"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: It's Not an Agenda, Sir

Friday, January 27, 2006

It's Not an Agenda, Sir

Last Sunday in church, a 91-year old lady who grew up in Kansas (where she saw Klu Klux Klan meetings at the local blacksmith shop), gave stirring testimony to the congregation. In her long life, she has witnessed terrible discrimination, and also incredible growth in understanding. She has lived long enough to see civil rights for women and racial minorities, and now she is witnessing the dawn of civil rights for sexual minorities. Her grandson is gay. She loves him utterly, and she knows he did not "choose" to be gay anymore than she "chooses" to be white. She implored us to be wise and compassionate, to love as Jesus loves and to welcome all in the family of God.

Now, for something completely different, read the article below, in which two OALC men are quoted.
Gay alliance can't be denied, B.G. warned
Sunday, January 15, 2006
By MARGARET ELLIS for the Columbian

If students want one, there's nothing the Battle Ground School Board can do to keep a Gay-Straight Alliance club out of Battle Ground High School.

In an hourlong workshop Jan. 10, Attorney Bill Coats told the board it couldn't refuse a club based on content the board doesn't like.

"If you start treating groups differently based on what they say, you run afoul of the First Amendment," Coats said.

The issue came up before winter break when some students proposed the Gay-Straight Alliance.

The Associated Student Body group is taking input from students and will vote on the club Tuesday. The board said it would wait for that vote before discussing the issue further.

Board member Fred Striker said he feels the board is in a tough spot over the issue. The board can't refuse the club, but "probably close to the majority of the community wouldn't agree" with allowing the club, he said.

Most folks in the audience were employees of the school board or not willing to discuss their feelings about the issue, but one father of two students at Battle Ground High School said he's against the idea.

"I just think trying to promote the agenda of homosexuality is a sin," said Curt Massie. He said his children agree.

If a Gay-Straight Alliance is formed at Battle Ground High School, it won't be the first such group in the area. Evergreen, Mountain View and Heritage high schools each have a group that supports gay students, said Carol Fenstermacher, spokeswoman for Evergreen Public Schools.

Heritage High School has a student-run club, as well as a Gay-Straight Alliance support group that was started five years ago and is led by Tom Baldwin, a guidance counselor.

"It has never been controversial," he said. "We don't promote any agenda, we're not trying to turn anybody into being gay, we're just out to help students who feel maligned," he said.

The group focuses on keeping students safe and free from harassment, he said.

"There are times that schools can seem an unfriendly place to sexual minority youth," he said.

The Vancouver School District has had clubs similar to the Gay-Straight Alliance, but the groups aren't always active, said VSD spokeswoman Kris Sork. The clubs haven't been controversial, she said.

While school administration can't bar a club because officials disagree with it, schools can prohibit a club that would be illegal otherwise, or would interfere with the "orderly conduct of educational activities."

In addition, no one can be compelled to join or attend meetings, Coats said.

The workshop wasn't a public hearing, but Neal Blomquist, one 25 or so in the audience, did ask whether prohibiting all student clubs would give the board the right to eliminate the Gay-Straight Alliance as well, "if that has to be done as a last resort."

"I know of no high school in the U.S. that has successfully done that," Coats said.

He said some schools have tried and been sued as a result.

"If you go that route," he told the board, "you're making yourselves a lightning rod for various groups."

In addition, Coats cautioned, eliminating all student groups would substantially change how schools function in the community.

"It would take a material change in how you view your schools," he said.

Well, ahem. Coats didn't know to whom he was speaking. Blomquist and Massie belong to a group that (in my experience) would have no problem denying others the First Amendment rights they cherish for themselves. But that attitude is destined for the dustbin of history. Today in Washington State, lawmakers passed a gay civil rights measure that has failed for the past 30 years. The measure adds "sexual orientation" to a state law that bans discrimination in housing, employment and insurance, making Washington the 17th state passing such laws covering gays and lesbians.


  1. Thanks for posting the article...Interesting but not surprising :)

  2. You are so sophisticated and tolerant that you are forgetting the teachings of the Bible.

    Where is YOUR limit? Maybe the next wave is animal sex.. will you be supporting those rights, too?

  3. I am an educator. I live in an area where gay rights in our local high schools have not been an issue. I am grateful that we are not going there, for now. As an ex-OLACer I am glad the blog is willing to talk about this subject.
    I do not think you should be attacked for trying to discuss this issue.

    I do know that the high schools in my area are filled with conflict because the apostolic children are being arrogant over their perceived feelings "that they alone are the chosen". Fights are the result!

    Is this club being formed because the high school children who are gay are being teased/tormented?

    Of course we can not pull out all clubs in a high school. Does this adult realize how much the high school clubs are enjoyed by the students and the community?
    BG is doing the right thing, by putting it up to a community vote.

    This is a hard topic for all concerned. Keep us posted. And perhaps we all need to pray for

  4. For myself, I feel that I would be sinning to god if I was gay/lesbian.
    BUT...Can I judge that for another person? No! If I did that, I feel that would also be a sin.
    Is creating and enforcing rules against gays and lesbians going to keep the sin from happening? Look at all the rules the OALC has created for themselves. Yes, some of them follow them...but I know many of them do a lot of "worldly" things when nobody in their church can see what they are doing.

    The way I see this is...we don't know what struggles these people are going through in their lives. We don't know if they are just confused or really have those feelings for the same gender. Unless you have been in their situation, you have no right to judge them. Instead of putting judgements against them and making all of these laws that discriminate against them, why don't we show them love? Why don't we talk to them about Christ and his love towards all people? Why don't we invite them to church with us? Your church shouldn't be just for those with the perfect apostolic life. The doors should be open to everyone. And don't even tell me that the different apostolic churches are welcoming because if you look from the outside, they are not.

  5. I feel that homosexuals shouldn't be discriminated against as far as jobs etc no more than any race should be. I do draw the line at marriage. I think that our Father has stated what "makes" marriage in the Book of life instruction that he has left us. In our Father's eyes two men or two women having sex is no different than all of the straight people that have sex "outside" of the institution of marriage. I agree that they don't have the same opportunity as a hetrosexual to get married but such is life. It is not always fair. It is no more fair for someone to be born gay than it is for someone to be born with downs syndrome, spina bifida or any number of birth defects. They also must walk a different path. It is just the way life is. Who are we to question God? Our ways are not His ways.

  6. To the angry poster above, of course I have limits. As for animal sex, they are continuing to have it (the evidence is at the grocery store). I think you meant interspecies sex, which is a pathetic straw man. When women and blacks won the right to vote, was it extended to kangaroos as well? To pet chinchillas? I think not.

    The problem here is misinformed people who continue to think of homosexuality as deviant, so they lump it in with truly deviant stuff. A recent article in Time magazine pointed out that homosexual behavior occurs in more than 450 species. That's a lot, 450. And whether it is 5% or 10% of our species, it is more like left-handedness than Down's Syndrome.

    As for the Bible, please consider the possibility that the scriptures are products of their time. What was chosen for inclusion in them, including the claims of inerrancy, was decided by the 318 men of Nicea.

    We must see beyond the fear and shouting to the wholeness offered in Christ. Even Biblical literalists do not want disobedient children or victims of incest to be put to death, nor do they deny communion to the disabled.

    God's peace to all.

  7. I think the social and religious aspects should be separated. We live in a multicultural society and as a consequence we should be tolerant to other views than our own. I wouldn't like Muslims prohibiting the Christians to drink wine or forcing the Christian women to wear veils. That's why I don't feel like I have the right to demand prohibition of homosexual behavior, either. And as there are homosexual couples, I guess it would be reasonable that they had an opportunity to registrate their relationships in order to be able to inherit each other if one of them dies etc. But I wouldn't approve of forcing other people to homosexual behavior (or any other behavior) or homosexual couples adopting children because that would affect the lives of other human beings. And of course, homosexual behavior being against the Holy Christian Tradition, any blessing of homosexual relationships in church is absolutely out of question.

  8. Then, theoforos, please be tolerant of the OALC views.

  9. I am tolerant of the OALC views, to the same extent as I'm tolerant of the views of Muslims or gay rights activists. It's OK as long as they are not forcing other people to live according to the oalc rules. In this case it seems like they are trying to impose traditional Christian values on people who don't share the traditional Christian values.

    If some people want to start clubs that don't conform to the traditional Christian values, it's none of other people's business. If Christians drink wine (all Christians do at least at the communion), or don't want to cover their heads in public, it's none of the Muslims' business. And if Christians don't want to marry same-sex couples, it's none of the gay right activists' business. That is tolerance, all sub-groups of the society are allowed to live according to their own principles and values without harming each other and without forcing each other to conform to values that they don't approve of.

  10. Your views on tolerance are commendable. Your appeal to Holy Christian Tradition, however, needs rethinking. It was Christian Tradition in the 16th and 17th centuries to oppose Copernicus and Galileo. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Christian Tradition supported the practice of slavery and opposed both the use of vaccinations and the ideas of Charles Darwin. In the 20th century, segregation and apartheid were considered Christian Tradition. Now it is women and gays who struggle against an "unholy" Tradition that uses the Bible as moral justification for prejudice. Someday it will all seem as quaint as a flat earth. Meanwhile, those of us in the Church must see with angels' eyes.

  11. Please, theoforos, tell me how OALCers are forcing you to live their way? If someone doesn't want to share traditional Christian values, they won't. But that doesn't mean the OALCers can't speak their minds and beliefs. Or is it a free country to everyone but the OALCers since everything they do is pretty much 'forcing' you to think as they do?
    And some thought the OALCers were narrow-minded! :D

  12. Many Trails Home1/31/2006 01:07:00 PM

    To Anonymous "D": You are being completely ridiculous, if I must say so. Theoforos is using the generic and not suggesting that the OALCers are forcing him personally. The "forcing" being referred to is the suggestion by the OALCers that BG high school disband all clubs in order to FORCE the BG high school to disband the Gay-Straight Alliance. Is that not forcing your way and beliefs onto the community? Sure sounds like it to me.

  13. ManyTrailsHome got what I mean, the anononymous :D didn't.

    The OALC is not forcing me to anything, but they are forcing other people to shut down a club because the club is not consistent with the OALC views. In my opinion, it would be totally OK for the oalcers to say that they consider homosexual behavior to be a sin, but they are going much further than that. Forcing other people to act according to your views is not the same as telling them what you think. Got it now?

  14. Free2beme, the things you mentioned have not been a big issue in the Eastern Christian tradition, which I have found more reliable than the Western Christian tradition, which in many regards has been distorted along the way.

  15. The only things people are 'forced' to do are die and pay taxes. Ever hear that? If you don't want to disband clubs, speak up. We have the right, as Americans, to the freedom of speech. If you're feeling forced, that's your problem. Nobody is forced to do what they don't want. If others want to be pushed around by the OALC beliefs, they don't have enough balls to point out their views. Why aren't you out there protesting since you feel so strongly about it? They need all the help they can get.

  16. I am curious what this alliance club would do. What would be its purpose?

  17. I read this blog occasionally and just have to say a few words to the folks who have been commenting.
    This blog is suppose to help the people who left a sect adjust to life outside of a church that does not preach the true word of God.
    God so loves the world that he gave his only son....
    Let us note the words LOVE. Yes, Christ does love the "world" even if they are gay. A Gay Straight Alliance club is to help prevent gays from being mistreated in our communities-in this case school. The people in Battle Ground voted against this.
    Let's hope they don't vote against
    Basketball, football, hockey, choir, art, etc. That too could end up being against "community standards" if the OLACer take over too much political control.

    Those of us who left this church do need a place to process what is happening and has happened to us.
    That is why we write here...on this blog. We have opinions of this church and we do voice them.
    It is America, after all. If we keep talking and informing each other of what is going on in other communities, perhaps we can stop in from happening where we live.

    I pray for BG and its children.
    Gay or straight, OLACer and nonOLACer.

    We are all God's children!

    God's Peace!

  18. Here's another questions to ponder...

    What good to OALC churches/congregations do for a community? Surely, their must be something that I'm not seeing because right now, I see it only as an exclusive group of people that does nothing good for anyone but themselves. If any OALCers have been involved in making a positive difference in the community, (volunteering, etc) I would like to know. In other words, what are the fruits of the OALCer's faith? Judging?


  19. anon above;

    What are the fruits of Your faith?

    H. Finn

  20. Well, if you think I am judging the Old Apostolics by calling them "judgemental", I only came to that assumption from the article in the Columbian.

    Here is some text from the bible about the fruits of faith:
    Text: Romans 12, 1-6. 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but so to think as to think soberly, according as God bath dealt to each man a measure of faith. 4 For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members have not the same office: 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and severally members one of another. And having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us.

    Here is part of Martin Luther's sermon on this:

    5. As I have frequently stated, the suffering and work of Christ is to be viewed in two lights: First, as grace be- stowed on us, as a blessing conferred, requiring the exercise of faith on our part and our acceptance of the salvation offered. Second, we are to regard it an example for us to follow; we are to offer up ourselves for our neighbors' benefit and for the honor of God. This offering is the exercise of our love distributing our works for the benefit of our neighbors. He who so does is a Christian. He becomes one with Christ, and the offering of his body is identical with the offering of Christ's body. This is what Peter calls offering sacrifices acceptable to God by Christ. He describes priesthood and offering in these words: "Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priest- hood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." 1 Pet 2, 5.

    6. Peter says "spiritual sacrifices," but Paul says our bodies are to be offered up. While it is true that the body is not spirit, the offering of it is called a spiritual sacrifice because it is freely sacrificed through the Spirit, the Christian being uninfluenced by the constraints of the Law or the fear of hell. Such motives, however, sway the ecclesiasts, who have heaped tortures upon themselves by undergoing fasts, uncomfortable clothing, vigils, hard beds and other vain and difficult performances, and yet failed to attain to this spiritual sacrifice. Rather, they have wandered the farther from it because of their neglect to mortify their old Adam-like nature. They have but increased in presumption and wickedness, thinking by their works and merits to raise themselves in God's estimation. Their penances were not intended for the mortification of their bodies, but as works meriting for them superior seats in heaven. Properly, then, their efforts may be regarded a carnal sacrifice of their bodies, unacceptable to God and most acceptable to the devil.

    I got this from the site: http://www.peacemakers.net/unity/ml71.htm

    Since the OALCer's are "Lutherans", do they agree with what Martin Lutheran said in this sermon?

  21. The Old Apostolic Lutherans do good works only amoung themselves. The help each other build houses and provide for each other when they are sick. However, they usually do not believe in helping the worldly. I am sure there are exceptions to this. However, when Hurricane Catrina happened, a common theme amoung the OALCers was that they don't care what happened to those people because they were living worldly lives.

    Their sacrafices are to have many children, without regard to the woman's body. The men do without ties, because the devil can hang on this tie. They don't watch TV, because what if Jesus comes and they are engaged in this worldly pursuit.

    They feel that they are "Christians" and those who don't belong to their church are of the world. The "Christian" church according to them started in Sweden by Laestadius.

    They do not extend the saying "God's Peace" to anyone but those in their church. This is a beautiful saying!

    So, as I part,
    God's Peace!

  22. So, if they only do good things amongst themselves, what good are these OALC churches doing for the community, for this nation, for this world?

  23. The churches might as well not exist...nobody would realize if they weren't there...

  24. I would like to hear from anyone who may be accepting of homosexuality (as not being "sin")of your reconciliation with scriptur which seems to be pretty clear that it's an abomination. Do you feel that the Bible is fallible after all, or that this does not really apply to today's culture, or what???

  25. Perhaps the Bible doesn't say what you think it says.

  26. "Everyone should care more about their own shortcomings than they do about other people's shortcomings."

    H. Finn

  27. Huckleberry, thanks for reminding me by quoting my own words. It's really not my business to care about some local politics in Battle Ground, however destructive some action by certain people may seem. As for remembering my own shortcomings when looking at other people, well, I've got alot to do there... But I'd like to point out that my criticism under the current topic was based on my political view on how I think we should act to optimize the well-being of the society, I wasn't attacking them as Christians (like the case was in the context from which you took the quote).

  28. I wrote the comments above describing why the OLAC people do not do good in their communities.
    I must clarify one comment to make myself accurate. I do not know if it is a "common theme" that the Hurricane victims deserved the destruction. I only know for sure that one does.

    Now to proceed, perhaps those of us who left the church feel judged, so therefore we critique them?
    Or we use our left brain to rational our beliefs as stated above.

    We need to be alert of local politics. We do critique our president and our other leaders.
    If BG is having a debate over what is going on in their school, then other areas with large numbers of OLAC should watch.

    God's Peace!

  29. As does Anonymous above, I occasionally read this blog, to see what others who have left the OALC are talking about.

    We are all on a faith journey, which takes each of us down a path that may or may not match anyone else's. It's been my experience that as people go through a significant change in their lives -- and leaving the OALC or changing from any faith to another is certainly an example -- we all go through stages. There are stages of sadness, of fear, of anger, of regret, of acceptance, and of joy. I get a sense in reading many of these posts that many of the writers are really struggling to get past the first stages, and that's sad -- but with faith, love, and forgiveness, peace will come. We all need to move beyond the anger and fear and hatred and come to the realization that we live our own lives. If we focus on anger at others who we think have hurt us in some way, and continue to dwell there, we cannot be free, and our lives are controlled by emotions that certainly are not Christian.

    Speaking for myself, "turning the other cheek" is a maxim that is sometimes very difficult for me. Part of the wood in the cross I bear is a quick temper and a propensity to attack and exact revenge rather than forgive. Perhaps that's my genetic makeup or my upbringing or whatever, but it's there and I deal with it the best I can. It took me a long time before I finally decided I was being consumed by things I could not change, and I finally made my personal peace. Once I was able to do that, I found I still had many good friends within the OALC who accept me for who I am. They are not all judgemental ogres, as some writers here have made them out to be. Are there some of those? Sure, but I ignore them. Without recognition and acknowledgment, they have no power over me, and the hatred or jealousy or whatever the right emotion is they foster rests only on their own shoulders.

    I suppose I was fortunate because I grew up in a small community where OALC and other community members got along very well, did things together, and even intermarried -- without being condemned to the slippery slope. Many of the people in the BG community came from that same background, and I still see some of them. They have never shown me anything other than love and welcoming. Do they try to do a little evangelization on occasion? Sure, and I'd be disappointed if they didn't. I see that as a sign of love that they care about me. Usually it turns to wry smiles and friendly words. I'm a very happy and satisfied Catholic now, and if I can maintain relationships with OALC friends, anyone should be able to, as I think I've heard the Catholics condemned to hell from behind the OALC altar as anyone.

    Remember that it takes two to tango -- or to fight. Love and true forgiveness, and most importantly the loving hand of Jesus Christ on our shoulders guiding us, conquers all darkness.

    Sorry if I got "preachy". I feel a lot of empathy for folks who are struggling with many of the same issues I had to sort out, and I hope some of these words help. I think this forum can be a great help, but please focus on the positive rather than throwing that stone.

    May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, now and forever.

  30. CVOW, I liked your post, thank you! :) I feel like I keep slipping back to that anger mode every now and then. I know it's wrong and very destructive to my own spiritual and emotional well-being, but it still keeps coming back. I hope to overcome those feelings some day... By the way, I think you are the first Catholic ex-oalcer to post on this site. Very interesting - I'm Orthodox myself.

  31. CVOW, thank you for sharing. You have weathered the storms of separation and can see with compassion. Please share more about your experiences. Why did you leave, for example.