Homosexuality in the animal kingdom

A few things I found through Karin Hakalax' blog (thank you!):
I mentioned the biologist Bruce Bagemihl a couple of years ago in the blog post Gayness is natural, in connection with an exhibition, "Against Nature?", at the Museum of Natural History in Oslo, Norway. Here he is again, spreading the news that homosexuality is documented in over 400 species, but probably occurs in 15-30% of the known million of species (which, of course, is not the same as saying that 15-30% of all animals are gay - but interesting, nonetheless).
The video is 8'20" long.

Bagemihl writes:
Male Bottlenose Dolphins often form lifelong pair-bonds with each other. Adolescent and younger males typically live in all-male groups in which homosexual activity is common; within these groups, a male begins to develop a strong bond with a particular partner (usually of the same age) with whom he will spend the rest of his life. The two Dolphins become constant companions, often traveling widely; although sexual activity probably declines as they get older, it may continue to be a regular feature of such partnerships.
The video is 3'08", but technically of poor quality.

And yet another video (4'59") that documents homosexual behaviour among animals:
An article in National Geographic, Homosexual Activity Among Animals Stirs Debate from 2004, deals with the same issue.
The bonobo, an African ape closely related to humans, has an even bigger sexual appetite. Studies suggest 75 percent of bonobo sex is nonreproductive and that nearly all bonobos are bisexual. Frans de Waal, author of Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape, calls the species a "make love, not war" primate. He believes bonobos use sex to resolve conflicts between individuals.
Other animals appear to go through a homosexual phase before they become fully mature. For instance, male dolphin calves often form temporary sexual partnerships, which scientists believe help to establish lifelong bonds. Such sexual behavior has been documented only relatively recently. Zoologists have been accused of skirting round the subject for fear of stepping into a political minefield.
"There was a lot of hiding of what was going on, I think, because people were maybe afraid that they would get into trouble by talking about it," notes de Waal. Whether it's a good idea or not, it's hard not make comparisons between humans and other animals, especially primates. The fact that homosexuality does, after all, exist in the natural world is bound to be used against people who insist such behavior is unnatural.
But to remain honest, I have to include the following passage, as well:
Yet scientists say we should be wary of referring to animals when considering what's acceptable in human society. For instance, infanticide, as practiced by lions and many other animals, isn't something people, gay or straight, generally approve of in humans.
Conclusion: The argument that homosexuality is unnatural, since it doesn't occure in nature, falls flat on its face. This, however, does not automatically mean that what is natural is also good. The "natural-unnatural" -argument is simply moot.

What do retired people do all day?

Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting.
Well, for example, the other day my wife and I went into town and went into a shop. We were only in there for about 5 minutes but when we came out there was a warden writing out a parking ticket. We went up to him and said, 'Come on mate, how about giving an OAP a break?' He ignored us and continued writing the ticket.
I called him a Nazi turd. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tyres. So my wife called him a shit-head. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windscreen with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote.
Personally, we didn't care. We came into town by bus.
We try to have a little fun each day now that we're retired, it's important at our age.

Mother Teresa on darkness and light

Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.
- Mother Teresa

King on darkness and light

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

About dogs and people 10

Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul – chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth!
- Anne Tyler
as quoted by the Episcopal padre

A Bertie Wooster anecdote

Three deaf men sit on a train, which makes a stop.
"Is it Wembley?", one of them asks.
"No, it's Thursday," another answers.
"Me too! Let's have a drink!", exclaims the third man.
An anecdote told by Bertie Wooster to a roomful of aunts,
with a lamentable lack of success.
And I know it's not PC. Sorry.

Reasons why heterosexual marriage should be banned

1. If heterosexuals are allowed to marry, some of them will want to marry more than one person, which will destroy the institution of marriage, and we can't have that!
(Oh wait, that is already happening)
2. If heterosexuals are allowed to marry, some of them will want to marry minors, which will destroy the institution of marriage, and we can't have that!
(Oh wait, that is already happening)
3. If heterosexuals are allowed to marry, some of them will want to divorce, which will destroy the institution of marriage, and we can't have that!
(Oh wait, that is already happening)
4. If heterosexuals are allowed to marry, some of them will want to have sex with animals, which will destroy the institution of marriage, and we can't have that!
(Which is as stupid as thinking that allowing gays to marry will make the same thing happen)

... also in structures

Sin and evil are concretely expressed not only in individuals, but also in structures.
- Tito Paredes
director of Centro Evangelico Missiologico Andino Amazonico
as quoted on God's Politics

King on non-violent resistance

Non-violent resistance is not aimed against oppressors but against oppression.
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Lack of a caring community

The lack of a caring community that incarnates the Word makes us more and more incapable of being heard.
- Melba Maggay
Filipina theologian
as quoted on God's Politics

Four options in reading Paul

On his blog The New Christians, Tony Jones quotes an insightful comment made by Mike Morrell. Here is part of the comment:
What follows is not an attempt to change anyone's mind about the sinfulness or blessedness of homosexual orientation and practice. We all have our perspectives, and they change like glaciers, not ice cubes. Rather, I want to lay out in as concise a manner as possible my own readings, prayer, and reflection in this these past few years, showing essentially four different options people of faith have in this regard. I'm pretty sure we all fall into one of these four understandings. My goal in showing them in a descriptive, matter-of-fact manner is to humanize all four perspectives, so that we don't demonize one another.

By way of a quick prelude: I will not be handling any Old Testament passages that describe or seem to describe homosexual activity as an 'abomination.' That is because these very same passages (as GodHatesShrimp.com humorously points out) describe many other things as 'abominations,' our English translations belying the fact that this word simply denotes that which is cultically unacceptable to the ritual purity of set-apart Israel. So I will exclusively look at the three New Testament passages, which all happen to be by Paul (Jesus doesn't mention homosexuality in the Gospels). I'm not even going to go into Paul's passages in-depth, but they're the ones in I Corinthians 6, Romans 1 and 1 Timothy 1:10.

The four options, as I've seen them, are as follows:

1.) Paul *is* addressing contemporary homosexual orientation / practice and this *does* matter
2.) Paul *is* addressing contemporary homosexual orientation / practice and this *doesn't* matter
3.) Paul *isn't* addressing contemporary homosexual orientation / practice and that *does* matter
4.) Paul *isn't* addressing contemporary homosexual orientation / practice and it *doesn't* matter

1.) This is the standard view in most evangelical churches as well as the official Roman Catholic and East Orthodox perspective. In essence, our English translations of 'homosexual' in the NT are to be trusted and affirmed as addressing precisely the same kind of homosexual orientation and activity as we see today among monogamous and non-married homosexual persons. Because Scripture is inspired and profitable for teaching, we should see this as prescriptive for moral and Godly living today, teaching it accordingly.

2.) Paul is talking about contemporary homosexual orientation/action, but it's up to us, the Church, to decide whether this is binding for today. Now lest you think this is an option only for hippie-dippy liberal revisionists, think again: The church *always* interprets Scripture for today. The evangelical church, for instance, decided that was Jesus told one guy (Nicodemus) about being 'born again' was binding on all people everywhere, whereas what he told another guy (the rich young ruler) about selling all possessions and giving them to the poor was virtually never applicable! We've also decided that Peter's admonition of women not to wear braids or jewelry because of sinful pride was culturally-conditioned and temporary, as is Paul's admonition of women to wear head-coverings, even though he seems to appeal to some pretty cosmic and universal principles for doing so. In the same manner, some good Christian people (and churches) conclude that Paul was simply mistaken about homosexual orientation & practice, or that his teaching was culturally-appropriate for his era but actually harmful and contrary to the Gospel for ours. We the Church are always 'binding and loosing' interpretations of our Holy Writ... an awesome and wonderful responsibility.

3.) Many biblical scholars puzzle over the actual meaning of arsenokoitai, the Greek word Paul used which is translated from King James on as 'homosexuals.' (See explanation) In short, many think that Paul is writing about pedastry - man-boy love - and temple prostitution where otherwise 'straight' people become 'gay for a day' (only not really) to engage in debasing pagan rituals. So Paul is in fact, according to this perspective, writing about the primacy of love and consideration, and against harmful idolatry. 2,000 years of translation later and we lose sight of context and original intent. Most sociologists agree that contemporary loving, monogamous homosexual orientation didn't even exist until relatively contemporary times... therefore we are dealing with, strictly speaking, an 'extra-biblical' phenomenon that should, perhaps, be looked at through a different lens than seemingly 'obvious' passages in Scripture. We should instead appeal to Jesus and Paul's clear teaching on love, freedom and liberty of conscience, while upholding healthy Christian standards of monogamy and sexuality that we'd encourage anyone of *any* orientation to keep as best as possible.

4.) Number 4 is a bit of a non-sequitur, as I think you can see. : )
Thank you, Mike!

Worst one, ever 4

Pencils could be made with erasers at both ends, but what would be the point?

The Lord speaks in peace

It is a cardinal principle of discernment that the Lord always speaks in peace, even if he is rebuking or chastising those he loves.
- Thomas H. Green
as quoted on God's Politics

The forgotten anniversary

Bob was in trouble. He forgot his wedding anniversary. His wife was really pissed. She told him: "Tomorrow morning, I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in 6 seconds AND IT BETTER BE THERE!!"
The next morning he got up early and left for work. When his wife woke up, she looked out the window and sure enough there was a box gift-wrapped in the middle of the driveway. Confused, the wife put on her robe and ran out to the driveway, brought the box back in the house. She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale.
Bob has been missing since Friday.
Thanks to Tuija!

The pearl of justice

The pearl of justice is found in the heart of mercy.
- Catherine of Siena
as quoted on God's Politics

Pastor's Business Card

A new pastor was visiting in the homes of his parishioners. At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks at the door.
Therefore, he took out a business card and wrote 'Revelation 3:20' on the back of it and stuck it in the door.
When the offering was processed the following Sunday, he found that his card had been returned. Added to it was this cryptic message, 'Genesis 3:10.'
Reaching for his Bible to check out the citation, he broke up in gales of laughter. Revelation 3:20 begins 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock.' Genesis 3:10 reads, 'I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid for I was naked.'
Thanks to the Episcopal Padre!

Still the same idols

In the Bible, we discover the prophets and Jesus struggling against the same idols that dominate many of our churches.
- Jorge Pixley
Bible scholar at Baptist Seminary, Nicaragua
as quoted on God's Politics

Diplomatic problems for Iceland?

After intense public protests, the Icelandic conservative government folded last Monday, and a new center-left interim coalition government took office yesterday, with a view to general elections in April.
The new Prime Minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (66), is a Social Democrat, has been an MP since 1978 and was recently voted the most popular politician in Iceland. She is also a lesbian, and lives with journalist Jónína Leósdóttir, who became her civil partner in a ceremony in 2002. Sigurðardóttir was previously married to a man and has two sons.
I won't comment on the political or economic aspects of these proceedings - others have done so with much more insight than I have - but there is one question that I can't help wondering about.
She is said to be the first openly gay or lesbian person to become a head of government, not just in Iceland, but anywhere in the world. How will the world's homophobic nations react? I'm thinking of countries like Nigeria, Gambia, Iran, and all the others that I listed in a blog post last September.
How will they react? Will there be widespread protests in the streets of Damascus, Nicaraguan boycotts of Icelandic products, and burnings of the Icelandic flag in Medina? Will Tongan diplomatic personnel be recalled from Reykjavik? Or will everyone do the sensible thing and just ignore it, perhaps hoping that someone else will be elected in a few months?
I don't have the answer, but to my knowledge, no-one's even asked the question. We'll just have to see what happens, I suppose...
Sigurdardóttir Ready to Become Iceland's PM (IcelandReview 27.1.09)
Lesbian likely to be appointed Iceland interim PM (365gay 27.1.09)
Icelandic politician may become world's first lesbian Prime Minister (PinkNews 27.1.09)
Iceland set to appoint first openly gay woman as PM (AP through PageOneQ 28.1.09)
Iceland To Appoint First Lesbian Prime Minister (Box Turtle Bulletin 28.1.09)
Lesbisk statsminister (Per Westberg - Kyrkoordnaren 28.1.09)
Iceland interim government to take office on Sunday (Reuters 31.1.09)
Isländsk interimsregering formas (YLE Nyheter 31.1.09)
New Iceland govt eyes Sunday handover (Reuters 31.1.09)