Yet Another Gay Marriage Thread

Homosexuality comes up frequenbtly on Orthodox forums because..

  • Some folks who need Prozac aren't on it yet.

    Votes: 20 27.8%
  • Since drunkeness, adultery, theft and dishonesty have been eradicated it's the only sin left to figh

    Votes: 10 13.9%
  • Apparently most Orthodox Christians have lots of gay family, friends and associates

    Votes: 7 9.7%
  • Orthodox forums attract a lot of self torturing closet cases and men with doubts about thier own mas

    Votes: 20 27.8%
  • Some folks who need Prozac aren't on it yet.

    Votes: 15 20.8%

  • Total voters
    72
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ialmisry

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Heorhij said:
^^Pani Lizo, thank you. I do understand and appreciate what you are saying.

Yet, if arguments like "they suffer" only meet counter-arguments like "they aren't the only ones who suffer" - then, maybe, let's look at it from the other side, positive sde?

I know one person, Andrei K., who is a regular correspondent of the Ukrainian web forum "Maidan." He is gay. He says (like many other homosexuals with whom I have communicated) that he has always been that way, since early childhood. And he tried to live a "normal life," dated girls, even tried to have heterosexual sex, which was a nightmare kind of experience for him as well as for the girl whom he dated. And then, suddenly, he met a man and fell in love with him. Now, he says that it's the only one, unique person in the whole world whom he really loves (in every way - spitirually as well as physically), and that he never is, and never will be, interested in any other "mates," 'partners" or whatever. They live together, they love each other, they have a physical relationship as well as a tremendously strong intellectual, emotional, and spiritual union. Andrei says that his entire life changed forever since the moment he met his love and understood that it is his love.

Andrei is a very gentle and God-searching soul. He is not an atheist by any stretch. He is very knowledgeable in the Church history, doctrine, activities, missions, etc. Currently he is not a practicing Orthodox, but he may become one some day, I hope. Must he give up the love of his life to be received by the Church? Obviously, yes. And... why?

I still think that the spirit of love will some happy day prevail over the letter of Scripture and Tradition and people like Andrei will be happily married to whom they love, and we will all partake in the one Eucharist, praising God.
I'm afraid I've come across the same argument too many times employed to justify adultery to buy it here.
 

ignatius

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Heorhij said:
ignatius said:
Grace and Peace,

Does the Orthodox Church recognize the identification of human beings as 'homosexual'? I'm asking because I was taught that the Roman Church does not recognize such an identification as substantive. This is 'key' to any 'real' understanding of opposition to recognizing or not recognizing one's 'right to sodomy or any other sexual sin' as normative. If you recognize that homosexuality is a substantive human identity like being male or female etc then it does look to be that you are 'denying' another human being the 'right to relations' and it does appear unfair. I think the goal should be to let whoever you are discussing this with understand that we are 'all' simply human beings with appetites. Some of these appetites can be unhealthy and thus unacceptable to feed. Sodomy and other sexual acts with individuals of the same gender fall into this unacceptable category.

Is this not Orthodox teaching?
Dear Ignatius, but have you tried to ask these questions while communicating with real people who are homosexual? What do THEY say when you tell them that they just have wanton and forbidden "appetites," like some alcoholic or erothomaniac? And in everything else, they do not differ from you?
It depends and they don't differ from me all that much. I am not sinless nor are my personal appetites lacking in deformity. I am in fact very far from being ideal. That said I recognize my deformity and not attempt to rationalize their acceptance. It is here where we differ. In our Western Society, our desire to tolerate one anothers vices has led to a certain kind of blindness. Our society emboldens us to cling to our attachments and to accept them in others, thus the great difficulty in pursuing Holiness.

When I was in College, I had many Gay friends and we talked a great length about this topic but once we recognize the source of these behaviors they are either relieved or angry. Again, it depends on the depth of the attachment. We have to remember that many such individuals have been taught that they are 'different' than the rest of the world and that in that difference they are oppressed and need to defend and fight for equality with the rest of the world. It's not something that will be overcome with one conversation or even several. We all have attachments which bind us. We need to transcend those attachments to be truly free.
 

ms.hoorah

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Heorhij said:
witega said:
Yes, I have been ignoring it, for two reasons. First off, having already rejected the authority of Scripture and Tradition on the morality of homosexual activity, you cannot logically appeal to the same authorities to justify that rejection (unless of course, you are taking the position of a non-believer like Asteriktos that the authority is internally inconsistent and therefore rejectable as a whole). You started from the position that modern scientific understanding of sexuality and human desire is a legitimate basis on which to reject the traditional teaching/practice of the Church (even though you have failed to at all engage the actual Patristic teaching on 'inborn desires'). So, using *your* logic, I have no reason to respect the tradition that monasticism is not imposed--I could argue that that leniency was based on the 'incorrect belief' that homosexuals have a choice. But now that we know they have no choice we should, for their own good, forcibly cut them off from temptation by sending them off to hermitages or into convents.
I am not rejecting the authority of Scripture and Tradition. What I am trying to say is that the spirit of love should (and will!) prevail over the LETTER of Scripture and Tradition. Again - and this is also what you and some others keep ignoring or down-playing! - for how many centuries Orthodox priests made it so clear to their flock that a person who committed suicide will be buried outside of cemetary walls without ANY service over him/her? And I am sure these priests had a lot to say about how Scripture and Tradition view suicide - as a great sin. But look, now, when we (including them, the priests and their bishops) - simply know a little about how the human brain functions, suicide victims more often than not are buried according to the generally accepted Orthodox rite of Christian burial.

witega said:
Secondly, your point is obviously incorrect. If a heterosexual cannot find someone willing to marry him, the Church *imposes* celibacy. If a priest's wife dies (not so common an issue now, but a depressingly common childbirth event prior to modern medicine), then the Church *imposes* celibacy. We had a member of our parish who had been divorced 3 times and so the Church *imposed* celibacy on him. It's true that the first example can always have hope that things will change, which in some senses makes his lot lighter than that borne by the gay; but it's a difference of magnitude, not of type. And the latter 2 are in the exact same boat.
I think it is a huge difference when a human being is given a chance. Then you cannot speak of "imposition." Gays are not given any chance, and that's dehumanizing.
ignatius said:
Heorhij said:
ignatius said:
Grace and Peace,

Does the Orthodox Church recognize the identification of human beings as 'homosexual'? I'm asking because I was taught that the Roman Church does not recognize such an identification as substantive. This is 'key' to any 'real' understanding of opposition to recognizing or not recognizing one's 'right to sodomy or any other sexual sin' as normative. If you recognize that homosexuality is a substantive human identity like being male or female etc then it does look to be that you are 'denying' another human being the 'right to relations' and it does appear unfair. I think the goal should be to let whoever you are discussing this with understand that we are 'all' simply human beings with appetites. Some of these appetites can be unhealthy and thus unacceptable to feed. Sodomy and other sexual acts with individuals of the same gender fall into this unacceptable category.

Is this not Orthodox teaching?
Dear Ignatius, but have you tried to ask these questions while communicating with real people who are homosexual? What do THEY say when you tell them that they just have wanton and forbidden "appetites," like some alcoholic or erothomaniac? And in everything else, they do not differ from you?
It depends and they don't differ from me all that much. I am not sinless nor are my personal appetites lacking in deformity. I am in fact very far from being ideal. That said I recognize my deformity and not attempt to rationalize their acceptance. It is here where we differ. In our Western Society, our desire to tolerate one anothers vices has led to a certain kind of blindness. Our society emboldens us to cling to our attachments and to accept them in others, thus the great difficulty in pursuing Holiness.

When I was in College, I had many Gay friends and we talked a great length about this topic but once we recognize the source of these behaviors they are either relieved or angry. Again, it depends on the depth of the attachment. We have to remember that many such individuals have been taught that they are 'different' than the rest of the world and that in that difference they are oppressed and need to defend and fight for equality with the rest of the world. It's not something that will be overcome with one conversation or even several. We all have attachments which bind us. We need to transcend those attachments to be truly free.
Old Orthodox story you've probably heard, but here it is again:

There was once a man who was certain that his cross was too difficult to bear.  An angel appeared to him and transported him to a mystical room.  In this mystical room, there were millions of crosses.  The angel told him that he was allowed to trade his burdensome cross with any other cross in the room.  The man excitedly selected the smallest cross.  The angel lovingly explained that he had just selected the same cross that he had always carried. 
----------------------------------
Gays are not discriminated by our Church. The church encourages all of us to avoid behavior that God and His Saints have told us is spiritually, physically, and emotionally dangerous/harmful. There are hundreds of millions of people that have struggled/are struggling with the Church’s recommended “course of action” for their passions.
 

witega

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Heorhij said:
I am not rejecting the authority of Scripture and Tradition. What I am trying to say is that the spirit of love should (and will!) prevail over the LETTER of Scripture and Tradition. Again - and this is also what you and some others keep ignoring or down-playing! -
I am not ignoring your point, I am trying to get you to address the central point which you keep ignoring:
The *universal* witness of the Scripture and Tradition is that homosexual sexual activity is a sin. It is in the same class as any other kind of fornication. There is not a single example of an authoritative Orthdox voice (the Scripture, our Lord, an apostle, a Council, a Father) stating that homosexual sex is *not* a sin while there are multiple examples of such authoritative voices stating that it is.

As such, you cannot analogize your position to the Arian or Iconoclast controversies where an error became widespread but then were eventually rejected in favor of the correct opinion which *already* existed (the classic statement of Orthodox theology 'On the Incarnation of Christ' was written several years before Arius preached his first Arian sermon; the Iconoclasts got their name because they were 'breaking' icons already in existence). Nor can you analogize it to debates about fasting or the Calendar or the advisability of a national church (for the U.S. or for the Ukraine) where one authority says one thing and another says another thing so there are conflicting opinions which can be harmonized or chosen between. You also can't analogize it to how the Church addresses depression or suicide--because while the Church may alter how it pastorally addresses these things, the Church still teaches that depression is a problem that needs to be addressed, treated with whatever tools are available, and healed if possible. It still teaches that suicide is wrong, even if it sees a pastoral reason to bend the letter of the law and respond to the death as it would to any other death (and if you think that is a new thing, you need to pay more attention; this seems part and parcel with a general prejudice against the past that blinds you to the reality--we could tell the Fathers something about the mechanics of *why* homosexuals feel a natural/'unwilled' attraction to the same sex, but they were well aware of the existance of such an attraction).

Now, if you want to have a discussion that starts with 'Okay, the Church teaches that homosexual sex is immoral, how can we better pastorally address that in light of expanding medical knowledge', that would be a good discussion to have--and parallel to discussions the Church has had about depression, alcoholism, general mental illness, infertility, etc, etc. But that hasn't been your starting point. Your starting point has been to simply reject the universal witness of the Church because it doesn't fit the most recent scientific understanding (which is by no means settled--we think we know homosexuality has a genetic component, but the same twin studies that show that also show it is not absolutely determinative)--and once you do that, your argumentation falls to the Protestant dilemma. If I reject one part of the Tradition, on what basis can I determine else should be rejected or accepted? If I reject the universal witness of the Church about the immorality of homosexuality, why not reject the witness about fornication? After all, modern science has identified spreading your seed as widely as possible as the effective evolutionary strategy of male primates. Why do I even accept the witness of the Church on the primacy of agape love which you appeal to? Nothing in modern science supports that position.

So, in essence, until you address that fact - that the universal witness of the Church is that homosexual activity is immoral - by either accepting it and then trying to understand it, or acknowledging that you reject it because you have some other criterion for truth against which your and Scripture's arguments must be judged, the rest of your arguments are only so much smoke and mirrors.

witega said:
Secondly, your point is obviously incorrect. If a heterosexual cannot find someone willing to marry him, the Church *imposes* celibacy. If a priest's wife dies (not so common an issue now, but a depressingly common childbirth event prior to modern medicine), then the Church *imposes* celibacy. We had a member of our parish who had been divorced 3 times and so the Church *imposed* celibacy on him. It's true that the first example can always have hope that things will change, which in some senses makes his lot lighter than that borne by the gay; but it's a difference of magnitude, not of type. And the latter 2 are in the exact same boat.
I think it is a huge difference when a human being is given a chance. Then you cannot speak of "imposition." Gays are not given any chance, and that's dehumanizing.
See, this is typical and why, I think, this will probably be my last response on this thread or at least in terms of your and my discussion: you jump on the first example, where the person has a 'chance' and ignore the latter two. What is the difference between the gay Orthodox and the widowed priest or my fellow parishoner? None of them has a 'chance'. All they have is choice, a simple one for all its difficulty in practice--they can accept the teaching of the Church and work on embracing celibacy, or they can reject it and do what they want. That's not dehumanizing. That's the same choice that every human being since Adam has faced every moment of their life.
 

Marc1152

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Papist said:
Heorhij said:
katherineofdixie said:
One thing I've always wondered is why homosexuality? What makes it different from any other behavior (wired or acquired)?
I don't know, but people with other behavior, wired or acquired, are not subject to prohibition to marry. Or am I wrong? Are two fetishists or paraphiliacs of the opposite gender prohoboted from marrying in the Orthodox Church?
No one is prohibited from marrying a person of the opposite sex. Everyone is prohibited from marrying a person of the same sex. There is no unfair standard here.
I know it sounds too sassy, but that is pretty much what I say to my Gay friends especially when they start working the angle that they deserve the same "rights" as the rest of us. I reply:

" You are free to marry any Woman who will have you"

Your personal sexual preferences are just that and no more. I dont think your particular sexual preferences make you into a different "Type" of person.

I know plenty of couples where the guy is obviously Gay.. Woman marry Gay men all the time... That is not to say the arrangement is an easy one. Hypocrite that I am, when they end up getting divorced I often say:

"He Left because he's GAY !!! Hello ??"  

I think we need to remember the context the Church places us in, that of a Hospital where we are to be healed. Staying clear of Homosexual Sex is best for us. Staying away from Premarital Sex is also good for us. Avoiding sex on Saturday night before communion is best. Avoiding Sex during the fast is good for us.. All of this advice is meant to be proper medicine, not a set of contractual rules.

Now you may say that some medicine is too difficult to take. Fine. But that does not alter the fact that it is still the right advice.
 

LizaSymonenko

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^ I LOVE that example of the widowed priest.

Here is a man who know's and has had "relations" when suddenly his partner is taken from him.

He still "wants"....and yet is forbidden from marrying or entering into any other "relationship".  

Ooooo....that's good!

May God bless and give fortitude to all those who need it!

 

witega

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ignatius said:
Grace and Peace,

Does the Orthodox Church recognize the identification of human beings as 'homosexual'? I'm asking because I was taught that the Roman Church does not recognize such an identification as substantive. This is 'key' to any 'real' understanding of opposition to recognizing or not recognizing one's 'right to sodomy or any other sexual sin' as normative. If you recognize that homosexuality is a substantive human identity like being male or female etc then it does look to be that you are 'denying' another human being the 'right to relations' and it does appear unfair. I think the goal should be to let whoever you are discussing this with understand that we are 'all' simply human beings with appetites. Some of these appetites can be unhealthy and thus unacceptable to feed. Sodomy and other sexual acts with individuals of the same gender fall into this unacceptable category.

Is this not Orthodox teaching?

You are correct Ignatius that there is nothing in the Orthodox Tradition to support the socially construct that defines human sexual identity into 3 rigid 'boxes' (straight, gay, bi-). Orthodoxy, like all cultures not influenced by Victorian England, and in line with the actual scientific research, recognizes sexual attraction as a continuum--people are attracted to all kinds of things, some gender tagged, some not. A man primarily attracted to 'feminine qualities' and defining himself as 'straight' can (and does) still experience 'natural' sexual desire for an attractive transvestite or simply an adrogynous figure (like David Bowie) who possesses some of the man's top attraction 'triggers'; and can experience absolutely zero desire for a woman who is completely feminine but has traits that don't attract him (or repel him). The choice to act on the attraction is heavily affected by social conditioning (a Classical Athenian finding himself attracted to a 'beautiful youth' might have no qualms about acting on it, a more modern individual might ruthlessly suppress it 'because I'm not gay,' and Shakespeare might celebrate the attraction while seeing the action as untenable (Sonnet XX)) and the individual's own will (moral choice).
 

Heorhij

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ialmisry said:
Heorhij said:
^^Pani Lizo, thank you. I do understand and appreciate what you are saying.

Yet, if arguments like "they suffer" only meet counter-arguments like "they aren't the only ones who suffer" - then, maybe, let's look at it from the other side, positive sde?

I know one person, Andrei K., who is a regular correspondent of the Ukrainian web forum "Maidan." He is gay. He says (like many other homosexuals with whom I have communicated) that he has always been that way, since early childhood. And he tried to live a "normal life," dated girls, even tried to have heterosexual sex, which was a nightmare kind of experience for him as well as for the girl whom he dated. And then, suddenly, he met a man and fell in love with him. Now, he says that it's the only one, unique person in the whole world whom he really loves (in every way - spitirually as well as physically), and that he never is, and never will be, interested in any other "mates," 'partners" or whatever. They live together, they love each other, they have a physical relationship as well as a tremendously strong intellectual, emotional, and spiritual union. Andrei says that his entire life changed forever since the moment he met his love and understood that it is his love.

Andrei is a very gentle and God-searching soul. He is not an atheist by any stretch. He is very knowledgeable in the Church history, doctrine, activities, missions, etc. Currently he is not a practicing Orthodox, but he may become one some day, I hope. Must he give up the love of his life to be received by the Church? Obviously, yes. And... why?

I still think that the spirit of love will some happy day prevail over the letter of Scripture and Tradition and people like Andrei will be happily married to whom they love, and we will all partake in the one Eucharist, praising God.
I'm afraid I've come across the same argument too many times employed to justify adultery to buy it here.
But surely not from innocent parties whose spouses committed adultery?
 

katherineofdixie

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Heorhij said:
katherineofdixie said:
Heorhij said:
katherineofdixie said:
One thing I've always wondered is why homosexuality? What makes it different from any other behavior (wired or acquired)?
I don't know, but people with other behavior, wired or acquired, are not subject to prohibition to marry. Or am I wrong? Are two fetishists or paraphiliacs of the opposite gender prohoboted from marrying in the Orthodox Church?
I don't know. But their behavior is certainly prohibited. So what's the difference?
Is it?
Oh really? You don't think their priest or spiritual father would have something to say about this subject?

There are people who express their sexuality in many different ways. A lot of those ways are "different." Many if not most of them would say that they are "wired" that way. My husband works with pedophiles and sex offenders - and that's what they say.
There are many different behaviors that are not good for us and that the Church considers sinful.
What no one has been able to explain to me is why homosexuality is different from any of the other behaviors.

I'm asking a question. If you can't/won't/don't want to answer it, then just say so.

 

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I would like to add that I don't think the change in the title of this thread is appropriate. The main issue at hand, in my opinion, is the fullness of the Church's teaching, and what it means when one cannot, will not, or finds it difficult to accept that fullness. Or what it means when one has doubts. How does one deal with doubts? What are the implications of this on faith and belief in general?

The topic of the teachings on sexuality and homosexuality in particular is simply serving as an example or vehicle for discussing the main issue.
 

Heorhij

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witega said:
See, this is typical and why, I think, this will probably be my last response on this thread or at least in terms of your and my discussion: you jump on the first example, where the person has a 'chance' and ignore the latter two. What is the difference between the gay Orthodox and the widowed priest or my fellow parishoner? None of them has a 'chance'.
And yet they DID have it. The person who divorced three times has perhaps exhausted his "potential" to live a life of a family man. The widowed priest has enjoyed years of married life, has wonderful memories, something that supports him in his difficult moments. So, there IS a difference between these two people and a homosexual person who has found his love, like Andrei K., about whom I replied to pani Liza.
 

Heorhij

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witega said:
ignatius said:
Grace and Peace,

Does the Orthodox Church recognize the identification of human beings as 'homosexual'? I'm asking because I was taught that the Roman Church does not recognize such an identification as substantive. This is 'key' to any 'real' understanding of opposition to recognizing or not recognizing one's 'right to sodomy or any other sexual sin' as normative. If you recognize that homosexuality is a substantive human identity like being male or female etc then it does look to be that you are 'denying' another human being the 'right to relations' and it does appear unfair. I think the goal should be to let whoever you are discussing this with understand that we are 'all' simply human beings with appetites. Some of these appetites can be unhealthy and thus unacceptable to feed. Sodomy and other sexual acts with individuals of the same gender fall into this unacceptable category.

Is this not Orthodox teaching?

You are correct Ignatius that there is nothing in the Orthodox Tradition to support the socially construct that defines human sexual identity into 3 rigid 'boxes' (straight, gay, bi-). Orthodoxy, like all cultures not influenced by Victorian England, and in line with the actual scientific research, recognizes sexual attraction as a continuum--people are attracted to all kinds of things, some gender tagged, some not. A man primarily attracted to 'feminine qualities' and defining himself as 'straight' can (and does) still experience 'natural' sexual desire for an attractive transvestite or simply an adrogynous figure (like David Bowie) who possesses some of the man's top attraction 'triggers'; and can experience absolutely zero desire for a woman who is completely feminine but has traits that don't attract him (or repel him).
This is interesting because I have tried this line of reasoning in my conversations with homosexual people. They universally reject it. They say there still is an ocean of difference between a person with unconventional "attractions" (like a paraphiliac) and them. All of them say that their "gayness" is much, much deeper than just purely physical, animal attraction to people of their own gender.
 

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katherineofdixie said:
Heorhij said:
katherineofdixie said:
Heorhij said:
katherineofdixie said:
One thing I've always wondered is why homosexuality? What makes it different from any other behavior (wired or acquired)?
I don't know, but people with other behavior, wired or acquired, are not subject to prohibition to marry. Or am I wrong? Are two fetishists or paraphiliacs of the opposite gender prohoboted from marrying in the Orthodox Church?
I don't know. But their behavior is certainly prohibited. So what's the difference?
Is it?
Oh really? You don't think their priest or spiritual father would have something to say about this subject?

There are people who express their sexuality in many different ways. A lot of those ways are "different." Many if not most of them would say that they are "wired" that way. My husband works with pedophiles and sex offenders - and that's what they say.
There are many different behaviors that are not good for us and that the Church considers sinful.
What no one has been able to explain to me is why homosexuality is different from any of the other behaviors.

I'm asking a question. If you can't/won't/don't want to answer it, then just say so.
I am trying to answer your question. A HUGE variety of wired or acquired behaviors is not prohibited simply becase these behaviors are nobody's business, including even one's spiritual father. I will not talk with my spiritual father about, ahem, positions, etc., even if they radically differ from those we see in romantic movies and are taught to perceive as "normal." Those wired or acquired behaviors that are harmful to people, especially children, are, of course, a special matter.
 

augustin717

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witega said:
Heorhij said:
I am not rejecting the authority of Scripture and Tradition. What I am trying to say is that the spirit of love should (and will!) prevail over the LETTER of Scripture and Tradition. Again - and this is also what you and some others keep ignoring or down-playing! -
I am not ignoring your point, I am trying to get you to address the central point which you keep ignoring:
The *universal* witness of the Scripture and Tradition is that homosexual sexual activity is a sin. It is in the same class as any other kind of fornication. There is not a single example of an authoritative Orthdox voice (the Scripture, our Lord, an apostle, a Council, a Father) stating that homosexual sex is *not* a sin while there are multiple examples of such authoritative voices stating that it is.

As such, you cannot analogize your position to the Arian or Iconoclast controversies where an error became widespread but then were eventually rejected in favor of the correct opinion which *already* existed (the classic statement of Orthodox theology 'On the Incarnation of Christ' was written several years before Arius preached his first Arian sermon; the Iconoclasts got their name because they were 'breaking' icons already in existence). Nor can you analogize it to debates about fasting or the Calendar or the advisability of a national church (for the U.S. or for the Ukraine) where one authority says one thing and another says another thing so there are conflicting opinions which can be harmonized or chosen between. You also can't analogize it to how the Church addresses depression or suicide--because while the Church may alter how it pastorally addresses these things, the Church still teaches that depression is a problem that needs to be addressed, treated with whatever tools are available, and healed if possible. It still teaches that suicide is wrong, even if it sees a pastoral reason to bend the letter of the law and respond to the death as it would to any other death (and if you think that is a new thing, you need to pay more attention; this seems part and parcel with a general prejudice against the past that blinds you to the reality--we could tell the Fathers something about the mechanics of *why* homosexuals feel a natural/'unwilled' attraction to the same sex, but they were well aware of the existance of such an attraction).

Now, if you want to have a discussion that starts with 'Okay, the Church teaches that homosexual sex is immoral, how can we better pastorally address that in light of expanding medical knowledge', that would be a good discussion to have--and parallel to discussions the Church has had about depression, alcoholism, general mental illness, infertility, etc, etc. But that hasn't been your starting point. Your starting point has been to simply reject the universal witness of the Church because it doesn't fit the most recent scientific understanding (which is by no means settled--we think we know homosexuality has a genetic component, but the same twin studies that show that also show it is not absolutely determinative)--and once you do that, your argumentation falls to the Protestant dilemma. If I reject one part of the Tradition, on what basis can I determine else should be rejected or accepted? If I reject the universal witness of the Church about the immorality of homosexuality, why not reject the witness about fornication? After all, modern science has identified spreading your seed as widely as possible as the effective evolutionary strategy of male primates. Why do I even accept the witness of the Church on the primacy of agape love which you appeal to? Nothing in modern science supports that position.

So, in essence, until you address that fact - that the universal witness of the Church is that homosexual activity is immoral - by either accepting it and then trying to understand it, or acknowledging that you reject it because you have some other criterion for truth against which your and Scripture's arguments must be judged, the rest of your arguments are only so much smoke and mirrors.

witega said:
Secondly, your point is obviously incorrect. If a heterosexual cannot find someone willing to marry him, the Church *imposes* celibacy. If a priest's wife dies (not so common an issue now, but a depressingly common childbirth event prior to modern medicine), then the Church *imposes* celibacy. We had a member of our parish who had been divorced 3 times and so the Church *imposed* celibacy on him. It's true that the first example can always have hope that things will change, which in some senses makes his lot lighter than that borne by the gay; but it's a difference of magnitude, not of type. And the latter 2 are in the exact same boat.
I think it is a huge difference when a human being is given a chance. Then you cannot speak of "imposition." Gays are not given any chance, and that's dehumanizing.
See, this is typical and why, I think, this will probably be my last response on this thread or at least in terms of your and my discussion: you jump on the first example, where the person has a 'chance' and ignore the latter two. What is the difference between the gay Orthodox and the widowed priest or my fellow parishoner? None of them has a 'chance'. All they have is choice, a simple one for all its difficulty in practice--they can accept the teaching of the Church and work on embracing celibacy, or they can reject it and do what they want. That's not dehumanizing. That's the same choice that every human being since Adam has faced every moment of their life.
1. Actually, if memory serves me well "sodomy" is classified in every priest's guide to confession and catechism as way worse than regular fornication, incurring much more severe ecclesiastical penalties than just sleeping around before marriage. "Sodomy" as it is referred to in those books is reckoned among the sins "that cry out for vengeance towards Heaven", only one step below "the sins against the Holy Spirit". Not that I necessarily agree with all of this, but this is how it is.
Regular fornication is only a "capital sin".
As the (former?) head of the Orthodox Theological Faculty of Bucharest, The Rev. Fr. Constantin Neclua put it once on TV, in a memorable way:"Our Romanian faithful might, at times drink a bit too much at the pub and then mistake the way to their neighbor's wife, but at least they are not fags..."
2. Although the canons would forbid marriage to widowed priests or laymen married three times before, in practice, this is done away with quite frequently. I know, in Romania, even priests that divorced, remarried and stay priests.
 

ignatius

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Heorhij said:
witega said:
ignatius said:
Grace and Peace,

Does the Orthodox Church recognize the identification of human beings as 'homosexual'? I'm asking because I was taught that the Roman Church does not recognize such an identification as substantive. This is 'key' to any 'real' understanding of opposition to recognizing or not recognizing one's 'right to sodomy or any other sexual sin' as normative. If you recognize that homosexuality is a substantive human identity like being male or female etc then it does look to be that you are 'denying' another human being the 'right to relations' and it does appear unfair. I think the goal should be to let whoever you are discussing this with understand that we are 'all' simply human beings with appetites. Some of these appetites can be unhealthy and thus unacceptable to feed. Sodomy and other sexual acts with individuals of the same gender fall into this unacceptable category.

Is this not Orthodox teaching?

You are correct Ignatius that there is nothing in the Orthodox Tradition to support the socially construct that defines human sexual identity into 3 rigid 'boxes' (straight, gay, bi-). Orthodoxy, like all cultures not influenced by Victorian England, and in line with the actual scientific research, recognizes sexual attraction as a continuum--people are attracted to all kinds of things, some gender tagged, some not. A man primarily attracted to 'feminine qualities' and defining himself as 'straight' can (and does) still experience 'natural' sexual desire for an attractive transvestite or simply an adrogynous figure (like David Bowie) who possesses some of the man's top attraction 'triggers'; and can experience absolutely zero desire for a woman who is completely feminine but has traits that don't attract him (or repel him).
This is interesting because I have tried this line of reasoning in my conversations with homosexual people. They universally reject it. They say there still is an ocean of difference between a person with unconventional "attractions" (like a paraphiliac) and them. All of them say that their "gayness" is much, much deeper than just purely physical, animal attraction to people of their own gender.
Big Brother,

Does not everyone who is attached argue for the necessity of their attachment? You also use words like 'unconventional' as if these are morally neutral. Do you recognize an order to nature? The Way of the Tao, so to speak?

Here is a link to a response by US Catholic Bishops on this matter: http://www.zenit.org/article-27448?l=english
 

witega

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Heorhij said:
This is interesting because I have tried this line of reasoning in my conversations with homosexual people. They universally reject it. They say there still is an ocean of difference between a person with unconventional "attractions" (like a paraphiliac) and them. All of them say that their "gayness" is much, much deeper than just purely physical, animal attraction to people of their own gender.
This thread becomes increasingly circular but I'll bite: I've been avoiding the whole 'have you asked a gay persons about ...' 'my gay friends think...' tangent because its just silly. Gays are just as much individuals as straight people, and aside from the 'attracted to men and not women' which defines the category, there is no such thing as a 'universal' gay view of anything.

I know a gay Orthodox convert who had a 3-year catachumenate because of how difficult it was for him, but who has always expressed support of the Traditional Church teaching on gay sexuality (obviously, I met him after he converted). I've never known a gay couple to maintain a monogamous relationship for longer than 3 years--even when they started off talking about soul-mates and life-partners, every gay couple I know that's lasted longer than 3 years has included taking additional lovers on the side (gay men, that is, lesbians are a different story). Does that mean that no gay man has ever maintained a monogamous relationship for his entire life? No. It just means that *I* haven't met him. So you shouldn't be surprised to know hear that what is 'universal' to the gays of your acquaintance is not universal. I have had this discussion with gays, in particular with a gay psychologist, who took the above view.

And since you were the one appealing to 'scientific understanding' to begin with, you should realize that the subjective experience of individuals does not necessarily reflect objective truth--even when it comes to one's own consciousness. Many 'straight' guys insist 'I'd never be attracted to a man'--but then show them pictures of an attractive transvestite that they *think* is a woman, and attraction occurs. It's a demonstrated fact that a human male can have sex with anything--including inanimate objects. Some partners may be more satisfying than others, and some partners may require the brain to be busily thinking about a totally circumstance, but the act can occur.

To which I presume you will respond that you are not talking about "purely physical, animal attraction to people of their own gender" but about relationships. Except that it is the physical act which has always been the point of debate in this thread. If two men who identify themselves as gay feel a deep and abiding love for each other and wish to join their lives and live together in a purely platonic, spiritual relationship like that of St. John of Kronstadt and his wife--the Tradition has NO objection. The only objection of the Church and the Tradition is to the choice to act on that 'purely physcial, animal attraction'. If we're not talking about that physical, animal attraction and its expression then you and I aren't disagreeing about anything.

(And by the way, my exemplar priest didn't 'enjoy years of married life'. His wife died in childbirth within the first year of their marriage. He's 31 and facing decades not of 'gaining strength from joyful memories' but of struggling to deal with why God would let him have a taste only to yank it away--Christianity is not about making your life easier, it's about destroying your damaged humanity so you can be united with God "For those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines, and he SCOURGES every son whom He receives" (Heb 12:6)0.
 

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ignatius said:
Heorhij said:
witega said:
ignatius said:
Grace and Peace,

Does the Orthodox Church recognize the identification of human beings as 'homosexual'? I'm asking because I was taught that the Roman Church does not recognize such an identification as substantive. This is 'key' to any 'real' understanding of opposition to recognizing or not recognizing one's 'right to sodomy or any other sexual sin' as normative. If you recognize that homosexuality is a substantive human identity like being male or female etc then it does look to be that you are 'denying' another human being the 'right to relations' and it does appear unfair. I think the goal should be to let whoever you are discussing this with understand that we are 'all' simply human beings with appetites. Some of these appetites can be unhealthy and thus unacceptable to feed. Sodomy and other sexual acts with individuals of the same gender fall into this unacceptable category.

Is this not Orthodox teaching?

You are correct Ignatius that there is nothing in the Orthodox Tradition to support the socially construct that defines human sexual identity into 3 rigid 'boxes' (straight, gay, bi-). Orthodoxy, like all cultures not influenced by Victorian England, and in line with the actual scientific research, recognizes sexual attraction as a continuum--people are attracted to all kinds of things, some gender tagged, some not. A man primarily attracted to 'feminine qualities' and defining himself as 'straight' can (and does) still experience 'natural' sexual desire for an attractive transvestite or simply an adrogynous figure (like David Bowie) who possesses some of the man's top attraction 'triggers'; and can experience absolutely zero desire for a woman who is completely feminine but has traits that don't attract him (or repel him).
This is interesting because I have tried this line of reasoning in my conversations with homosexual people. They universally reject it. They say there still is an ocean of difference between a person with unconventional "attractions" (like a paraphiliac) and them. All of them say that their "gayness" is much, much deeper than just purely physical, animal attraction to people of their own gender.
Big Brother,

Does not everyone who is attached argue for the necessity of their attachment? You also use words like 'unconventional' as if these are morally neutral. Do you recognize an order to nature? The Way of the Tao, so to speak?
Why am I "big?" Just "brother will" do!

About the necessity of attachment: no. Most alcoholics do realize that their attraction is ruining them. They cannot give up drinking not because they believe in the "necessity" of their attraction, but because they are physically and emotionally dependent and too weak to fight with their vice. As for gays, what I hear from them is that they are just completely different. In them, their whole identity is unlike the identity of a heterosexual, regardless of what "attractions" they have at the moment or do not have.

As for peculiar attractions of, say, fetishists or other paraphiliacs (see special books for details), yes, I am sure that in the context of a monogamous committed loving marriage they are morally neutral or even beneficial for the spouses' theosis.

As for the order of nature, that's the root of the problem and I say, no, I do not know what this order is and I don't dare judge.
 

katherineofdixie

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Heorhij said:
katherineofdixie said:
Heorhij said:
Those wired or acquired behaviors that are harmful to people, especially children, are, of course, a special matter.
Why?
Because children cannot consent to sexual activity.
Who decided this? Who decides what age? The notorious NAMBLA believes that they are "loving" children. Who are you to decide that's wrong?
 
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