The pond had almost lost hope for a Jensenist revival.
Of late it's been left to opera singers, like Georgian soprano Tamar Iveri to carry the banner for gay hate and fear and loathing, as you can read in Tamar Iveri outed as hompophobe on eve of Australian performances.
Iveri put in a truly stunning performance, flinging faecal matter about, and then blaming her husband, on the apparent belief that people would understand she wasn't a homophobe, she'd just married a homophobe, and she was a proud, independent woman who just allowed her homophobic husband to scribble homophobic diatribes under her name on her facebook page.
It was an epic performance - way better than Iveri has managed with her voice - and it went viral, as noted in same same's Opera singer blames husband for vile anti-gay comments.
But back to the Jensenists, because these days they lack Iveri's upfront ability to abuse people as faecal.
Phillip Jensen attempts, in God made me this way, to be discreet.
You'd hardly realise it was just another example of gay bashing, angry Anglican style.
At least until you get to the end, and cop this:
Morality is about actions. “My biological or cultural predisposition to act in certain ways makes no difference in evaluating my actions’ morality.” Nobody blames a person for batting left handed because there is no moral code against batting that way. Whether left handed batting is a choice of the individual, culturally determined or biologically based is an irrelevance to its morality. However, murder, cannibalism, polygamy, suttee and paedophilia are immoral whether or not you are biologically predisposed to do them or your culture has taught you do practice them.
Note the elephant in the room.
You see, when discussing homosexuality, always invoke murder, cannibalism, polygamy, suttee and paedophilia.
But, but, you say, billy goat, how do we know that the theme of the piece is in reality a bit of gay bashing?
Well you see, here's the opening pars:
The nature/nurture debate is as endless as the determinist/freedom dispute.
The safe position to adopt combines both nature and nurture. Yet that doesn’t end the debate; it simply moves the discussion onto the character of the combination.
Scientific research will not bring a resolution. Not simply because the question is large and complex and the research is narrow and detailed, but because the reason for the debate is the implications of its outcomes.
The ‘nature people’ have a desire to demonstrate that behaviour, especially bad behaviour, is nobody’s fault because it is inbuilt into our very being. Chauvinists use this reasoning to argue for inherited sexual differences that will excuse their behaviour towards women, just as much as homosexuals use it to justify their behaviour towards men.
And there it is in a nutshell. The elephant in the room
Homosexuals trying to justify their wicked, sinful behaviour towards men ...
Which isn't like batting left-handed, you should remember. Oh no, it's way out there, with murder, cannibalism, polygamy, suttee and paedophilia.
Now the pond once would get indignant about this sort of slavering drivel from the Jensenists.
Why, for starters, did Jensen leave out lesbians and TG folk, why is it just homosexuals doing it with men?
And what is this outrageous behaviour? Men loving men, and maybe having a fuck, or maybe not, depending on whether they want to have a fuck, or maybe just loving, because it's not always fuck or be fucked in the land of fuck ...
What's remarkable is the ginger way that Jensen, after his opening burst about the bad behaviour of homosexuals towards other men, thereafter steps around the minefield of homosexuality and people being gay ...
Left-handedness is used to carry the genetic debate:
The nature argument is expressed: “I was born this way.” “This is how God made me.” “I can’t help it; it’s not my fault; it’s in my DNA.” Furthermore, because behaviour stems from our very nature, it cannot be changed or eradicated nor should it be discriminated against. “It’s not my fault that I am left-handed. I shouldn’t be forced to write with my right hand. I shouldn’t be excluded from any aspect of life because of my preference for the left. All public utilities should have provisions for left-handers (e.g. left-handed scissors in infant’s schools, left handed desks in university lecture theatres).” Society’s deep-seated prejudice is expressed linguistically with words like ‘goofy’ or ‘south paws’ –why aren’t right-handers called ‘north paws’? This kind of linguistic discrimination implies that lefties are essentially abnormal just because there are fewer of them. “It’s not just that I do things with my left hand; I am left-handed. So to discriminate against my left-handed actions is to discriminate against my very person.”
But yes, that was the way it was not so long ago with people who were left-handed. They were made to learn to write with the right hand, for no particular reason, especially when the inkwell and the pen left the scene way back when and there was no way a left-hander's paw would smear the still-drying ink.
There was no reason to make left-handers play golf with right handed clubs, and so on and so forth.
And yet stupid Christians and Christian schools were as much involved in the persecution of left handers as was society at large from the get go. Because that's the way blind, irrational prejudice works.
And where does this sort of primitive superstition begin? Well it was around for a long time, but it was, in the usual way, given a fillip by the Bible:
The Bible contains about 25 unfavorable references to the left hand. In the best known example, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: And he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.' ... Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.'" (Matthew 25:31-34, 41) (here)
Send the goats to the left.
As for the nurture argument, Jensen leads with this:
The nurture argument is expressed: “I am free to do whatever I like, however I like to do it.” “You mustn’t restrict me from, or require me to do, anything because of my race, sex, or biology.” “Biology is not destiny. I am not born a man or a woman – I become a man, I become a woman.” The gender, family, marriage, child raising, work-life issues are all just cultural constructs that need reconstruction to deal with modern life and desires. Polygamy, polyandry, polyamory are equally acceptable family arrangements. “I don’t have to marry at all – hook ups, de facto arrangements, prostitutes – it’s all the same. ‘Adultery’ is just a blame and shame game played by insecure slaves of convention.”
Well indeed. But then they only had to read the bible in detail to see that the Xian god approved of polygamy in certain circumstances, as detailed at length in the Skeptic's Bible here:
Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai ... gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived.
Yes any port in a storm when it comes to maintaining the patriarchy and complementarianism ...
Submit to the bible on polygamy? Sorry, that only applies to women being submissive:
Some of the most insistent critics of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney are those who oppose its complementarian approach to the ministry of men and women. A number of those critics feel personally injured by the repeated decisions of the diocesan synod to reject measures authorising the ordination of women to the presbyterate. Others go further and insist these decisions arise from a deep-seated misogyny, perhaps related to the peculiar conditions of the early colony, but in any case fuelled by a way of reading the Bible which is authoritarian and androcentric. Yet men and women in Sydney respond that they are seeking above all else to be faithful to the word which God has given us. It is the Bible which teaches us to celebrate the differences between men and women and the way attention to those differences enhances our unity rather than undermines it, not least as together we seek to serve Christ and his gospel. This is not an authoritarian reading but a submissive one. (thank you Mark Thompson, here)
In fact, if you go back over past history, you can find plenty of examples of men reading the bible to make sure that current rules conform to current male needs.
The Skeptic's Bible has plenty of fine examples of god-approved misogyny and insults to women, and family values, and so forth, as linked to from the home page.
The problem with the Sydney Anglicans trotting out the spectre of polygamy or strange family arrangements is that the world has seen it all before ... god-approved in the bible, just as they saw the bible approve slavery ...
Either way, nuture or nature, Jensen strikes out.
What's so wrong with men loving men, or women loving women? Is love a crime?
What's so problematic about the notion of gender as a flexible continuity rather than a fixed binary?
Nature doesn't work that way, as even a cursory study of hermaphrodite nature would establish (you can do a Greg Hunt here).
In the end, after implicitly hinting that being gay was up there with paedophilia, though without the courage to say it, Jensen is left with the usual Calvinist tripe:
...murder, cannibalism, polygamy, suttee and paedophilia are immoral whether or not you are biologically predisposed to do them or your culture has taught you do practice them.
The nature/nurture studies have their place. They may explain why I behave as I do, but they do not excuse or justify my immorality. They may give me reasons for feeling the way I do, and explain why morality is such a struggle for me, but they don’t change the verdict of right or wrong. They may increase my sympathy for others who struggle with different issues to me but they do not absolve people of guilt or make allowances for wrongdoing.
The problem is that both my nature and my nurture are contaminated by sin and without God’s regeneration I will always continue sinning - as a sinner.
Actually the problem is that the Sydney Anglicans do dirt on gays, do dirt on life, do dirt on women, do dirt on love.
They hurt and they abuse and they accuse and they judge in a righteous way and they condemn and they deplore and they cluck and they persecute, in a way that's as bad and as offensive as an Islamic fundamentalist.
That's the real crime, that's the real sin, and they go on sinning, and they won't repent and show love for sisters and brothers who love sisters and brothers ...
If only there was a hell that could accommodate them for their cruelty and their sinning ...
And so to a little light relief, and the cover by Robert Crumb for The New Yorker that never saw the light of day.
Crumb explained his intentions this way:
Can you clarify the genders of the people on the cover, or is that giving away some sort of secret?
The verdict isn’t in; that’s the whole point. Banning gay marriage is ridiculous because how are you supposed to tell what fucking gender anybody is if they’re bending it around? It could be anything—a she-male marrying a transsexual, or what the hell. People are capable of any sexual thing. To ban their marriage because someone doesn’t like the idea of them both being the same sex, that’s ridiculous. That was the whole point of the cover; here is this official from the marriage-license bureau, and he can’t tell if he’s seeing a man and a woman or two women. What the hell are they? You can’t tell what they are! I had the idea of making them both look unisex, no gender at all. On TV once I saw this person who is crusading against sexual definition, and you could not tell if this person was male or female—completely asexual. I was originally going to do the cover that way, but when I drew that it just looked uninteresting so I decided it should be more lurid somehow.
A drag queen and a drag king getting married.
Whatever they are. (more here)
Yes, there's been some progress, despite the Sydney Anglicans, to the point where it's been noted that casting a female actress to play Carlotta, rather than a TG actress, worked seriously against the intent of the telemovie.
... while there will no doubt be a lot of brouhaha surrounding Marais’s casting – why wasn't a transgender actress playing Carlotta? – Carol told GNN “You’ll get the critics that say ‘why did you get a woman to play me” and I say ‘well find me a pretty boy that could do it!’. (here)
Oh there's lots of pretty boys out there, and they sometimes make pretty girls and let them marry if they like ...
And so to the Crumb: