Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A Brief Correspondence...

...Between Myself and Our Good Friends at Focus on the Family


Dear Talyn,

Thank you for visiting Focus on the Family’s Web site and sharing your frank reaction to our article on the subject of homosexuality (e-mail, June 23, 2005). Thoughtful, honest feedback like yours is always welcome here at Focus headquarters. Your willingness to keep the flow of communication moving in both directions is much appreciated.

As you suspected, we very quickly came to the conclusion that your critique of our perspective was written from a non-Christian viewpoint. This is no small matter. As a non-Christian you do not share our biblical worldview; and as an individual who does not accept our scriptural outlook, you really have no way of fully grasping our understanding of human sexuality. That makes meaningful dialogue extremely difficult if not altogether impossible.

The fact of the matter, Talyn, is that our opinions about homosexual behavior are not based solely upon the statistical data provided in the article you found so appalling. We provide this information merely in hopes of supplementing, buttressing, and underscoring the scientific credibility of the teaching of the Bible, which is the ultimate source of our convictions. In this connection, we would refer you to the words of Jesus: “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’” (Matthew 19:4-5; quoting from Genesis 1:27, 2:24) This is Scripture’s most complete and definitive statement on God’s design for human sexuality. As I’m sure you can see for yourself, it does not leave room for homosexual “preferences” - - this despite the claims of the gay community, the assertions of certain geneticists, and the “non-polarized” sexual behavior of some animals.

We hope this reply has clarified our position for you. Thanks again for caring enough to get in touch. God bless you.

Timothy Masters,
Focus on the Family


I must thankyou for the manner of your response as many of the Christians outside of my group of friends have often spoken in a manner that gives the impression of attempted conversion and I am delighted that you have replied in such a manner.

I would ask if you read the suggested article that I sent to you a little after the original email as I am interested as to your reaction to this.

Another point which I feel requires clarification is the manner in which you take the Bible. It is my understanding that some Christians understand the Bible to be THE word of God, while others consider it to be based upon the word of God but written by mortals and therefore subject to errors. Your stance on this would be most appreciated as it would help enormously with understanding your particular stance on this situation.

The reason that I was so appalled was the tone of the passage and the way that homosexuality was simply condemned by the site. Would it not be better to take a more balanced view upon the subject? If you were to give a completely unbiased list of all of the problems, both percieved and real, of homosexuality, as well as the varying opinions of scripture and allow people to come to their own conclusions; it would no doubt be a more informative article. The inherent problem with articles of this nature is their bias. If I were to write an article upon this subject it would most likely be biased towards homosexuality. While not homosexual myself I am an incredibly liberal person and see no problem with it, and also I often find myself sticking up for the underdog. While in my eyes this view is not biased but a very fair one I understand why people see otherwise, even if I do not agree with them.

The same is obviously true of your take upon the situation. My point is that there are two clear sides to this argument. I would have thought it necessary to provide an exceptionally more balanced viewpoint upon such a subject. I would advise giving the facts that you have mentioned and then doing some more research to find other facts of similar nature but that 'prove' the opposite. Then give a detailed source of these facts so that individuals can make up their own minds.

Another point that has recently struck me is that your grasp of the nature of science appears to be flawed. Science is not intended to be fact. It is intended to give possible explanations to things that are otherwise unexplainable, much like reaction. A theory is simply a possible explanation that hasn't been proved but might be true. After all, can you actually prove anything? But now we are getting into philosophy. The point is that the aim of science is to attempt to explain things and come up with theories and then try to disprove or prove them. I would keep this in mind when talking about science.

I feel that one must ask oneself who exactly homosexuals are harming. I would venture that the only reason that homosexual rapes are higher in number than heterosexual rapes (if indeed this is true as I am slightly uncertain as to the validity of your 'facts' due to the inherant bias in the article) is because they are outcast by society. If society were more accepting homosexual rapes would no doubt decrease.

Why would an all-loving God be offended by homosexuals? They are not harming anyone, nor are they helping anyone, save possibly making themselves and their partner happy. Would a God not be more angry at someone who remained single their entire life, as they have neither reproduced nor brought love into someone else's life? Would you not also agree that the Bible may not be entirely suitable for modern day advice. Homosexuality was not considered an issue back at its writing. Homosexuality was seen by the Romans as an upper-class venture that wasn't looked down upon, even the Roman pantheon included homosexual deities. The issue simply wasn't around at the time so it is unlikely that scripture was written with it in mind. I would disagree, I would say that it does leave room for homosexual preferences, I would say that it may not give room for homosexual marriage but again that was never an issue at the time.

I look forward to your reply and to your opinion on these issues. I have found the discussion thus far to be a very interesting one.

Thankyou,
Talyn



Dear Talyn,

Thanks for your cordial response to my e-mail of June 30. We’re pleased to know that you found our information helpful, and we’re more than happy to assist you by answering the additional questions you’ve raised as a result of receiving our message. Unfortunately, we are not at liberty to engage in an ongoing dialogue with you on the subject of homosexuality. We receive several thousand pieces of mail every day here at Focus headquarters, many of them expressing urgent needs that require immediate attention. Much as we might enjoy it, we simply can’t afford the luxury of continuing correspondence with any given constituent. We hope you understand.

With regard to your inquiry concerning our understanding of the Bible: we do indeed consider Scripture to be “the inspired, only, infallible, authoritative Word of God” (from our official Statement of Faith). This, as far as we are concerned, is absolutely essential to everything we believe as Christians.

Concerning the specifics of the Bible’s attitude toward homosexual behavior: we are having trouble understanding how you can possibly make the claim that homosexuality “wasn’t around” or “wasn’t an issue” when the Old and New Testaments were written. As you yourself have conceded, homosexuality was commonly practiced among the pagan Greeks and Romans of the first century, and it is precisely for this reason that the apostle Paul felt led to identify it as an especially egregious example of the absurd, self-contradictory behaviors and thought patterns (“professing to be wise, they became fools”) that men and women are capable of embracing when they “exchange the truth of God for a lie.” For deeper insight into this issue we recommend that you take a closer look at Paul’s discussion of the subject in Romans 1:18-32.

As to your suggestion that our Web site articles might be more effective and “palatable” with the general public if we were to “balance” their content by including a consideration of opposing perspectives, we can only tell you that this sort of unbiased objectivity, as wonderful and as appropriate as it may be in certain contexts, has nothing to do with our mission as a Christian ministry. We are neither a newspaper, a journalistic agency, nor an encyclopedia of sociological data. Focus on the Family is at heart an evangelistic outreach, and as such we do not apologize for having a very definite point of view. We believe that the God of the Bible is real and alive, that human beings are sinners in need of His forgiveness and grace, and that Jesus Christ has come to redeem us from the ills we have brought upon ourselves by insisting upon going our own way. This is our message and we have no reason to dilute it or counteract its impact by taking time to examine the opinions of those who deny its validity.

More could be said, but perhaps this is sufficient to give you a better understanding of our perspective. Your continued interest in our work is much appreciated. Grace and peace to you.

Timothy Masters,
Focus on the Family


Firstly: excuse the lack of paragraphs in my response as apparently making something Italic automatically removes all the indents, yay. [Amended. LEARN BASIC HTML. - Subed.]

Secondly: a phrase to note - "As to your suggestion that our Web site articles might be more effective and “palatable” with the general public if we were to “balance” their content by including a consideration of opposing perspectives, we can only tell you that this sort of unbiased objectivity, as wonderful and as appropriate as it may be in certain contexts, has nothing to do with our mission as a Christian ministry."

Can anyone run up T-Shirts for me?

2 Comments:

At 9:51 pm, Blogger Withiel said...

RE: T-Shirts.
Yes. Yes I can.
/cackles.

An excellent email conversation: faux-innocent questions lead to a response that might as well read "we're MAD CUNTS! SPOONY SPOON!". I think I'll dig up the Michael Savage email address and have some fun of my own...

 
At 12:52 am, Blogger Sable X. Veins said...

[Clucks tongue.] Cut and paste and twist, gentlemen. Focus on the Family may all be as mad as blankets, but at least they openly admit their bias.

A better suggestion might be: rather than providing a balanced, unbiased discussion of homosexuality, [a] rigorously research and validate all statistical information used in anti-gay rhetoric, and [b] examine and refute the counter-argument.

This is exactly the manner in which I would present a considered opinion. The problem is not that their discussion is not biased, but rather that it is not representative.

/Sable

 

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