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Gay Christian Athlete Keeps Job at Catholic School

Last week we discussed Dell Rapids coach and Augie grad Nathan Alfson's announcement that he is gay. This week we get the news that his announcement will not cost him his job. Catholic school Dell Rapids St. Mary's will continue to employ Alfson as their girls volleyball coach.

The Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese says we shouldn't be surprised that a Catholic school would allow an openly gay man to remain on the payroll. And indeed, we should not be: in a perfect world, no employer would inquire into the private, personal activities of its employees. No religious employer would dither over the various sins of their employees that do not affect the employees' ability to perform their jobs.

And even if there are some Christians who maintain that homosexuality is a sin, we should not expect it to be news that Christian institutions employ people who sin. As I understand theology, everyone who works for a Christian institution sins (even the Pope!). If we go around firing sinners, we're going to have a severe labor shortage.

Let us hope that the best public outcome of the news about Nathan Alfson is that someday, similar announcements of love and employment will not be news.


  1. jerry 2014.08.15

    This is one of those news items that make me feel that we may be improving ourselves in our makeup. For this Christian school to not only acknowledge this young man's honesty with his declaration, but to continue his employment when so many haters would have simply wanted him banished and forgotten about. Kudos to you school administrators and a tip of the hat to the diocese for standing tall.

  2. lesliengland 2014.08.15

    sibby, selecting a wood, steps up to the box. take it away.............

  3. Craig 2014.08.15

    One has to wonder if they would have kept him on staff if he was the boys baseball coach instsead of girls volleyball. It shouldn't matter of course, but we know how these things go.

    Kudos for all involved. Glad to see logic score one for a win.

  4. Steve Sibson 2014.08.15

    Cory, your analysis is does not include the context and is thereby very deceptive. From the Argus Leader link:

    The diocese had made its stance clear, he said, in a statement released late Tuesday titled "A Summary of Church Teaching on Chastity."

    Summed up even more, the statement says all of us, those who consider ourselves to be Christians, must practice the virtue of chastity.

    Repeat: all of us. If you're married, you abide by the statement "forsaking all others." If you enter a religious order, you are called to chastity and abstinence. AND "so are those who are not married."

  5. Flipper 2014.08.15

    Yes, Jerry Klein from the Sioux Falls Diocese, we SHOULD be very surprised. Why? Because in practically every other incident similar to this across the country the person has been fired. Also because of sermons on an almost weekly basis about the evils of "the gays". Is this a change in attitude for the Catholic Church? I hope so but I have my doubts. As Callison wrote at the end of her article, let's see if Alfson comes back next year. It's my bet he'll be quietly urged to leave or is let go on some other technicality.

  6. JeniW 2014.08.15

    I wondered about that too.

    Are the private schools having more people applying for teaching positions than what the public schools are? Is there a teacher/coach shortages at the private schools?

    Given the time of Alfson's announcement, that would that have put the Catholic School in a bind for not having someone available to re-place him on short notice?

    Once upon a time, and not very many years ago, girls were not allowed to assist during the Catholic Mass, but when there were not enough boys to do so, there was a change to allow girls to assist.

    Sometimes, "needs" are the incentive for changes.

  7. jerry 2014.08.15

    Flipper, that next year thing may be correct. But who knows if any of us who are reading this today will be around this time next year. Today is the day that counts, tomorrow is a dream away. I wax poetic in my thoughts of a better tomorrow and hope to see it.

  8. Steve Sibson 2014.08.15

    "And even if there are some Christians who maintain that homosexuality is a sin, we should not expect it to be news that Christian institutions employ people who sin. As I understand theology, everyone who works for a Christian institution sins (even the Pope!). If we go around firing sinners, we're going to have a severe labor shortage."

    So the church should not fire priests who have practiced pedophilia?

  9. bearcreekbat 2014.08.15

    I appreciate the decision. As Cory points out, everyone supposedly sins and if mere sinning is enough to get you fired there would be no one left to do the work. Likewise, if sinning is enough to prohibit marriage, no one could marry.

    The next step is to stop asking the question - "will he be fired for being gay?" The question implies that being gay could constitute a reason to be fired. Without the question, there is no implication that being gay is grounds for being fired. The question is denigrating and ought not be asked.

    I credit this thought to Sarah Silverman, who argued in her HBO special that it is wrong to make statements like this because of the negative implications. For example, if someone says "Go ahead and take a shower, I won't read your diary while you are in the shower," you are now wondering whether they will read your diary while you are showering. Without the comment, it would have never occurred to you that someone might read your diary while you showered.

    We need to move to a time where it will no longer occur to anyone that they might be punished or discriminated against due to his or her sexual orientation.

  10. jerry 2014.08.15

    "So the church should not fire priests who have practiced pedophilia?" The ole bait and switch from the closeted rascal. Sibson, pedophilia is a crime and for the crime you do not get fired, you get your ass thrown in the jail or in some societies, you are killed. How do you manage to keep your job?

  11. bearcreekbat 2014.08.15

    Sibby, think it through - there is a significant difference between a "sin" and a "crime." Pedophilia may be a sin, but it is also crime. It is reasonable to fire employees who engage in criminal acts.

  12. Steve Sibson 2014.08.15

    BCB, homosexuality acts were illegal until the SCOTUS stepped in with false civil rights. When will they apply false civil rights to pedophiles? And Cory's position was in regard to "sins" not crimes. Regardless of age, homosexual acts are sins.

  13. Steve Sibson 2014.08.15

    "Likewise, if sinning is enough to prohibit marriage, no one could marry."

    Since homosexual acts are sins, then same sex marriage should not be allowed. Next false argument will be "marriage is not about sex". So then we can marry as many people as we want based on that false argument.

  14. Steve Sibson 2014.08.15

    "closeted rascal"

    So Jerry, based on your logic, those who vocally oppose pedophilia are closeted rascals?

  15. jerry 2014.08.15

    No, just sexually frustrated individuals are closeted rascals Sibson. Look in the mirror for the results.

  16. JeniW 2014.08.15

    Two things that have not been mentioned so far about the priests/nuns who abused children:

    1. The forgiveness factor. If the priests/nuns own up to their wrong doings, take the responsibility of their behaviors, and ask seek forgiveness, the church will follow God's example by forgiving the offender.

    2. If the Catholic hierarchy does not "fire" the priest/nuns who abused children, they priests/nuns can be moved to "desk jobs" or positions that do not involve children or other vulnerable populations.

  17. Douglas Wiken 2014.08.15

    Get over it, Steve. What possible real difference does it make to you anyway?

  18. bearcreekbat 2014.08.15

    Sibby, I suppose you are baiting me. I really think you are smart enough to know how laws in this Country are passed, and that the function of the Supreme Court is to decide what various laws mean and whether they are consistent with the US Constitution.

    Even when you or I disagree with a Supreme Court decision, that decision becomes the law of the land. Your baiting statement, "SCOTUS stepped in with false civil rights," implicitly based on its decision in Lawrence v. Texas, either violates the 9th Commandment (because you do know that this decision is now the law of the land and are bearing false witness), or evidences a lack of understanding of how our constitutional system of government currently works. I tend to suspect it is the former, as despite much silliness in your labeling ideas and people in an effort to demean them (and bait others into weird discussions), you strike me as an intelligent, well read individual.

  19. bearcreekbat 2014.08.15

    And Sibby, you have never answered my question - why do you think one sin (homosexuality) should disqualify one homosexual from marrying another homosexual, while a higher ranking sin, such as failing to keep the Sabbath holy (as well as violating any other commandment) doesn't disqualify the Sabbath breaker-sinner from marrying another Sabbath breaker-sinner?

  20. Steve Sibson 2014.08.15

    BCB, a Biblical Christian does not have to follow government law if it requires disobedience to God. And just because it is legal, does not mean it is not a violation of God's laws. Sin is sin, regardless of age that sodomy is practiced.

  21. Craig 2014.08.15

    Steve, stop coveting the rights afforded to those who wish to engage in homosexual acts.

  22. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.15

    Biblical Christians are not a government that enacts and enforces laws in accordance with the Constitution.

    If a Biblical Christian doesn't agree with a law such as gay marriage, they simply don't have to marry a gay. Gay marriage is not about breaking the law, it is insuring the rights of the LGBT community to have the same rights as everyone.

  23. Jenny 2014.08.15

    The Catholics have too many other fights on their hands right now. Besides, the priests probably have crushes on him.

  24. Jenny 2014.08.15

    Sibster, dude you're on the wrong blog. Don't bash gay rights on here.

  25. Steve Sibson 2014.08.15

    "why do you think one sin (homosexuality) should disqualify one homosexual from marrying another homosexual, while a higher ranking sin, such as failing to keep the Sabbath holy "

    Marriage does not cause one to commit other sins. Allowing homosexuals to marry is promoting sin. Would you have a problem with adults marrying children? (Your question was one based on moral grounds, not on legal grounds, so please don't switch when answering my question, Thanks)

  26. Steve Sibson 2014.08.15

    " Don't bash gay rights on here."

    Jenny, you are on the correct blog to bash pedophilia rights.

    First the battle was about sex outside of marriage. The hedonists won that battle. Now the battle has escalated to gay sex. As that battle is won by the hedonists, the focus will go to fight for pedophilia rights:

    International Planned Parenthood Federation seeks to establish “sexual rights” as internationally protected human rights. A major way they seek to accomplish this goal is by exposing children and teenagers to graphic sexual materials and teaching them that experiencing sexual pleasure is not only a human right to which they are entitled, but is necessary for their health and well-being.

    Anybody want to argue that this is abuse of children? Or this may set children up to accept advances by Catholic priests...or their coaches?

  27. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.15

    Your archaic opinions on gay marriage, marrying children, gay pedophiles, multiple marriages, etc. have been debated countless times on this blog and you have been proven wrong time after time.
    If gay marriage promotes sin what difference does it make to you unless you are planning a gay marriage? What sins does adultery promote? What sins do lying promote? You get the point?

  28. JeniW 2014.08.15

    Gay marriage is about two same gender consenting adults being able to enter into a legal contract, with all the rights and responsibilities that go with it, as two opposite gender consenting adults being able to enter into a legal contract, with all the rights and responsibilities that go with it.

    In legal contracts, religious beliefs are not taken into consideration in the court of law.

    When a opposite gender couple marry, and one happens to be a Catholic, and the other person happens to be a Baptist, the court of law does not concern itself about the religion of either party when deciding how the assets and debts are divided when a couple divorce.

    Also in a legal marriage, the spouse is automatically the "next of kin," so that means that the Catholic spouse gets to give consent for medical treatment if the spouse is not able to do so. That means that the Catholic spouse gets to make decisions for the spouse who is incompetent at the moment, rather than the mother of the spouse who is happens to be a Baptist.

    It is as simple as that.

  29. Lynn 2014.08.15

    Oh dear! Another 300 comment thread coming with Sibby dominating it and talking in circles. Where is Angelo?

  30. SDTeacher 2014.08.15

    I don't know, the fact that it is headline news that someone didn't get fired just for being gay seems sad to me. I also thought it was sad this kid had to announce that he was gay and that it took such courage to do so. It's 2014 and closeted gays abound in SD. I know that relative to where we've been, this is "progress," but still, it's sad.

  31. Bill Fleming 2014.08.15

    That's not even close to a good answer, Sibby. There is no expectation that the sacrament of marriage will keep either party in the marriage from committing more sins.

    By your logic, no one who commits any sin once married would be allowed to continue to stay married.

    If you say gay marriage promotes sin, so by extension does all marriage. As usual, you're not making any sense, just babbling some nonsense to try to rationalize your indefensible position and hoping somebody will buy it.

  32. Troy 2014.08.15

    As a practicing Catholic who understands the teaching of the Church on this matter, I am not surprised by the action/lack of action by both the Church proper and Dell Rapids St. Mary's Catholic School. Based on what I can see in the public record, it is the action/lack of action consistent with the teaching of the Church for two millennia.

    If you see a change in Church Teaching, you are seeing something that doesn't exist. If you are expecting a change in the future, you will be disappointed (but if you aren't Catholic, I'm having a hard time why you care.)

    This is a matter for the Church inside her doors. Freedom of Religion is still in the Constitution and the Constitution is still the law of the land isn't it?

  33. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.15

    I agree with SD Teacher and others that in some respects this is a bit sad to have to announce to the public that you are gay. I always feel a sense of joy for those that find the courage to define who they are, it gives value and strength to their lives.
    There will come a time when these announcements won't be necessary and there will be everyday acceptance for the lifestyles of the LGBT community.
    For our young people, that acceptance has already arrived.
    I'm thinking of the young Josie Weiland and her successful effort to stop LB128 and my niece whose gay co-worker came out the other day at work. These stories are everyday events and our young strongly support them. That is what matters, no one should have to be punished because of their sexual orientation.
    The Catholic Church seems to easing their previous stance against gays, they have to, there are many gays that Catholics and or Christians. There isn't a human being on this earth that can deny gays their Christianity.
    Congratulations to the young Mr. Alfson and the Catholic Church leaders that made the decision to support him.

  34. Steve Sibson 2014.08.15

    "That's not even close to a good answer, Sibby."

    I hit the nail on the head, otherwise you would approve of marriage between an adult and a child. Don't try the, "its illegal" red herring. Sodomy was illegal at one time too, yet people took it to the SCOTUS and sexual immorality was legalized.

  35. Steve Sibson 2014.08.15

    "This is a matter for the Church inside her doors."

    My previous too Troy, but the gay promoters what it to be a public spectacle in order to justify their immoral position as being Christian.

  36. Steve Sibson 2014.08.15

    "For our young people, that acceptance has already arrived."

    Thanks to the New Age indoctrination in our government schools. You people call it sex education and rights. I call it child abuse. The damage shows up in adulthood.

    "The Catholic Church seems to easing their previous stance against gays, they have to, there are many gays that Catholics and or Christians."

    There you go Troy. This is an open issue in order to promote sexual immorality as an accepted Christian doctrine. So now St. Mary's is forced to stick with Biblical Doctrine or go in bed with the New Age pagan culture.

  37. Bill Fleming 2014.08.15

    "I hit the nail on the head..." no, you hit your thumb with the hammer.

  38. JeniW 2014.08.15

    Steve, what are you planning to do beyond posting your comments here, to change the state laws regarding people of the same gender entering into a legal contract of marriage?

    Will you be filing a lawsuit, making an effort for each state to make it a decision by the voters, or some other strategy?

    What are your plans to make sodomy illegal?

    If you think a child under the age of 18 should be able to enter into any type of legal contract, whether it is a marriage contract, a contract to purchase goods or services, what and how will you go about making that change?

    You have to be the first one to take the first step toward making the changes you desire. You, and others who agree with you, should not expect someone else to do it for you.

    There is the saying that goes something like "Be the change that you want to happen."

    It is sort of like the weather, we can all express our opinions about the weather, but it does not matter if we do not make an effort change the weather.

  39. Bill Fleming 2014.08.15

    The flaw in Sibby's argument, and to an extent, all similar arguments, is the presumption that marriage and sex acts are the same thing. They are not. There is no legal or moral stipulation that a couple has to engage in sex in order to be or to stay married. They are two completely different issues. For some (Troy for example) all sex acts between people who are not married to one another are immoral (aka "sinful), but the reciprocal is not true. Mairriage still doesn't grant a person the moral right to have sex with a marriage partner who doesn't want to have it. BECAUSE MARRIAGE AND SEX ARE TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ISSUES.

  40. Lynn 2014.08.15

    Steve are you going to go door to door and talk to people and campaign for the law to change and/or campaign for Meyers/Hubble?

  41. Lynn 2014.08.15

    Troy I was raised Catholic but keep in mind that it depends on the parish, local priests and nuns on how church doctrine to some degree is interpreted. It varies since some parishes are very conservative and some are very progressive and tolerant.

  42. Troy 2014.08.15


    Good article in I think yesterday's Wall Street Journal about the excessive use of the word "moral" as a qualifier and in many cases its improper use. Your use above ("moral right") passes that test. Just saying. :)

  43. Kal Lis 2014.08.15

    I think the the folks in Dell Rapids are sticking with Biblical doctrine

    John Chapter 8

    1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

    2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

    But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

    How about allowing Mr. Alfson deal with God and the Roman Catholic church and his own church if he doesn't happen to be Catholic. (If it's in one of Cory's posts I missed it.) In the meantime, the rest of us can practice and undefined religion: James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    Note the phrasing is "oneself" not others.

    Mr. Alfson is not part of your physical community, so he's not causing you any harm. He's not part of this on-line community unless he uses an pseudonym that I'm unaware of, so he's not calling you a bigot or asking people to covet your material possessions, a concern that seems to motivate you like few others.

    The argument about the church and pedophiles has a place but not in this instance. A gay man is in charge of a girls volleyball team. These may be the safest girls in the country. And as far as New Age paganism goes, do you celebrate any church holidays? Just curious because most of them match up with pagan holidays.

    Sibby, I'm going to keep saying it. You're doing Christianity more harm than good. Please stop.

  44. Jenny 2014.08.15

    See how Catholicism screwed up Sibby so bad?

  45. Jenny 2014.08.15

    Troy - "This is a matter for the Church inside her doors"
    Was that a joke Troy? (Yes, we all know the Church is good at hiding its problems).

  46. mikeyc, that's me! 2014.08.15

    Every time Sibby joins in, it gives me a headache.
    It's like watching Fox News.

  47. Pat Moe 2014.08.15

    It's people like Sibby who make me bring my claws out!! I am a practicing heterosexual, but that is only one part of who I am. My brother was gay (died) , his sexuality was only one part of him. It does NOT define who I am , nor did it define who my brother was. It is just one piece of the pie, so to speak. Sibby, what does "love thy neighbor as thyself" mean to you? I don't believe Jesus made that statement with caveats. p.s. - Cory, you should block this man, he wants do do nothing but spout off HIS small minded theology!

  48. Lynn 2014.08.15

    Whatever happened to praying for others and love? Everyone has their demons and struggles in life.

    Mr. Alfson showed a great deal of courage and took risk in coming out while employed as a teacher and coach at a Catholic school. I'm very happy that he has been able to keep his job and can now focus on doing what he enjoys in his chosen profession.

  49. mikeyc, that's me! 2014.08.15

    It's like going on a hunting trip with Dick Cheney.

  50. mikeyc, that's me! 2014.08.15

    Feel free to join in here, people.
    Reading Sibbys comments is like.......

  51. Bill Fleming 2014.08.15

    Jenny, et al, I think we can cut Troy some slack here, or at least try better to understand where he's coming from.

    He is a conservative Catholic, Republican with libertarian instincts. Very smart, good at business and politics, loves logic and reasoned discourse, and intelligent conversation. We are lucky to have him here.

    He's not going to defend the Church leaders' obvious errors, but he's also not going to quit being who he is and sell his Church and the people he loves down the river, even when they make mistakes.

    My experience with him is, if you are reasonable with him, he will be reasonable in return. But try to use him as a punching bag and one two things will happen.

    1. He will whack you back if he feels like you're still worth conversing with, or

    2. He will just ignore you and move on, figuring neither of you has anything to gain by continuing the conversation.

    If the latter happens, we will have missed an opportunity to see what "the good guys on the other side of the aisle" are thinking. And I, for one, don't really want to miss that.

    In short, Troy, in my mind is in a whole different class than guys like Sibby.

    (That's probably enough. I have to be careful with Troy. Too much praise from me, and he starts taking heat from the hard-liners in his camp. LOL.)

  52. Troy 2014.08.15


    I'm getting used to the "heat." Believe it or not, they think I'm a moderate too dumb to know when I'm being used by liberals. You do know now your liberal creed is suspect.

    Just to clarify. I'm Catholic first, libertarian by outlook, and conservative Republican in politics. Haven't figured out how to modify by liberal or conservative the term Catholic. Either you are or you aren't.

    Need to get some wagers going. The Senate race itself will probably get three different bets. We seem to talk more even if it seems they never get paid. Was going to be a big day but weather moved it a week. Hard to get geared up and then backed down. Roller Coaster my friend. Hope all is well.

  53. Bill Fleming 2014.08.15

    Yes, I owe Troy at least two beers and two steak dinners, going back several years. Good thing that doesn't get reported on my credit score ;-)

  54. Steve Sibson 2014.08.15

    Kal, you forget the part where Jesus said go and sin no more.

  55. Roger Elgersma 2014.08.15

    You can disagree with Sibson on legal grounds but not on religious grounds. The Bible says that the clergy should either take the highest ground of not marrying or at least be the husband of only one wife. Those who mate with a child are not even eligible for the clergy. That does not mean that they should not be forgiven if they are repentant. But now the Catholic church switched from a pope who asked forgiveness to one who says do not judge gay preists.
    If you do not believe in God or the Bible then this all might seem like nonsense.
    But when a church or an individual does something that they think is wrong and then rather than improve, they change what they think right and wrong is, they are simply being inconsistent with them selves. Not a sign of values that are of any value.

  56. Kal Lis 2014.08.15

    No I didn't, Neither of us is Jesus.

  57. Roger Elgersma 2014.08.15

    Most gays I have met are bisexual. On average they also have more mates than most heterosexuals. If Alfson is bi then the girls are not as safe as the school might think. But to judge him by what is average would be prejudiced. If they have spoken with him and found out what he thinks moral values are and are ok with that, then they made their decision on fact rather than lies or wishes or averages.

  58. Steve Sibson 2014.08.15

    "Mr. Alfson is not part of your physical community, so he's not causing you any harm."

    You guys have completely missed my point. My argument is against Cory saying that "Gay Christian Athlete" is not being fired by the Catholic institution without pointing the requirement of a gay Christian to implement the virtue of chastity. My argument is not against Mr. Alfson. It is against out of context deception.

  59. mike from iowa 2014.08.15

    Roger E,sounds like you are confusing gays with pedophiles. They aren't the same and you'd probably get complaints from both sides about being accused of being something they are not.

  60. Rich 2014.08.15

    'My previous too Troy, but the gay promoters what it to be a public spectacle in order to justify their immoral position as being Christian.'

    Gay promoters? What are gay promoters promoting? Is there an app for that?

  61. Roger Elgersma 2014.08.16

    Mike, I am not comfusing them at all. Most teenage high school students are sixteen or over so would not be a pediphile situation at all. There is research that shows that the average heterosexual adult had an average of one to two partners in the past year and the average homosexual had an average of eight mates in the past year. Homosexuals simply have no or much less boundaries. But as I said before, each person is an individual and so we can not assume that Alfson is average for whatever homosexuals are. You have made some assumption that I confuse homo which pediphile. Does that make you a subconscious hater to slander me like that.

  62. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.16

    I knew that would happen. :-)

    Steve, I ignore no relevant context. You're making a lot of steam about chastity. But has Alfson made any public comment about with whom and whether he is having sex? I've seen no such comment. I don't want to see any such comment. And no employer should ever ask for such comment.

    But given the popularity of this topic with readers, I want to ask: why do we get so bent out of shape over this particular sin? (And LGBT and progressive readers, I apologize as I slip into the language of those who would oppress our gay neighbors, but I beg your indulgence as I try to analyze this issue from the more strict religious perspective.) Again, we have no evidence that Alfson has committed the "sin" of getting physical with his fellow fellows, but suppose we take his public statement that he is gay as at least a strong implication that he has engaged and/or intends to engage in sexual relations with men. What are we worried about? Do we really think Alfson will turn some of his students and neighbors into homosexuals? Do we really think that the fifth-grade teacher Jenny mentions promotes sin by maintaining a private belief—never mentioned in her classroom!—that the Catholic Church is wrong about gay marriage?

    Nathan Alfson is homosexual, like millions of other people. He acknowledges that fact publicly. Why should anyone freak out about that?

  63. mike from iowa 2014.08.16

    Slander? I'd like to see some of your evidence that gay people are pedophiles. If a child is under the age of consent,he or she cannot be trifled with by an older person-that is pedophilia and statutory rape. You need to re-read your dictionary and get your terms straight(no pun intended) starting with slander.

  64. Lynn 2014.08.16

    Cory maybe the whole point of this especially in South Dakota is that hopefully in the near future this will completely be a non-issue. A person's sexual orientation or identity has nothing to do with job performance, integrity, work ethic and so many other positive qualities society values.

  65. Steve Sibson 2014.08.16

    "But has Alfson made any public comment about with whom and whether he is having sex? I've seen no such comment."

    Cory, thanks for your response. Mr. Alfson has not addressed the issue of whether or not he is a practicing homosexual. If he had came out admitting his homosexual sinful desires, but then states that his Christian faith has motivated him not to take action on those desires, then he could be correctly called a gay Christian. Instead he made the public admission and is allowing the gay political activists promote the premise that one can be a Christian and also a willful practicing homosexual. That is false from a Biblical basis.

    "Again, we have no evidence that Alfson has committed the "sin" of getting physical with his fellow fellows, but suppose we take his public statement that he is gay as at least a strong implication that he has engaged and/or intends to engage in sexual relations with men. What are we worried about? Do we really think Alfson will turn some of his students and neighbors into homosexuals?"

    The answer to the last question is a resounding yes. Based on the Bible, Mr. Alfson has become a stumbling block, meaning his current public position may indeed cause others to become practicing homosexuals. I have direct knowledge that such does happen. And there is where we can then argue that for the good of society, such immoral acts should be illegal and classed with pedophilia. For those of you that still believe there should be a distinction, then you should also promote a ban on sex education that crosses the line and promotes sexual activity among those under the age of legally making a contract and provides willing victims for pedophiles.

    Now that Mr. Alfson has come out of the closet, he needs to decide if he is going to promote the Biblical Christian position, or instead join the rebellion (apostasy). And that means the church members have a Biblical obligation to implement church discipline. And if their church discipline runs a foul of the government's laws on discrimination, then we have a First Amendment problem. A protected class has rights that trumps religious rights.

  66. larry kurtz 2014.08.16

    "A protected class has rights that trumps religious rights." Just ignore the other crap spilling Sibson's pie hole.

  67. JeniW 2014.08.16

    Steve, what are you planning to do to convince the Dell Rapids school for whom Mr. Alfson is employer, that he should not to be a teacher/coach at the school?

    If you want changes made, it has to start with you.

  68. larry kurtz 2014.08.16

    Sibson as a school board member should scare the spit out of Mitchell.

  69. JeniW 2014.08.16

    If the voters in Mitchell elect Steve as a School Board member, they will be getting what they want.

  70. Lynn 2014.08.16

    I can see Sibby going door to door talking to people about this neo crazy crap or campaigning for a candidate and 99.8% politely ask him to leave within the 1st few minutes, call the police or kick his arse out into the street.

  71. Rich 2014.08.16

    'Mr. Alfson has not addressed the issue of whether or not he is a practicing homosexual.'

    He does not need to address it. It's no one's business but his. You can claim it's everyone's business but that doesn't mean you're right. Can we have surveillance cameras installed in your home so we can see what goes on behind your closed doors?

    It's highly unlikely Mr. Sibson would win a seat on the school board in Mitchell. His last attempt to get elected to the state Legislature ended very badly. His reputation in the community is not pretty.

  72. mike from iowa 2014.08.16

    Sibby,are you a practicing heterosexual? Are you married? Do you cheat on your spouse if married? Do you masturbate? Do you covet other's wives? Have you ogled any 15 year old girls or boys? Do you have any pets?

  73. Douglas Wiken 2014.08.16

    Marriage of any kind opens up a whole new class of law violations and even sin that does not exist outside of marriage. Sibson always mixes apples and oranges and argues against strawmen that don't exist. He is however useful in being a graphic articulate exponent of a peculiar kind of insanity altogether too common on the far right fringes of mental illness.

  74. mike from iowa 2014.08.16

    and as Grudz would postulate,Sibby is insaner than most. BTW,I read a post on your site about calf slobbers on a gate rope. Brought back lots of memories of my cattle feeding/cattle chasing misspent youth. Dang cattle are insaner than most.

  75. aaron 2014.08.16

    I know I’ll regret stepping into this fray as I always do but there seems to be a misunderstanding about sin in these comments that ought to be addressed. Corey is right when he says all Christians are sinners but he's also only getting half the equation. When a Christian sins, by the power of the Holy Spirit, they know they have committed a sin according to God's law and ask forgiveness. This does not mean they will never commit the sin again. For the life of a Christian is daily battle between spirit and flesh but the key is it is a battle, we do not give in and begin to call sin okay or just part of who we are but continue to look to God for help in overcoming. For instance, I have the unfortunate habit of blaspheming when I feel frustration. However as soon as I do this, I know I have done something wrong. I ask forgiveness knowing full well I will probably do it again but the battle by the help of God I will maintain. As a result, I find I can avoid blasphemy in the presence of others and I would not expect to be able to maintain employment at a Catholic or any other school if I habitually went around saying g*&d@##$% in casual conversation with staff and students. I would not say: well this is just who I am, this is how I express myself, there's nothing wrong with it, it's legal, why are you so uncomfortable.

    Of course none of this speaks to the actual actions of Mr Alfson. He may have the same feeling with his sexuality as I do with blasphemy in which case the school is correct to keep him in employ. However if he engages in willful homosexual acts and no remorse is offered, as a private Christian institution they should do the same just as if they should if he were to say, have an affair with a married female staff member and terminate his employment.

    As to Corey's question why this issue generates such a strong reaction, I'll offer this as one possible reason. Christians see the word of God as final. Secularists may change other people's mind but they will not change God's. Of course us humans, Christians and otherwise, with all our frailties are still going to feel threatened when we see you try to override God's word in essence place yourselves above Him. You will not win in the end, but out of weakness we will still react in a un-Christ like manner much of the time.

    The issue and sin of homosexuality is in a way a unique one to our time even though it has always been around. The secular world (which unfortunately includes some mainline churches) is trying very hard these days to get people to see it as normal, just another lifestyle and a diversity to be celebrated and to a large part they are being successful. The world is not presently trying to do the same thing with cheating on your wife or murder or stealing because everybody still knows these things are wrong. As Sibby mentioned above, they are not doing the same thing with hetero sex amongst the unmarried because many have now accepted that as okay. To the Christian who seriously studies God's revealed word, there is no way one can come to any other conclusion than that homosexuality is wrong as well as any other sex outside of traditional marriage. True Christ does not address the issue of homosexuality directly but he does affirm everything in the Old Testament and I think we can all agree the OT is pretty clear on the issue. Also there is absolutely no doubt how Paul views the issue and all serious Christians do believe Paul actually did have a direct line to God and it happened on the 'Road to Damascus'. Remember as well in Paul's writings he was speaking to Greek and Roman cultures which at the time had views on homosexuality which are similar to those of secular society today. So there you go, Christians know the world is filled with sin and daily struggle against it and hope for our families to do the same and not give in. We may sin, but will continue to look to God and his Word for help and guidance. In the midst of a struggle I think it is understandable one can become especially irate when secularists (who are also all God’s children) come along and appear to us to willfully try undermining and belittling our struggle against ALL sin as is what presently, the sin of homosexuality seems to be a popular tool for. I can’t think of anything else to say presently which sufficiently sums up my point other than I hope it provides some of the insight you are looking for. I certainly don’t expect to change anyone’s heart or mind.

  76. bearcreekbat 2014.08.16

    aaron, thanks for your comments. I wonder if you would be willing to address a question for me.

    You explain that as a Christian you "struggle against ALL sin," and clarify that Jesus affirms "everything in the Old Testament." Numbers 15:32-36 tells the story of an old man who broke the Sabbath by gathering sticks on the Sabbath and was stoned to death according to God's law.

    Do you think a Christian school should fire a teacher who engages in willful acts that violate the Sabbath, such as playing golf or working at a job, and offers no remorse?

    And do you think that such a sin, which is a direct violation of the fourth commandment, is greater than, equal to, or worse than engaging in a homosexual act, which is not mentioned at all in the ten commandments?

  77. mike from iowa 2014.08.16

    Aaron,did you equate homosexuality with adultery?

  78. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.16

    A quick read through reveals more reasoned and nuanced comments than usual, which is nice. (Sibson's comments disregarded.)

    The issue of Biblical support for one's particular position is always problematic and almost never as absolute as we would like. This would all be so much simpler if that were not so.

    The Old Testament/Hebrew bible is especially suspect, since it is a compilation of ancient legends passed down orally for several thousand years before being committed to parchment, skins, rock, clay or cave walls. That's before more centuries of copying, editing, recopying and re-editing, for clarity, political needs, relevance and a dozen other reasons.

    The legends have a purpose. They tell us about our history in general terms. They tell us about the relationship our creator wants to have with us. Verse by verse citations, especially for the purpose of condemning those with whom we disagree, is misuse.

    Troy, what the RCC does is important to me because it has an outsized influence in a good share of the world, and certainly here in the USA. The RCC is very much a public institution and it's very much in the publicity interest to know what is going on within, especially when it involves criminal acts. That being said, why aren't pedophile RCC priests simply arrested, tried, and the guilty ones thrown in jail like any other child molester? I don't think the RCC should have any role in deciding what punishment their convicted employees receive. No other non profit or for profit business plays a similar role. I don't think other churches do either.

    As for homosexuality, if you have a problem with the same sex attraction and love other people share, then don't do it. Regardless of what you believe, disbelieve, opine, intuit, or anything else, you do not have the right to diminish the rights of others. That seems very simple to me. I truly do not understand why it's not for others.

  79. Bill Fleming 2014.08.16

    Following Deb's parting comment, it occurs to me that sometimes it's helpful to look at our laws for what they really are — restrictions of our fundamental rights. And then to remember that the State has to have a compelling reason to place restrictions on anything we do. That in essence is the legal argument for gay marriage. There is no one who has been able to present a compelling argument as to why the State has an interest in restricting a gay person's fundamental right to get married.

  80. mike from iowa 2014.08.16

    The state prolly figures like Sibby does,that it has every right to dictate its religion to you because you would benefit from their experience.

  81. JeniW 2014.08.16

    Just think, if the state would legalize same gender marriages, that state could have another source of revenue by collecting revenue from the marriage licenses. LOL :)

  82. aaron 2014.08.16

    BCB, I see you asked Sib the same question earlier. You’re probably getting way past the limit of my simple layman pay grade but for practice I’ll give it a try knowing full well I’ll likely fail your standards. That’s my way of saying I’m trying to do this in good faith.

    All sin separates us from God. Break one commandment and you break them all. The Law condemns you, me, everyone. The Good News is that alone through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus for all of us and righteousness gained through faith in Him we are saved from sin and can be one with Christ. Now your sins, whatever they are can be forgiven. Without Christ, we all end up like the man in Numbers.

    In determining if one sin is greater than another, I think most people would say that there are differing degrees of sinfulness and that scriptures also make such references. For instance to get to the point where one commits full physical adultery, it’s fair to conclude several other sins and a hardening of the heart had to appear beforehand. Whereas anyone can skip church a few times and come back into the fold without much built up pride to overcome. In both instances though, forgiveness is possible because of Christ’s atonement. A full answer to this is not possible for me on this comment board. If you truly want an answer to this question with all the bases covered I would urge you to look well beyond my explanation to those of folks with much more understanding and practice when it comes to these types of questions. William Lane Craig has many resources on his website and perhaps even an answer to just your question.

    As for policy to a Christian school, all I can say is I hope there would be concern if a teacher was never able to worship and felt fully justified in all their reasons. I mean if an organization is going to call itself a Christian school, they should have some type of Christian standards otherwise what is the point? Will they always hire perfect people and make the best decisions, of course not but who would pay money to send their kid to a Christian school which was ruled by totally secular standards.

  83. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.17

    Good work Aaron. I believe that God is much less concerned with sin than we humans make out. Think about how little Jesus demonstrated concern with sin. It was most commonly a topic when his detractors tried to trip him up with their version of a trick question.

    On the other hand, Jesus tossed around forgiveness as if he had so much to offer that he didn't know what to do with it. In fact, that was exactly the case. Still is.

    We humans tend to operate almost exclusively from a place of scarcity. Nearly everything we do flows from that perspective. There is a limited amount of land in SD, so prices keep rising. There are fewer cattle, so beef prices are rising. We only have one home (most of us) so it is precious to us. Etc etc., endlessly.

    God's economy flows from abundance. There is more forgiveness, more mercy, than could ever end. Jesus really did throw around forgiveness as if it grows on trees. Sometimes people didn't even ask for mercy. Jesus just threw it out without concern for what anyone had done to "deserve" mercy. Guess no deserving was necessary.

    Jesus never showed any interest or concern about faithful, monogamous, sexual relationships. There is nothing to indicate that he cared one way or another about homosexuality, heterosexuality, or any other variety of human sexual relationships, as long as it was limited to 2 people who treated one another with respect, kindness, and affection.

    There really isn't any biblical condemnation of people who are not heterosexual, other than a very few bad translations of ancient texts. The Bible Does Not Say that same sex relationships are sinful.

    It's hard to accept that because for the past few generations Christians have been taught something that is not in the Bible. The anti-LBTG myth is not an outlier. We've also been taught that black and brown people are not among Jesus' beloved. We've been taught that women are inferior to males.

    It's good for us, and a blessing that can lead us closer to the heart of God, each time we are able to dig through a little more of the mythology surrounding the Bible, to get nearer to the core of meaning it holds for us.

  84. Steve Sibson 2014.08.17

    "The Old Testament/Hebrew bible is especially suspect"

    A statement from a false teacher.

    "There is no one who has been able to present a compelling argument as to why the State has an interest in restricting a gay person's fundamental right to get married."

    I most certainly did, as the false teacher ignored, the same as you Bill.

  85. Steve Sibson 2014.08.17

    "God's economy flows from abundance. There is more forgiveness, more mercy, than could ever end. Jesus really did throw around forgiveness as if it grows on trees. Sometimes people didn't even ask for mercy. Jesus just threw it out without concern for what anyone had done to "deserve" mercy. Guess no deserving was necessary."

    That is not the Jesus of the Bible. He told the prostitute to go and sin no more. Automatic forgiveness is not the Gospel of the Bible. Deb, you are misleading people down the wrong path.

  86. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.17

    Steve, no, you are trying to convict Alfson on what he hasn't said, requiring him to prove his innocence. Not fair.

    Bill emphasizes the point above that marriage and sex are not equivalent. And even if certain sexual practices are sinful (again, I wade into the murky waters of someone else's theology), those sexual practices are, as Rich says above, no employer's business unless someone is doing those sexual practices in the office... and I'm willing to grant every employer license to fire employees for having sex of any kind in the office.

  87. JB 2014.08.17

    steve is so vain i bet he thinks this post is about him

  88. Bill Fleming 2014.08.17

    Sibby, clearly your argument is not compelling. The way you can tell is that everybody ignores it. Here on Madville, and also in the High Courts.

  89. Bill Fleming 2014.08.17

    Here's the crux of Sibby's argument:

    "Gay people should not be able to marry because it discriminates against people who want to marry their dogs, horses and 12 year olds."

    Ridiculous. Ignorable. It's a red herring in the shirt pocket of a strawman sliding down a slippery slope.

    Here's the crux of some other arguments, not quite as ridiculous but still not legally compelling. "Gay people shouldn't get married because when gay people have sex, it's a sin."

    Legally institutionalizing religious beliefs amounts to imposing a theocracy on the citizenry, and is specifically forbidden by the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution.

  90. bearcreekbat 2014.08.17

    aaron, I appreciate your comment addressing my question - thanks! I realize theology is a complex field. As an atheist I find theology interesting, especially given the role of religion throughout history, along with the severe pain that can be caused those who seek to impose their religious views on non-believers. For example, Sunday's RC Journal (page E8) reports that "Islamic State fighters had surrounded the nearby [Yazidi] village and demanded that its Yazidi residents convert or die." While that is an immediate threat, it echos the very same threats I often hear from people who have views similar to Sibby, such as the threat of convert or suffer eternal death.

    Another example of unnecessary religious pain comes from the teachings of certain religions to women about sex and how engaging in the wrong type of sex devalues a woman. Samatha Pugsley's story seems particularly compelling:

  91. bearcreekbat 2014.08.17

    deb, I also appreciate your comments on this issue. Sorry I missed meeting you and other Madville contributors in person at Rickstock. I came a bit earlier, had a nice visit with Cory, and then had to leave.

  92. bearcreekbat 2014.08.17

    Sibby, in Constitutional law a compelling interest means more than one person's opinion, unless it is the opinion of the Supreme Court justice with the swing vote. As Bill points out, there is no compelling interest in taking away someone's right to marry simply because they have different religious beliefs than your personal beliefs, no matter how sincerely you hold these beliefs.

  93. larry kurtz 2014.08.17

    God ‏@TheTweetOfGod 34s

    Never in the infinite years of My existence have I walked around carrying a sign reading "I Hate Fags".

  94. JeniW 2014.08.17

    What I find interesting about the story of the prostitute, is that when Jesus said to the men, something like "ye who is without sin, cast the first stone," but as the men walked away, Jesus did not say as they were leaving "go and sin no more."

    It other thing I think is significant is that Jesus who was free of sin, did not throw a stone (or anything else,) to hurt or kill her.

    Why say that the the prostitute, but not to the men who wanted to kill the woman by stoning her to death?

    Sorry to have digressed away from the topic at hand, but I have wondered about that for years.

  95. Bill Fleming 2014.08.17

    Really keen observation of scripture, JeniW. It will be interesting to see how the Bible readers here field your questions. My take is that Jesus was following through with his assertion that the two love commandments were the only important ones, trumping all the others.

    There is a funny variation on this story that tells how when Jesus says the part about people without sin casting the first stone, a little pebble comes flying out of the crowd and bounces rather harmlessly off the prostitute's head. Jesus pauses, sighs, rolls his eyes and says, "Mom, knock it off."

  96. Steve Sibson 2014.08.17

    "Steve, no, you are trying to convict Alfson on what he hasn't said, requiring him to prove his innocence. Not fair."

    No Cory, it is the pro-homosexual movement that is guilty of that. You guys are assuming a practicing homosexual can be rightfully considered a Christian of good standing, worthy of having a leadership position in the church. You assumed he is a practicing homosexual. And if the church cannot exercise its church discipline, then we have a First Amendment violation.

    BCB, it is not my opinion, it is my experience and observation within society. The traditional family structure is what gives order to a society. The pagan lifestyle brings chaos and confusion, especially in regard to the children. Sad that "public opinion" has to be changed via the government school's indoctrination programs, resulting in child abuse.

  97. Steve Sibson 2014.08.17

    "I have wondered about that for years"

    JeniW, that is because you have ears but cannot hear and eyes but cannot see. No offense intended, it is a Biblical principle found in the OT and the NT. So much for Deb's position that the OT is a problem.

  98. bearcreekbat 2014.08.17

    Actually, Sibby, I think that our individual experiences and observations within society help each of us form whatever opinions we hold. My experiences and observations within society have led me to form different opinions than yours, just as the experiences and observations within society of other people have led others to form different opinions than either you or I. But whether either of us think something is "compelling" is not particularly relevant in the law. What matters is what our lawmakers and judges decide, and for now they have decided that society does not have a compelling interest in prohibiting gay intimacy, and each court to address the issue recently has decided that there is no compelling interest in taking away the right to marry from same sex consenting adult couples.

  99. Steve Sibson 2014.08.17

    BCB, yes I know. The opinions of a few judges are trumping the First Amendment rights of Christian institutions. This movement (Cultural Marxism) has been going on for decades and helps explain the chaos that now justifies more government control, the need for more courts, and thereby the need for more judges and their opinons. Hope you so-called liberals are happy about that.

  100. Bill Fleming 2014.08.17

    You have it exactly backwards, don't you Sibby? The First Amendment trumps your right to impose your religious beliefs on others. To do so would violate the establishment clause. Churches who refuse to recognize gay marriage remain totally free to do so.

  101. bearcreekbat 2014.08.17

    Sibby, I have to admit that I, like you, have disagreed with many Judge's opinions, such as the Hobby Lobby ruling and the Gonzales v. Raich ruling. Nevertheless, I am very happy that we have government control, judges and judicial opinions that help prevent people from killing each other to resolve their conflicts. Without the government and our courts, the chaos and uncontrolled violence of anarchy would be a frightening prospect. And although I am a lifelong Republican with many conservative views, I am also proud to be called a "liberal" from time to time based on ideas that I believe help improve the condition that modern humans live in. So I will say, thanks for the compliment!

  102. JeniW 2014.08.17

    "So unless you've lived a life
    Of total perfection
    Mmm, you'd better be careful of every stone
    That you should throw

    Yet we spend the day throwin' stones at one another
    Cause I don't think or wear my hair same way you do
    Well, I may be common people but I'm your brother
    And when you strike out and try to hurt me it's a hurtin' you."

    Steve S. What makes you think my question has anything to do with Deb, or are you using me as an excuse to throw stones at Deb?

    I noticed that you did not answer my question as to why Jesus did not say to the men who wanted to stone a woman to death, "go and sin no more."? They obviously knew that they were guilty of being sinners. Is it because you do not know the answer to my question? Nothing wrong with saying "I do not know."

    I can just as easily state that you have ears but do not hear, and you have eyes but do not see. You are just as guilty as others of being selective about what you hear and see.

  103. Steve Sibson 2014.08.17

    "Churches who refuse to recognize gay marriage remain totally free to do so."

    No they don't Bill. They will be in violation of discrimination against a protected class.

  104. Steve Sibson 2014.08.17

    " are you using me as an excuse to throw stones at Deb?"

    It was Deb who threw stones at the Bible. You don't understand it. Not sure if there is a clear distinction.

  105. Lynn 2014.08.17

    Sibby why are you constantly posting about your religious beliefs? Do you think you will change our minds? What is the purpose?

    Our country is made up of so many diverse beliefs from the Quakers, Amish, Catholics, Muslim, Jewish, Protestant and others.

    Personally I try to respect others beliefs and appreciate how they have contributed to society over the ages. My relationship with God is very intimate and I alone feel responsible for my actions here on Earth. If you don't agree with how Nathan Alfson, myself or anyone else lives their life than pray for us. I'd sure appreciate it!

    Otherwise if you don't like a law or how the courts ruled then do what is needed in our legal process to make changes. If you can't seem to make inroads towards that change than maybe realize that you can only do so much that is within your power and live your life the best you can according to your beliefs.

    We have so many injustices in our world we all could probably agree with that we are against such as war, genocide, starvation and hunger. We do the best we can.

    Steve with you constantly badgering us on basically the same thing doesn't help you or us after a while. We are on our own paths going thru life here on Earth.

  106. JeniW 2014.08.17

    So Steve, you are admitting to throwing stones at Deb, me, and to everyone else who does not agree 100% with your opinions. LOL

    You still have not answered my question as to why Jesus did not say to the men who wanted to throw stones at the woman "go and sin no more."

  107. Bill Fleming 2014.08.17

    I don't think that's accurate, Steve. You can probably find out. See if any churches have been sued for not recognizing gay marriages in states that allow them.

  108. Steve Sibson 2014.08.17

    " There is an exception in anti-discrimination laws for churches."

    That exception is now being attacked by the likes of Mr. Alfson by being portrayed as a "Gay Christian". And we have false teachers like Deb providing institutional support that practicing homosexuality is permissible for Christianity. That is why it is important for Biblical Christians to speak out, even if that means being persecuted by nonbelievers and the apostate church.

    "So Steve, you are admitting to throwing stones at Deb, me, and to everyone else who does not agree 100% with your opinions. LOL"

    We did you get that idea? I said Deb was throwing stones at the Bible. But thanks for helping support the premise I just argued with this comment

  109. Steve Sibson 2014.08.17

    Both BCB and Fleming are wrong:

    A church group that owns beachfront property discriminated against a lesbian couple by not allowing them to rent the locale for their civil union ceremony, a New Jersey department ruled Monday in a case that has become a flash point in the nation’s gay rights battle.

    The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights said its investigation found that the refusal of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to rent the oceanfront spot to the couple for their same-sex union in March 2007 violated the public accommodation provisions of the state’s Law Against Discrimination.

    Read more:

  110. mike from iowa 2014.08.17

    Thanks for proving Bill and BCB right,Sibby. Now put a sock in it and run along and pester someone else for awhile. It is Sunday,take a break and we'll call you when we need you.

  111. bearcreekbat 2014.08.17

    Sibby, thanks for the interesting link. Although the decision might be explained by the apparent fact that the group was engaging in for profit rentals, which was not a protected religious activity in the past, my guess is that under the recent Hobby Lobby ruling, the decision will be reversed.

    Hobby Lobby ruled that government regulations can be trumped if the owners of the business argue that the requirements violate their religious views, even in the case of a for-profit non-religious corporation. In that case the government regulation could not be enforced under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act absent proof of a compelling governmental interest in requiring compliance with the regulation. I suspect that decision will control in the rental case you cited.

  112. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.17

    In 1966 North Carolina Ellen Gerber and Pearl Berlin committed to their lives together. In 2013 they made their union again in their synagogue in Greensboro. Three months later they legally married in Maine.
    Pearl and Ellen have now been together for 48 hours and they say their relationship only grows stronger each year.
    The couple are legally married and it has been sanctioned in their synagogue.
    They are irrelevant in the eyes of North Carolina laws where gay marriage is illegal.
    The only way marriage equality will move forward is with stories like Nathan's, Ellen and Pearl, and far too many more waiting to be heard.
    This past Friday, my niece and her circle of friends went out on the town for a back to college celebration, it turned out to be much more. A male friend in the group came out to them and they instantly had another to celebrate, offering him support and friendship.
    Focusing attention on the individual stories of the LGBT community should be the foundation in their efforts to gain legal recognition for equal rights.
    There is no longer an excuse for people having to live in the shadows and to have the fears many gay couples express. We can debate tell hell freezes over about the definition or marriage, Biblical scripture and theology, but the real issue is that this state is denying basic freedom to its citizens. That is repulsive.

  113. bearcreekbat 2014.08.17

    And Sibby, the wedding lawsuit case you cited appears to be a legal claim, rather than a court decision. If the gay couple wins, perhaps your argument will be vindicated. Unfortunately, I doubt that will happen after Hobby Lobby. And I think it would have lost before Hobby Lobby. Maybe the couples' lawyer has a new argument up his or her sleeve, but until then I believe that precedent shows Bill to be right.

  114. Bill Fleming 2014.08.17

    Right. My point exactly. Until you can cite a case where the Church loses and is forced to acknowledge and/or perform gay marriages, my argument prevails Sibby.

  115. JeniW 2014.08.17

    Well, Steve please clarify this comment that you made:

    " are you using me as an excuse to throw stones at Deb?"

    "It was Deb who threw stones at the Bible. You don't understand it. Not sure if there is a clear distinction."

    To me that sounded like an argument that "Deb threw stones at the Bible first, so I get to throw stones at her." If I am wrong, please clarify.

    I still waiting for you to answer my question of why didn't Jesus tell the men who wanted to throw stones at a woman, "go and sin no more."

  116. Steve Sibson 2014.08.17

    I see you all still have not had enough truth today:

    A parish food pantry worker who was fired over her marriage to another woman sued the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on Thursday, the latest in a growing number of clashes over gay rights between Roman Catholic leaders and their employees nationwide.

    Sad that you liberals think you can continue to get away with your deceptions.

  117. Steve Sibson 2014.08.17

    Perhaps we now know the real reason Alfson was not fired. St. Mary's can afford the legal costs of a lawsuit. So much for freedom of religion in America. As I been saying, the Constitutional Republic has been destroyed and we are on the way to establishing the New Age Theocracy. Christians: get out of the way or get run over.

  118. JeniW 2014.08.17

    It does not look like a decision about the lawsuit against the Diocese of Kansas City has been to court yet.

    Nearly every adult citizen of the U.S. can file a lawsuit, but that does not mean that the person filing the lawsuit has won. After the decision is made by the court, then we will know if the lawsuit was successful or not.

  119. Steve Sibson 2014.08.17

    "Until you can cite a case where the Church loses and is forced to acknowledge and/or perform gay marriages, my argument prevails Sibby."

    It is all about money Fleming. Not everyone can afford a lawyer.

  120. larry kurtz 2014.08.17

    " Christians: get out of the way or get run over." Works for me.

  121. Steve Sibson 2014.08.17

    "I doubt that will happen after Hobby Lobby.'

    An you all went ape mad after that decision, so don't make buy the premise that you all believe in religious rights. And thanks Larry for helping support my argument.

  122. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.17

    JeniW, your question about the johns and the prostitute is a good one. There are several interesting points.

    The culture demanded rigorous adherence to the norm/myth of male dominance. There was no restriction on male sexual behavior. Male culture did not allow any sexual sin. A man could divorce his wife by simply saying he wanted to. She was out on the street, or dirt path, with nothing, including her children. She had no rights to divorce or anything else. She was merely property, on the same level as his sheep and grain.

    That proposes 2 options. Perhaps the males who offered the story did a little editing to remove any suggestion of rebuke of them. That is somewhat plausible.

    Perhaps Jesus fully intended to rebuke only the prostitute, not her customers. That's unlikely given Jesus' history of being much more critical of the rich or powerful.

    Lastly, Jesus' rebuke of the woman was very mild, while he strongly and directly defended her, while publicly and graphically shaming the johns.

    How's that JeniW? More questions? Feel free to ask.

  123. JeniW 2014.08.17

    Thank you Deb, that makes sense.

  124. Erik 2014.08.18

    My thought through all of these comments is that Steve Sibson is exactly correct... if you believe in and follow The Bible. You can't be a Christian and cherry-pick what you want or don't want to believe in in your own personal version of The Bible / Jesus / God. If you do that, you've created your own custom version of Christianity. If you believe in God as defined by The Bible, this God quickly evaporates the moment you start denying what The Bible says.

    I'm glad I don't believe any of this, especially all of the hate spewed by Steve. Humans treating other humans with love and respect is religion enough for me.

  125. bearcreekbat 2014.08.18

    Sibby, please don't misunderstand my comments about the Hobby Lobby decision. I disagree with the Court's ruling, just as you disagree with other decisions of the Court, such as Lawrence v. Texas. But whether you or I disagree is pretty much besides the point. I object to the new definition of "religious freedom" from Hobby Lobby, but that is currently the law of the land. You object to not being able to imprison individuals who engage in sodomy after the Lawrence decision, but that is the law of the land.

    I think the main generic difference between these two cases is that on the one side, the objectors to Lawrence want to lock up those people who have different beliefs (for example those who believe that it is not a sin or immoral to have sex with another consenting adult, regardless of that persons gender), while the objectors to Hobby Lobby are trying to protect the rights of others (namely, the right of women to have the same right to insurance benefits from their employers as all other women). Supporting equal rights makes me proud to embrace liberal viewpoints. Wanting to jail people who have different religious viewpoints is not part of my long standing conservative world view.

  126. bearcreekbat 2014.08.18

    Deb, I am fascinated by your explanation to JeniW in the story of Jesus and the prostitute. From my readings I think you are correct in describing how females were valued during Jesus' lifetime. I cannot recall, however, reading that Jesus ever explicitly objected to this view of women. Perhaps that can be implied by his intervention on behalf of the woman about to be stoned. Can you identify other examples that might suggest he thought of women differently than the male population surrounding him?

  127. Troy 2014.08.18

    Much of Scripture is multi-layered with many lessons that can be taken away from it.

    The story mentioned above to me a statement against the death penalty, a statement that punishment must fit the crime, and opportunity for a new start.

    Additionally, it is a story for which I should first make sure I've examined my own sinfulness lest I be self-righteous with regard to another's sinfulness.

    Finally, I don't think Christ was easy on the elders who were prepared to stone her. Self-conviction is more powerful than conviction by the outside. Just as forgiveness by others is more powerful than self-forgiveness. (A nice paradox). It is a beautiful story of both Divine Justice and Divine Mercy.

    Finally, I could give you dozens of examples where Jesus explicitly opposed the idea of women as not equally valued and loved by the Father. One of my favorite is that it was Mary of Magdela (the same prostitute we are talking about?) to whom He first appeared after the Resurrection.

  128. Erik 2014.08.18

    Bible Study on a blog run by an atheist. Gotta love it. :)

    It seems everyone has their own personal Jesus, with their thoughts of "I don't think Christ was..." or "I believe the Bible says..." or "I believe God doesn't..." And if you have your own personal Jesus, how can you judge anyone else's personal Jesus or how they follow him/her?

  129. larry kurtz 2014.08.18 seven sacraments for men but just six for women.

  130. Bill Fleming 2014.08.18

    I thought the notion of Mary M. being a prostitute has been pretty much discredited by biblical scholars, Troy, no? Beyond that, isn't there fairly good evidence that Jesus was an Essene, and that Essenes were known to give women equal status in their society?

  131. Bill Fleming 2014.08.18

    LOL good point, Eric, but interestingly not exclusive to Jesus. Pay close attention and you'll notice that everyone seems to have their own personal "Eric" too! LOL

  132. Bill Fleming 2014.08.18

    Oops...EriK... Sorry ;-)

  133. Erik 2014.08.18

    Very true, but hopefully no one claims to know how others should live their life based on their own personal Erik. Please don't justify your actions in my name. Thanks! :)

  134. bearcreekbat 2014.08.18

    Troy, I wonder how and why the Catholic Church came to decide that women could not be priests? Wikipedia (not always the best source of information) reports, "In 1994, Pope John Paul II, declared the question closed in his letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, stating: 'Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance…I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.' This encyclical further explained that the Church follows the example of Jesus, who chose only men for the specific priestly duty."

    There seems to be a disconnect. While it appears Jesus may have treated women better than other men did, didn't women still seem to have a second class status then and now, especially considering the position of the Catholic Church?

  135. Troy 2014.08.18


    Yes, the Essenes ethos had a very strong emphasis on the "made in God's Image" which would preclude both matriarchal and patriarchal organization.

    Regarding MM being a prostitute, you are correct that she is not likely "that prostitute" but prior to the casting out of the seven demons was likely one who participated in most evils. She is held out as the greatest disciple by the Church through the Crucifiction because she responded to Christ's Grace/Forgiveness with the most gratitude and vigilance.


    You are correct. It is with some shame males must admit they are unable to do all they are called to do without the extra graces from an additional sacrament.

  136. larry kurtz 2014.08.18

    Today is the 94th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, recognizing every American woman's right to vote.

  137. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.19

    One point about Erik's comment: "You can't be a Christian and cherry-pick what you want or don't want to believe in in your own personal version of The Bible / Jesus / God."

    I think Erik is saying that if one does not agree with a theology developed about 1700 years ago by a gathering restricted to old white guys, the one is not a real Christian. Correct me if I'm misunderstanding you Erik.

    That's the a false standard and therefore, the wrong basis for judgment. It stands to reason that a small, monolithic group might have some errors in their analysis. 700 hundred years later, with vastly more knowledge and evidence, it stands to reason that some errors may need to be corrected.

    Significant aspects of 4th century theology are wrong.

    Regarding the discussion of women as church leaders, that is part and parcel of the 4th century ignorance and prejudices. I don't think those old white guys were necessarily deliberately evil or cruel. They were limited by the culture of a small sliver of the world which they believed to be the norm and God's design.

    Roman Catholic women religious, such as nuns, began their own study of theology when Vatican II gave lay Roman Catholics official permission to do so. Naturally, when the laity began doing theology from a variety of perspectives, new understandings began to emerge.

    Sister Elizabeth Johnson is a wonderful theologian. She holds a PhD, she's very smart and creative about bringing new standards to bear on all aspects of Roman Catholic doctrine. Conservative Roman Catholics are appalled that she has stepped outside "traditionally accepted" dogma. Religion News Service, a wonderful resource, included a link to her commentary regarding the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy's attack on her and American women religious. It's really wonderful.

  138. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    Deb, I took Erik's comment as referencing strict fundamentalists (or as Sibby says, "biblical Christians.") I don't think he was talking about all Christians. As you know, there are strict fundamentalists in every faith, just as there are strict constructionists when it comes to the US Constitution. I look at it as a type of learning disability. An inability to comprehend the nature of allegory, metaphor, myth, poetry and/or literature as a creative act. Because of this malady, they frequently and often astoundingly fail to discern the symbol or sign from the thing itself. To coin a phrase lets call it ontological dissonance. ;-)

  139. mike fro iowa 2014.08.19

    Lest you forget,this is 'murrica and you are free to be what you want(on the off chance that you aren't black,brown,female,gay,Liberal,Muslim,etc)

  140. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    For example, the failure to understand the Greek word 'logos' and the inadequate translation of it in the Gospel of John has resulted in some profoundly absurd consequences, essentially making Bible reading an exercise in idol worship for those who who read it as "the Word."

  141. Troy 2014.08.19


    I don't think the translation is the problem but instead the interpretation is that "Word" is the same as "word" and by extension the Bible. Pope Benedict spent dozens of pages basically explaining that Logos means "Reason, Truth, and Love." Note the words are capitalized meaning Divine and perfect reason, Divine and perfect Truth, and Divine and perfect Love, all in the Person of Jesus Christ.

    The problem you allude to is the Bible is the sum and complete substance of Christ and He than can be depersonalized and ultimately reduced to an argument over words and their meaning. It is how each person can then invent their own Jesus in their own image. Which was done by more than the fundamentalists in this thread.

  142. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    I hear you, Troy, but I'm talking about mistaking a metaphor for the thing itself. The word "Logos" has practically as many different definitions as the word "God" does. And for that matter, so does the term "Christ." A lot of people think "Christ" was Jesus's last name. I'm not surprised that people make up and identify with their own version of Jesus. In fact, I'm so sure there's any problem with that. It's better than worshiping a "word," isn't it?

  143. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    Above: "In fact, I'm NOT so sure..." sorry.

  144. Troy 2014.08.19


    I think I agree with your larger point with regard to metaphor, allegory, and context vs. literal. Or that people don't understand Christ is essentially an office of the Second Person. I just want to say I think Logos stands on its own and isn't undefined or nebulous.

    I looked for something by Benedict I read but never found it. Must be in one of his books, maybe "introduction to Christianity." Anyway, I think you might find this interesting:

  145. Troy 2014.08.19

    Ps. I think those who make up and worship a Jesus in their image will be those who will hear Christ say "I don't even know you." I think the goal is for us to become more like Him and not vice versa.

  146. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    We all need to be more like unicorns.

  147. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    "I think the goal is for us to become more like Him and not vice versa."

    Point taken, Troy. I don't disagree with that.

  148. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    Larry, those who don't believe in Bigfoot haven't met grudznick.

  149. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    Excellent letter by Benedict, Troy. He has it right, at least in terms of the linguistics. It continues to amaze, how much the Ancient Greeks got right.

  150. Erik 2014.08.19

    My basic point is that Christianity and most religions change with the times at a macro level and change to fit each person's own lifestyle at a micro level. When the rules, laws, and beliefs of religions can change, who is to say what is a concrete truth in said religion? What must always remain the same "truth" so that that religion doesn't collapse in on itself? And why is that "truth" unchangeable when others are? At what point are you just defining good (well, not always good) human values, morals, and ethics for the time that everyone should follow wrapped up in tradition and doctrine?

    And back on topic, I think it's great that Nathan Alfson kept his job, but I don't think his case is in the majority yet. There's still quite a lot of hate to go around for gay people, especially if they are employed by the religious superior.

  151. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    Erik, if you read the dialogue between Troy and I, and the letter by Pope Benedict, you will see that the word "logos" is pointing to an absolute truth, not a relative one. It's much like the laws of physics. In fact, I would argue that it is exactly like that. Now, if we could just figure out exactly what those laws really are. ;-)

  152. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    "between Troy and me..." sorry. Bad grammar.

  153. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    (Footnote for Erik... to be sure, if we look at the Greek philosophers, we see that Heraclitus posited that the essence of everything is "change" and that "the same person can never step into the same river twice." If this is the nub of your argument, I have to admit, it's a difficult one to dispute :-)

  154. Erik 2014.08.19

    Fun read. I think both are correct. I see Parmenides' argument being about the physicals laws of nature, while Herclitus' argument being about our changing and evolving existence in those laws. But that's my 2-minute response after reading that blog post. :)

    Heraclitus argued that the fundamental character of reality is change itself.

    Change is mere appearance to the senses, Parmenides is saying; whereas truth is unchanging and is known by reason

  155. Troy 2014.08.19

    Divine Truth is unchangeable. Change, like tolerance, is amoral. Whether the change or tolerance is moral or immoral is the object of the change/tolerance. Tolerating wife beating is immoral. Change that allows murder is immoral. A new "truth" that is contrary to Truth is a lie.

    I love the paraphrase of Heraclitus for everything we do changes us and those around us. The question is always whether it is for the Good. And, always, we don't change God as He is unchangeable.

  156. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    Yup, good thinking, Eric. It leads, of course, to a discussion of the nature of time and ultimately down to a discussion of "free will." By my read, Parmenedes would say there is no such thing as time, nor any such thing as free will. (That would make him a determinist.) It's not unlike what I hear many theoretical physicists and philosophers saying. I don't like hearing it and don't want to believe it, but it's hard (at least for me) to argue to the contrary. Probably why I chose to study the arts and not the sciences. LOL

  157. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    I hear you, Troy, but are you sure you want to insist that the "logos" has masculine gender? ;-)

  158. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    Today's oxymoron: Divine Truth.

  159. bearcreekbat 2014.08.19

    interesting link Bill. I'll side with Heraclitus. When it comes to the "laws of nature," we may well think they are immutable (e.g., the earth is flat and the sun revolves around the earth) - until we learn they aren't.

    So it is with what we call death - our bodies continue to exist, but in changed form, they never disappear, they only change, which means "eternal life" of a sort. Whether in solid form, in ashes, or in liquid form (Breaking Bad), the physical substance continues on but in changed form.

    Perhaps the same is true of our conscious being, it too changes form, along with our bodies, and after what we label as death we currently lack the capacity to communicate the nature of the changed form, hence we develop myths (religions) to resolve this inability to communicate the nature of this change.

  160. Troy 2014.08.19


    It is easier to be comfortable using masculine in some cases when you use the feminine with the Church, Wisdom, Mercy, etc. :) The "I AM" transcends gender. Gender is a limiting construct of creation to remind us we aren't God. :)

  161. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    Good answer, Troy. I agree.

    Bearcreekbat, also a good answer. But think about it a little (e.g. by ignoring or expanding your concept of time.) Are you really siding with Heraclitus? :-)

  162. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    One of the problems philosophers sometimes struggle with (and physicists too) is the idea of infinite time. If there truly is such a thing (as many theologians and math professors insist there is) and if the amount of matter/energy in the universe is finite, then what we have is "eternal recurrence." Every possible combination of matter/energy will happen over and over and over again forever in the infiniteness of time. This used to drive the Existentialists nuts, because nothing ever really changes. And what's worse, the bad decisions we make will happen over and over and over again, just like in the movie "Groundhog Day" LOL.

  163. charlie5150 2014.08.19

    Good points Erik. Has Jesus always been Republican, or has he switched parties over the years? What was he for those 1900 or so years before he was assimilated?

  164. bearcreekbat 2014.08.19

    Bill, perhaps "time" is our conscious and arbitrary attempt to perceive and understand change. As Heidegger postulated in Being and Time, the being of Dasein is time. He asserts, "The existential and ontological constitution of the totality of Dasein is grounded in temporality."

    Our inability to communicate and describe whatever changes our consciousness undergoes after what we call death, in effect negates both Dasein and time after death. Yet our survivors can identify changes in the world through time by observation, although they have not yet been able to observe or describe the nature of the change of consciousness after death.

    Yes, as oxymoronic as it sounds, change seems to be the only observable constant in our world.

  165. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    ...practically (and behaviorally) speaking, then, right, BCB? But perhaps not in fact?

  166. bearcreekbat 2014.08.19

    Bill, the observation "perhaps not in fact" seems best applied to the statements issued by the current leaders in the Republican party, Fox news and numerous talking heads.

    To the best of my knowledge, the "Groundhog Day" theory has not yet been observed, which supports the practicality and behavior theory. The only way something can exist in fact, however, seems dependent upon the practical and behavioral ability to identify that something. Beyond that, I think you ask a valid question about everything we think we know - "perhaps not in fact?"

  167. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    God @TheTweetOfGod · 19h
    "I'm pretty sure that if Jesus returned to earth he'd be picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church."

  168. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    "The only way something can exist in fact, however, seems dependent upon the practical and behavioral ability to identify that something."

    Bat, that sounds pretty much like Descartes, doesn't it?

    Somehow I didn't take you for a Cartesian. LOL

  169. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    We're a long, long way from the topic now Cory. Sorry. (Kinda.)

  170. bearcreekbat 2014.08.19

    Bill, that is a great observation! I don't quite think I am a Cartesian, but my comment could easily imply otherwise.

    What I was trying to get at is the crucial role we, as living humans, play in making decisions about what we perceive as facts. I think Descartes was looking for evidence observable by a human for proof that something beyond humanity, such as God, exists. It seems to me that his logic breaks down as first a tautology - I think therefore I am, and second as a non-sequitur - since I exist, God must exist.

    My comment was not intended to assert that just because we have a practical and behavioral ability to identify something, that something we identify or perceive constitutes an objective fact. Rather, it is these abilities that lead us to conclude something is an objective fact, when later information and discoveries can prove us wrong, thereby causing us to constantly "change" our opinion of what we conclude a particular fact is.

  171. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    Dark matter and dark energy are evidence of faster than light velocities: contradiction or confirmation?

  172. mike fro iowa 2014.08.19

    jeebus would be thrown in jail by wingnuts based upon his swarthy looks and lack of visible means of support.

  173. Troy 2014.08.19


    First, you are confusing opinion/perception with fact. The assertion the world is flat was based on perception/observation and very little knowledge/facts because the technology wasn't available to refute the observation. That said, many had hypothesized the world was round for millennia because of other observation but it couldn't be "proven" and ran against observation.

    Second, there is a natural inclination to take all available information and raise conclusions based on that information to the level of factual. The common statement "evolution is a fact" is an example. While there is a lot of information that supports that observation, it isn't a proven fact and still is a theory.

    That said, your greater point is something we all should in humility understand- we should be not presume we have all the answers because of what "we perceive as facts." If we did that, we might have better dialogue between liberals and conservatives instead of just talking past each other.

  174. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    Screw conservatives who preach dialogue at the liberal blog while assailing liberals at the earth hater forum.

  175. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    Bat and Larry, you guys might like to read a short little series of books by Andrew Thomas having to do with unifying Quantum Theory and Relativity, and then in two followup books, resolving the time and dark matter/dark energy problems, by redefining and explaining what gravity really is. Very interesting stuff, and easy to read (as in written for those of us who don't do higher math for a living.)

    Here's a link to his website. I suggest reading all three books. They're only 99¢ each and you can easily read one a day in a couple of hours.

    One thing he suggests which I think is probably right is that the universe is imperfect, and can only do the best it can with what it has to work with. In fact, it has to be that way, or it (and we) wouldn't be here at all.

    Beyond that, we have constructs like math and geometry and yes MUSIC that ARE rationally perfect... and by extension beautiful, so we want to think that's what God is. (He doesn't talk about God, much really, if at all, but it's a logical extension of the perfect things he does discuss.)

    Also, Sam Harris, the famous atheist, is due to release a book on Spirituality next month. I've always suspected he had a spiritual side, even as vehemently argues against belief in the supernatural and the kind of religious dogma that has demonstrably done humanity far more harm than good.

  176. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.19

    BCB stated much more clearly than I did:

    "Rather, it is these abilities that lead us to conclude something is an objective fact, when later information and discoveries can prove us wrong, thereby causing us to constantly "change" our opinion of what we conclude a particular fact is."

    Troy replied:
    "First, you are confusing opinion/perception with fact."

    Troy, what "facts" are you referring to? Biblical "facts"? I'm pretty certain we will have an argument if your answer is affirmative.

    (Unfortunately, I need to go to work now at job #2, so I won't be able to return to this until late tonight. Rats.)

  177. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.19

    Still here. I double checked the time. I messed up switching from Mountain time. Sorry.

  178. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    Deb, Troy referenced scientific facts. Flat earth and evolution. On the latter, he seems perhaps still somewhat unconvinced, but I suspect not very. :-)

  179. bearcreekbat 2014.08.19

    Troy, as best I can tell, all of circumstances we declare to be "facts" are based upon our perceptions and observations, so rather than confusing or conflating the perceptions and observations with facts, I am suggesting that something we call a fact arises from our perceptions and observations. And we know we can be mistaken in our perceptions and observations, hence they cannot be equivalent to a fact, only a source of information used to support what we think to be a fact.

    Indeed, that is exactly why we can change our minds about whether something is a fact when we are able to perceive and observe new evidence bearing on the question. Thus evolution is a "fact" under this analysis, but it is a fact subject to revision or abandonment upon our discovery of evidence that contradicts our conclusion. There is nothing wrong or derogatory about calling evolution a theory. Indeed, we can agree that anything else we currently believe to be a fact is subject to the same analysis and can be revised or abandoned, hence a theory similar to evolution, some with greater evidence supporting the theory and some with less evidence.

    When we revert to using myths, however, to explain some unknown or answer some question, new perceptions and observations become useless. Since a myth is not based on perception and observation, new perceived and observed information inconsistent with the myth can be summarily dismissed.

    I appreciate your agreement that we should be not presume we have all the answers because of what "we perceive as facts." I too think this could indeed improve the dialogue between liberals and conservatives.

  180. bearcreekbat 2014.08.19

    Bill, thanks for the suggestion about Andrew Thomas. I have always enjoyed reviewing materials you suggest. Right now, for example, I have the Dali Lama's book you recommended checked from the library and it is next on my reading list.

  181. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    You're welcome, BCB. Let me know what you think!

  182. Troy 2014.08.19

    For me, a fact is something few argue about.

    The earth is x miles from the sun. Beef is a source of protein.

    Whether humans are causing warming or the sun is either an opinion or a theory. Not a fact. Whether the death penalty is just or not is an opinion.

  183. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    Okay, let's see if we can use Troy's set of observations to leapfrog back to the topic. Troy, do you think it's a fact that there are fundamental human rights? Or is that just an opinion?

    If the former, is the right to get married (i.e. have a life partner) one of those fundamental human rights?

  184. bearcreekbat 2014.08.19

    "The earth is x miles from the sun. Beef is a source of protein." Are these "facts" based upon perception and observation? If additional information conflicted with or added to what we have perceived and observed about the sun and the makeup of beef, would you be willing to revise your view of the "facts?"

    And following Bill's lead back to the thread topic, do you believe it is a fact that someone's sexual orientation is not a choice but a biological event over which they have no control?

  185. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    Actually, the Anthropocene is a fact, god is a hypothesis and gravity is just a theory.

  186. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    I am not convinced that a person's sexual preference is determined at conception or at birth.

  187. bearcreekbat 2014.08.19

    larry, I think many share that view. Can you tell me what perceptions and observations led you to that opinion?

  188. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    bat, i have lived with or near more lgbtq people than most people who read madville. every story is different: from hatred of a parent to exposure to hormone-producing environmental contaminants and lack of circumcision =.

  189. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    Women bullied or abused by men for most of their lives or men growing up with a cold or absent father have been reasons given for personal choices.

  190. grudznick 2014.08.19

    Those are the women who can be turned back to the right road, larry. I have heard you pontificate on your theories before.

  191. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    that's a lie, grud and you are a liar.

  192. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”
    ― Albert Einstein

  193. bearcreekbat 2014.08.19

    larry, I think it is valid to refer to your personal experiences with LGBTQ individuals that you have known to help inform your opinion. What do you make of the numerous brain studies on the issue? See e.g.,

    Sometimes it seems there are studies and information supporting both sides of an issue. The difficult question is which source of information deserves the most credibility. From my own personal observations of the discrimination against LGBTQ individuals it strikes me as unlikely that anyone would "choose" such desires knowing the animosity that so many people would have about such a choice. Have your friends and acquaintances addressed that problem?

  194. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    Love is a drug, bat, consenting adults have First and Ninth Amendment protections: one more reason i live in new mexico. "New Mexico: not really new, not really Mexico."

  195. grudznick 2014.08.19

    Old Mexican statehood for the tribes!

  196. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    grud: you might be an even bigger loser than pp is.

  197. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    Let me jump in here. I'm left handed. Who knows why. There is some genetic predisposition, I guess, maybe some hormone whatever, but who cares? I'm left handed. So what? That's my preference. I'm also right eyed, which makes my handedness awkward sometimes. Again, so what? It's who I am. I get that it's that way with gay people too. It's how they are. So what?

  198. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    Bill, i began life as sinister as you but my father switched me because the military is geared for the right-handed.

  199. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    How sweet of him, Larry.

  200. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    revision: an hypothesis....

  201. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    Bill, there are times when i really miss him.

  202. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    The point is, do we have a fundamental right to be who we are or not. And further, would said right be a fact, or an opinion?

  203. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    And Sibby likely misses his dad, too.

  204. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    Larry, I'm sure. I sometimes miss people who were cruel to me too.

  205. lesliengland 2014.08.19

    troy, evolution is as much a fact as anything in science. kenneth r. miller, biologist, brown univ. wiki

    global warming is approaching that factual stance.

  206. bearcreekbat 2014.08.19

    Okay larry, I think you need to thank my ancestor, Milliard Fillmore, for threatening to send federal troops into Texas to stop their aggression into New Mexico. Otherwise you would be beholden to Rick Perry.

  207. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    Scary, bat.

    Bill, your question is fundamental: only Democrats can move though time while the GOP is entropy.

    We must control the judiciary or we're fucked.

  208. Bill Fleming 2014.08.19

    We're all moving toward entropy, man. It's not just a fact. It's the law. ;-)

  209. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.19

    Larry, it would be very interesting to have access to statistical evidence about personal history and sexuality. I think one of the first things we'd learn is that child abuse is even more common than we thought. I am acquainted with many homosexual people who had happy childhoods with wonderful parents. I'm also acquainted with many heterosexual people who survived dismally painful childhoods at the hands of brutal parents.

    I don't think a tiny number of personal acquaintances, in comparison to thousands in a good study, constitutes evidence. In my opinion, the best resource for evidence in this matter is people who are LGBT.

  210. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.19

    On another aspect of this post, BCB, you are much more eloquent than I expressing the "facts and theories" argument. I'll just listen. Thanks.

    (Still wish I could have met you at Rickstock. Rats. Bad timing.)

  211. larry kurtz 2014.08.19

    Agreed, Deb: anecdotal testimony is just part of the empirical evidence. Science can be such a bother.

  212. Troy 2014.08.20


    By definition, protein is a defined chemical combination so beef being a protein is a fact. My point is there are facts are the building blocks on which we then form opinions and theories which are then judged by reason on whether or not they are reasonable.


    I do think there are fundamental Rights from Natural Law and there are additional enumerated rights from society via the Constitution. And, there are various benefits and privileges granted in law.

    While there is a right for people to voluntarily associate and form households, there is no right to government approval, endorsement or any associated privilege and benefit.

  213. Steve Sibson 2014.08.20

    "Supporting equal rights makes me proud to embrace liberal viewpoints."

    BCB, your position is Mr. Alfson's so-called rights trumps the church's religious rights. That is not "equal rights".

    "So it is with what we call death - our bodies continue to exist, but in changed form, they never disappear, they only change, which means "eternal life" of a sort."

    Can you provide the scientific experiment that turned your hypothesis into fact?

  214. bearcreekbat 2014.08.20

    Sibby, I cannot see that any church loses any religious rights merely because our Constitution does not permit the government to discriminate against an adult who desires an equal right to marry another same gender adult.

    And you know that religious rights are not sacrosanct. For example, "burnt offerings" as sacrifices to God are not permitted. Had Abraham carried through with God's command to sacrifice his son, under today's law Abraham would be charged with murder and his excuse that he was exercising his religious rights would not be a defense, just as the exercise of religious rights was never a defense for Andrea Yates and others who have killed their children after thinking the killing was commanded by the voice of God.

    On your second question, check out the law of conservation of mass, or principle of mass conservation.

  215. bearcreekbat 2014.08.20

    Troy, I think you probably understand my point - our definitions are developed from our perceptions and observations. Thus even the most basic facts that we rely on are always open to re-evaluation upon our perceptions and observations of new information.

  216. Troy 2014.08.20


    I do understand your point. I think we agree. That said, I think both sides (liberals and conservatives) state things as facts when they are not. And doing so breaks down any hope for dialogue.

  217. Steve Sibson 2014.08.21

    BCB, there is no successful experiment where human bodies have been transformed after death into another life form.

  218. Bill Fleming 2014.08.21

    Sure there is Sibby, it's called "nature." Life comes from other life. You prove the experiment every time you eat a cheeseburger.

  219. Steve Sibson 2014.08.21

    Bill, you can compare yourself to a cheeseburger, but that is not scientific fact.

  220. Bill Fleming 2014.08.21

    It is a scientific fact that life forms are made up of atoms which form molecules which form tissue which form systems which form organisms. The only material they have to work with are the atoms that are already there. There are most likely atoms in your body that used to be part of Ben Franklin's body, Sibby. And I'm thinking Ben is perhaps not very happy about that. But tha'ts just my opinion. :-)

  221. Bill Fleming 2014.08.21

    It is a scientific fact that the Sibby who ate a cheeseburger 25 years ago is not the same Sibby who ate one yesterday. Yesterdays Sibby is made up of entirely different molecules which came frome different cows and wheat grains. And llikewise, the oxygen in his blood came from a whole different communuty of plants and animals.

  222. Steve Sibson 2014.08.21

    Bill, you are, in try Darwinian form, confusing theory with scientific fact. That means you have as much faith in man-made religion as I have in God's Word. The difference is you don't know your faith and I do know mine.

  223. Bill Fleming 2014.08.21

    It's okay, Sibby, we all get it that science isn't your best subject. If you are willing to ignore biological facts, there's no sense trying to pound it into you. Fortunately for you, nature keeps making you who you are whether you like it or not.

  224. larry kurtz 2014.08.21

    Sibby wears god around his neck like an albatross or a millstone.

  225. Bill Fleming 2014.08.21

    1+1=2 is a theory.

  226. larry kurtz 2014.08.21

    God ‏@TheTweetOfGod 15h

    I created the entire universe for the sake of one group of one species on one planet in one solar system in one galaxy.

  227. bearcreekbat 2014.08.21

    larry, but which group?

  228. bearcreekbat 2014.08.21

    Ouch! That is a tough group to join.

  229. Bill Fleming 2014.08.21

    Guys, I have to share a quote a friend sent me today. It relates to our discussion above about "free will" and very, very loosely to the topic of this thread. But it's just too good do not re-post:

    "We must believe in free will. We have no choice."
    — Isaac Bashevis Singer

  230. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.21

    We are so far from discussing the original topic, Mr. Alfson and his employment, that I am concerned these comments are cluttering up the feed and distracting from the conversation about the Dakotafest debates and other current stories.

  231. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.21


    Cory has some great threads posted about issues that concern us all and not just Mr. Alfson.

Comments are closed.