Table of Contents
Also on this website:
Toby Johnson's books:
THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil
TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the
Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams
GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness
GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe
Books on Gay Spirituality:
Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The
Dimensional Structure of
Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"
You're Not A Wave
What is Enlightenment?
What is reincarnation?
Emptiness & Religious Ideas
Experiencing experiencing experiencing
Going into the Light
Meditations for a Funeral
The way to get to heaven
Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal
Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva
John Boswell was Immanuel Kant
Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook
Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer
The Way Out by Christopher L Nutter
The Gay Disciple by John Henson
Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry
Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr
Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bougeois
Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson
Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low
Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman
The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman
Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor
Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine
The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate
Fundamentalist Protestants find in the Bible
After visiting this page, please take a look at Lethe Press/White Crane Books.
This is the publisher Toby Johnson now works with. We have a wonderful selection of titles.
The answer to the "Gay Marriage Debate" lies in traditional Roman Catholic doctrine and old-time conservative political ideology.
The Catholic Church teaches that the "ministers" or "celebrants" of the sacrament of Matrimony are the two people who are marrying one another, not the priest. The priest is present simply to witness the marriage (and because it is a legal contract to record it) and to offer the community's blessing on the new life the pair has chosen to share together.
The Church doesn't perform the sacrament: the couple does.
And the way sacraments work is that
they work if the people performing them believe they work. In the
condemnation of the early Church heresy of Donatism, theologians held
that the moral state of the priest didn't matter (and neither does the
priest's approval or opinion of the marriage). The validity of the
sacrament is in the belief of the receiver.
Remember in catechism class the nuns taught that if somebody is dying you should baptize them (whether you have any business doing so or not) and you should hear their confession if they want to confess to you (cause in their delirium they might think you're a priest). If people believe they are receiving a valid sacrament, then they are.
I would argue that gay couples who
adminster the sacrament
of Matrimony to one another do--by virtue of their intention to commit
themselves before God. After all, the "validity" of the sacrament is up
to God, not the Church officials.
It's the state, not the sacramental system or God, that is determined by legal rules. BUT the very basis of conservative political ideology is that the state should stay out of the private lives of individuals. Things like God, religion, sacraments--and personal relationships--are none of the government's business.
And they are correct about that.
The government's role is to witness and record the contract. And that's all. Certainly not to tell individuals who they can and can't marry.
So, ironically, according to Catholic teaching and Conservative (Republican???) political theory, gay couples who want to enter into a contractual relationship and concelebrated sacramental union can and do.
And the answer to the question "what does the Bible say about homosexuality?" lies in orthodox Protestant theology.
Central to the Protestant Reformation was the idea of "private interpretation of Scripture," i.e. it wasn't the officials of the Roman Catholic Church who should declare what the Bible says, but rather the Holy Spirit working in the souls of the faithful.
So what the Bible says and means is what it says and means to me, and to you, that is, what it means to the individual reader.
Fundamentalist preachers and TV evangelists have no more authority than the R.C. Church in this regard. They have no business telling other people what the Bible says; they can only say what it says to them. The rest of us are on our own also. When we read the Bible, what we get from it is what comes forth from our interior inspiration.
What the Bible says to homosexuals is what homosexuals get from reading the Bible. We naturally see that the taboos and primitive rules and primitive interpretations of biblical times have little meaning for modern, psychologically-sophisticated, rationally-minded, 21st century high-tech culture. And so what the Bible really says about homosexuality is what we, with enlightened minds and good hearts, understand. And that ought necessarily be gay-positive.
Besides, Jesus's advice was to abandon
all those old and numerous commandments of the books of the Law. A new
Commandment I give you, he said, Love One Another.
Do to others what you'd want done to
you. Treat other people as though they were you yourself.
Isn't that simple?
Using Jesus's criteria, how could
anyone deny another person love, affection, and sexual fulfillment? Why
would anybody think a five thousand year old law for desert dwelling
nomads should be used to deny human rights to people in today's world?
information about Toby Johnson's books
The value of the gay
marriage debate is that it demonstrates to young homosexuals that true
love and stable relationship awaits them, not the isolation and
loneliness that popular belief used to hold out as the inevitable
future for homosexuals. How wonderful for such youth struggling to
understand and cope with their burgeoning sexual orientation to find
role models in the lesbian and gay couples who are coming forth to
proclaim their commitment to one another and petition that their de
facto legal and economic issues be accommodated in the law.
Why Gay People Should NOT Get Married
Toby and Kip's successful longterm relationship and the Wedding Cake Liberation
Gay writer Scott Bidstrup has a wonderful essay dealing with all the specific issues. I recommend it highly.
Gay Marriage: The Arguments and the Motives
The Bible DOES NOT define marriage at all!
Read: Four Things You Didn't Know About God and Same Sex Marriage
from the Center for American Progress
BACK to Toby's home page
information about Toby Johnson's books
What Joseph Campbell called, only half-jokingly,
Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, three gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.
Johnson's Lammy Award winning book
SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of
Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated book GAY
PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature
of God and the Universe was published by Alyson in 2003. Both books are available now from Lethe Press.