't marry, can't or have a hard time adopting kids, can't get spousal benefits, aren't protected from workplace or housing discrimination and are the butts (no pun intended) of millions of jocks' bad jokes. So maybe if you and your pals spent less time being bigots, gays wouldn't have such a hard time of it "here."
22) To begin with, see footnote (8). Beyond that, we're sure you wish that people "intuitively" knew that guys fucking other guys and women fucking other women is "wrong," but there are millions of gays out there who are perfectly happy in homosexual relationships, who feel in their own minds that it's "right," and even some who believe that, despite the bigotry of you and your buds, Jesus still loves them for who they are, gayness and all.
23) Of course, that's "truth," a belief based on little or no evidence, as opposed to "facts," based on scientific observation and experimentation. There's no doubt that "facts are facts," no matter how you try to deny them. But "truth" seems to be whatever you and your fellow religious fanatics decide it is ... today. It might change tomorrow ... like when you and your fundie friends decided that Romney would be a bad president 'cause he's Mormon, but when he became the only game in town, somehow his Mormon "sinner" status wasn't that bad.
24) Funny; we don't recall any cardiac surgeon ever mentioning that.
25) What you call "spirit," many of the rest of us call "the rational mind."
26) Or more accurately, when people "sin," they may create a separation between themselves and their church (or mosque or synagogue), depending on how bigoted their clergyperson and fellow congregants are. If there is a God, the reality is, you actually have no idea what It likes or doesn't like. Maybe It doesn't like bigots ... like yourself!
27) YEAH! Because it's the sin, and not the fact that so many supposedly religious people like yourself give them "sinners" shit all the time for following their own sexual paths that you don't approve of!
28) Yeah; it's not the bigots' fault. Really. No, really! God said so ... somewhere. We've got a video of it ... somewhere.
29) Yeah; because religious activists (like Barber) would never use you "as a pawn to achieve selfish goals in a dangerous political game" like, oh, say, to stamp out Americans' sexual freedom like all those laws against sodomy (which the vast majority of straights also practice) tried to do before Lawrence v. Texas.
30) Only if you let assholes like Barber run your sex life.
31) We're back to footnote (8) again, with a bit of (29) thrown in for good measure.
32) Translation: "Nobody who doesn't believe as we believe—i.e., fundamentalist Christianity—can possibly love you, 'cause everything we say about sex is 'true' and everything they say about sex is a 'lie.'"
33) Sorry; there is no translation for this that would make any rational sense—but one thing's clear: Barber is definitely a hater, though that probably isn't how he sees himself.
34) Isn't that cute! Barber has heard of gay rights activist Dan Savage, and Savage's videos worry him: "Now listen, sonny; pay no attention to all those YouTube videos with a bunch of celebrities and others telling you that even if bigots like myself persecute and occasionally physically assault you all through elementary and high school, it doesn't 'get better.' You choice is to either give up all your same-gender sexual desires, join a church and become some sort of secular monk, or you might as well kill yourself."
35) Especially if me and my fundie friends get to make the laws!
36) So if you do engage in homosexual sex, be sure not to wear a condom. That way, it'll be easier for God's wrath to be visited upon you!
37) "This falsehood can be traced directly to the discredited research of Paul Cameron and his Family Research Institute, specifically a 1994 paper he co-wrote entitled, 'The Lifespan of Homosexuals.' Using obituaries collected from gay newspapers, he and his two co-authors concluded that gay men died, on average, at 43, compared to an average life expectancy at the time of around 73 for all U.S. men. On the basis of the same obituaries, Cameron also claimed that gay men are 18 times more likely to die in car accidents than heterosexuals, 22 times more likely to die of heart attacks than whites, and 11 times more likely than blacks to die of the same cause. He also concluded that lesbians are 487 times more likely to die of murder, suicide, or accidents than straight women. ... However, like virtually all of his 'research,' Cameron's methodology is egregiously flawed—most obviously because the sample he selected (the data from the obits) was not remotely statistically representative of the LGBT population as a whole. Even Nicholas Eberstadt, a demographer at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has called Cameron's methods 'just ridiculous.'"
38) The "wages" (whatever that is) of everything is death!
39) So it doesn't matter if me and my buds and all the other religious lunatics around the world treat you like shit because you're gay; some imaginary Guy in the Sky is still in your corner ... except that He won't do anything about all the pain and suffering you'll have to endure at the hands of bigots like me.
40) Translation: "Give up all your same-sex attractions and live like a sexless monk for the rest of your life, and when you're dead, you'll finally be free of bigots like Matt Barber."
41) OR ... you could join with pro-sex activists like the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, the Center for Sex & Culture or any of several other groups that push back against antiquated ideas of sexual "normalcy," and learn to love yourself and your sexuality despite what your dad and his bigoted friends believe and how disgustingly they treat you. Give it some thought, eh?