about Me

about Me

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Letter to a Fundamentalist Homophobe

Dear Fundamentalist,

Please stop sending me passages of Scripture that you think are applicable to my life, in an effort to vent your homophobia upon me, and sit in judgment of me or of things about my life that you couldn't possibly understand. I've read the Bible throughout the entirety of my life, and have studied at length the handful of statements made by Moses and Paul that people like you continually use to try to manipulate people like me, and I understand them in their proper context, so your efforts to rebuke me are in vain.

I am a Christian, and I know that Jesus was completely silent on the subject of sexual orientation, so don't even try to go there with me, because what matters most to me as a follower of Christ is what He said.

Don't tell me about Sodom and Gomorrah, because the weird account in Genesis of those ancient, barbarian people wanting to gang-rape angels ("strange flesh") in the streets has no more relevance to my life than it does to yours. Besides, according to Ezekiel (16:49), the "Sin of Sodom" was arrogance and indifference to the poor.

Read your Bible.

And don't quote me the two statements Moses made in Leviticus about two men lying together. You don't live by Levitical Law, so don't try to impose it upon me, either...unless you also think it's wrong to eat shrimp, lobster and pork, shave, wear blended fabrics...or you stand for a law that says that kids who have bad attitudes should be stoned to death by the elders of the city, or believe that when your wife is on her menstrual cycle she should sleep outside, or that if your daughter is raped you should be able to sell her to the rapist at a reduced price. If you're going to play the Moses card, then play the whole deck!

And please don't cut and paste the first chapter of Paul's letter to the Romans to me. Whatever rites of pagan temple worship involving prostitute-priests that is described there is no more applicable to me than it is to you. Besides, I do retain God in my knowledge, I am very thankful, I do worship the Creator, and believe that He is the Creator of all things, and I certainly have not been "turned over to a reprobate mind". People like you really like to use that one because it can be so intimidating to people like me, but I assure you that I know I have the Mind of Christ, and my knees bow and my tongue confesses to the glory of God that Jesus Christ is Lord! You should read the rest of the chapter and look at all the kinds of people who are listed there, and you may find that YOU have, in fact, been turned over to a reprobate mind! Then go read the first part of the next chapter and see what it says about the people who judge the people mentioned in the first chapter! You may be surprised.

Paul I know...

And I know what he said to the Corinthians in his first epistle to them (Chapter 6). Don't try to keep me out of heaven with that one because he was talking about who he personally thought would not inherit the kingdom, and it wasn't just people with same-sex attraction. And, by the way, if you're such a devotee of Paul's, then you better have short hair if you're a man, and long hair if you're a woman (and cover your head in church and submit to men), you better be cool with slavery, and you better not get married for any other reason than to keep yourself from burning with lust!

Paul was a great man who was mightily used by God, but even he himself said that some of his words were just his opinion, and not the commandment of the Lord. The Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, but it was written by straight men to straight men, and is therefore limited in its scope of understanding of the issues of same-gender loving people.

And don't call me a "dog"...I am a Son of God, and that word (translated into Elizabethan English) was used for any one who was perceived to be "different". And in the last chapter of Revelation, John says that the Spirit and the Bride say "Come" to all who are outside the City of God, including the "dogs"!

And don't cite stupid platitudes to me like "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve", or tell me that you "Love the sinner, but hate the sin", because I know the Genesis story, and I know that you don't love me, or people like me, you just have a need to mind the business of other people for some reason, or you fear what you don't understand. Perhaps you are dealing with your own sexual orientation issues and need to deflect on people like me. Whatever the case, you're wasting your time in trying to clobber me with the same 5 or 6 Bible verses. I wear the helmet of salvation, and am immune to your silly mind games!

And I've heard it all before.

The bottom line is that you don't own God or Jesus or the Bible or Christianity. He's my God, too, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. He's my Jesus, too, and He is my Lord. It's my Bible, too, and I love it as much as you do, even though I know that it must be rightly divided, because the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life! I've always been gay because I was born gay, and I am fine with who I am, just as I am ("Can the thing formed say to Him that formed him, Why did you make me thus?"). I am God's workmanship!

How about just minding your own business, and try concentrating on doing what JESUS actually said...and what He didn't say. He didn't say a thing about homosexuality, but He did say a whole lot about walking in LOVE!

Oh, one more thing...King James, the one who authorized the version of the Bible you like to quote so much was an openly gay man.

Just thought you should know.

Sincerely,

A Gay Christian

79 comments:

  1. OMG! I am still LMAO! LOVE LOVE LOVE it! And LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU!

    Give 'em hell!

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  2. Howard Blount said...

    Well now, that pretty much sets the record straight . . . . Awesome!

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  3. Wendy Young Callaway said...

    This is awesome!

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  4. Denny Walden said...

    Amen,Amen, Amen!! You better PREACH!!!! Thank You !!

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  5. Kathy Verbiest Baldock said...

    Very nice friend. Very nice.

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  6. Richard Kurtenbach said...

    We've been silent too long. Nice that you and others are calling it like it is. In love of course.

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  7. Well said!!! From a great teacher... and blessed man. Thank you JESUS

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  8. Mark Alan Fout said...

    WOW! Now that SHOULD get their attention...Do we have your permission to share this emphatic letter?

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  9. Donald Cofield said...

    Go boy!

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  10. Mark Alan Fout said...

    Thank you very much Jim!!!!

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  11. Sara Anzaldo said...

    You so amazing with words! I need to be more like you and be prudent with my choice of words

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  12. Will Mercer said...

    AMEN!

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  13. Gregory Bowman said...

    Very well said....

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  14. It will not, of course, change the minds of those who spout hate in the name of religion. But your words will inspire those in who have been hurt by them. Thank you for this.

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  15. Melody Osborne said...

    Bishop, I love the way you use yours word to respond to the negative comments and letters you receive. You not only express yourself, you educate some pretty ignorant individuals at the same time. You are an inspiration to many. Keep on being YOU and know that we LOVE you.

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  16. Tracy Elickku Person said...

    Amen

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  17. Rachel Parker Falcone said...

    Well said, Love you Bish!

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  18. Thanks, @Melody...I actually don't get that much negative stuff any more, and I have found that the less I talk about it, the less it is energized, and I stop attracting it to myself...I just wanted to make a public statement for the benefit of all those people who regularly get bombarded by the Bible-thumpers and don't know how to answer them...I love the Bible, and I hate when people use it as a weapon on others...just wanted to put this out there...

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  19. Debye Swilley said...

    Good word! I always say he who is without sin cast the first stone....there is coming a day when the world will smoke the "Prince of Peace" pipe and truly live in peace. Namaste

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  20. Thanks, Deb...put as only you can put it...

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  21. Jacob Fuchs said...

    Let The Lord fight your battles you know a heart that truly trust and has faith in God by trusting him to fight your battles u don't have to defend yourself.. TALE OF THREE KINGS . Great biblical book. But the bible says you will know them by their fruit not their words just wanted to offer a helpful hand



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  22. Thanks for the instruction, Jacob, and I've read the book you recommended, probably before you were born...but this post wasn't/isn't about my battle...I just wanted to make a public statement for the benefit of all those LGBT people who regularly get bombarded by the Bible-thumpers and don't know how to answer them...I love the Bible, and I hate when people use it as a weapon on others...just wanted to put this out there to speak up for those who are bullied...if you're not a gay man it's something you couldn't understand, but thanks for offering a "helpful hand"...

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  23. Ed Jarnagin said...

    That guy came to the fight with a toothpick. Bishop Swilley brought a baseball bat. You go!!!

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  24. LOL...thanks, Ed...it was actually an answer to lots of letters I've gotten in the past, and I don't really even get many of them any more these days...my enemies have all been scattered...I just wanted to make a public statement for the benefit of all those LGBT people who regularly get bombarded by the Bible-thumpers and don't know how to answer them...I love the Bible, and I hate when people use it as a weapon on others...just wanted to put this out there to speak up for those who are bullied...

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  25. LaNeice Owens Watson said...

    Well said Jim .

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  26. Ed Jarnagin said...

    I thought you did great. I don't dare to even know every scripture in The Bible, so it's refreshing to see someone who is a true man of God who has read The Bible cover to cover many times, obliterate homophobic arguments where The Bible is used as a weapon.

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  27. Ed Jarnagin said...

    I bet it was pretty rough when you first came out. I couldn't even imagine. It was hard enough just coming out to my family. I didn't do it publicly.

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  28. There were a few months there when it was really oppressive and scary, especially with the death threats...I woke up every morning to literally hundreds of letters and comments from "Christians"...but for every negative message I received, I also received 50 or more positive ones...and I answered everything in my book, so, as I said, I don't get much negative stuff any more...

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  29. Tim Brooks said...

    Love it! You took some words right out of my mouth and I hope you know the amazing impact you are having on other gay people like myself. I still feel the spirit so strong on the words Pastor Paulk spoke to you about you pulling people out of pits. It brings tears to my eyes and hope to my soul. I can't thank you enough for the Godly example you have been and are. Hope to come visit you all soon!

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  30. Wow, thanks, Tim...and thanks, everyone, for your comments!

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  31. Jean de Sousa said...

    Amen to all that was said!! The world is changing, although slowly. But things are getting better, or maybe the change is in me! May we all just love one another and not judge. Love you Bishop, but of course you know that!

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  32. Neal Campbell I think the only thing that could make that any better would be to hear Julia Sugarbaker read it.

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  33. Akiko Davis said...

    WOW... ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.... I am like Will Downing... "Where is the Love?"...You see, WAR is not the answer For only LOVE can conquer hate... We've got to find a way...To bring some lovin' here today... Jesus said it BEST..."By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."#IAMJUSTSAYN






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  34. Akiko, I'm always the first to stand up for love...my love for the marginalized who are abused by religion is what motivated me to write this...and my book...sometimes speaking the truth sounds very resolute and confrontational, like when Jesus publicly rebuked the Pharisees over and over again, or ran the money changers out of the temple...I'm glad you have a heart for love...but sometimes the loving thing is speaking up for justice...

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  35. Sarah Mule' said...

    To love as Christ himself loved ... If mankind kept this in mind, the world would be a much better place. Thank you for all that you do. It's heartening to know that there are people who are truly followers of Christ and not merely followers of 'the church.' You're awesome!

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  36. Catherine Stauffert said...

    I've read and shared this for my LGBT friends. I'm not gay but I am supportive, does this mean I need a rainbow bra? I am a Christian and it grieves me to see how badly hurt some of my friends have been at the hands of the church.

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  37. Jacob Fuchs said...

    I'm sorry if I offended you. I can see that you have plenty of age and experience not doubting that that's wonderful of you. And awesome thing that you read the book in the past . Awesome.. But I don't have to be gay to understand going through trial and judgment . A true Christian biblically will be going through persecution daily. You must pick up your cross daily.. I'm not gay but I had roommates and friends and many of them that are or had use to have been gay . Even some with full body surgery . So if your a Christian it doesn't mean u must agree its just means to love and show Christ love to them regardless . And you believe it a sin Jesus loved on the sinners . Casting crowns sings a song put down the signs and step over the lines and love like Christ did.

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  38. Jacob Fuchs said...

    I see that we all have flash and things that just won't leave our fleshly desires gay or not. We are born with it. That's part of picking up your cross daily . Most men have an attraction to more than one woman and want to have fleshly desires toward other woman. But thank God for grace and Holy Spirit strength to help us persevere through those trials .. And to put it off and look to God . . One thing I like to understand my self is homosexuality in the bible and even if I can't find what others consider real volume in scripture on homosexuality I can't find any pro of it and plenty of man and woman pro. So I take it to God it's between the individual and God it's not my place to judge but to love and through relationship with Christ I pray he shows them what ever the truth is

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  39. Not offended, Jacob...thanks for your insights...peace to you...


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  40. Ed Jarnagin said...

    I have mad respect for you. I'm not sure I could be strong enough to handle all of that. If only more people in the world could get over worrying about who someone else loves and just love thy neighbor as thyself, things would be so much better. Funny how "Christians" ignore what Jesus said.

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  41. Akiko Davis said...

    Bishop you are so very right... You know I understand... : ) I am all for Righteous Indignation...

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  42. Shannon Hames said...

    Masterful!

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  43. Holly Anderson said: I am so proud you are my Pastor. :)

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  44. Pamela L. Thompson said...

    Wow! This is my Bishop I so love! Nothing wrong with a little righteous anger and being able to defend the Christ in you which so often gets attacked! You are amazing Bishop... And those of us who really know you and your heart will be the ones who "get" why this is a needed letter! Lov u so much

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  45. Even if homosexual acts are not sins, I agree that people need to stop "bashing" other for sins that they may or may not have committed. That is between them and God.

    However..

    I'm surprise that a Bishop would tear out the entire old testament arbitrarily just to get rid of the homosexual reference in the old testament.

    Most theologians that I have seen said that there is a difference between ritualistic laws and moral laws of the old testament and they usually say that Jesus abolished the need for ritualistic laws.... but not the moral laws

    Personally I think the judgments were purposed to keeping the purification the chosen nation of Israel and does not necessitate it's implementation of other nations who are not chosen.

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  46. Bernie Keefe aka OneOfTheWatchersJuly 10, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Jim, You Nailed it!! XOXO!

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  47. Anonymous @ 9:19...I don't think I've "torn out" anything, just trying to get some perspective on the whole thing...but if you keep all the OT laws, and feel it's necessary to do so, then good for you...you're very rare...

    Peace to you...

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  48. David Spake said...

    Great response to those who clobber gay's with the Bible. Who claim to 'love the sinner but hate the sin'. I'm curious and want to know your feelings after you've read what Jim Swilley wrote.

    Let's discuss :)

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  49. Elisa Romero said...

    Amen!!! Agree 100%!!!

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  50. Elisa Romero said...

    Reminder to self.....when I feel the need to judge, look in the damn mirror!

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  51. Ken Marshall said...

    Awesome post Jim Swilley ! You are a great teacher and a great man ! I am proud of you and I'm proud to share your teachings on my page ! ♥





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  52. Aubrey Gallimore said...

    Standing ovation!!!! That gave me a literary orgasm in my mind. LOVED IT!

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  53. Uh...wow...well, that's a very colorful way to put it...thanks, Aubrey...

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  54. Thanks, Kenneth...I'm proud of you (and us) too!

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  55. Aubrey Gallimore said...

    LOL @ Bish. Yeah...I couldn't think of another fitting word

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  56. Brian Binkley Williamson I agree Ken. What powerful words. I still say Jim's best work is yet to come.

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  57. Gregory Bowman said...

    I have to agree with Brian, each teaching gets better and better!

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  58. Alix Carnes said...

    An excellent blog post today from Bishop Jim Swilley, whose idea of love and understanding are beyond compare!

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  59. Again, thanks, everyone! And thanks for all the shares of the post on Facebook!

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  60. Robert Rubinow said...

    I like hearing many diverse perspectives, and strive in my own life (though I admittedly don't do it very well), as St. Francis of Assisi encouraged, to seek more to understand others, than to be understood. I value honesty, authenticity, and above all, grace. Regardless of my own perspectives, I am as sickened by the way Christians "clobber gays" (and many other groups) with the Bible as you may be. I am sorry that this has been your (and others') experience. This is certainly not the heart of Abba Father, who longs to heal and redeem us all by His great love. Yet Christendom is filled with many sad stories of people being beaten and killed by other so-called Christians for a broad range of issues. What is important to me is that there be honest, loving, and compassionate dialogue...especially between people who hold different theological and philosophical perspectives, or contrasting worldviews. Let me say that I think a major hurdle to this kind of dialogue is a lack of respect for one another. What is often communicated (by both sides) is that "if you disagree with me, then you must be______" (fill in the blank with whatever negative label or expletive is offered). To have this kind of openness requires mutual humility, a willingness to see from other angles, to admit that none has a monopoly on the truth (since Truth is the person of Christ), and to have empathy for each others' experiences. What bothers me most is that few people want to really listen to one another. Please know I am here to listen and learn, regardless of my personal views. Perhaps by doing so, I will find things I need to change and ways I can grow. I am not here to change anyone or to force my views upon someone else. That would not be respectful of the dignity of any person, as all are created in the Imago Dei (Image of God). That said, I wonder if we might be able to dialogue further on these issues, as I too think they are important? There are many nuances to any issue, and I think the way forward is to be willing to share honestly, and as a friend of mine likes to say, with "convicted civility." Thanks for inviting this dialogue.

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  61. Kimberly Turner said...

    You are my hero, Bishop Jim Swilley! And you're just effing awesome!

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  62. David Spake said...

    I would be happy to talk about this with you any time - it is a very nuanced subject that is very easy to look at on the surface and only the see the pattern that you expect to see. Like most interesting subjects of this nature there are layers of culture, history, context, original language relating to the Old and New Testaments that entangle with our cultural inheritance and biases that often we are entirely unaware.

    Actually not unlike nearly all controversial Bible topics both historically and what we see in the present.

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  63. Samantha Greco said...

    I am so proud to sit underneath this man and his ministry!

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  64. WOW...very well written...if people would just start loving people more and quit judging the world would be a better place...No one knows what anyones relationship is between them and God...The bible does say to seek out your own salvation...I do know that God is Love and I am to love back...Period! ..Thanks for always standing for the truth Bishop...We love you & are proud to call you our Pastor...Deb & Jim

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  65. Jim - Please see the article below. Stating that King James 1 was a homosexual, in fact, is quite a stretch.

    Was King James a Homosexual?

    The accusation that King James I, who authorized the King James Bible, was a homosexual has often been made, but we need to be cautious about accepting it.

    Actually, since he fathered eight children, he couldn’t have been much of a homosexual! He wrote love letters to his wife and obviously enjoyed her most intimate company. He referred to her as “our dearest bedfellow” (Gustavus Paine, The Men Behind the King James Version, p. 4). When John Rainolds questioned the phrase in the Anglican marriage service, “with my body I thee worship,” King James replied: “... if you had a good wife yourself, you would think that all the honor and worship you could do to her would be well bestowed” (Ibid.).

    In a book that the king wrote for his son Henry (entitled Basilikon Doron, or A King’s Gift), he made the following statements about the importance of sexual purity:

    “But the principal blessing [is] in your marrying of a godly and virtuous wife … being flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone. … Marriage is the greatest earthly felicity” (p. 43).

    “Keep your body clean and unpolluted while you give it to your wife whom to only it belongs for how can you justly crave to be joined with a Virgin if your body be polluted?” (p. 44).

    “When you are married, keep inviolably your promise made to God in your marriage” (p. 45).

    “Abstain from the filthy vice of adultery; remember only what solemn promise ye made to God at your marriage” (p. 54).

    The king wrote plainly against the sin of homosexuality.

    “Especially eschew to be effeminate” (Basilikon Doron, p. 46).

    “There are some horrible crimes that ye are bound in conscience never to forgive: such as witchcraft, willful murder, incest, and sodomy” (p. 48).

    The charge of homosexuality was made by the king’s enemies and only after his death. Stephen Coston’s book King James the VI of Scotland and the I of England Unjustly Accused? (St. Petersburg, FL: Konigswort, 1996) makes the case that the charge was slanderous and untrue. The charge was first made by Anthony Weldon, who had been expelled from his office by James for political reasons and had sworn that he would have his day of vengeance. Weldon not only hated James, he hated the entire Scottish race. Historian Maurice Lee, Jr., warned, “Historians can and should ignore the venomous caricature of the king’s person and behavior drawn by Anthony Weldon” (Great Britain’s Solomon: James VI & I in His Three Kingdoms, 1990, pp. 309-310). See also David Wilson, King James VI & I (New York: Oxford University Press, 1956) and Christopher Durston, James I (London: Routledge, 1993).

    It is also important to understand that King James lived in an age in which intimate but non-sexual relationships between males was common. While at Cambridge, William Sancroft, the future Archbishop of Canterbury, had such a relationship with his roommate Arthur Bonnest. “They lived together, read together and slept together.” When Bonnest contracted TB and had to leave the school, the two continued to correspond. Bonnest wrote: “Thou art oftener in my thoughts than ever; thou art nearer me than when I embraced them. Thou sayest thou lovest me; good, well repeat it again and again.” Adam Nicholson, who records this from Sancroft’s personal correspondence, observes: “The age was at ease with unbridled but apparently quite unsexual love between men”

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  66. While we do not believe that King James was a homosexual, we do not defend his character very far. He was a persecutor of Baptists and other separatists who refused to submit to the state church. In fact, the last two men burned alive in England for their faith were burned during the reign of James, and many others died in cruel prison cells for no crime other than following the Bible according to the dictates of their own conscience. During King James’ reign, many -- including Baptists, Puritans, Protestant separatists such as the Pilgrims, and Quakers -- fled to America and elsewhere to seek religious liberty.

    The bottom line is that the character of King James I has no relevance to the King James Bible itself. Though he set the project in motion and there is evidence that he maintained an interest in keeping it moving along, he had no role in the translation. He did not even finance the project.

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  67. Thanks for the history lesson, Dale...I don't have the time or interest to engage you in a debate about this, but there are just as many or more quotes he made about men for whom he had special affection, including one that he was in a relationship with for 14 years and referred to as his "husband"...

    King James, addressing the Privy Council wrote:

    "I, James, am neither a god nor an angel, but a man like any other. Therefore I act like a man and confess to loving those dear to me more than other men. You may be sure, that I love the Earl of Buckingham more than anyone else, and more than you who are here assembled. I wish to speak in my own behalf and not to have it thought to be a defect, For Jesus Christ did the same, and therefore I cannot be blamed. Christ had John, and I have George."

    Furthermore it's a little naïve to assume that gay men can't sire children (if, indeed, his children were biologically his)...I know scores and scores of gay men who have children...I, myself, have fathered four, and I was gay the whole time...sexual orientation isn't about activity, it's about attraction...

    Anyway, I need to pack for a flight that's leaving in a few hours and I'll be out of pocket for several days, so that's all I'll say about this, but thanks for your interest...

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  68. Mark Alan Fout said...

    A very concise, emphatic letter on the subject....
    Thank you very much Bishop Jim Swilley!

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  69. People will be so surprised at what the Bride of Christ will look like...Enough said...Maxine Blake

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