Re: Preoccupation: Was Do non-U.S. .....

From: Joel Cannon (
Date: Mon Jun 02 2003 - 12:06:44 EDT

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    Sondra said:

    > Joel,
    > What about Rich seems to be more preoccupied with homosexuality than the
    > rest of us 4 or 5 people who were involved in the debate?


    > So I'll get down to the question, "what IS your problem"? Why the
    > defensiveness, do you feel you have you been attacked in some way?

    I take it that this is an honest question that goes beyond your

    I have many problems. Discussing homosexuality is not necessarily one
    of them, particularly if it is civil and thougtful (I had planned to
    post a response to one of your posts, but I am not sure that I will
    have time after this). It is a legitimate issue, and I contributed,
    seconding the recommendation of Richard Hays book, "The Moral Vision
    of the New Testament." (the discussion would be elevated significantly
    if more had read and learned this book--BTW he would oppose Burgy's
    position). It is an exceptional example of deep biblical knowledge and
    civil, rational discussion about an intense and emotional issue. While
    I find that American evangelicism is obsessed with the issue in the
    sense that they have made it (rather than the gospel or "what is the
    gospel") the issue on which to stand (I find that to be true of my
    evangelical Episcopal brethren to an alarming degree), I have not
    found the other four participants to be exceptionally obsessed or
    preoccupied. I have to say (and I say it to him each time it comes up
    here) that I think Burgy demonstrates a significant amount of courage
    and restraint saying what he says. Most of us don't like being called
    heretics, which is usually what it comes to.

    Regarding me, since I have so many problems, I think a better question
    than, "What is my problem?" would be the question of how we got to
    the post you were reacting to. The thread started, as the title "Do
    non-U.S. Christians say God Bless America?" implies with my question
    of how the non-U.S. subscribers reacted to a memorial day, civil
    religion, "God Bless America" post. The whole thread about
    homosexuality started with Rich's response to a Canadian subsriber's
    reaction with the statement, "Canadians are often afraid to preach the
    gospel lest the gays protest."

    That strikes me, and I suspect many others as gratuitous. Other than
    the word `Canada,' it had nothing to do with the post he responded to or
    how other Christians feel about American civil religion. In my
    opinion, it reflects, some sort of preoccupation, or obsession. It is
    almost like a verbal Rorshsach test. Instead of putting inkblots in
    front of people and asking what they see, we put random words and see
    what they say. Just as a sexually preoccupied person always sees
    sexual objects in the inkblot, it seems to me that Rich will have the
    reaction "homosexual" (or perhaps liberal jewry) to a large number of
    words. If the word Canada produces comments about homosexuals, one
    wonders what significant word would not inspire comments about
    homosexuals (for all Canadians reading this, I do think Canada is

    When Jan de Koning asked how "God Bless America" became homosexuality,
    I expressed my opinion. Rich's response, which if I had clipped the
    whole into my post, would in my opinion make some thoughtful people
    ask just what preoccupied meant if Rich was not that. I had the same
    reaction to reading it that I have when I listen to my mother say with
    real conviction, "I am not old." Perhaps I should have resisted the
    temptation to say so.

    So that may give you some hint of what my "problem" is.

    Joel W. Cannon | (724)223-6146
    Physics Department |
    Washington and Jefferson College |
    Washington, PA 15301 |

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