Leading Off (11/10/08)

1. It’s stories like this one — about the hubbub surrounding Dr. Robert Jeffress’ “Why Gay is Not O.K.” sermon at First Baptist Church of Dallas yesterday — that make me miss Bible Girl. I’m sure Unfair Park does, too; that column was a comment machine. I imagine losing that, traffic-wise, would be like if Wick told Tim that he couldn’t take and post camera phone photos of Eric anymore.

2. Really good piece in the DMN about the 1988 Carter High Cowboys. Never understood why no one ever wrote a book about the controversial squad, as it would have been a nice bookend to Buzz Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights, written about that same year’s Odessa Permian Panthers. Turns out Gary Edwards finally has. And I completely forgot Royce West’s involvement. Anyway, good stuff.

3. And finally: boom goes the dynamite.


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28 responses to “Leading Off (11/10/08)”

  1. Harvey Lacey says:

    Wow. Between Frontburner, Unfair Park, and the comments section of the DMN story there were almost five hundred comments made on that story.

    Most of them all about the love of Jesus.

    I wonder if any of those Jesus Love folks ever stop to think the Jews who adhere to the Old Testament. They worship the same God as the Jesus Love people but since they don’t believe in Jesus when they die the Jesus Love people believe the Jews go to the same Hell as the Islamics and homosexuals.

    Is that silly or what?

  2. Jon Garinn says:

    Dr. Jeffress is a typical Biblical isogete, meaning he reads meaning into the text rather than gets meaning from it. He starts with a subject (such as homosexuality) and looks for scriptural passages that he thinks may pertain to it. If this was done objectively – with the entire passage being studied and not just a particular verse – he might be able to derive a more mainline interpretation of the text. But too often, as in this case, he fails to consider the rest of the passage.

    The sad reality is that if Dr. Jeffress wants to prove just about any point of view, no matter how ridiculous, he can probably find a Bible verse to support it.

  3. Daniel says:

    Oddly enough, Pastor Jeffress went to strenuous lengths to defend the Godliness of M-M-F action. God says that doesn’t count, he thundered.

    And it makes me wonder. Is there a bustle in his hedgerow?

  4. Robb says:

    Why is everybody so up in arms about a sermon from a church? The guy’s job in life is to save them. He is supposed to spread the work of God that sinners can be forgiven. He (notice I didn’t say “me,” that’s not the point) believes the Bible says homosexuality is a sin. As a result, he feels it’s not too late for those who are sinning to be forgiven and stand eternity with God.

    People call this guy insensitive and hateful, when in all actuality he is caring enough to work at saving those he believe can be saved.

    What a jerk. Trying to help people and all.

  5. the cynic says:

    @Robb, and I guess the Taliban was just doing a little remodeling: http://www.qantara.de/webcom/show_article.php/_c-310/_nr-511/i.html

  6. Daniel says:

    It’s important to duly note that homosexuality gets God awfully damned miffed!

    But, keep in mind, speaking or interacting with your wife — any female, for that matter — when she is menstruating is equally abhorrent to God, according to Leviticus (15:19-24). Also, there are highly specific rules for selling your daughter into slavery. You can’t just do it willy nilly! (Exodus 21:7). And if either one of them should offend the sight of Almighty God by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (Lev 19:19), you can’t just kill them yourself, like, with a gun or whatnot. You must get the whole town together to stone them. (Lev. 24:10-16. Hopefully you live somewhere like Southlake or Forney, where the population is of a much more manageable size than that of, say, Dallas, and generally comprises folks of sufficient rectitude.)

  7. Former Texan says:


    Don’t practicing Jews have a similar view of Christians (Christians worship more than one god and so are doomed). Most religions believe that practitioners of other religions are missing some point.

  8. Long Memory says:

    One thing on the Carter business. I saw that team, and I read where Gary Edwards believes they were the best team ever. If I was him, I’m sure I’d agree, but I’ve seen a lot of football teams as well and the best team I ever saw was Houston Yates, 1985. Yates destroyed Odessa Permian 37-0 in the state finals.

  9. Daniel says:


    Islam is an Abrahamic religion. They even believe in the virgin birth of Jesus (albeit not the Resurrection), and an entire chapter of the Qu’ran is devoted to Mary. Not defendin’, just sayin’.

  10. rgunsta says:


    Nobody disputes his personal spiritual journey or his call to ministry. However, spirituality and religious beliefs are personal values that need to remain personal. If he truly believes in his Christian doctrine, he would realize that God will judge him for his heart not his work. He will do more good in this world to love all people, regardless of their orientation, as I believe “Jesus would do.”

    His religion reminds all who follow, that God will judge each of them individually. You say he is trying to help people, but passing judgment on others and creating dissention does not bring about love and understanding. It only breeds hate and discord. These are not true Christian values as Jesus taught.

    There are better ways to reach people and this is not one of them. This tactic doesn’t convert gays to straight. It only further separates an already divided and hurting world which is lacking in love and understanding…The “Jesus” thing to do.

  11. Robb says:

    I thought a church’s beliefs were protected in this country? No crime is being committed, is it? People are free to feel the way they want to feel unless they are committing a crime. No?

  12. Daniel says:

    Who said they were violating the law of the land? I don’t have time to read the 160 comments the original post garnered, but certainly no one here is. And are you not healthily cynical enough to realize that Jeffress is loving every minute of the publicity?

  13. Robb says:

    The issue isn’t if you feel good about what the guy has to say, it’s more about his right to say it, and your right to disagree.

  14. Robb says:

    @Daniel –

    Of course he is loving the publicity. I just don’t understand why everybody is so upset about his sermon. Do you care what he thinks? Don’t listen to him and don’t waste your time commenting about it.

    Everybody is talking about how wrong this guy is, but why aren’t they wrong for calling him names or questioning his beliefs?

  15. rgunsta says:


    All people’s beliefs should be protected, but unfortunately they are not. One’s spiritual journey is his own and should not be inflicted upon those who do not want it. I am only saying the best way to minister to people is to love and serve, not to pass judgment, which I believe in the Christian doctrine, is a SIN.

    Why are you so up in arms that people are expressing their opinions about this issue? If this minister has the rights to express his beliefs in a public forum, then why are you so down on those who oppose him? Is it not OK for others to disagree? Is that not the wonderful thing about living in a “FREE” country, freedom of speech?

  16. Daniel says:

    He questions their beliefs, they question right back at’im. Those who would call him names discredit themselves, true.

    FWIW, I find the gay protesters more than a little silly, myself. The guy isn’t oppressing them in any way, and precious few of them are clamoring for a place at the Southern Baptist table.

    But if you put your beliefs on marquee, don’t be surprised if you get … precisely what you’re asking for.

  17. John M says:

    @Robb “Of course he is loving the publicity. I just don’t understand why everybody is so upset about his sermon. Do you care what he thinks? Don’t listen to him and don’t waste your time commenting about it.”

    Why? Because there is at least one gay child listening to that sermon and feels hopeless and that they will never be accepted for who God made them to be and can never find love and happiness. All to many of those children choose to end their lives. There were people their that know someone that did or even tried to take their own life because of the message that was being preached.

    These children end their lives not out of fear of judgement from God but judgement from their church, family and community. I know at least one kid was given hope for a full life of happiness, love and acceptance because I was once that kid. I lived my life in fear until I saw other gay people out and proud and knew that no matter what my church, family, friends and community told me that there was a group waiting for me with love and acceptance and that gave me hope to keep on going and not end my life out of fear that all I had to look forward to was a life of silent desperation and loneliness.

  18. Jon Garinn says:

    The problem, as I see it, is Dr. Jeffress’ agenda and his use of scripture to support it. For too long, preachers such as Dr. Jeffress have used the most powerful tool they have as a weapon against gays and lesbians. In so doing, they have perverted its message and made the Bible a means of oppression.

  19. Jon Garinn says:

    John M is right. We have seen too many injustices perpetrated against gays and lesbians in the name of religion. We have heard the injustice blamed on a God of love, which makes it all the more difficult to reconcile what we know of God’s unconditional love and boundless grace with the hatred and vitriol we see directed at gays and lesbians in God’s name.

  20. j.d.w... says:

    Jesus was not accepted by society. He operated on the fringes, often avoiding large cities when he traveled. He broke religious laws while ministering to those who were not accepted by society and/or considered “sinners” and “unclean”. He rode into Jeruselem one day knowing full well he would be persecuded by religious hard-liners. They called for his death.

    Kinda makes me wonder, if Jesus were among us today, who would be leading the persecution?

  21. Robb says:

    @ John M.

    Do you think anybody has ever taken their own life because they had an experience with a person of the same gender? Could you not make the same argument for them as you made for the people in the church that now won’t feel accepted?

    Your point only holds water if YOU believe it is the right one.

  22. John M says:

    @Robb “Do you think anybody has ever taken their own life because they had an experience with a person of the same gender?”

    Yes, out of fear that people will find out and they will be ostracized. I don’t think anyone has had a same-sex experience and were so disgusted by it that they took their life because of anything but internalized homophobia and that internalized homophobia only comes from the church and intolerant people.

    I guess I really don’t understand what you are saying, right what? I’m not saying there is right or wrong for people, most people are straight, there is nothing you can do to make a straight person gay or vice versa. I’ve had sexual relationships with women and they are wrong for me, it doesn’t mean that they are wrong for you. There is no conversion, I’m not saying anyone that is comfortable with their sexuality should or can change their sexual orientation, with the exception of rape no one engages in a same sex experience that doesn’t want to on some level. The only reason for them to feel guilt for that is fear from other people’s opinions, if it is a one time deal is there any question in your mind that God forgives them for it and that’s the end of it? As far as the word of God goes having homosexual sex is no different than lying, but are sins and both are forgiven by the grace of God. The shame comes from the church and the community, not the word of God.

  23. Robb says:

    @ Jon Garinn:

    Sorry, once again somebody uses a tired poing that doesn’t make sense.

    Dr. Jeffress believes it is his job to make sure those people who are sinning know they can be saved. He, in his mind, is offering a caring hand for those he feels need it. He feels it’s not too late to be forgiven of your sins and spend eternity at God’s side.

    I personally don’t care about this topic either way. I socialize with people who range from one end of the spectrum to the other. I just hate that I log into forums where people are saying somebody needs to stop saying what he is saying because they don’t agree with him. Let him have his voice, and you have yours. Agree to disagree.

  24. Bethany says:

    I think it’s decidedly different when it’s someone who represents his church, Robb.

    And if he just said in conversation, “I think it’s not OK to be gay,” well, then your argument holds water.

    But that’s not how it happened. It was up an a marquee – for the whole world to know that the Baptist church feels that a sizeable chunk of the Dallas population is not “OK.”

    And that is not OK. Not when you consider that Jesus’ greatest command, by his own definition, was to show love for one another – to respect each other. The marquee was disrespectful.

  25. John M says:

    @Robb “I just hate that I log into forums where people are saying somebody needs to stop saying what he is saying because they don’t agree with him. Let him have his voice, and you have yours. Agree to disagree.”

    I absolutely fine with agreeing to disagree, we were not there protesting his right to say what he said, we were there to publicly disagree with him and provide people that are looking for other answers for their life other options than a lifetime of fear and unhappiness.

    What we did was fully within our rights as Americans and completely peaceful. You didn’t see it on the brief bit on TV but we were all talking about it being way too fun for a protest. We were all laughing, telling jokes, honestly having a good time in togetherness, we weren’t there to be angry, we were there to provide hope.

    As for agreeing to disagree, that’s all we want. If he doesn’t approve of homosexual sex I suggest him say out of my apartment when I am having it. On the same token I will stay out of his sermons when I believe he spreading homophobia but until I have equal rights and protections under the law that heterosexuals/women/blacks/etc are afforded I don’t have any choice but to fight for my rights.

    I don’t care if your church doesn’t want to marry me, frankly I don’t want one of the happiest days of my life to take place in somewhere that I believe is filled with so much hate but until I am afforded the same rights you are by my government I can not and will not go away and we will not be marginalized and ignored by our government because of your religious beliefs.

  26. Jon Garinn says:

    Robb, while some may laud Dr. Jeffress’ passionate concern about the condition of gays and lesbians’ souls, I find it to be disingenuous. He may think he is calling gays and lesbians to holiness of life, but in the interest of their “best interests” he would deny their basic human rights. Because of such messages as those presented by Dr. Jeffress, Christians have denied gays and lesbians the right to work, looked away when they were victims of hate crimes, denied them the protections and benefits of marriage, sought to silence their voices in church and heaped ridicule and shame upon their families. The Bible is a model of liberation and reconciliation, not a tool of terror. But when preachers like Dr. Jeffress fail to teach their parishioners what these texts are really about, they imprison Jesus in a bible of their own making.

  27. Harvey Lacey says:

    Anyone here besides me notice that it seems each generation is getting gayer and blacker when it comes to style and entertainment?

    Have you ever thought about why that is?

    I have.

    We can go back to the forties through today and see a trend. Each generation of white kids embraced a little more of the gay and black influences in their choices in music and style.

    Elvis was white black. Right after him came caramel black, then brown black, etc and so on.

    Today if you’re filling up the family car and someone pulls in with a bass blasting out your windows chances are even or a little better it’ll be a white kid driving the irritating scream machine.

    It makes sense if you think about kids and truth, real truth. That’s if you look at it and look at how the parents treated gays and blacks. They tried to pass on their ignorance to the kids and the kids didn’t quite buy it.

    So the kids absorbed and appreciated the culture that their parents disapproved. Some will suggest that’s what kids do. It’s all about striking out on their own and getting separated from their parents.

    But if you look at it a little closer I think you’ll see something else. You’ll see a rejection of their parent’s values on race and sexuality. Not to make a statement about themselves, but to make a statement about the injustice and ignorance of their parent’s.

    It didn’t happen over night. The kids who embraced Elvis grew up to believe the justice they embraced for blacks and gays was real truth. Their kids didn’t buy it so they did the same thing their parents did and took it a little further.

    I see that as evidence for two things really important. The first is we have reason to have hope. It is getting better each generation. Secondly, our kids are going to be better people than we are.

    So when your kid doesn’t buy into your philosophy about faith and all that. You might want to look at what you believe for real truth. The kind that sees your hypocracy through the eyes of a child, yours.

    The above is also true about faith. The reason people are rejecting the old time religion isn’t because they want to be heathern, get drunk, smoke dope, and have crazy sex parties.

    The reason they’re rejecting the message of folks like Jeffress is because of the hypocracy of the believers along with the message not making sense in light of today’s knowledge. It’s hard to swallow the Biblical narative when you’re exposed to Nature on PBS along with network news.

    There’s reason for hope. If you want to find it find a child, watch, listen.

  28. the cynic says:

    a generation ago the church used the same Bible to defend slavery and promote Aryan superiority. Did God change his mind? Jesus was all about inclusion…when he got mad it was at organized religion NOT the sailors and prostitutes with whom he hung out.